Have you ever finished organizing, or so you thought, and are left with a whole pile of things you have no idea where to put?
You would recognize these items instantly because they are attracted to all flat surfaces and are often found cluttering up your counters and tables.
You try to clean up but you honestly don’t know where to put these random items. Final you get fed up and throw it all in a box or jam it into a drawer!
Or you might even try to put them away and then when you go to look for said item, you can’t find it! You vow never to put away something you are “about to use” ever again.
During my recent junk drawer clean out, I re-sorted the left over clutter to a few specific categories.
Without a permanent home for these random items they resurface as the habitual clutter makers on our counters or stuffed in our drawers. It is time to make a home for these clutter makers! A trusted space that every family member knows where each item belongs and returns it when finished (A girl can dream).
We are not just taking about a mail basket by the door (although that is a lovely way to keep it corral until you have a chance to sort through your mail.) No we are taking about the nitty gritty of random screws, extra erasers and scribbled notes. Rough storage as some organizers call it.
I thought I would share with you the rough storage I have carved out for all these random items. These are not necessarily pretty areas and they defiantly wouldn’t show up in a home tour but these spaces are a necessity to keep the clutter off your counters. So I have officially named this the, drum roll…
End Clutter Now Home Tour
How to keep the clutter off our counters by creating a home for the clutter makers
This is by no means an exhaustive list but these specific storage spaces have made a huge difference in getting rid of all the clutter, okay most of the clutter.
Creating a permanent home for items to giveaway makes purging painless. Throw items in as you come across them in daily life. Schedule a trip or a pick up by your local thrift store when the box gets full.
This could be just a generally pile for giveaways. Click here for a few options for unwanted clutter.
Previously, I had a permanent donations box in my girls’ spacious closet because the phase “growing like weeds” is so true. As of now there is box designated on the garage floor. One day it will have its own spot on a shelf when the garage is organized.
There are some items you might just keep forever or at least you feel like you want to keep it for your whole life. If your favorite keepsakes items are not prominently displayed, creating a permanent home, whether in a container under the bed or a box in the garage, saves the hassle of repeatedly coming across items but never getting it in a home.
I have a few keepsake boxes, one for me, one for my husband and I, and one for each of my kids. Most of our boxes are kept in the closet so I can easily throw something in.
Maybe it is the full house renovation, but I am constantly looking for or finding random tools around the house. Not only does having one spot for tools play a big role in cutting down on the big tool hunt but I have a secret weapon, label.
I previously organized our tools but it didn’t stick until I labeled where specific items go. It doesn’t cut out hunting for a tool entirely but it knocked it down by good 90%.
Often while organizing we come across items that automatically induce the phrase, “I need to…” fill in the blank. We have have projects to do that we often don’t have time for. Why not create a permanent home for them?
Mine were pilling up in the kitchen, until I got sick of looking at the mess and transplanted them to the top of the dryer. It might seem like a weird place for piles but I want to keep them out and easily accessible and since I do laundry almost everyday it seems like the perfect place.
If I had a dedicated laundry room, I might rethink this decision. But since our laundry is in the garage it keeps the projects out of the way without being swallowed by the rest of the messy home projects that take over most of the garage. Sometimes I stash returns out here too. Although most of them time I try to put them right in my car so they are ready for a quick stop if need be.
Full disclosure. I straighten this up for the picture. It was a mess of bags until I hunted down a box to sort things out and make it a little more presentable.
Please devote a jar for change. It is easy and oh-so life changing.
You don’t have coins floating around? What do you have that is always spilling out of your purse or pockets. Create a dedicated container just for that, whatever the change represents for you. My spare change container is right next to my jewelry.
6. Long-term Recycling
Things like e-waste, batteries or glass bottles sometimes wait around for a time before they are taken to be recycled. Why not make a home for them until it is time for those errands?
7. Office supplies
I know this is a no-brainier for some of us but if you often find office supplies scattered through out your home you might need to make two repetitive areas for office supplies in your home.
Simple things like paperclips, rubber bands and post-its have a home in both the kitchen junk drawer and back on my desk. This makes it easy to put away your supplies no matter where you are in the house.
8. Current Papers
We could easily devote a whole series about paper alone, in fact I have, (read more in depth about organizing paper here). But for now if you have a stack of paper to-dos or scribbled notes scattered around the house create a permanent home for paper to be processed whether it is a tray or file box create a trusted place until you sort through it.
In my action files box, which I use to keep track of everyday papers, (Read more about how I use my action files here), I have a “Pending” file where I stash paper if I am not able to conquer a task right away. I can sort through the pending folder weekly and take care of random tasks like checking balance on a gift card and recording events on my calendar all at once.
I also have a place to store papers I need to file in my long term file box which is now hidden out of the way in my linen closet which I now call my filing cabinet. 2 points for the pun. Since I had to downsize my previous desk, the linen closet and hall shelves house lesser used office supplies.
With a “To File” folder in my action files I can postpone my filing to every other month instead of trying to stay on top of it weekly.
9. Kids’ Work
Keeping track of kids’ paperwork has become an ever evolving process as the girls enter new stages of their school career. This is what is working for us now.
Next to my action files, I have a letter tray from Ikea for the girls’ work. Each girl has two cubbies, one for their homework and one for papers they are currently working on. There always seems to be a craft they are not finished with yet. These cubbies have to be cleaned out often!
The bottom cubbie is my mailbox for permission slips to sign and graded papers to admire. The girls also have a space in the hall to hang up papers they are especially proud of along with the cork boards in their room. 1st graders and kindergartners create a lot of paper! Read more about how I organize kids school work keepsakes here.
I felt in limbo after moving until I slowly carved out dedicated spaces for these clutter makers. Clearly defined areas make such a difference in feeling organized even if it is just a general area that is tweaked as you go like my garage.
Now when we have a 10-minute pick up everyone knows where items belong and sometimes even returns them to their home!
What are your clutter makers? What did I forget?