Got Clutter? You’re Not Alone!

Do you feel like your house is the only one where nothing has a place, or if it has one, no one puts it there!  Well, it isn’t!

This I know for sure.  I’m a Professional Organizer who gets called in to ‘fix’ these situations in homes and offices.  Good POs have an arsenal of tips and tactics filed away neatly in our brains, and the more we can share with you and you implement, the more likely the changes we make will last.   We listen to your underlying issues, and keep them in mind at all times while aspiring to help you meet your goals.

Here are a few tips to help combat clutter:

Name Homes for Items to Create Boundaries.  All items should have a home. Like Benjamin Franklin said, “A Place for Everything, Everything in its Place.”  Sunscreen goes with sunscreen in a designated part of the house, conveniently located.  Same with books, hair supplies, papers to be addressed, memorabilia, and really everything.  Use your most valuable real estate (the spaces most convenient to you and your family) to store items most often used.  Don’t make things difficult to retrieve and put away.

If you have a two story home, give the most used items homes on both floors.  For instance, my daughter’s hair styling supplies are in a cabinet in her armoire, but we also have a basket near the kitchen so that no matter what level of the house she is on, accessing these often used items is just a few steps away.  There are only two places a specific styling item would be, so if it’s not in the upstairs hair styling area, it’s in the downstairs one.

Be Mindful when Putting Things Down.  What is so important is to be mindful.  I’ll use myself as an example.  I’m busy with my family, work, and life, so when I put something down, I pay attention to what I’m doing.  I know the alternative is that I’ll forget where I put it and waste a lot of time trying to find it again.  The more homes I’ve created for Like items, the easier this has become and the less thinking is involved. Are you in the habit of putting something down and not paying attention to where you put it?  If you could stop that today, it will make a huge difference in your life.  As the saying goes, “Organized people are just too lazy to look for things.” I love that!

Be a Good Example in the House.  Make putting stuff away easy by keeping the most used things the most conveniently located.  Use No-Fuss containers, baskets and cabinets.  Make it easy by not having complicated lids, things put too high, etc.  Like goes with like.  Mobile containers are great.  Piling is a No-no.  If you have the right systems in place, it’s easier to keep up with than if you don’t.

As a Mom, if you emulate neat habits, your kids will too.  I’ve seen it in my own life.  As I follow the Organizing principles I’ve learned over the years, my kids have too. Until you have your house in order you really can’t expect your kids to do it.

What about those Messy Spouses?  I usually work for women, and this is a common concern. I tell her, “You knew what you were getting into when you married him!”   Maybe your husband wants to become neater and can learn from you.  Maybe he doesn’t care.  I advise people to accept their spouses for who they are.  If the Moms clean up their act, the Dads will be inspired to varying degrees. You will just have to pick up the slack as long as it is more important to you than to him.  Consider this the bad that goes with the good and be grateful for his good traits.  J


In upcoming posts, I’ll address misconceptions some people feel that they are the only ones with clutter problems, keeping surfaces clear, kid’s rooms and toys, and laundry.  If you want to be sure to catch them, visit and indicate that you would like to receive the next article in this series.  Happy Organizing!

Jean Linder is a Professional Organizer living in East Quogue and works in homes and offices throughout Suffolk County, Long Island.

Filed Under: Organizing

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