At first glance your home seems pretty clutter-free, but you're hiding a deep dark secret, aren't you? You don't want anyone to know, but it's out of control, and you fear, at any moment, it might tumble like a stack of skeletons from your closet. Or that one drawer. Or out from under the bed. And your most embarrassing clutter offense will be out in the open for the world to see!
Sorry, you can't hide your secret away forever. It's just not good for you. However, the good news is most of us have a clutter secret like this. We call them our clutter culprits -- those problem "collections" in our life that, no matter how hard we try, we can't seem to contain or control them.
We're pointing out the top five worst clutter culprits today, but we're also giving you some solutions for keeping them in check.
5 Worst Clutter Culprits & How to Control Them
1. Paper Monster
From junk mail to kids' school work, you can't control that stack on your kitchen counter. Set yourself up for stackless success by creating a place for everything. Go right to the recycling bin with junk mail and statement waste and inserts. Don't even lay it down for a second. Then keep a folder for incoming bills (or better yet, go paperless; most billers offer this option now) and for each child's school work. Everything in its place ... For papers that need to be signed for school, sign them right away and then put them right back in your child's backpack. After all, the only way to stop the stacks is to stop the stacking.
From clothes in every size you've ever been to a gazillion pairs of sale-priced shoes that kill your feet, you have a compulsive clothing-keeping conundrum. Instead of wading through the piles day after day and finding it impossible to find your favorite sweater, make a decision to look and feel your best and get rid of those items that don't contribute to that feeling. Yes, all of them. Going forward, practice "out with the old, in with the new" by getting rid of one item for each new item you buy -- and just steer clear of sales when you know you don't need anything, especially the online ones where you can't try on your purchases before buying.
3. Magazine Mania
Stop right now and count. Just count how many actual magazine subscriptions you have. If it's more than five, you might be a magazine maniac and you probably have magazines piling up in every spare space. We know those super-low subscription prices feel too good to pass up, but if you don't really enjoy the magazine when it arrives each month, then you're just wasting good money and productive mental space -- for the time you spend trying to figure out when to read and where to put them all, you know? Start by stopping at renewal notices and subscription cards. Renew or subscribe only to magazines that make you smile when you find them in your mailbox. If you've never met a magazine you don't love, then set a limit on how many you may keep in your house and donate or recycle the rest.
4. Bathroom Bonanza
Are those Spider-Man Band-Aids in your medicine cabinet even though your son is now 22? Old prescriptions, free samples, the moisturizer that made your face break out, and that deodorant that turned your armpits orange, you need a bathroom cupboard intervention! All medications these days have expiration dates, so use those dates as your helper in weeding out old ones. If you know you will never again use a that drugstore purchase, admit you're just not into that product and let it go. We swear the space it frees up in on your bathroom and in your head will be worth the five seconds of guilt you have for wasting $5.95 on a product you used once.
5. Recipe Hoarder
Do you have a folder stuffed with hundred of recipes you've never made? Well, at least they're in a folder ... To wrangle the recipe habit, head for your computer. Many magazines now have their recipes online. A bookmark on your laptop takes a lot less room than even one big, fat folder. Can't find the dish online? Consider scanning the recipe to your computer then. No more justifying your recipe hoarding (or your magazine mania) for the sake of a few recipes you may or may not ever make.
Get Rid of Your Clutter -- Win a 'Trouble Spot' Makeover!
Right now in the Healthy Moms group on CafeMom, organizational expert Jill Pollack is taking entries to win a free personal "trouble spot" consultation. Post a reply on the 'Trouble Spot' Makeover post for your chance to win! The contest ends Wednesday, March 16!
What's your biggest clutter culprit?
Image via tommerton2010/Flickr