Stop Clutter in Its Tracks: How to Keep a Clutter-Free Home
Learn how to prevent clutter from accumulating with these easy, inspirational tips that'll transpire new habits.
How to Prevent Clutter in Your House
With our fast-paced lifestyles, clutter can accumulate quickly. From sentimental items in your closet to hand-me-downs in the garage, preventing clutter can feel overwhelming and leave you wondering where to start. However, keeping a clutter-free house is as simple as asking yourself a few quick questions.
6 Ways to Reduce Clutter
1. Identify Your Bad Habits
First, take a look around your home. Where does most of your clutter accumulate? What types of items are building up? Whether it’s a “drop-zone” for keys, purses, shoes and other items as you walk in the door or boxes piling up from online shopping, make a mental note of what habits are preventing you from living clutter-free in your space.
“Identify bad habits that stop you from being organized and create solutions to these specific issues. For example, if mail piles up on your kitchen table, then try adding a recycling bin in or near your kitchen.”
2. Only Keep What You Need
Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” From impulse buys at the checkout line to free swag from a fundraiser, we all grab things we don’t need from time to time. Odds are, this stuff hides inside your junk drawer until you eventually toss it. The best way to break this cycle is simple — say no.
“One of the best ways to keep stuff out of your house is to not bring it in to begin with. Before you buy another magazine, another pack of pens, another black sweater, think about if you really need it.”
For unneeded items that have already made it into your home, it may be time to do a thorough home cleanout. To help stay on track and not feel overwhelmed, tackle each room one at a time. Set aside labeled boxes with 'donate' or 'toss' so you're organized during the cleanout.
3. Give Everything a Home
The best way to minimize clutter in your house is to give all your things a designated location. From decorative storage baskets for magazines to utensil caddies for silverware, every item in your house should have a space.
“Give everything in your home its proper place. This will make it easy to always put things back where they belong. And the items that have no place? You probably don't need them at all.”
4. Store Your Belongings Wisely
Store daily-use items where they’re easy to get to. Things that you only use occasionally or seasonally can be placed in harder-to-reach cabinets or stored away. This will free up space and help you prioritize your most important things.
Try these clutter-free ideas from Julie East:
- Put fine china on the highest shelf.
- Store your holiday decorations in the attic.
- Keep everyday items in easy accessible spaces.
- Place skis and sporting equipment in the garage.
- Put away the large casserole dishes and roasters you only use a few times a year.
- Keep your paper towels on the kitchen counter, the TV remotes on side tables and your car keys on the hook by the front door.
Try our Decluttering Challenge to get rid of items quickly and efficiently.
5. Create Daily Habits to Prevent Clutter
After you’ve cleared the excess and organized the rest, maintenance is key. Think about the habits you identified earlier and how you can change them. Clutter tends to build up wherever we’re disorganized, so when your house is neat, it’s easier to keep clutter at bay. Try these ideas to stay ahead of the clutter in your home:
- Make your bed every morning.
- Open and sort mail immediately.
- Place items back in their designated homes.
- Tidy up in the evening to start each day fresh.
- Designate a special place for important items.
- Clean the kitchen and do dishes after every meal.
- Complete projects around the house before moving on.
- Keep clothing in the closet, dresser or hamper — not on the floor.
Looking to get rid of household junk? Check out our disposal guides to know how to best dispose of unwanted items, appliances, electronics and more.
6. Accommodate for Children and Pets
Whether you’re expecting a baby or adopting a puppy, your home will soon be filled with a whole bunch of new stuff, from diapers to dog toys. As you bring these new supplies into your home, take some time to find a space and storage solution for them.
“The primary problem people have with clutter build-up is they don’t think of their space in terms of functionality, they think of it in terms of stuff. Recognize what your space is being used for and if that is changing, start changing your space to support that.”
Ready to Start Decluttering Your Life?
Now that you have these expert tips and simple lifestyle changes top of mind, you’ll be able to keep your home clutter-free.
A Charlotte native, Abby has adopted great organizational methods through her time with Rubbermaid. She knows all the tricks of the trade, and how best to live clutter-free through use of Rubbermaid storage products.
Julie is a product genius. Her work with the Arlington Container Store as a buyer helped her shed light on the best products available for consumers. She's always knowledgeable about the latest storage trend that benefits homeowners everywhere.
Justin created his L.A. business — the O.C.D. Experience — from the ground up. He is a leading expert in professional and digital organizational solutions, which has helped people simplify and add balance to their lives.
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