Everyone has clutter. Some people’s clutter lasts longer and accumulates more than others. Over time areas of clutter can grow into clutter hotspots. We’ll organize your clutter in the top 3 hotspots around the house in this quick, helpful, and fun article.
You might have different hotspots than we will be tackling here, but most declutter tips are universal; they can be used for most areas you want to organize. The basic concepts are the same, from accumulated paper to your pantry, to miscellaneous items in a junk drawer. Take your time. I waited til I got ‘in the mood’. Also, when you decide to organize and declutter any of these hotspots you can do it over several days or more. I re-organized my pantry over the last couple of weeks.
#1 Bills & Papers & Clutter
If the forms are starting to arrive, it’s probably time to organize the paperwork for preparing your taxes. Even if it isn’t that wonderful time of year, getting on top of paper is valuable and will help life run much more smoothly. The opposite of winning over this hotspot will spawn little hotspots (piles) in places you don’t want to have to try and stay on top of. Trust me on this one. Before I tackled our papers, there were at least five little hotspots where important papers could live. Now there are just two. The file cabinet/computer file (if the decision was made to keep the document) or the file stacker on my desk (where decisions are made on the next steps for the docs).
I decided the time had come for me to haul out all the papers, files, piles, baskets, etc. and jump into reorganizing. We’ve been in our house for four years, and although we were pretty organized when we moved in, things have been slipping, and the ‘spots’ have been growing ever since.
Here’s a photo of some of the accumulated documents, bills, and tax forms found in the Rowland household.. Sometimes you need to spread out over a whole dining room and part of a kitchen!
So, here’s what I did:
- The containers, piles, current files, baskets, and stacks of papers around the house were brought into our dining room/kitchen area. I went through one stack at a time.
- A pack of larger stickies was found in one of the junk drawers in the kitchen (woohoo! I knew right where to find them!), and I created labels for the new piles I formed as I went. Sometimes I changed the name of the pile, and some piles were consolidated.
- I understood that you could discard income tax returns older than seven years. Here’s what the IRS has to say about how far back they can go for an audit: “Can the IRS go back more than ten years? How far back can the IRS go to audit my return? Generally, the IRS can include returns filed within the last three years in an audit. If we identify a substantial error, we may add additional years. We usually don’t go back more than the last six years.” A few of ours are in the burn/shred box.
- After cleaning up the piles and creating new hanging folders, I filed all the papers into their respective homes. We have a tub we store appliances and home-related booklets, warranties, etc. I cleaned that out as well. (It’s surprising how many manuals I tossed because we no longer have that thing!)
- Can I tell you how good it feels to have everything stored in one place?! Finding essential items will be a much easier task (I could usually find something, but I’d have to hunt for a while first!)
- Plus, I’m thankful to have things at my fingertips for doing those pesky taxes!
#2 Clutter Hotspots: Junk Drawers
We have two junk drawers in the kitchen (we have good reasons!), and they both needed help. I’m not quite done, but I’ve sorted, tossed, and wiped them down and have a plan for some little storage containers to keep them neat and tidy.
Reclaiming junk drawers for other purposes in your kitchen is a great idea. I’ve heard of a kitchen with five junk drawers! Once those drawer went through the process (or something similar), space was created for all the other things that needed a spot.
Here’s what I did with our junk drawers:
- Empty the hotspot
- Get an idea of the items involved
- Sort items into piles (keeper categories, trash, give away, put somewhere else)
- Decide (and purchase, if necessary) the appropriate containers you will use for each pile.
- Put keeper items back into their cleaned-up old home (or into a better new one)
If you’d like a little more support and more detailed steps, grab this free downloable e-book called, ‘my cute little junk drawer‘.
#3 Your Pantry
Some pantries are deep, walk-in rooms with tons of shelves and space for everything related to food and cooking. Some are two shelves set aside in a kitchen cupboard. And, of course, many are between those two ends of the continuum of food storage. Whatever your pantry situation is, it can be made much more efficient with some practical organization tips.
The basic steps to an organized pantry are:
- Take stock of the items in your pantry
- Using a list of basics (your own or prepared) re-stock
- Decide on storage containers and pantry arrangement
- Set it up and enjoy
For a more detailed explanation with planning tools and suggestions for pantry meals and challenges, check out our popular product, The Magic Pantry: A 3-Part Organizational System that will Transform what Happens in Your Kitchen.
A Product to Help with Pantry Organization
The Magic Pantry 3-Part System
The Magic Pantry: the 3-Part Organizational System that will Transform what Happens in Your Kitchen! Get on top of your pantry (no matter the size), create yummy pantry meals, and shrink your food budget!
Where to start or finish
Which clutter hotspot are you planning to tackle first? I’d love to hear! Comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that it’s a process, take your time (there is no ‘declutter police’), and be sure to celebrate your decluttering accomplishments. The prize for me was the end result of ‘getting on top of’ whichever hotspot I conquered.
Rewarding yourself with a mocha frapp or a mani-pedi would definitely be appropriate however. ❤️
Favorite Home Posts
Finding a new purpose in living and joy in the day-to-day was the goal when author Kathy Rowland and her entire family (adult kids and grandkids) moved from the PNW to Texas several years ago. The focus of Quiet Hollow is to encourage ‘next chapter women’ – those who are retired, empty-nesters, or have found themselves without a spouse to jump back into life. And, she shares multiple tips, ideas, and possibilities toward that end. Kathy completed her almost 30 years as an elementary teacher and hopped into over a decade of volunteer work, side hustle-type businesses, and grandchild care before discovering her unique and fulfilling purpose for the next chapter of life. What you read on Quiet Hollow is a large part of that calling. Another part is the happy life she’s leading in Central Texas in the same neighborhood as the 3 big kids and her 5 grandkids. She and her college sweetheart husband made sure to add a pool to their new Texas home, so there are lots of noisy, splashy days in their little oasis of a backyard. Come join her on Quiet Hollow in a conversation about finding and living the life you were created to live in this later stage. The chats will be full of laughter, support, faith, and inspiration to create.