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Hacking Your Space: A Fresh Take on Decluttering and Storage

 
 

Shedding years of household clutter can seem an unreachable goal, a task you’d just as soon forget. However, you don’t need a decluttering expert to tell you what needs to go — you’re the best judge of that. All it takes is a little determination and creativity to live more simply.

Duplicates Day

Most homes have their fair share of duplicate items, such as salt-and-pepper shakers, umbrellas, and decorative bookends. These are ideal candidates for a decluttering project. So, why not schedule a “Duplicates Day,” a kind of decluttering scavenger hunt where everyone looks for superfluous duplicates that take up valuable space in your home. Once you’ve identified what goes, separate it all based on what you’re donating, recycling, or simply throwing away. Work a little competition into it by seeing who can find the most duplicate items.

Hang It All

Are you tired of having to pull and tug with all your might just to get a drawer open? There’s always a multi-purpose drawer or two jammed with small items that seem to pile up by themselves. It’s all those extra keys, pens, cell phone chargers, kitchen gloves, lighters, matches, bottle openers, and other domestic minutiae that somehow manage to be both useful and burdensome. However, you can free up that space by keeping your small “keepers” in wall pocket hangers. What’s more, these handy organizers can be found in most craft and large retail stores. Hang them conveniently near the front door, by the grill, beside the stove, or anywhere you might suddenly need a lighter or small screwdriver.

Smart Space

Ottomans are a great way to creatively organize clutter that just doesn’t belong anywhere else. They’re also pleasing functional additions to your decor and come in a variety of shapes and sizes — some can be sat on, others are footrests, and they don’t take up much space. If you like to reread magazines and keep favorite books nearby, ottomans are a clever home storage hack if you’re short on closet and drawer space. If upholstered ottomans aren’t really your thing, you can always use a plain wooden crate for the same purpose.

Get creative with your underutilized space. Look under the bed — you’ve probably got enough room down there to store some shoes, books, DVDs, photo albums, and other small items. You can probably make space in that old blanket trunk, and don’t forget the joists in the garage or basement if you need additional hanging space.

Keeping It Clean

Once you’ve gone to the trouble of decluttering an entire home, the last thing you want is to let it build up all over again. Give the place a deep-cleaning. Sweep under furniture, wipe down the walls and clean the windows. Stick with your new organizing scheme; don’t just leave things lying around the house. Straightening and tidying as you go can make it easy to stay decluttered.

Kitchen Clutter

How long has it been since you used those cookbooks you bought back in your French chef period? Once you realized those recipes were too much work the cookbooks went to the bottom of the pile, and they’re still there. Go through them and the rest of the kitchen clutter. How long has it been since you made egg rolls or homemade stir fry? If you can’t recall, it’s probably time to unload the wok that’s taking up square footage in the cabinet.

Decluttering probably isn’t your idea of a good time but it can certainly help create a more ordered and relaxing space. That’s an important point because studies have made a definite connection between clutter and stress. You deserve to be relaxed in your own home, so clear out the clutter and make a new beginning.

Karen Boos