It’s a new year. Everyone is setting goals, people are tacking their clutter and I’m pondering what this year holds for me.
My home is our haven – soothing, beautiful, comforting, but sometimes, admittedly cluttered. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my biggest home hurdle is dealing with all aspects of it.
Some days, I manage it well, other days, I step over it. I’ll get there, eventually, but feel free to join me if this is a struggle as well. No unrealistic cleaning lists, no “everything has to have a place immediately.” Is there something we can do this January 2016 that would be helpful for us to do together? I’m all for accountability.
While I shared this post a few years ago, I am still trying to put one foot in front of the other and conquer it!
This is a fun post, which takes the same bent as my 7 Highly Effective Ways to Raise Lazy and Entitled children post and it surely gets you thinking.
Read the comments. They are JUST as good as the article. 🙂
I was reading this Washington Post article full of “practical advice when kids have too much stuff,” and it really got me thinking. Eliminating excess can be quite the project for any of us. It’s a big reason the Clutter Countdown is so important to Jen and all of us! So I started thinking.
What if instead of decluttering strategies, we flipped the coin and started focusing on ways to actually bring more clutter into our homes?
We could stop saying “Don’t do this” and “Never do that.” We’ve got enough rules in our lives, right?
So just for fun, here are
12 simple, silly steps you can follow to get your house nice and cluttered.
I think we’ve all done one or two of these a couple of times!
I can’t wait to read what you’d add to the list.
1. Always bring home the freebies – the booklets at grocery stores, the soaps at the hotel, the pens at the banke. Never use them. But just bring them home.
2. Keep every magazine that comes in the mail. Make giant stacks with them. One day, it’ll be an awesome side table.
3. Hang onto the heirlooms that you don’t really like and display them in the center of your living room just because they belonged to someone you knew.
4. Walk into a store where you know you don’t need anything.
5. Keep a file in your cabinet labeled “miscellaneous” or “interesting.”
6. Always have two of everything. It’s useful to have a second can opener in case the first one breaks when you’re opening a can of tuna.
7. Really build a collection of something cool that you’ll never actually use – like cookbooks if you don’t cook.
8. Save all the crayon stubs because you might make them into candles one day. It looked super neat on pinterest.
9. Keep every greeting card and note you’ve ever been given. And not just the romantic ones from your husband, but also the kid you babysat in 1989 and the card on your pillow from the cruise line, for a cruise you took in 1995 to celebrate your grandma’s 80th birthday.
10. Always have more books than shelf space.
11. When you use up the last of a cosmetic product or facial cream, keep the containers. You never know when you’ll need an extra one when you travel.
12. And finally, this one comes from a reader of mine at Making This Home, because she found this to be the case in her aunt’s home: Keep everything. Keep a box of really short strings. Label it “Strings too short to use.”
Now, let’s keep this list going.
What simple step can you add to keep your home cluttered?
Don’t forget to join me on our Clutter Countdown as we finish tackling our homes just a bit at a time (no more than 15 minutes at a time.).
Katie Clemons is a storycatcher and journal crafter. She blogs at Making This Home about simple, handmade living from a vintage airplane hangar in Montana, USA.
Keep all of the packing material that comes in things you order, just in case you need to ship something fragile, then send checks instead.
Keep every test, paper and piece of artwork done by all your children.
Keep all the ketchup packets that come in your to-go order bags (and all the napkins).
Never throw away a bread tie thingy.
Ok, how bad is it that I’ve saved the ketchups and tie things, but I HAVE THROWN THEM OUT NOW!!! 🙂 Although I will always save any extra Chick-fil-a sauces. Those are gold. haha
I always save a few packets from the Chinese restaurant because I hate when hubby (or server) forgets to send the hot mustard!! lol
@Cassie, You don’t use your ketchups?? Get a thermos and make hotdogs for your kid’s lunch. This, next to popcorn, was my daughter’s favourite lunch 🙂
Never put anything away. Just drop it where you are using it because you will probably be needing to use it there again. It might be years from now, but you might need it.
This is one of the best posts about clutter that I’ve ever read. I will not admit to having done ALL of the 12 you listed, but I’ve participated in way too many of them, including some from the comments section, especially saving packing material and ketchup from a meal I’ve brought home. I must agree that it’s very difficult for me to throw away Chick-fil-a sauce but I never use it unless I’m having Chick-fil-a fries so I’m not going to save them anymore!!!
Not that I want to add to our delinquency, BUT that chick-fil-a sauce on any sandwich – turkey, ham etc. Oh my, so good!
Keep all of your kids’ t-shirts from grade school, middle school, high school, sports camp, vacation, etc. They likely number in the hundreds and you might want to make a t-shirt memory quilt for them, even though you don’t sew.
I finally made that memory quilt with all those old t-shirts last week! Looks amazing! I HAD to justify cluttering my bedroom with them for all those years!
You can get someone else to make the T-shirt quilt for you. They are really warm and great for cold nights at a ball game, etc…
Always clean and store every spaghetti jar, soup can, cool whip container, paper towel or toilet paper rolls for any pinterest craft that you think you may do. I had 2 boxes of “craft” materials when we got ready to move. I bit the bullet and threw them out.
Never donate or toss clothes that have magically shrunk while hanging in the closet, because you just know you’re going to fit in those stone-washed, size 4 jeans again one day. 😉
Susan – you caught me. Mine are a 6, but won’t I squeeze into them someday?? 🙂
Oh my goodness! When I was 21 I had a dresser. This dresser had 8 drawers (top to bottom). When I was 14, I was a size 1. I have always loved my jeans SO MUCH, that I kept them. When I was 21, I was in a size 12. This dresser contained jeans size 10-12 (that were a little too tight) to those 00’s that I squeezed my teenage butt into. When I got pregnant for the first time I finally realized that this was a bit (just a bit) drastic. I gave most away to my friends, and donated the rest.
Don’t discard anything that could be worth something, someday–since it is highly unlikely that thousands of others are saving the same items, thus decreasing future value. (not me, but my ex) And I just realized the irony in that last part 🙂
1) Always take the clean laundry out of the dryer, but NEVER, NEVER fold it right then. Deposit it directly on the living room couch, or better yet, somewhere in your master bedroom. It really adds a romantic ambience!
2) Another way to specifically enhance the bedroom with clutter: upon returning home from a trip, make sure to leave your suitcases open, not quite unpacked, on the bedroom floor for approximately 4 weeks.
3) And upon returning home from any shopping trip, always make sure to leave 1 or 2 bags of items not put away, either on the floor beside the pantry or just on the kitchen counter.
These are my ” tried and trues” when it comes to clutter development. You can’t beat ’em! 😉
Oh my gosh Susan, I am rolling on the floor laughing! you crack me up!
@Susan Coley, We might be twins, separated at birth.
@Susan Coley, I just did ALL three of these!!! 🙂
@Susan Coley, Oh gracious, I’m so guilty of all these. Plus, never throw out miss matched socks, even after all your kids have outgrown that size.
@Susan Coley, have you BEEN in my bedroom this week?! Because guilty. Of all of them. Right now. Also dying laughing because you NAILED IT.
I think you must be a dust ball under my bed. That is exactly what happens in out master bedroom. LOL. I am working on the pile, it’s only have half a pile now. My husband travels and leaves the suitcase on the floor next to the bed or just drops it in the closet after taking out just a couple of things. @Susan Coley,
Always save every grocery bag that comes into your house. Make sure you have hundreds before taking them to the recycle deposit box at the grocery store you visit every week….. (I MUST stop this! LOL)
Finally–a list I can say I have achieved! Do I get an A+? Thanks for this.
Every book is valuable. Never get rid of a book. Cassettes, CDs, and DVDs too. Those things were expensive and who knows when you might want to read/listen/watch one of them?
Also, you need every electronic wire and component that anything you ever owned came with. Even if that item is broken or gone….because you never know when you might find another item that needs exactly that piece. Store them in nooks and crannies around your house.
Haha…. I thought this was a typo when I saw it on Pinterest. Nope!
Let’s see, how to clutter my bathroom is to use a hair tie for a while, decided it’s too stretched out to use… but be unable to throw the darn thing away because “I could use it if I needed to!”…
Oh and I still have almost all my notebooks from high school and college. Because, I might actually look through them again? I might if I ever get time but with a 7 month old that doesn’t happen much lol….
I LOVE THIS! I saw a picture hanging in an attorney’s office (for custody battles no less) that stated the 10 Commandments for Raising a Criminal. That one list has helped me more with my children than all of the websites I have seen…combined. It’s funny how simple rewording can completely change how things are comprehended. Thank you!! O.K. …my addition to your list would be to… Keep EVERY note from preschool, EVERYDAY. Also, when they are in grade school. MAKE SURE to keep every assignment. Because one day when your kids are grown, you and your child(ren) may want to look back at how long they slept at nap time 20 years ago. 🙂 Thanks again for this awesome post! I also have a blog. I started it in December and wrote 2 whole entries because I was so busy practicing these things on your list. Have a wonderful day!
This is spot on! I love #8. I’m pretty clutter-phobic, but I’ll admit I’ve saved Chick-fil-a sauces. They’re so good!
I have one: keep all the Happy Meal toys your kids get, even the broken ones, because they were “free.”
My grandmother used to keep an extra set of unopened PJs “in case she went into the hospital.” Um, you’d probably wear a hospital gown. They went unopened for over 20 years until they were finally thrown out.
This list kills me!! I am not a “clutterer” by any means, but I am GUILTY of doing all of these at one time or another.
Don’t forget also to save every old photo ever taken by anyone in the family, even if your parents and/or grandparents don’t even remember who they are. They are especially nice thrown in a shoebox for “safekeeping”.
This list is hilarious!!!! I seriously needed that today. 🙂
Susan Coley, were we separated at birth?
haha! very clever! although I think the list just raised my blood pressure! 😉
my husband and daughter are really good at just leaving clothes/socks/shoes wherever they may fall!
One I haven’t seen yet is keep all of your kids baby teeth in baggies in a drawer. (My husband is the keeper in our family.) I finally convinced him to start throwing them away. That’s disgusting! A drawer full of teeth.
Oh I laughed at this so much because I kept so many teeth!! Yes, they’re finally gone. 🙂
i even saved my dogs teeth from when they were puppies
These are a very good start, but you have left out a few that we consider part of the gold standard of clutter at our house:
1. If a relative gives you an item that belonged to another relative who is now deceased, you must keep it until you are deceased.
2. Do not throw away a chip bag with crumbs and a few chips left in it. Those must be firmly shoved to the back of the pantry for another 2-3 months.
3. Make sure to store any newspapers that have articles in them that you’d like to read one day in the bottom of the recycling paper basket. Those must never leave the basket.
4. ANYTHING you owned in college is probably still good and useful. Do not discard these items!
5. Rule number 4 also applies to those items you received as a wedding gift. There may come a day when you want to display large bouquets of flowers in matching ornate crystal vases. If you are Southern, you will need multiple deviled egg plates.
My husband’s favourite is to keep the ratty, holey ,smelly work-shoes (pants, socks, undies…)that even he finally admits need replacing, in case he ‘needs a backup pair’ one day.
HAHAHA! Now THIS explains everything about the state of my apartment! What a relief to realize I’m not alone 🙂 Being a crafter and a hoarder is a curse sometimes, but don’t you just feel brilliant when you need something and you realize you actually have it, because 5 years ago you saved it “just in case”? It’s those moments that justify our bad habits and prevent us from getting better 🙂
I got one for you: Save every ticket, brochure and businesscard from your trips because one day you will do a scrapalbum, even though scrapping is not really your thing, but it should be since you like to craft. (Do I need to say I have a full box of that, some of them not even readable anymore?)
When you do finally declutter and remove things to donate, put them in a in a box, in the same room, right in the way so you wont forget to donte it for at least a month. Frequently go through the box and remove items you’ve changed your mind on, leave those right next to the box.
Keep every single receipt for everything you have ever purchased … just in case you need to return something or you are audited for something you have claimed on your taxes. They may be hard to find among all the other receipts but if you throw any out they could be the ones you need. Keep even if they have faded to blank pieces of paper. (This is a true case scenario for one of my clients that I have been helping declutter and get organised lately.)
Don’t forget to purchase as many frames as possible. One day you will want to hang 100’s of them on all your walls filled with the thousands of photos you will never print in the first place. Until then just lean the unused frames 10 or 15 deep against the wall. You may even want to hang a few, leaving the models pictures in them. Also, don’t forget to purchase several shadow box frames because you never want to get rid of old dead corsages, 20 year old baby shoes etc. these go a long way in cluttering your house.
Keep things that are not recyclable, but should be. Some day the world will catch up with you.
My you gals should see my home…or maybe you did. So much hits home. One of my favorites: the top to a toilet bowl tank…might need that someday.
Wow, I can’t tell you how much this post and your comments make me feel more like a normal mom. My two older sisters have always, always, always had immaculate, beautiful homes. One of them even works 40 hours a week, and both have multiple children. I’ve never walked into their homes and seen them look like anything but out of a magazine- even their garages are organized and swept!
I, on the other hand, have clutter. It sneaks up on me, and it feels like I fight uphill battles with the clutter day-in and day-out. I’ve always felt kind of abnormal, because shouldn’t my house be immaculate too?! I’m an adult now, after all…
But all of these hit home for me, especially the craft stuff and the frames. Here are a few more I’ve gotten to deal with over the years:
1.) When you receive clothing as gifts that are not your style and things that you’ll never wear, do not get around to taking them back within 90 days, and then don’t donate them for fear of offense. But also- never, ever wear them.
2.) Keep CDs that have obscure things written on them [or nothing at all,] because some day, you’re going to find time to go through them- they’re probably old pictures, or files that you really really need!
3.) Keep every mostly used gallon of paint. Even if you’ve forgotten which room it went to, even if you’ve already painted over that room, and even if the paint was there when you moved in. Keep it all in the garage in case you need it some day.
4.) Keep all of your child’s cute baby clothes. Like, a whole storage container of them. You’ve decided not to have more kids, and your husband is fixed, but sure. Keep them. Just because.
5.) Keep a drawer full of old batteries. One day you’ll get around to figuring out which ones are dead. Then put the dead ones in a box in the garage because you’re not supposed to throw them away, but you’re not really sure where else they go… you’ll figure it out some day.
6.) You mosaic, so make sure you keep tons of broken dishes, even ones in colors you’re not fond of, in case you need to make a last-minute gift for someone who happens to like that color.
7.) Keep all of the manuals to your car, computers, gaming consoles, electronics, phones, iPads, iPods, vacuums, kids electronics, robot dogs, DVD players, TVs, etc. etc. You’re not even sure if you have some of that stuff anymore, but in case you do… Wouldn’t want you to not know how to troubleshoot it. Forget that the internet is at your fingertips. The manuals are imperative.
8.) Store all of your child’s old baby blankets. Everyone gave your kid four blankets each, your mom knitted her 3, sewed her 6 more… and now she’s in elementary school. But keep them. Just in case…
9.) SO MANY SPRINKLES!!
10.) Have a child who is creative and eccentric, whose feelings would be hurt if you threw away any of the pictures she draws you, despite the fact that she draws you pictures A LOT, on everything from tiny pieces of paper, to napkins, to cardboard.
11.)And finally… Marry a guy who is convinced that his 1980s – 1990s baseball card collection is going to be “worth something someday.”
The absolute best of all method to develop clutter for years with no end and just some moderate initial work on your part – Have kids! My junior hoarder loves to keep tags off of clothing because they have cute pictures; scraps of papers, just in case she needs a tiny piece for some thing; any food container that can be washed or is already clean, bottles for our future Harry Potter potion collection, boxes for the free cardboard, toilet paper rolls because EVERYONE knows those things are useful…She is my biggest obstacle to decluttering.
I’m trying recently to keep it simple and to declutter as much I can. But also I’m trying to minimize my waste and that’s why I’m recycling, re-purposing and reusing all the clutter, or at least most of it. For example this year’s Christmas gifts I’ll be wrapping in old beautiful scarves and fabrics, that can’t be used for anything else, but are still so good looking. It’s a good way to personalize each gift. Other thing I’ve dome recently is re-decorating my daughter’s room with some old bed sheets that look gorgeous as canopy curtains. Regular declutter and minimizing waste at the same time are very important. Greets, Livie from
Always leave your dirty laundry all over the floor. That way your hamper is always empty. lol
Keep every plastic bag…. Stuff new ones into old ones, then stuff those into tote bags
Here is one. You Must keep the box of unopened cassette tapes collecting dust ( because we like to collect after all) because you never know when your husband is going to have that deep urge to transfer all of his Motley Crue/ Twisted Sister albums on cassette. What??? Your car does not have a cassette player??? No matter. Somewhere in the garage is that boom box with a casette player on it. It was bought with babysitting money from that department store that went out of business 10 years ago.
Keep all clothing that comes into your home. Whether it fits or you like it is irrelevant once it comes into your home you must keep it forever. The same goes for towels and bedding. If it becomes to worn to wear, save it in a box in the attic so the mice up there have some excellent bedding material!
Ok, I am convicted on the towel issue. Just today I mentioned, ” I probably need to throw some of these,” but then followed up with, maybe I’ll put some in the attic for when the guys get their apartment!! ACK!! How did I say that and then hours later read your comment. hahaha
Never run out of anything. Always buy more when you are just halfway to out. That way you will cleverly have to create storage for 150% of that item.
Save every empty wine bottle and cork, because you never know when you may need them for a cool craft project.
@Aimee, I have a drawer full.They make good pads for hot dishes. Although I’ve never made one.
Keep all your clothes big or small, you never know if you’ll gain or lose weight. They all come back in style eventually.
I needed this laugh today….My thing is keys. Have a coffee can full. Save all your keys..til you are my age 64. Why ????
I love all the “helpful” comments! Have ya”ll been peeking in my windows? I think I am guilty of 90% of these mistakes!
For sure save any extra Christmas photo cards/newsletters that weren’t all sent out out last year, or five years ago–you never know when you or your kids will want to look back and read multiple copies of years gone by. Even if they’re saved on the computer.
HA!! I am so guilty and can see my basket of photo cards right now. :/