December 29, 2009

The Less Stuff, The Better

The week before the New Year is when I clear the decks to get ready for the year ahead. I'm one of those people who need my surroundings to be organized before I can accomplish very much. And given that there are a lot of things I want to accomplish, I can't afford to have stuff everywhere. Here are six strategies we implemented last year that worked well for managing clutter, and I hope a few can work for you too:

1. A place for everything - Shelves, bins, baskets, hooks, and drawers help us keep things in place. When something has a home, it's easier for kids to pitch in and clean up at the end of the day.

2. A place for things without a home - Random stuff that doesn't fit into a category goes into the 'random stuff' box. If folks forget about it, it turns into a donation.

3. An accessible tub for donations - Outgrown clothes, kitchen items, party trinkets - if we don't need it, we toss it in the donation tub which goes to the local thrift store or shelter once a quarter.

4. A shelf to fit storage tubs of infrequently used stuff - Clear space in your shed or garage shelves to fit containers for things that don't get used very much, but are still too useful to give away. If you never touch it, that's a sign it can probably be given away.

5. An inbox for each child to store school paperwork - All that stuff that comes home from school gets skimmed once for action items, and then placed in a storage tub to review when we have more time.

6. I love hooks. More hooks for hanging items to keep my floor space clear has been helpful. Our swim bag, our lunchboxes, and our ice skating gear all hang from hooks in our pantry or laundry room, freeing up floor and shelf space to keep me from tripping all over my house.

What tricks do you have for keeping your home in order? Would love to hear them, and cheers to a productive and clutter-free New Year!


Amy @ The Q Family said...

I love your idea about donation box. This will help to keep outgrown clothes and hardly-used toys out of the way.

I also use a trunk in my family room as our coffee table and emergency toy storage for a quick clean up. :)

Meg said...

I hate clutter, but seem to live with it. We clean out clothes and toys in late november before my daughter's birthday and christmas. Unopened toys go to Toys for Tots and used go on Freecycle (I just got a thank you note or the second year in a row.) Freecycle has been great for clearing out clutter that other people may find valuable. I also learned to file in boxes and sort at tax time. That keeps my "to be filed" stack under control without spend unnecessary time.