If you live in your own home, chances are that clutter is a problem for you. We’ve all seen the way that extra papers and junk can accumulate around the edges of our lives. It sometimes feels like no matter how much cleaning you do, there is always more mess. And the clutter isn’t just harmful to your peace of mind. As expert Joseph Molluso reminds us, “This large amount of clutter can hinder the way that we service the clients home. Not only is it a fire hazard, but it’s also a harbor-age for pests.”

Luckily, our experts have been around for a while, and they have some helpful tips for beating clutter in your home.

Just a few easy design solutions and regular sorting practices can give you a huge leg up in the struggle to stay organized. You’ll feel better and worry less about the state of your home after implementing these simple tips.

Install Overhead Storage in the Garage

If you have a garage, chances are it’s so full of stuff that your car doesn’t even fit anymore. This is a problem most homeowners have, as the garage is the go-to storage space in most homes. Unfortunately, the garage is also the place where pests will have the easiest time establishing themselves among all your old boxes and storage containers. Expert Mark Puglisi has a solution:

“Garage overhead space products are excellent for keeping things off the floor and out of the way. Wire rack style shelving helps view items from below and avoids horizontal surfaces that gather dust and possible nesting sites for all sorts of pests.”

Your garage ceiling is an important resource, and you should make as much use of it as possible. Hanging storage containers stay out of sight, and out of reach for creepy critters like rats.

Designate Storage in Entry Points

Entry ways are a prime location for building clutter. When you come home, it’s easy to kick off your shoes, drop the bag, and toss the keys and mail wherever they land. This kid of mess builds up quickly, but luckily it can be prevented with just a few designated storage places. Be sure to have coat hooks, bag shelves and shoe racks in your entry way. As for the mail, expert Nancy Dalton recommends,

“At entry points find great looking baskets or anything that looks good and has three matching pieces. One is recycle, one is pay, and one is file (and do have a file cabinet, or scan to get on a hard drive & back up). It sounds simple and it is; you still have the same stuff, but once a week you toss into recycle, make time to file, or pay. In the mean time you have sorted and disguised your stuff.”

Designating homes for objects you use every day will prevent you from leaving them all over the place.

Use Flexible Storage in Closets

The second go-to storage space in any home is the closets. Closets are great at keeping clutter out of sight, but they can also fill up quickly, especially if you fill them with awkwardly shaped objects that force you to leave open space. Expert Jennifer Dusina explains,

“…the biggest challenge we see is that so many home owners are stuck with stationary storage in closets, pantries, garages and other spots. This means they can’t adjust it or add shelves to it as their needs change without tearing it down and starting over. When the shelves are adjustable, home owners can truly maximize space. For instance, they can place shelves just above the items they are storing to eliminate wasted space.”

Maximizing your use of the limited space in your closets means less junk left over after the closet is full. It’s amazing what a difference adjustable shelves can make.

Build Display Borders for Your Treasures

One of the biggest sources of clutter are those items that you want people to be able to see, but you don’t actually use regularly. These kinds of decorative objects can quickly clutter up desks, counters and shelves that would be better saved for objects you need to access often. Expert DeAnna Radaj has an ingenious solution for this problem:

“I love to install 3-4″ shelves at plate rail height [around the top of the room] to store collectibles, stuffed animals, trophies/awards & the like. This creates a decorative border, displays cherished items & keeps seldom used items out of the way. This is great in man caves for sports collectibles/trophies & children’s rooms for stuffed animals, toys, collections & dolls.”

By putting valued decorative items on a special, harder-to-reach shelf, you can ensure that they are seen without having them in the way all the time. This is also a great way to give a room character. Just remember to take those things down for occasional dusting!

Establish A Room for Clutter

Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, there is always going to be some amount of clutter in our lives. This is most true when you have small children, who see mess as just another form of “fun.” Rather than take on the herculean task of keeping your whole house spotless, designate a room for clutter, where kids can be kids and you can be a slob when you need to be without feeling guilty. As expert Richard Sexton explains,

“This way, you can allow the creativity and playtime that creates clutter, but you can also contain it or at least hide it.”

Mess is part of life, and you’re never going to overcome it entirely. But that doesn’t mean you have to let it run your life!

Get Rid of the Excess

This might seem like the most obvious method of fighting clutter, but it is also the most difficult. After all, you have all of those things for a reason, and it can be really difficult to make the choice to get rid of them. This is especially difficult with things that are inherited from lost loved ones. Experts Grand View Builders have a little advice for when you’re going through your belongings:

“One of the biggest dilemmas people face when de-cluttering is deciding what to keep and what to trash. When faced with this dilemma, ask yourself, “if I were shopping today, would I buy this item again?” If the answer is no, you probably don’t love it, so leave it (in the trash or donation pile).”

We all develop attachments to objects that we don’t need. Asking yourself if you’d be willing to pay for an item again helps you figure out if you really love it and want it to stay in your home, or if you’re just hanging on to it because it’s there.

Clutter is a problem everybody faces, but you don’t have to let it run your life. Just a little bit of careful planning and organization can help keep your home clear of clutter, so that you’re free to live your life in peace.

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