Inside: Learn the common clutter hotspots in the home and how you can finally conquer them once and for all.
We all have them.
Those troublesome clutter hotspots.
Despite our best effort, and our ability to keep most of our spaces clutter-free, there are almost always a few places where clutter loves to linger.
For some of us, our clutter hotspots are places we actively try to avoid. We rarely ever access them, and because of that, they never get our full attention when it comes to decluttering.
And for others, clutter hotspots are magnets for clutter for the opposite reason – because they’re so visible and easily accessible.
Regardless of the reason for their existence, if you’re ready to say goodbye to your clutter hotspots and conquer them once and for all, I’ve got you covered.
Keep reading to understand what some of the clutter hotspots in your home might be – and what you can do to solve your clutter problem in those particular locations once and for all.
Why is clutter such a problem?
Clutter is an ever-present distraction and source of stress – whether or not you actually feel like it is impacting your life.
Consciously or subconsciously, the clutter in your space is impacting your life in a negative way. When you’re surrounded by clutter, it’s more difficult to focus.
Tasks like problem-solving and creative thinking become way more challenging than they should be. It’s easier to feel overwhelmed – a feeling that can be brought on by something specific, or seemingly nothing at all.
And clutter doesn’t just have an impact on your mental state – it affects your physical well-being, too.
That untouched clutter? It’s collecting dust, which could be aggravating your allergies or asthma.
And depending on what your clutter is and where it’s lurking, it could be perpetuating problems that are much more sinister – hiding things like mold, mildew, mice, and all kinds of other stuff you’d rather not have in your home.
Simple Tips to Conquer Your Clutter Hotspots
Ready to roll up your sleeves and kick that clutter to the curb? There’s no better time than now to tackle your clutter and clear out your space.
By tackling these clutter hotspots, you’ll be amazed to see just how big of an impact all that clutter had made – and how refreshing it feels to be free of it all!
Clutter Hotspot #1: Your home’s entrance.
One of the biggest clutter hotspots is one of the most obvious. Your entryway or mudroom can quickly make your home look cluttered.
For many of us, our entryways have become a literal dumping ground for, well, everything. Shoes, coats, hats, keys, mail, and all kinds of other stuff end up scattered around, covering the floor and every surface in the area.
The good news?
This is also one of the easiest to fix.
Evaluate all the stuff that tends to wind up in your entryway. Get rid of the trash, and the stuff that blatantly belongs elsewhere, and then evaluate the rest – and come up with a good way to keep it organized.
Tired of seeing shoes all over the place? Buy a shoe organizer and give those shoes a spot to stay when they aren’t being used.
Can’t seem to resist dropping the mail on the first surface you see when you walk inside? Use a hanging organizer and mount it on your wall to hold your keys, your sunglasses, the mail, and anything else that is quickly abandoned when you walk inside.
Clutter Hotspot #2: Your pantry.
The kitchen pantry is a key spot for clutter to accumulate. Few of us look farther than the first row of stuff on each shelf – and after a little while, it’s anyone’s guess in terms of what’s lurking beyond.
To declutter your pantry, start by getting everything out of there and cleaning up. Wipe down your shelves.
Toss expired food and spices – and, while you’re at it, get rid of stuff you’re holding onto that you’re never going to use. That ingredient you bought for that one recipe that you’ll never make again? That’s what I’m talking about.
And once you’re done? See if you have bins or baskets that you can repurpose to keep your pantry neat and orderly.
By giving everything a designated space, you’ll make it easier for yourself and your family to keep up with everything – and avoid allowing your pantry to fall back into a state of clutter.
Clutter Hotspot #3: Your junk drawer.
Another common spot to find clutter at home is the ubiquitous junk drawer.
You know exactly what I’m talking about.
Most people have it – the one drawer, typically in the kitchen, that has become the go-to spot for hiding all kinds of stuff you think you might need later on but doesn’t truly have a place where it belongs.
Your junk drawer might contain old birthday candles, spare keys, instruction manuals, paper clips, screws, miscellaneous cords, and cables – along with, let’s be honest, pretty much anything that could reasonably be shoved inside a drawer.
To clean the clutter from your junk drawer, start by taking everything out and evaluating what you’ve got. Chances are, at least some of the stuff you’ve been holding onto can find a new home in the trash can or recycling bin.
As for the rest? See if there’s a more logical place for it. If yes, put it there. If not, it can go back into your junk drawer – but not quite yet. Consider using a junk drawer organizer with enough little bins and sections to keep all the stuff inside reasonably sorted.
Clutter Hotspot #4: Your counters.
Kitchen counters are a notorious dumping ground. From keys to mail and school papers to kitchen gadgets and small appliances, it’s easy to get your counters overtaken by stuff.
The good news is that it is possible to get rid of countertop clutter for good. It just takes some time, effort, and intentionality.
Start by removing the trash and the things that belong elsewhere. Next, question if the items that you normally leave out on your counters truly need to be there.
If you’re not sure, test it out for a week or two to see how your kitchen functions with it stored elsewhere.
Create a system for incoming mail and papers so that they have a home to go to right away.
You’ll love how much work space you have once you get those countertops cleared.
Clutter Hotspot #5: The top of your furniture.
Look around your home at the top of your dresser, nightstand, coffee table, and kitchen table. Are they clear or do they have assorted odds and ends collecting on them?
These are very common clutter hotspots. Flat surfaces are a magnet for clutter.
Your bedroom will feel a lot more relaxing after you remove the clutter from the top of the nightstand and dresser.
Clutter on your dining table can make meal times more stressful. It’s no fun to need to spend time clearing the table while your dinner is getting cold.
It’s nice to have a cleared-off coffee table so that you can actually put your feet up and set your drink down without it feeling like a landmine.
Start by assessing these areas and put unneeded items away. Create the decluttering habit of clearing off these spaces at the end of the day so that you wake up to rooms that are functional and clutter-free in the morning.
Clutter Hotspot #6: Your garage.
It’s all too easy to transform your garage from totally organized to overwhelmed by clutter.
You don’t spend much time in there, so it’s easy to overlook the stuff that’s slowly accumulated on every spare surface – or, in some situations, heaped and piled in corners and along walls.
Garages are also a popular dumping ground for items that need repair or that you plan to deal with ‘later’. Maybe it’s something you aren’t sure if you want to keep or not. Or you aren’t sure where to store it, so into the garage it goes.
Decluttering your garage is likely the biggest challenge on this list – but once you’ve got everything tidy and neat, it’ll bring a big reward.
Similar to other spaces, start to conquer your garage clutter by getting rid of trash. Donate stuff you no longer want or need to a good cause, or find a way to sell it for some extra cash.
Then, evaluate what’s left and implement a long-term storage solution that’ll work for you.
Whether you need shelves to store boxes and bins, hanging storage for rakes and lawn tools, a spot to store your bikes so they’re out of the way, or a place to keep miscellaneous tools and hardware, giving everything a specific home will make it easier to maintain your clutter-free garage moving forward.
Clutter Hotspot #7: Your vehicle.
Have you ever referred to your car as a trash can on wheels? No? Ok good.
If you spend a lot of your day driving children around endlessly it’s easy for your car to become a clutter hotspot.
Even if you commute and you’re typically the only one in your car, it’s easy to end up with a collection of trash and unneeded items in the car.
If you’d be embarrassed to have someone ride in your car, signs are it’s become a clutter magnet. Setting aside some time to declutter, clean, and organize your car will help you to feel better about the time you’re spending in it.
Start by removing all of the trash and anything that shouldn’t stay in the car. Just doing that will have a big impact.
If you have bags of items waiting to be donated, returned to a store, or brought back to their owner now is the time to seize the day and take them where they need to go.
Next, vacuum and clean the floor and upholstery as needed. Work on creating a daily habit of taking your stuff (and your kids taking their stuff) out of the car.
Clutter Hotspot #8: Anywhere your kids are.
While you could go through every area your kiddos have ravaged and clean up after them, you’re better off, in the long run, teaching them to be responsible for their things.
If numerous areas in the home feel overrun by toys, that’s a good indicator that it’s time to declutter some of them.
And while you could declutter while they are asleep or at school, a better approach to getting your kids to declutter is to do it with them.
Involving your kids in the decluttering process allows them to take more ownership and helps them have a healthier relationship with stuff. Learning to maintain your space is a great life skill that kids can begin developing when they’re young.
Creating boundaries for the amount of toys your kids own as well as what areas of the home they’re stored in can go a long way in knocking out some clutter hotspot areas.
Clutter Hotspot #9: Your handbag.
Have you ever played the icebreaker game where you get points for the random items you have in your purse? If so, how did you score?
It’s not uncommon to have a variety of items including receipts, gift cards, coupons, lists, snacks, pens, gum, hand sanitizer, and loose change. And those are just the everyday items.
If you’re a mother of young children you may end up with an odd assortment of additional items like your kid’s trash, the rock they had to bring home, wayward Cheerios, and other mysterious odds and ends that you have no recollection of how they got there.
When life is busy it’s easy for your purse to become a clutter magnet. Take a few minutes to take out the trash and other unnecessary items. Your shoulder and back (and the cashier waiting on you to find what you need) will thank you.
Clutter Hotspot #10: Your laundry room.
I love the magazine/Pinterest perfect-looking laundry rooms, but I can tell you mine is not one of them. You pass through our laundry room right before going into the garage and as such, it becomes a clutter magnet.
The things that need to be put back in the garage but it’s too cold or dark or you just don’t feel like it gets left in the laundry room.
Also, there is often laundry that is waiting to be done or was just done sitting there as well as an article of clothing (or two) waiting to see if we can get the stain out of it. And I am guessing I’m not alone in this.
Laundry rooms can collect a myriad of clutter. Start by cleaning out any garbage in the space. Then work on putting items away that belong in another space. Finish by cleaning off the top of the washer and dryer.
Clutter Hotspot #11: Your desk.
Your desk is where you work and pay the bills. Unfortunately, it is also a prime spot for attracting clutter.
Office supplies, papers of every shape and size, post-it notes, and cute little crafts your kids made can quickly take over your workspace.
Start by removing any papers you don’t need and recycling them. Put excess office supplies back where you normally store them.
Keep a minimal amount of stuff out on your desk to maximize your workspace and help you to maintain your focus. See how much your productivity improves once you’ve removed the distracting clutter.
Clutter Hotspot #12: Your closet.
Do you have a Monica closet? The term comes from an episode of Friends where the typically very organized and put-together character Monica reveals her one messy and chaotic closet.
Your clutter hotspot could be a storage closet, your coat closet, the closet in your guestroom, or the one in your bedroom.
It’s that space that you’d never want anyone to look in. It’s where things have gotten disorganized or perhaps totally out of control.
Closets are often used as a quick way to stash clutter to keep it out of sight. And once it is out of sight it is often out of mind.
Start working through one shelf at a time and decluttering what you no longer want or use. If an item belongs in another space, put it there. Once you’re down to just the things that actually belong in the closet, you can neatly organize them.
Then you no longer have to fear someone opening the closet or stressing when you look inside.
Which of the clutter hotspots do you plan to attack first? Leave a comment and let me know!
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I’ll tackle the chair in my bedroom and then the shoes I don’t wear. After that my dresser top. I have been working on decluttering since I retired in 2018. I think the hard part with covid era is getting things recycled to the right places like that old TV that is still sitting by the kitchen door ready to go!
My kitchen counters are nearly invisible due to the clutter. It’s time to throw some things out and reclaim some workspace!–Anne
I am a widow and have lots of papers all the time. I try to short mail daily. I always have
calls to make and papers to file etc. It is the hardest job to stay on top of. I really get
stressed alot because of it.
Thanks for the help I read from you.
fix sort mail daily