Stuff takes on a life of it’s own, doesn’t it? Just about the time you think you’ve gotten rid of all the extra stuff, you look around and discover that something else has sneaked in and put down roots. It’s a continual battle but here are some resources that will help you win the war on clutter and stay organized.
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Books to help you deal with clutter
Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter Free in 15 Minutes a Day by Cassandra Aarssen
31 Days to a Clutter Free Life: One Month to Clear Your Home, Mind, & Schedule by Ruth Soukup (Ruth gives very practical advice)
Control Your Cutter! You Don’t Have to Get Rid of EVERYTHING! by Theresa Smith
Clear Your Clutter with Fung Shui: Free Yourself from Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Clutter Forever by Karen Kingston (I’ve read this one and I really like it)
Living a Clutter Free Life and Loving It by Kathy Stanton
Letting It Go: Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life by Peter Walsh (I have several of Peter’s books on my shelves – love, Love, LOVE them!)
Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff by Lori Baird (this is another book that’s on my shelf)
Decluttering and organizing are both required to keep your home functioning efficiently
Now I admit that I’m an information junkie and am always looking for new tips and tricks to get my act (and house) together. But I also need practical items to help organize the items I do need to keep and that I use regularly.
I view the process as two-fold: you have to be constantly aware of what you’re bringing in to your home to keep it from getting cluttered and so full it’s bursting at the seams, but you also have to keep it organized and tidy so that you can find what you need when you need it.
Products to help you stay organized
Purse organizer insert – I discovered the power of a purse organizer several years ago. There’s nothing more frustrating than rummaging around in your purse looking for something that’s gotten buried. With one of these organizers, there’s a place for your cell phone, wallet, and other essentials. Stop digging and keep that purse organized!
Greeting Card Organizer – I don’t know about you, but I hate having to run to the store because I need a sympathy card or because I forgot my sister-in-law’s birthday (again!). So I stock up on cards once or twice a year. I buy a variety so that I’ve got cards for birthdays, baby showers, weddings, and to express sympathy. I’ll show you the homemade version I use in my upcoming ebook. This one is great, but I’m a frugal girl at heart and I like to customize mine to the particular cards I send.
Car Trunk Organizer – I also dislike hearing things roll around in the trunk of my car (or in the back of the minivan when that was what I hauled kids around in). An organizer helps keep those emergency supplies – and anything else you keep with you – together so you can find what you need without having to practically crawl in the trunk to find something that’s shifted all the way to the back corner.
Wall mounted coat rack – I know, I know – coats are supposed to go in a closet! But for some reason, the people in my family never actually took the time to open a closet door, pull out a hanger, put their coat or jacket ON the hanger, and hang it on the rod. Can you relate? Since it was either spend my life screaming and hollering (or worse, following them around and hanging things up for them) I came up with another solution. A wall mounted coat rack located near the door (where things were getting dropped) solved the problem. Even when the kids were smaller they’d put their stuff on a peg. Just be sure to hang this low enough that every member of your family can reach it (you might need two – one for the taller folks and one for the kiddos).
Kid’s artwork frame – This frame lets you easily change out your child’s latest masterpiece! We want to encourage our children’s creativity and let them know their work is special. This frame lets you display their art while keeping it looking nice on the wall. No more need to turn your refrigerator into an art museum. When the frame is full, take out the art and sort through to decide what to keep or toss (your child won’t even remember the older pieces so it’s okay!).
Label maker – I’m just going to admit my nerdy-ness right here but I rank the label maker right up there with the other great inventions of our time. Label the inside of cupboards, label the contents of notebooks or plastic drawers. The possibilities are endless. There are more expensive models available but this one is reasonably priced and by Brother which made mine (and that I’ve used forever).
Pegboard – Pegboard doesn’t have to be banished just to the garage or storage shed. Paint it a pretty color that works with your decor and you can find all sorts of hooks and baskets to hang on it. You can truly customize pegboard to your space and needs. I’ve got a piece next to my back door where I keep outdoor gardening and water supplies (and my hat since I sunburn). Hubby painted it and then mounted it for me in no time.
As far as I’m concerned, a planner is the ultimate tool for keeping you organized. I could not live without mine! I not only track appointments, I keep lists, decide and schedule daily tasks, keep my editorial calendar. I turn my planner into my brain so that I don’t have to store everything in my head. I’ve used a weekly/monthly planner one like this one, and I’ve used daily planners. Frequently, I’ve used one of each at the same time depending on my needs. I’m currently using the 2-page per day refills from Franklin Covey. The choice of a planner is very personal as far as I’m concerned and I’ve been known to spend an hour in the office supply store considering all the options.
Keep your kitchen and laundry room organized
Magnetic Dry Erase Calendar – If you don’t have room for a “command center” then this one will attach to your refrigerator. You can use it to plan your meals, keep track of appointments, you name it. While I think that a command center
Combination Dry Erase and Bulletin Board – I use a board like this for my home command center. This one is large enough at 36×24 to meet my needs without being so huge that I can’t find a place for it. You can find smaller ones though to meet your particular space area.
Battery Storage Box – We’ve always stocked up on batteries when they were on sale (why pay full price when you don’t have to!). The trick comes in remembering where you’ve put your stash. We’ve used a box to hold all the batteries in for as long as I can remember. It also serves as an easy way to know when we’re getting low on a particular size and need to restock.
Rolling dog food container – We have used a container like this to hold dog food. The lid clamps down tight so you don’t have to worry about critters getting in and it can sit in a corner where it’s convenient yet out of the way.
Orange Circle Studio 17-Month Mom’s Do It All Calendar – I’ve used a lot of family calendars over the years but this one is my favorite! That’s because it has a flap that folds out where you write the name of your family members on it one time – no more writing down everyone each time you flip to a new month. I know, it’s a small thing. But it was the small thing that absolutely sold me on this calendar. Once I discovered it I never looked back. I liked that the lines corresponded to names so I could write down when Butterfly had a dental appointment or when Music Man had a band concert. Of course, the stickers are a plus and added a touch of fun which I really liked. I LOVE this calendar!!!I could not live without my planner - or at least I'd never get anything done! Click To Tweet
Closet and bedroom organization
Over the door hanging shoe organizer – I use these everywhere. I currently have one on the inside of my pantry door and on the door in the living room closet. I’d have them everywhere else if I didn’t have mostly pocket doors in my house. Before we moved I had one of these on each bathroom door and on the door of the linen closet. I’ve used them to hold winter gloves and scarves, cleaning supplies, extra toiletries, you name it. These make great storage space out of otherwise wasted door space.
I sent one of these with my daughter when she moved into her dorm room. This hanging closet shelf gave her some flat space for items like sweaters and purses. When it was time to move her home, it collapsed for easy storage until she needed it again (which she did when we moved her into her first apartment).
Sometimes closet space is in short supply and our bedrooms may not have room for a chest of drawers. I admit that I tend to look at every space and wonder how I can use it for storage. The space under the bed has always been a gold mine! This under bed storage box has a lid that clamps closed which helps keep dust out and your belongings in order.
Jewelry Cabinet with Mirror – This is another product that’s I couldn’t live without. It holds loads of jewelry and keeps those necklaces from becoming tangled. The photo shows it hung over a door, but it can also be hung on a wall. It doesn’t take up much room and since it has a mirror on the door, you can use it for that last minute check when you’re getting dressed in the morning. It comes with a key so you can lock it when you’re away from home. If you don’t have enough wall space, there is also a similar cabinet that is free-standing.
Okay, now I’m going to tell you about a product that I thought was nuts when my mom gave it to me. I’d seen the infomercials and I was skeptical – but they worked! Vacuum storage bags actually do reduce the space bulky items take up. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t performed the experiment myself. Now, keep in mind that I didn’t have a vacuum hose to use to suck the air out so I was flinging my body on to the top of the bag to help squeeze the air out (a picture that probably ought to scare you!) but I was pleasantly surprised. I use these bags to store comforters and extra bed pillows.
Products to organize your bathroom
Over cabinet hair tool storage – Where to put a hot hair dryer or styling tool has always been a problem for me. This holder gets those appliances out of sight and where they’re not going to burn something while they cool off.
Cosmetic carousel – I’ll admit that I prefer to have cosmetics out of sight, but sometimes that’s just not possible. A shortage of drawer or cabinet space sometimes necessitates that things be out in the open. When that’s the case, it helps to keep things from looking so cluttered if they’re contained – or if they have a “home”.
I think this will be my next organizing purchase. I’ve got a cabinet door where this magnetic strip can be mounted to hold tweezers and manicure tools.
I have this container to hold cotton ball and swabs and I love it! It’s sleek, functional, and keeps them from getting grody.
We don’t automatically think about needing charging devices in the bathroom, but many of us have more electrical devices here than we realize. This wall outlet organizer gives you a place to keep the electric razor and toothbrush without having cords all over the counter.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the Conquer Your Clutter Bundle. I am working my way through these resources. There are several printable household binders and planners in addition to lots of ebooks. You’ll find information to help you manage your time, plan meals, deal with paperwork and digital files, etc. It’s a pretty great deal.
And just in case you’re wondering why you should go to the trouble of getting organized, my friend Sherry at Beautiful Southern Life has taken a look at several studies on how clutter is tied to our health. Both our physical and mental health are negatively impacted when clutter is out of control.
Finally, I’d like to encourage you to join my 7-day Clobber the Chaos Bathroom Challenge. You’ll get a series of emails with tips to help you get your bathroom under control. Just sign up below to join. If you’re already a subscriber, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll add you to the Bathroom Challenge list so that you can participate as well.
Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts: 11 Signs You Have Too Much Stuff (and what to do about it) and The Critical Question To Ask to Get Rid of Clutter.
So, what area of your house is the hardest to keep under control?