Organize & Clean

You (Really) Can Remedy These 6 Common Clutter Problem Spots

published May 27, 2015
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(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

When it comes to a messy house, these areas are the repeat offenders, returning again and again to commit the crime of clutter. Closets, stairs, counters all attract stuff, and never seem completely clear of accumulation. We’ve got tons of tips and strategies for dealing with these trouble spots.

Problem #1: Thou closet overfloweth (lead photo above)

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Solution: If you don’t wear something for a year, out it goes. Regularly edit and keep clothes pared down the essentials. Don’t keep pants that fit two sizes ago, and don’t hold onto things that you simply never wear, but feel you should. →
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)
Problem #2: Lot of little things do linger, especially on tabletops, windowsills, and countertops.
Solution: Trays are great for corralling stuff, and give the appearance of of neatness and order. The backs of many doors can also be hidden storage gems. →
(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)
Problem #3: You live in a really small space.
Solution: Think dual-purpose. Look for furniture that works hard: beds and coffee tables with drawers, ottomans with lift-off tops for out-of-sight storage, and chests that can stow linens and tableware and also serve as buffets. →

(Image credit: Dibbles Dabbles)
Problem #4: Household food and living necessities are tricky to store and even trickier to find when they are all crammed in the pantry.
Solution: Stackable plastic drawers and bins are a great way to manage dry goods and supplies such as light bulbs, vacuum cleaner bags, and batteries. (You can see the
(Image credit: Lizzie Ford)
Problem #5: Toy storage is strained.
Solution: Start an outbox and toss things in it once you realize they are no longer needed. Before birthdays and holidays (or any other time the toy box is overflowing), weed out unused or broken stuff. When the box full, drop it off at a donation center. →

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)
Problem #6: The base of your stairway — and the stairs themselves — are a stepping stone for stuff, just waiting to go upstairs.
Solution: Get an organizers designed for straddling steps, and have every member of the household carry up one thing each time they go up to their rooms. →