Ways to stop clutter & maintain
a clutter free home

So, you want to stop clutter and have a clutter free home? After you have decluttered your home how do you keep the clutter from creeping up and taking over again? The easy answer is this: have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. Easier said than done, right? Use these helpful organizing tips to help you to keep your stuff from becoming clutter.

Organized Closet

Do it NOW. When new things come into your home (mail, kids' school papers, etc.), deal with them immediately. Putting an organizational system in place with new incoming items will help you to stop clutter from accumulating and give you practice and courage and make it easier to plow through all those big piles of old papers (or to keep NEW big piles from forming!)

Another thing that is easy to lose control of is photographs. If you take a lot of photos, it is easy to get behind in sorting and storing them. Get in the habit of taking care of them as soon as you can after an event or trip so that they don't pile up. Going through and burning discs of 30 photos is a manageable task; 500, not so much...

Touch it once. Sort your mail as you walk back from the mailbox, putting some directly into the recycling bin. Open the rest and recycle bill inserts and other junk immediately - if you lay these things on your kitchen table or desk, you will just have to deal with them later. Do it now while they are still in your hand!

File it, act on it or toss it. Force yourself to do one of these three things with every piece of paper that comes into your house. Acting on it might mean making a phone call or a adding a note to your calendar. Filing it means putting it directly into a folder or in your in-basket to be filed when you sort (weekly).

Label files clearly. Use a marker or label maker and use broad categories like "Banking", "Insurance - House", "Insurance - Car". This makes filing less painful so you are more likely to do it.

Put things away when you finish. I find it much easier to put things in their rightful place if I do it as soon as I finish using them. If I get seven or eight spices out when I am cooking, it will be harder to get them back in their respective slots (in alphabetical order) than if I took out one at a time. (If you need an organizing system for your spices, try putting them in a deep drawer and labeling the top of each one so that the names are easily read from above. Keep the most frequently used ones in a row at the front, and the rest in alphabetical order.)

The same principle applies to children's toys, books, DVDs, tools, etc. Try to get your spouse to do this too, and teach your kids to.

Schedule periodic 'flushes'. Go through your refrigerator once a week or so and take out old produce and leftovers that never got eaten before they become covered with mold. This will refresh your memory about what you have in there, too, so you can use it before it's time does run out.

Do this with your car, too - periodically go through and take out all the litter and replenish any supplies that you keep in your car such as tissues, snacks, or water bottles.

Keep your keys by the door. Hang a hook by the door (whichever one you go in and out of most often) to keep your keys on. Always put them on this hook when you walk in the door, and you will never misplace your keys again!

Use baskets. No organizational system is going to work unless you use it. Baskets are easy to toss things into, so they get used more than some other storage solutions. Baskets are handy for storing all kinds of things in an attractive way. Keep magazines in the living room in a large basket by the sofa; keep a basket by the door for umbrellas or shoes; place a small basket by the TV for remotes and program guide. Baskets are great for stashing toys, games and books in the kids' rooms.

Share your ideas to stop clutter I know you have ideas that I have missed! Share them here and rate those submitted by other readers. Together we can collect an impressive list of keeping organized tips!

How do you keep clutter under control in your life?

Do you have a tip for keeping clutter from overtaking your life? Share it with us!

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