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5 Simple Ways to a Less-Cluttered Life

Weeks and weeks of putting the mail on your kitchen counter eventually adds up! And that shoe pile by the door -- how long has that been building up? Since we know you're busy, here are a few easy tricks that will help you clean up your clutter in no time and with virtually no hassle.

Photography by: Matthew Williams

Add It to Your Daily Routine

If your home is seemingly always overwhelmed with clutter, get in the habit of clearing it out daily. Take 20 to 30 minutes of your time and work on a different cluttered area every day. Don't try to tackle the whole house in one day -- as if the clutter wasn't overwhelming enough! 


Make Space

Why do we all hate clutter? It limits our space in the world. Clearing your home of piles and junk can give you a feeling of greater emotional and mental space. Start with paper, mail, and important documents. These items should have an organized, out-of-sight home -- guests don't need to look at your bill statement. 


Go through your biggest piles of clutter and decide what "stuff" to donate. If it's out of your house, it's no longer clutter!


Better yet, stop the mess before it begins. Don't fall victim to junk mail and catalogs. If it's not sitting on your counter, it ends up as a pile in the trash, which is just another pile to deal with. There are several websites that can help you end subscriptions, and you can cancel catalogs and magazines online. If you have a month's worth of newspapers and magazines, take them to your local recycling bins. Find small ways to banish junk mail, and you'll be left with a little less paper clutter in your life.


Store It

Create more storage! Everything should have its place. If you have items and papers that don't necessarily belong anywhere, designate a storage unit for miscellaneous items. If you have DVDs strewn all over the living room, give them a new home together. If you have a handful of items that are just too sentimental to dispose, find a home for them as well. It's okay to have a "junk box" as long as it's really just one junk box and it's out of plain sight.


Just Get Rid of It

What if we told you you could organized your closet once and it would remain organized for the next few months? The author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" -- Marie Kondo -- says it's possible. She proposes an epic clean sweep. If it sparks joy, it's in. If you have no emotions attached to it -- gone. Although it can take time and patience to clean your home in this way, it's completely worth it in the end. Kondo uses a few basic principles: 

  1. Keep only the things that spark joy.
  2. Treat your possessions as if they were alive.
  3. Your possessions reflect your state of mind.

Find out more about Kondo's philosophies and see what happened when one of our own editor's took the plunge. 


Clean to the Core

If your house is clean, yet you're still feeling a little cluttered, it could be the hundreds of emails slowing down your phone, or the countless documents on your desktop that "you'll definitely need at some point." Your computer can quickly become a clutter-filled haven of data and information. Such a vast amount of information in one place can almost make you feel worse than coming home to clutter!


Tackle your desktop and email first.... You likely have junk mail and documents that you can definitely get rid of. You know as well as we do that it's time to unsubscribe to that email list you signed up for in order to get a free whatever-it-was two years ago. Next, clean up your calendar, and use it efficiently. Set reminders for yourself for projects, tasks, dinners, and family events. If you never look at those Facebook birthday reminders on your calendar, disconnect Facebook from your calendar. Keeping your computer organized will give you peace of mind about important information and dates.