Linen closets tend to bear an unfortunate resemblance to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Get your stacks in line.
- Remove everything from your linen closet. Wipe down the shelves and
cover them if they are made of unfinished wood or have surfaces
that might snag fabrics.
- Weed out linens that are torn, frayed or stained. Keep only a few of these
for use as rags.
- When you buy a new set of towels or sheets, donate an older set. You dont need more than two sets of sheets for each bed and three sets of towels for each family member.
- Seek out alternate storage spaces. You can stash table linens in a sideboard and guest-bedroom sheets in a bureau.
- Organize linens by category. Choose the system that works best for you: Arrange linens by the room they will be used in, or if they are used in more than one room, order them by size or type.
- Store each set of bed linens together as a group. Place the set of sheets inside one of the pillowcases.
- Keep the most frequently used items at eye level, and put seasonal linens on the upper or lower shelves. Place soft goods that will be stored for a long time, like winter blankets, in zippered plastic bags.
- The inside of the door is prime storage space! Hang a clear over-the-door organizer to stash toiletries, or mount an ironing-board holder.
Clutter on kitchen counters can lead to decreased cleanliness, which can be dangerous in the place where you prepare your meals.
- Start by removing everything from your counters. Clean thoroughly before you put anything back.
- Determine which appliances you use every week. These can remain on the counter. Find new areas to store any rarely used appliances.
- If you have appliances that you havent used in the last year (or ever) say, that bread maker you got last Christmas donate or sell them.
- Think vertically: A magnetic knife rack, wall-mounted paper-towel holder and tiered hanging wire baskets can free up precious space. Toasters and microwaves can be mounted under cabinets.
- Arrange your countertops logically. Place appliances as close to outlets as possible. Keep the coffeemaker and coffee mugs near each other. Store your cooking utensils by the stove.
- Toss any worn-out or broken utensils. Keep duplicates only of items that you need more than one of during meal preparation, like spatulas and wooden spoons. Ditch the extra vegetable peeler.
- If you havent used a utensil in the last month, you can probably live without it (with the exception of some seasonal items, like a turkey baster). Put any tools you rarely use in a container. Once you use an item, you can replace it in its usual spot. If items stay tucked away for weeks and they arent necessary seasonal items toss them.
- Unless you have a palatial kitchen, lose any decorative items hogging counter space. The kitchen is a work zone, not a home for knickknacks.
In an ideal world, there wouldnt be any junk drawers, but realistically, limit yourself to just one clutter drawer.
- Start by emptying out the drawer and laying everything where you can see it. Identify any objects that should live elsewhere childrens toys belong in their rooms, tools in toolboxes and so forth.
- Cut back on office supplies. Its fine to keep a pen or two and a single notepad in this spot, but everything else should be moved to your desk area.
Create a specific place for loose change.
- Any medicine or first-aid supplies should go in your medicine cabinet.
- Get organizers to hold the drawers contents. An inexpensive flatware organizer is a good choice, and a drawer expander will give you a second area to store smaller items.
This area is easy to -declutter because there really isnt much that needs to be at your bedside. Remember: Your bed is where you rest!
- You and your spouse should each have a bedside table and a reading light.
- Nightstands should be high enough for easy access when youre lying in bed, and should include a shelf or drawer.
- Avoid keeping a stack of magazines or books on your bedside table. Keep only what you are currently reading on your nightstand, then shelve it or recycle it when you are through.
- Nothing work-related should find its way to your bedside. Cell phones and PDAs should be stored elsewhere, and if you find yourself reading work materials in bed, get up and put them with your other work items before you go to sleep.
- If space is tight, mount reading lights on the wall above your bedside tables. You can even hang a shelf on the wall instead of having a nightstand.
- Take everything off your bedside table except for your reading light and alarm clock. Place everything else on the floor next to your bed. If you dont reach for one of those items before you wake the next morning, chances are you should find another place to keep it.
Paper is such a clutter plague that entire books have been written on how to tackle it. No one method is correct, but you do need to have some kind of system if you want to remain organized.
- Start by dealing with the most recent pileup of paper and then tackle the stacks that have been sitting for months. You may need more than one session to get through it all.
- Stop paper at the door. Immediately toss junk mail into the recycling bin and open all other mail.
- A two-drawer filing cabinet should be sufficient for almost everyone. Make a file for each type of paper in your life: one for medical bills, one for credit cards and so forth.
- Invest in an accordion file divided by month. Keep the file in the place where you do your bills. Once youve paid the bills, place them in the section of the file reserved for that month.
- Avoid printing out e-mails. Keep an in-box on your desk, and then mark a day on your calendar every month that you will go through the box and file the papers still in it.