We all have it, it happens often, we get busy enough to ignore it, but it bothers us when we see it.... yep, it's clutter. With children, pets, a career, guests, tasks and time (!!) for relaxation, even my rooms start to look a bit shabby at the end of the week. Here are my top 5 tips to bust clutter and capture the serenity and beauty you need in every room.
1) Put it away. The landing space for mail, newspapers and keys is usually the messiest spot. Whether it's in the entry, the kitchen or a home office...yikes! Get some decorative baskets, boxes, metal containers, or decorative container that suits your decor. Make it a habit to place 'stuff' inside. I make or buy labels that stick, hang or otherwise attach to the container so everyone knows exactly what's there. Sometimes you can buy pieces that fit your space and add molding for a built-in look. Other times it's smart to create a long-term solution and have a piece made for your space.
2) Store it. Shelves are the easiest way to organize. A wall shelf in the entry, although it may be visible, is a catch-all space that can hang coats, backpacks, dog leashes, and the like, looking organized and purposeful. Neat does mean a de-cluttered look. I add baskets or bins to the shelves to tidy up things that don't get used every single day. I have shelves inside the doors of cabinets to quickly drop in counter cleaner, storage bags, and other items.
3) Organize. If you have a place for items that you need, then you can catch up with your clutter in just a few minutes. For me, that's a center in the kitchen where all of the cell phone chargers, extra sets of keys, dog leashes, markers and pens, tape, and other necessities go. Even the insides of your cabinets need organization. If you have lots of plastic food storage containers coming out of the sink or dishwasher, and no specific place to put them, your cabinets become stuffed and frustration sets in when they all tumble out when you're reaching for a pan. I use wire racks, divided liners and inserts and even small boxes in bamboo that I find at Ikea, Home Goods, Wal Mart and The Container Store.
4) Use trays. Hah! you say, how does that work? If you have a tray on the counter, a console, the cocktail table in the family room, and use it...those stacked magazines, TV and audio-visual remotes, phones, coasters and more...look organized and neat! I wait for sales at West Elm and Crate and Barrel and then have decorative trays for the bathroom and kitchen that work with my decor.
5) Get contained. Well...this kind of repeats from above. I DO like my surfaces neat, and this helps with dog toys, remotes, mail, keys, and so much more. For the entry I have a large basket where we throw shoes, since no-one wears shoes in the house. For the kitchen table, a great wooden box store my husband's wallet, keys, garage keys, business cards and more. A tray on one chair corrals the mail and the newspapers until they get read or sorted. Every cocktail table has lidded containers for remotes, batteries, coasters, lighters for the fireplace, do-dads that we find around, and cat toys that land in the living room. Even my kitchen cabinets look nice when I purchase inexpensive glass containers for pasta, rice, flour and other staples. Chalk labels work perfectly so I can erase when I change the contents.
Check back in March for some spring storage and organizing ideas!