Defeat Your Clutter Once and For All

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eHow Home Blog

My mother’s home was always guest-ready to the point where, as kids, we simply did not enter certain rooms. She always knew (by golly) if one of us dared to take the shortcut through the formal living room to the kitchen. It was that darned plush carpet. Those incriminating footprints gave us away no matter how stealthily we tiptoed along the edge. And clutter? What was clutter? I was unfamiliar with the concept until I left for college.

Oddly, not one of her four children has followed in her neat-freak footsteps. Of the four, I can probably boast the tidiest house, but that’s mainly due to a lack of children under age 5 (unlike my siblings) and not my impeccable housekeeping skills. So when I caught myself dusting — yes, dusting — a stack of old, dog-eared catalogs and mailers on a side table, I decided enough was enough. It was time to channel some mom power and do some serious clutter busting. I decided to tackle the Ziploc® Fresh 180 challenge, “Conquer Clutter: One Week to Organization.”

As I reviewed the challenge, I realized that I had already addressed several problem areas, such as closets, the pantry and even my office area in other challenges, so I was looking at only two to four days of serious clutter busting.

The clutter zones I needed to hit were the most public: the kitchen and living spaces. More important, I needed to develop a system to prevent recurrence — and that’s where the challenge’s tips really came in handy.

Day One: The Kitchen
Like many of you, the kitchen was my clutter bugaboo. I had junk mail waiting for sorting, various kitchen tools stuffed at crazy angles inside too many canisters and sink gear that no one ever bothered to put away because it’s used so often. I hit this area hard. First to go was the junk mail. I set a cute storage basket underneath the kitchen desk to stow mailers for recycling the second they enter the house. No more excuses.

Then I moved on to my kitchen tool collection, which would impress even Julia Child. The problem with my collection was not the breadth — I use it all — but its placement in cluttered countertop canisters. Why couldn’t I find a home for these in my many drawers? Here, Ziploc® came to the rescue.

I sorted and organized scads of small items that were randomly rolling in my drawers into Ziploc® brand Storage Bags, primarily quart and sandwich sizes. This gave me loads of space to stow the majority of my tools, leaving just one tidy container filled with my daily essentials on the counter. I continued with my countertop clutter busting, putting items into drawers or away in the pantry as needed, and then called it a day. One down.

Day Two: The Living Room and Bedroom
This was a simple day because the majority of the clutter in these rooms was in the form of stacks of reading material, along with random items for my work, my daughter’s homework and even a few misplaced bills scattered among the piles. I popped a favorite rerun on the television and sorted — and sorted. I probably kept about 20 items. The rest went into my kitchen recycling basket, never to return.

Day Three: Clutter Management
I spent the rest of my clutter-busting time going through catchall areas in the entryway and bathrooms, under sinks and in the utility room. I set a cute tray on the cabinet beside our back door as a catchall for keys, notes, coins and whatever else finds its way out of my husband’s pockets when he comes home. Then I hit the other areas, purging cabinets of junk and tossing out an unsettling number of empty containers. Ziploc® brand Storage Bags and Space Bags® came in handy to sort and store remaining items such as travel toiletries bags, hair curlers and styling accessories, and even guest bathroom towels.

So my house-wide clutter bust is done — and it was far from painful thanks to this challenge and the ones that came before it. Now let’s see how much change has collected in my entryway tray. Momma could use a latte!

Disclaimer: I was paid to develop this post and to provide related images for Ziploc®. As always, all opinions are my own.

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