Brutal is best. Be ruthless and consistent about decluttering throughout your home. It’s the best way to free up storage space and keep your home clean and clutter-free. If it’s broken, old, or unused, get rid of it.
Start small. Go room by room, drawer by drawer, closet by closet, 15-20 minutes a time if you feel overwhelmed. Hire a certified professional home organizer or consultant if you can afford it.
First step: Consolidate your cleaning supplies. Store cleaners and rags in buckets or cleaning caddies in each room’s storage area or in the closet closest to the broom, vacuum, and mop. That way you can grab what you need quickly for fast touch-ups or deeper cleans.
- The broiler drawer on the bottom of your stove is a good spot for random cookware: pizza stone, cooling rack, baking pans, skewers
- In the kitchen, shed your pans down to these 5 essentials: sauce pan, large (12-inch) sauté pan, cast iron skillet, small frying pan, stock/pasta pot
- Cabinet doors can hold racks for pan lids and small cutting boards
- Free up counter/prep space: Mount your microwave under a cabinet, leave frequently-used small appliances like your toaster and coffee maker on the counter. Stash that big mixer unless you use it often
- Double usable space in cabinets with wire racks or plastic risers
- Spinning spice racks make finding spices and other frequently used condiments a snap in small spaces
- Cookbooks create visual clutter; save the one or two go-to books you rely on the most and donate the rest
- In the bathroom, toss worn-out, expired cosmetics and outdated makeup colors
- Rip worn and old towels into rags and use for cleaning
- Clean and consolidate soaps and shampoos in your shower caddy; recycle empty plastic shampoo bottles and other toiletries
- Consider adding storage and shelving to walls, under the sink and over the toilet; woven baskets or open storage boxes look good and help decluttering.
- Rotate and organize your wardrobes at least once a year: cold and hot weather is usually easiest
- Get rid of clothing that’s worn, old, shabby, doesn’t fit and/or is out of style; as well as anything you haven’t worn in more than a year
- Donate or consign clothing in good or great condition that you or your children no longer wear; try thredup.com, an online service that’s easy and free to use
- Clean and store your off-season clothing for free for a small fee at many dry cleaners. Don’t store anything in the basement or attic, where temperatures can reach damaging extremes (or dampness)
- Never store clothing unless its clean; moths and other critters love the sweet (to them) smell of sweat and food stains
- Put clothing in cotton or vinyl bags; remove wire hangers and dry cleaners’ plastic bags
- Recycle wire hangers: collect strays from all your closets and give them back to your dry cleaner, along with any plastic dry cleaning bags. Wire hangers ruin clothes and take up more space than you’d think; opt for padded or wooden hangers instead. Your clothes will last longer and look better on you
- Large plastic boxes under the bed are great for off-season shoes and clothing
- Don’t turn these spaces into clutter graveyards
- Donate bikes to Bikes not Bombs or to Boston Bike’s Roll it Forward
- Hire a junk collector to pick up large unwanted items
Learn more about decluttering: Useful links…
- Better Homes & Gardens Bathroom Storage Ideas
- Oprah.com: Peter Walsh’s 10 tips on decluttering your Home
- Out with the old: inside designers’ wardrobes
- Certified Professional Organizers Directory
- National Association of Professional Organizers
- Bikes not Bombs
- Mayor Menino’s Boston Bikes’ Roll it Forward
- Got Junk Service
Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.