Clutter Control: Simple Ways to Efficiently and Effectively Store Items

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Clutter Control—As part of this clutter control series, we’ll be discussing ways to free yourself from a cluttered home and uncover simple organization tips that you can follow to live in a more organized and functional home. Today’s rule is all about efficiently storing your household items.

Clutter Control Rule #3: Efficiency Counts. Store Items Accordingly.

Perhaps you've seen the classic movie Cheaper by the Dozen. The head of the household in this movie was an efficiency expert. (Remember them? Businesses used to hire them all the time. They still do, but they call them management engineers or industrial engineers now.) This particular efficiency expert devoted his life to the study of such things. He found, for example, that it was considerably faster to button his shirt starting at the top and buttoning downward compared to starting at the bottom and buttoning upward. This little gem of knowledge in itself may not reduce clutter, but efficiency boils down to a maximum of output with a minimum of input, and it's a concept that's crucial to managing clutter.

Efficient storage reduces clutter by making it easier to replace things after each use. If it's easier it's more likely to happen. Efficient storage means that what you need is close to where you use it or where you expect it to be. Move things so they are efficiently placed for use and replacement. For example, if the recycling bins are in the far end of the garage, no one is going to use them. In the kitchen, move the silverware and plates to a drawer and cupboard between the table and the dishwasher. Put the glasses between the sink and the dishwasher. Since the kids normally throw their coats just inside the door (if you're lucky), move the coat rack there, even though it looks better next to the desk down the hall. It's not carved in stone that you must store the vacuum in the upstairs closet. Move it downstairs, where it's more convenient.

Efficient storage also means that things you use most often are stored in the most easily accessible places. In other words, "hot" items go in "hot" places. You'll have your own list of "hot" items, of course, but it'll probably include things such as measuring spoons and cups, keys, bottles of spray cleaners, the roll of cellophane tape, the corkscrew, the good pair of scissors, the dishwashing soap, etc. GreaseMonkey Direct is a store to visit for integral cleaning and janitor products. Resist the temptation to return rarely used items to a "hot" (and therefore convenient) spot. If you're not alert, the anchovy paste will end up in front of the mustard. The pewter polish will get shoved in front of the powdered cleanser. Or the wood bleach will block your access to the furniture polish. "Hot" places are easily reachable ones such as top drawers, eye-level cupboard shelves, and the front sections of shelves.

Store similar things together—such as all the different sizes and shapes of flower vases you own. When you need one, you only have to look in one place. Also, you'll have no decision to make after you clean a vase and wonder where to put it. The same applies to food inside the cupboards and even inside the fridge. The easier you make it for things to get put where they belong, the less clutter will appear. You'll also have a fighting chance of finding what you're looking for if it is where it belongs. That can be a surprisingly gratifying experience.

How do you efficiently store items in your house? What are your storage tips and tricks?

To follow along in this series, please be sure to check out the previous tips and tricks:


Debbie Sardone

Debbie Sardone is the founder of Cleaning For a Reason which provides free cleaning services to women who are touched by cancer.  She also owns a Dallas cleaning service.

Her long-time passion for teaching cleaning and organizational has lead her to continue the legacy of Speed Cleaning and the use of green cleaning products.

She can be followed as @DebbieSardone on Twitter.

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