12 Life-Changing Decluttering Hacks

Liz Alterman | Dec 1, 2014 Home & Garden

clutter

Staying on top of clutter often seems impossible. From the junk mail that arrives almost daily to the kids' toys and school work, these things can take over your home pretty quickly if you allow them. But don't worry, we've found 12 amazing solutions that will help you get your house in order -- check 'em out!

hanger

Check out our life-changing decluttering hacks and then tell us: What's your solution for staying on top of clutter? 

Image © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Corbis

  • Take It Slow

    1

    Rather than become overwhelmed by attempting to declutter the whole house, break it down one room at a time. You'll be less inclined to quit and you'll have a chance to put everything in its proper place. 

  • Set a Timer

    2

    Sometimes decluttering seems like it might take all day and who wants to spend their free time that way? Clutter control expert Jamie Novak recommends setting your timer and working in "bite size" chunks of 18 minutes. Why 18? 

    "Ten minutes sounds too short to get much of anything accomplished," she explains. "But 20 minutes sounds like a lot of time if you’re having a busy day."

    If it's a mini-task, you'll complete it during that time. If it's a larger undertaking, you can start again when you have additional time. The main thing is to just begin!

  • Plan Ahead

    3

    Before you go shopping, think about what you need and come home with only those items. Don't allow yourself to be swayed by sales or impulse buys.

    Personal stylist Elaine Wang Yu advises, "If you don't love a piece, don't buy it. Especially if you already have a closet full of clothes at home."

    Purchasing unnecessary items only clutters the house further.

  • Set a Hanger Limit

    4

    Keep your closet neat by setting a hanger limit. Experts recommend 30 or fewer hangers, depending on your closet size. This way items won't end up squished, wrinkled, or completely overlooked. The "One In, One Out" tip on the next slide will help you maintain this limit, too.

  • One In, One Out

    5

    Try to subscribe to the "one in, one out" principle. Each time you bring something into your home, donate something else. It can be clothing, books, or even electronics. Whatever it is, try to keep things status quo by having a revolving door policy.

  • Open Mail Beside Garbage & Recycling

    6

    Junk mail can easily be considered the biggest enemy of an organized home -- especially around the holiday season when catalogs seem to be arriving by the truckload.

    Here's a trick: Open your mail standing next to your recycling. Toss any envelopes or things you have no intention of reading or keeping. Then, start a pile to shred. Next, place the mail you wish to keep, such as bills or letters, in a folder where you can easily find them and address them when you have more time. 

  • Ice Cube Trays: Not Just for Ice Cubes Anymore

    7

    Repurpose ice cube trays or pick up new ones at the dollar store and put them to use organizing everything from earrings to paper clips. 

  • Gather Up Those Remotes

    8

    Do you ever feel like your remote controls are, well, out of control? Whether you find them stuffed between couch cushions or you can't find them at all, you're not alone. Expert organizers suggest designating a single spot for these pesky gadgets. Collect them in bowl, basket, or tray near your television or consider attaching Velcro to their backs and then sticking them, literally, to the same spot every time.  

  • Store Cords Inside Toilet Paper Rolls

    9

    Who has time to untangle all those extension cords, especially during the holidays? Storing cords inside toilet paper rolls is an easy way to keep them from snaking all through your drawers and becoming a jumbled mess. 

  • Donate or Sell Old Books

    10

    As any avid reader knows, it's hard to part with books, but they can take up lots of space. Consider donating a portion of your personal library, or sell books on sites like Amazon.com. If you're a magazine hoarder, take a moment to pull out the pieces you want to read and recycle the rest.  

  • Store Sheet Sets Inside Pillow Cases

    11

    Have you ever opened your linen closet only to have sheets come cascading down on your head? Or, have you ever tried to put fresh sheets on the bed but you can't find the matching pillowcase? Solution: Simply place your flat and fitted sheets inside the pillow case for easy and organized storage.

  • Store Cleaning Supplies Inside Bucket

    12

    Rather than having cleaning products stored in different areas, place them together inside a bucket. They'll not only be easy to find next time you have to clean, but they'll also stay neat and tidy between cleanings. 

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