New Year’s Resolutions – Clean up that Clutter!

We all do it, especially when we get busy; we just let things begin to pile up on countertops, table tops, desks, etc.  I for one like to de-clutter the house before I begin to really reexamine spaces, reorganize and “spring clean” everything.  The cleaning process is so much easier when you have cleared out all the unnecessary items that do not need to be sitting out on the counter and table tops.  Use these tips to go through your house and de-clutter in an effort to get ready for major organizing and cleaning.

The Kitchen:

For most of us this is where we pile a lot of mail, bills, and unnecessary paperwork.  If you have a simple system with designated spaces for each item it will keep you from letting things endlessly pile up and will keep your counters clean.

1.)    Designate a spot for the mail.  I have a simple system I use.  It is a great way to sort and de-clutter to get the system started and then if you continue to use the system it keeps the mail from ever piling up again.  I use a set of two drawers not much larger than a standard sheet of paper with a paper tray on top of that.  All the new mail gets put in the top on the paper tray so I can see it and know that it needs to be gone through.  Take 5 minutes each day to go through this and make sure that the paper tray is empty by the end of the day.

2.)     The drawers under are labeled as Follow-up and File.  Things like bills that need to be paid, a letter that needs a response, or anything you need to make a phone call to follow-up on will go in this drawer.  I review this drawer weekly until the items have been completed.  At that time the documents are either shredded or moved to the file drawer.

3.)     The file drawer is just that, for documents that need to be filed into our filing system.  This is another drawer that is reviewed weekly and all documents are filed in their appropriate folders for safe keeping.  At the end of the week this drawer should also be empty.  If you keep up with this system not only will you be neat and organized, but the clutter will no longer pile up.

My mail filing system

The Living Room:

This is the spot where my magazines begin to pile up on the coffee table, end tables, and sometimes the floor.  This can be easily avoided by implementing another system for your magazines to keep things from getting overwhelming.  I for one receive an incredible number of design magazines each month which makes it hard to keep up with everything I receive.  This can cause the piles to grow tremendously if I have been too busy to read.  So the first step is to make sure you make some time to keep up with the reading material you have.  My way of doing this is to take at least 30 minutes each day to flip through my magazines.  This helps me to stay up to date and keeps the piles from getting out of control.

1.)    The next step is to organize the magazines.  I happen to have an end table with a shelf under the table top.  I take the current months magazines and stack them on that shelf.  If you do not have a shelf, make a nice stack on a side table or coffee table.  If you do not want them on tabletops then get a decorative basket or magazine rack and set it next to your favorite spot to sit and read.  Since new magazines are always coming in I make sure to rotate them out.  Some of the magazines I do keep for reference.  If that is the case when I am done reading them I move them to the bookcase in my office and organize them on the shelves with past issues of that same magazine.  They are arranged in order by month and year.  If you do not keep the magazine, recycle it once you are finished or pass it on to another friend that would be interested in it.  I do all three of these things with the magazines I receive.  This helps keep the magazines I still need to look at current, keeps them from piling up in the mail area, and rotates old issue out to other people or the bookcase I keep them on.

2.)    Your next question may be what to do if you do not have the space to keep that many magazines or if you are like me you just have so many that the space eventually runs out.  I have just encountered this problem.  My first step was to recycle anything that was older than a specific year.  I chose 2008 and just chucked anything that was pre 2008 which cleared out a lot of space.  There were however some I could not part with or had a lot of things flagged in them.  Some magazines are just so full of good information I want to keep the whole thing.  These have been piling up on the floor in my office.  My new trick this year will be to implement a new magazine filing system for older issues in my office.  I just saw this filing system on the Dream Green DIY blog the other day and plan to use this to organize my older issues.  It is a great way to keep what you want and consolidate space.  Hop on over to the Dream Green DIY blog to check out her system.

The Bedroom:

The bedroom can be a place for all kinds of clutter.  Women can let the jewelry pile up on the dresser and men can leave things like change, wallets, keys, etc.  Another common clutter in the bedroom is chargers for all the electronic devices we have.  There are simple solutions to ease the clutter of these items as well.

1.)    Jewelry – There are two simple solutions for Jewelry and most of us have a lot of it.  It is common to have some type of jewelry box to organize the majority of the jewelry you have, but there are still those items that we wear on a daily basis and can get lazy about putting them back where they should go, which is how the jewelry starts to pile up on the dresser.  The solution I use in my own house is an old cigar box.  It’s has a fun, vintage feel to it and is more decorative sitting on the dresser.  I use this to nicely line up the rings, earrings, and hair accessories I wear most often and I drape my necklaces across the top and down into the box.  It is a simple solution that keeps the jewelry contained and neatly arranged so it becomes a decorative element on top of the dresser.

Organize Jewelry in an old cigar box.

If you do not want anything sitting on your dresser you could also use a simple and inexpensive coat rack as a jewelry holder.  Mount it to the wall next to your dresser, in the closet, or close to the bathroom, wherever it is that you are most likely to take your jewelry on and off.  You can easily hang necklaces and bracelets on this and keep everything tangle free without taking up any tabletop space at all.

Jewelry Organizer
Coat Hanger Jewelry Organizer

2.)    Now for the clutter from your man.  The simplest solution to this is to give them a tray or a box that can be covered (to hide all the items if they just throw them in instead of arranging them nicely).  We use a nice wooden box that he can empty his pockets into at the end of the day.  This keeps the items off the top of the dresser and hides them away.  It adds a decorative element to the space and keeps all those odds and ends he needs from getting lost.  Never waste time looking for your keys or your wallet again.  We love the Espresso Austin Metal Box from Cost Plus.  It is a decorative element that is offered in multiple sizes depending on your storage needs and it isn’t too girly that your guy won’t want to use it.

Decorative Box for Men
Decorative Storage boxes

3.)    Lastly, we tend to charge our devices at night in the bedroom and all those cords can start to look messy.  Set up a charging station to keep things looking nice and under control.  We love this DIY charging station made from a bread box featured on Better Homes and Gardens site (use the link to their page for instructions on how to make your own).  This is a great way to keep the cords organized and hidden and the labels let you know which charger goes to which device.  If you want to hide it just slide it closed and no one will ever know the mess that is going on inside.

DIY Charging Station
DIY Charging Station (imag via Better Homes and Gardens)


Use these tips to clean up some of that clutter around the house and stay clutter free by sticking with each of these systems.  This will help you in your quest to get the whole house organized and will keep things from piling up while you are working on organizing other spaces.  If you have any of your own tips for how you de-clutter your space please let us know in the comments.  Now go get clutter free!

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