Clutter can quickly sneak up on an otherwise clean house, particularly in homes with children or if there aren’t systems in place that can help keep it at bay. It can happen in any room and can quickly become a headache to resolve. Fortunately, steps can be taken to de-clutter and prevent one’s belongings from building up and creating an unnecessary mess. One of the most important steps to take is having the right type of storage in each room. Every member of the house should be made to understand the importance of storage systems and encouraged to use them. In addition, storage systems should be simple so that everyone can use them.
In the Kitchen
The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in most homes. Depending on the size of the kitchen, there can be a struggle when it comes to available space. Countertops are used for food preparation, but they often also house small appliances, such coffee machines and mixers, and some food items and cooking utensils, such as knives, may also be stored on their surfaces. Get creative when looking for ways to store various items. For example, magazine file holders are slim and can be placed in cabinets to horizontally stack and store items such as sports bottles or loose lids. Hang baskets above the kitchen sink or off to the side of it to hold sponges, scrubbers, or other items that can take up space. Magnetic strips on the backsplash of the stove can be installed to store items such as knives or to hold cans that serve as holders for stirring spoons and spatulas. Peg boards with S hooks also make an interesting storage option for hanging items such as pots and pans. Inside cabinets, use risers to create extra space or add a turntable for both additional space and easy access.
In the Living Room
In the living room, there are a number of potential storage options that are available. Ottomans or sofas are available with hidden storage areas to hold items such as blankets or toy baskets. Tables with lids or covers that lift may be useful as a type of hidden work desk. Keep the surface of the table free of clutter by storing a laptop, pens, and other tools inside when not in use. Place wicker baskets under the coffee table to keep items such as magazines organized.
In the Master Bedroom
The master bedroom is a place meant for relaxation, which makes it important to keep clutter at a minimum there. Flat bins or bus trays from restaurant supply stores can fit beneath the bed to store a range of items, such as blankets, unused sweaters during the summer, and handbags. Place a chest in the bedroom for storage of personal belongings, and with the addition of a cushion, it can also be used as an extra sitting space. Place shelving units of various sizes around the master bedroom to hold books, magazines, and other items. Pair colorful scarves together for a pretty yet organized look when they are hanging from the wall. Bookcases stored alongside the bed can take the place of nightstands and are a great way to keep reading materials close by when needed. When you’re finished reading, the bookcase is only an arm’s distance away, making it easy to put reading material back where it belongs and avoid bedside clutter. An attractive bowl can serve as a catch-all to prevent rings, wallets, and other discarded items from getting lost or spread around the room. Additional storage space can be created by organizing the closet and adding shelves and an additional bar for clothing. Use the shelves for the storage of purses or to hold neatly folded jeans or items that would otherwise take up space.
In the Bathroom
The bathroom is another area that is susceptible to rampant clutter on the counter and in the medicine cabinet. Use self-adhesive, flat-sided cups on the inside of the medicine cabinet door as a place to store toothbrushes, toothpaste, and even combs and brushes. Place risers in the medicine cabinet to create additional space. In drawers, clean out clutter and use trays of various sizes or drawer dividers to arrange remaining items. Use hanging baskets in the shower for bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and bath gels. As in the kitchen, magnets can be very useful in keeping clutter at bay. Affix steel to the interior of a medicine cabinet and use magnetic hooks and cups to hold items such as scissors, hair clips, and hand-held mirrors. Use baskets to store extra toilet tissue, mouthwash, towels, bar soap, and other bathroom supplies. Install a shelf securely above the bathroom door to store these extras. Heat-proof canisters are a good choice for holding curling irons and hairdryers.
In Your Child’s Bedroom
In a child’s bedroom, toys are the primary threat when it comes to maintaining a clutter-free environment. One way to combat clutter is to use a bed with drawers underneath and a bookshelf as a headboard. Use the drawers to store toys and larger items. The headboard is the ideal space for books and favorite bedtime stuffed animals or dolls. Organize closets with shelves and tiered racks to maximize space. Use floor-level bins for out-of-sight yet easily accessible storage of regularly used toys. On shelves, use bins to store extra blankets or other items that kids do not regularly use.
If using bookcases for storage, secure them to the wall to prevent them from toppling over. A bookcase not only holds a child’s favorite books, but it may also house toy bins and stuffed animals. Always place the heaviest items at the bottom and the lightest items at the top. Items that children play with the most should always be low and well within their reach. Give older kids a place to keep pictures of friends and school memorabilia or keepsakes by hanging a corkboard on the wall. Hanging pouches or baskets are useful ways to keep desk clutter at bay. Use these pouches for diaries, notepads, and other items that can’t easily be attached to the board.
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