Out of control clutter can take over your life, resulting in more stress and more mess. The trick to clutter management is to limit the amount of stuff in your home while developing better organization strategies for the things that remain. Here are some tips and a source for Made in USA labels to help you get organized.
How to Keep Clutter Under Control
Labels make everything easier to organize, especially if you share your home with more than one person. Here are just a few ways labels can help you:
- Label your food. Labeling everything in your fridge, freezer and pantry with the contents and date makes it easier to identify items and use them in a timely manner. Make sure to arrange everything so the items in front are the first ones that you will use. We like the chalkboard and dry erase labels available at The Container Store.
- While you're in the fridge, take the time to label the shelves. Setting aside one shelf just for leftovers prevents food from growing mold in the back of the fridge.
- Place a label on all your storage shelves, from the kitchen to the linen closet. You're more likely to put things back in their proper place if the place for “bowls” or “guest towels” is labeled.
- Add stick on or iron-on labels to things that leave the house, such as the kids' backpacks or your gym bag. Don't forget to also label the stuff in those bags, including school lunch gear and sporting equipment. We like the Label Land labels for clothing and fabric on Amazon.
Control the Clutter
Every home has areas that are clutter magnets. Common spots are the kitchen table, the table by the door, coffee tables, or the counter – basically any flat surface. Walk through your home and find the areas where clutter has accumulated and then come up with a solution.
For example, if your entry table collects mail and pocket contents, add a basket or bowl to put stuff in. As for the mail, sort it as it comes through the door. We like the countertop baskets at Peterboro Basket Co.
Toys can be an issue in homes with young children. An attractive basket that slides out of the way provides a quick clutter control method. The trick is to avoid overly large baskets – make sure it's small enough that the child can carry it easily. Toys go in the basket as they are done playing with them, and then they can tote it to their room to put it away before bringing out a fresh load of playthings. We like the Made in USA Storage Containers by Sterilite at the Container Store. Also look for all sizes of Sterilite Bins at Amazon.
It doesn't take long for my bathroom counter to be covered in makeup and skincare products. Especially now that my kids are teens and they have added their own products to the clutter. We have tips on how to organize this area in our post, Makeup Organizing Ideas: Tips & Tricks with American Made Products. While you are at it, make sure your makeup isn't expired and clean your makeup brushes.
Start a Team
A clutter-free home requires team work. Your job is to set up a system that works for your family, and then teach them to implement it. With practice it will become a self-sustaining habit.
One popular trick is the 15 minute clean game. You can do this before dinner or before bed, whichever works best for you. Each person is assigned a room or zone of the house, and then they are given a laundry basket. They walk through their zone and pick up anything that doesn't belong there, while putting away anything that is out of place. Set a timer for five minutes or so, and then they switch baskets. After a few basket rotations, everything that had made its way to other rooms will be back in its place.
Forge a Daily Habit
Fighting clutter successfully begins with daily habits. You can implement all the systems in the world but they won't work if you don't stick with them on a daily basis. Your daily habits should include:
- Make mindful purchases. Don't bring anything into your home that you don't need or love. If you already have too much stuff, you must get rid of something old before bringing in something new.
- Put things away immediately. Don't wait to sort the school paperwork or put away the laundry. Do it promptly so it doesn't build up. If necessary, set aside a time period each day when you do the daily sorting chores.
- Clean a room before you leave it. Dinner isn't done until the dishes are washed. TV time isn't over until the pillows and magazines are put away. Straightening up as you go ensures your home isn't a mess by nightfall.
- Never leave a room empty handed. If something is out of place, take it with you when you leave the room and put it away. Before long, things will rarely be out of place.
An organized home is a more peaceful home. Once you become organized and cut out the clutter, it becomes easier to maintain it.
Label land, LLC is a family operated US manufacturer of all types of home, school and camp labels, founded in 2005 by a couple raising five young children who found themselves spending too much time and money on their children’s lost belongings.