Five Quick Tips to Fight Clutter and Get Your Place in Order in 30 Minutes
Clutter … It just seems to build up. In my house, every open surface has magical, magnetic clutter attracting properties. It’s so tempting to just walk in the door and drop a pile of mail on a flat, clean surface or to throw a few pieces of jewelry on top of the dresser when you are getting dressed in a hurry. Before you know it, there aren’t many empty flat surfaces left – they have been replaced by clutter piles which threaten to fall all over the floor with each new addition.
A clean place is a happier and healthier place. When you see clutter everywhere around you it’s hard to focus your thoughts on things other than the need to clean up. Plus, if you are like me and love to be able to entertain at a moment’s notice, having to spend a few hours cleaning up to avoid embarrassment is a huge set back. As I’ve grown in my adulting skills, I’ve come to realize that if I’m really going to keep the mess in check I have to tackle it at least weekly. Obviously, the size of your home is going to affect how long it takes to clean up. I live in a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment with a kitchen, living/dining room, and office. I think most of us have the same prime offender areas though – bathroom counter, somewhere we drop mail and periodicals, kitchen counters, etc.
Let’s get cleaning! Here are 5 ways to fight clutter and get your home organized in 30 minutes.
1. Group Objects in a Line
Have five bottles of shampoo on your counter? Line them up. Have ten bottles of nail polish on top of your dresser? Put them in rows of coordinated colors. You will still have the same amount of stuff, but suddenly it will look like you really want all those shampoos and nail polish bottles, not like they were dropped there by evil aliens. This works for kitchen counters too. Spice and seasoning containers look much better when they are lined up. It shows off your collection, plus it speeds up food preparation!
2. Make Space Between Objects
Now you have your objects lined up and looking like they are ready for use at a moment’s notice. Next group them together and make open space in between groups. The more space the better, without making the cluster of objects look too packed together. The open space will give your surfaces an airy feel and make them look bigger. Another bonus is that your eyes will actually be drawn to the open spaces and you will see less of the clutter.
3. Use a Tray
Ok, so maybe going out and buying a tray will affect the speed at which you can clean up, but chances are you probably have something in your house right now that you could use as tray. For example, you could even use decorative pottery – a special tea cup for earrings or a small dish for soaps. Put a group of objects on a tray (nicely lined up or otherwise organized) and you have an instant organizational look a la the first two tips mentioned in this post – the objects are grouped together and there is open space around them. Trays are an extremely versatile and inexpensive way to add some real style to your décor. Plus, they add to the intentional look of your decorating – you want those objects exactly where they are!
Nothing is sadder than old, dusty looking bottles. Grab a duster and dust off anything you are keeping. This is also a great time to look at expiration dates and toss stuff that you have had forever. And don’t let your guilt over throwing out half used products shame you into keeping that old bottle of horrible shampoo for another five years. If you haven’t used it in the last year there is a reason and you owe it to yourself to listen to your instinct and toss it. If there are items you that you haven’t gotten around to using that are unopened and unexpired maybe it’s time to pass them on to someone who would enjoy using them.
5. Sort Mail and Papers
One of the worst sources of clutter in my life is paper. You grab the mail at the end of the day, put it down to make dinner and suddenly you have a ten-inch pile of junk mail. The good news is that it takes very little time to wear down that imposing pile. Grab a trash can and start tossing those envelopes. As for magazines, catalogues, and newspapers – sort them into a pile to recycle. If a paper or magazine has been in your house for a week and you haven’t looked at it, chances are that another issue will be waiting for you by the time you get around to looking for it.
Now, to finish up take out the trash and the recycling. You will be amazed at what a difference spending 30 minutes productively organizing can make and how much happier and freer you will feel with the clutter tamed!
Do you have any great tips to achieve an instant feeling of organization? Share in the comments below!