Cut the Clutter

cut clutter hints and tips

Take aim on clutter with these tips to take charge of the surplus "stuff" in your life.

Whether you contain it, purge it, or resolve to accumulate less of it, cut the clutter with these hints and tips.

Clutter Fighter: The Containment Principle

To limit collectible items like media, magazines or craft supplies, reach for the containment principle. Designate an appropriate container, shelf or cabinet for storage, then decide that you'll only keep as many items as the container will hold. When a new issue of Family Fun magazine arrives, remove the oldest issue from the magazine holder and recycle it--to keep clutter at bay!

Speed Clutter Decisions With The Yearly Rule

Clutter flows into our lives every day--from the mail or from the mall. Establishing clutter rules can help stem the tide by forcing a decision. One such principle: the Yearly Rule. Whether it's clothing, cookware or media, an item becomes clutter if it hasn't been used in the last year. Wear it, watch it or use it annually, or find it a new home!

Respect Clutter-Cutting Decisions

Attacking clutter, the hard part is making the decision to part with an item! Don't undercut your efforts with second-guessing. Use black plastic garbage bags or lidded boxes to hold de-cluttered items for sale or donation ... and once the item's in the bag? No peeking!

Banish Cord Clutter with Bread Clips

When finishing a loaf of bread, don't toss the small plastic clip that seals the plastic bag! Tucked around computer cables or power cords, bread clips make it easy to know which cord is which. Use a Sharpie-brand marker to label bread clips ... and cut cable clutter!

Cut Clutter with Freecycle

Purging clutter at home, some items are too good for the landfill but not quite right for donation. What to do? Recycle them with Freecycle! This grass-roots recycling organization uses local email lists to find homes for unwanted items. A bonus: most Freecyclers will pick up your item, saving transportation costs! Find a Freecycle group near you:

The Freecycle Network

Fight Clutter: Dump the Duplicates

Duplicate items--whether cookware, clothing or craft tools--make up a largely unrecognized clutter category. Dumping duplicates clears space for the tools you need and use each day. To part with them, gather all duplicate items and choose the best, dump the rest. Calling this process an "upgrade" makes it easier to part with the space-stealing understudies.

Declutter Central: Create a Staging Area

To make quick work of clearing clutter, you need a place to work! Set up a folding table, and add boxes for each clutter decision: Put Away, Give Away, Throw Away and Store. Bringing clutter to the staging area keeps the process organized, and helps you make good decisions about stored items.

For more clutter-cutting tips, try:

Declutter 101: How To Cut Clutter at Home