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How to Stop Clutter

A neat and organized closet that can stop the clutter from happening.

Tired of cleaning what seems like the same old mess day after day? Do certain areas of your home appear to be hot spots for clutter? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you're not alone. But help is available. Identify your problem areas and learn how to stop clutter for good. Then you can spend less hours cleaning and more time enjoying life.

Eliminate Your Clutter by Tackling the 3 Main Hot Spots for Mess

There is nothing quite so discouraging as coming home after a long day's work to be greeted by the clutter of yesterday. It's exhausting to have to clean and organize the same mess in the same places in your home over and over again. That's why the best solution is not just to clean and organize, but to keep the mess from reappearing. You need permanent solutions. These tips will show you how to stop clutter from happening in the first place.

A woman enters a cluttered room.
Learn how to stop clutter so you don't become discouraged when greeted by that same old mess every time you walk in the door.

Of all the spaces in our homes, the most vulnerable to excess clutter are the entryway, your closet spaces, and the garage. Fix these, and you've managed to get rid of most of your home's clutter problems. And they are fixable, no matter what your situation or how small your home. Just make sure your fixes are permanent, so you won't have to deal with those messes again. These home organization tips can help alleviate the mess long term and get rid of the clutter for good.

3 common clutter zones and how to fix them permanently:

  1. The Entryway Mess

    Does your entryway end up as a drop zone for coats, shoes, purses, backpacks, keys, and more? It may be time for some entryway organization. Lasting organization for this area is a five-step process.

    • Take inventory of what you typically have in your entryway and separate your items into keep, toss, donate, and re-locate piles. If the keep pile is bigger than the others, that's okay. The important thing is to cast a critical eye over your possessions. Get rid of stuff that you don't need which may have been parked by the door because you simply couldn't think of any other place to put it.
    • Relocate less worn or out-of-season items to the bedroom closet if there is room or basement/attic storage. Infrequently used possessions don't need the super convenience of being located next to the door. Keep only your everyday items here.
    • Once the entryway possessions have been downsized, consider ideas on the best way to use your entryway space. Do you want a mud room with hooks, baskets and a bench to sit down and take off your shoes? Or do you prefer a more traditional closet system with doors that enclose and hide its contents? This will be determined by personal preference, what you want to store, and whether you are working with a front or back entry.
    • Use organized storage components to give everything a place to go. This can mean closet organizers with shelves and double hang areas for a simple reach-in coat closet, a new mud room with open lockers and hooks, or a new wardrobe closet for a front entrance that lacks any type of closet.
    • No matter what type of organization system you choose, make sure you include a few hooks for keys, scarves, your purse, etc. Shoe organization is also vitally important when working to rid yourself of entryway clutter. Shelves for gloves and a space for your umbrella is also recommended.
    >clutter organization for rear entryway
    Organization for rear entryway.

  2. The Disorganized Closet

    Closets can easily become a catch-all if you're not careful. The best way to avoid this is to have a designated place for everything. You probably have many closets in your home. And all of them may need work to get rid of clutter. When working with closets, choose your first, most cluttered closet or shelf to begin organizing. When you've completed that one, move on to the next worst and so on.

    Clutter free walk-in closet with custom organizers
    This upscale custom closet includes a place for everything with its enclosed cabinetry, shelves, built-in ironing board, and other closet organizers.
    • Remove all the items in the space and sort using the keep, toss, donate, and re-locate method.
    • Once the space is empty, think about ways to improve your closet organization. Is it set up in a logical way, with the most important items easily accessible? Is there a hamper or basket for laundry? Do you need to add more dividers?
    • Remember that every closet, no matter the size, can be improved and made to hold more by the addition of closet organizers.
    • If the clutter really seems uncontrollable, the best solution can often be a custom closet system tailored to your exact organization needs.
    • Very crowded closets can be hard to organize. But you can overcome this. Create separate sections for long hang (gowns, robes, trench coats), double hang (shirts and blouses) and medium hang clothing (suits, most dresses). The double hang organizers will do the most to increase your closet space because they literal double your storage potential.
    • Include shelves, cubbies, or pull-out racks for your shoes.
    • If your closet is simply too small to hold all that must go in it, build an additional wardrobe style closet elsewhere in the room to handle the overflow.
    • Add a built-in hamper and closet mirror.
    • When you rehang your clothes after installing the closet organizers, organize them by color as well as type. This will make it easier to get dressed in the morning and simply looks nice.
    Clutter free reach-in closet with supplemental wardrobe closet provides extra storage
    This new wardrobe closet supplements the original bedroom storage provided by the small reach-in closet. It helps get rid of clutter by providing additional organized storage space.

  3. The Garage — Often the Biggest Closet in the House

    In many homes, the garage is the place to leave those things we don't want any more but are hard to get rid of. For example, there's a great big old CRT television out in my garage. It doesn't even work, but it's hard to get rid of since it's heavy and the regular garbage pick-up won't take it. I've been meaning to dispose of it with an authorized recycler but haven't gotten around to it. This is the story in many households. And, when joined by a few other similar items, this junk that no one wants can quickly take over the garage to the point where you can no longer get your car inside. It just creeps up on you.

    Eliminate this clutter with a proper garage organization system. A good garage storage system consists of four parts.

    • First is shelving (either open or concealed behind cabinet doors for a more finished look).
    • Second is some sort of wall storage system. On the low end, wall storage can be simple, old-fashioned peg board that allows you to hang things on the wall. However, this type of storage has evolved and new track systems allow you to hang larger and heavier items along your walls.
    • Third is a built-in work bench. Even if you're not handy with tools you'll use it for potting flowers for the yard or just working on messy projects you don't want in the house.
    • Fourth is overhead storage. Don't waste any space. Even the ceiling can be put to use for organized storage.

    If your garage has these four elements, you will be able to get everything off the floor, beating the typical garage clutter.

    Custom garage with cabinets, wall track, and overhead storage
    This custom garage includes cabinets, wall track, and overhead storage. It is so organized the owner can use it as a workshop and still have room for his car.

Still Wondering How to Stop Clutter?

By spending some time organizing these three clutter-attracting areas, you will greatly improve the look and feel of your home. When everything has a place to go, it is much easier to put things back where they go, even for children. Just tackle your problem areas one-by-one. This will increase your overall organized storage slowly but surely. Stick to it and eventually you'll be clutter free.