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How to control clutter from taking over

September 24, 2010
This is the perfect place to drop my keys as soon as I get in the door but before I
have time to lose them

I seem to constantly be waging a war against clutter in my apartment. And at times it feels like it is just one step away from full chaos to break out and that I will lose the battle – can anyone relate?

Between one husband, one cat and myself we all add to the piles of stuff – clothes lost in space and time, shoes scattered around making the place nothing but one big obstacle course – not to mention the random mouse toy or rattle Aycha drags around, magazines that mysteriously take up any surface to be had, mail – arghhhh – why do we need to get mail? It is all just a day away from get pushed over the edge, which means the walls would fall out and we would live in some sort or reality show dollhouse.

So part of my new years’ resolution this year – I don’t really do New Years resolutions but this one was desperately needed – was to get more organized. After a Iot of strategizing this is what I have come up with:

1. Sort through all of my stuff  – even if I can only do that for ten minutes a day I have to start somewhere – and make sure I really like what I keep, or that it has some sort of important function to fill (impossible to ask Mario to take part in this as his modus of operandi is: “you’ll never know when you might need this”, which translates into that nothing can be thrown away). But with my approach I can justify one orange squeezer but not two. One toaster but no two. All the towels that I do not like have to go and anything chipped or broken that I am supposed to fix but never realistically will fix anyway – see you later. It all has begun to pile up.

2. Next has been to find a place for everything where it makes sense – not where it looks pretty. I know this one is dumb but instead of keeping a box of matches with the candles, another by the stove and one in the bathroom where I like to have a candle – I thought it was better to keep them all in a little pile. No more – my dictator rule is “it has to make sense”. Everything now has to have a home or it gets donated or put away. Thats the harsh reality of being “stuff” in my place. Be useful or our you go! Unless I happen to be in love with you:)

Every document, every magazine now has a home

3. Then I started “operation last sweep”. Every night before I hit the sack I walk around and put everything away – dry dishes, lost shoes that are just waiting to trip me up in the morning, Mario’s keys that are always lost and all other left-over junk  – and finally myself 🙂 But I am rewarded in the morning as it looks somewhat decent.

This organizer is from the Container Store baby, the Container Store – love it!

And actually amazingly this has kind of worked. We have a lot less stuff, and a lot less mess. Funny how those always go together… What I very much liked is that some  of the stuff we don’t need we sell at our yearly yard – sale (if I can keep my strategy we may not even need one next year 🙂 – but a lot of the stuff we actually donated for causes where it was put to good use.

I compiled a list of every place I could think of where you could give your stuff away instead of throwing it in the garbage (a lot of these resource come from the wonderful Domino Magazine that unfortunately no longer exists). Isn’t it so much easier getting rid of something knowing someone else will benefit from it?

If you know of an organization that is not on the list please send it to me so I can add it. I’ll make a permanent tab for all of these in the navigation bar so that we can all do our part.


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