Fast Decluttering Tricks for Every Room In The House
- Use a boot tray to create boundaries for footwear. Whatever doesn’t fit should go in a bedroom or closet.
- Designate a hook, bin, or basket for each member of the household. If their area gets full, they’re responsible for returning items to their own closets (or a coat closet).
- Off-season items should be cleaned and stored out of the way; use a covered rolling rack in an attic or basement if you don’t have a spare closet.
- Establish drop spots right at the door: a change jar, a sunglasses tray, key hooks, and an umbrella holder.
Employ a large basket to corral in-and-out items, like store returns and sports equipment.
To buy: Yamazaki Home plain pole hanger, $70 ahalife.com; Yook key hook and organizer, $10; umbra.com; Hay Kaleido tray, $25 (small); momastore.org; Classic hamper, $128 (tall); thelittlemarket.com; Zinc boot tray with liner, $40; crateandbarrel.com; Yamazaki Home Slash umbrella stand, $50; ahalife.com.
- Think of central cabinets and drawers as prime real estate. Only your most-used items should live in the quick-reach areas. The rest live higher up or farther back.
- Use divided inserts to separate categories within drawers. Apply museum gel to the base to hold them in place like built-ins.
- In your junk drawer, make use of multi-tiered inserts to compartmentalize the space and keep it from becoming a black hole.
- Bring order to the refrigerator by employing acrylic bins to corral awkwardly shaped packages on the shelves.
- Allocate 15 minutes each week to determine what stays and what gets recycled from the family command center.
- Everyday-use appliances can live on the counter. Others should be stashed in a cabinet, pantry, or nearby closet.
- Keep cooking essentials handy on a tray near the stove. Whatever doesn’t fit belongs in the pantry.
- Create a nonfridge spot for displaying art, homework, and schedules, like a magnetic board.
To buy: Everyday kitchen tool set (top right), $100 (15 pieces); oxo.com; SmorgasBoard, $75 for set; ilovehandles.com; Lattice stool, $398; michelevarian.com; Hay pepper grinders, $35 each; momastore.org.
Bathroom and Linen Closet
- Discard toiletries you haven’t used in a year (unopened ones can be donated to homeless and women’s shelters). And don’t hoard hotel minis if you never pack them when you travel.
- Stash towels at eye level, since you’ll be reaching for them frequently. Hand towels and washcloths can be rolled and stowed in baskets to prevent toppling stacks.
- Illuminate the contents by installing stick-on, motion-activated lights.
Package sheet sets within one of the matching pillowcases to keep everything together in a neat stack.
To buy: Dash throw in neon pink, $88; thelittlemarket.com; Brooklinen wool throw blanket, $229; brooklinen.com; Calvin Klein x Pendleton Peter wool saddle blanket, $285; calvinklein.us; Classic Core sheet set, from $99; brooklinen.com; Organic cotton towels, $50 for 3-piece set; grundamerica.com; Waffle bath towels, $49 each; parachutehome.com; No. 10 Fabric Fresh, $16; thelaundress.com; Spectrum metal wire storage baskets, $13 each; bedbathandbeyond.com; Chandler woven collapsible storage, $22; potterybarnkids.com; Mr Beams wirelessmotion-sensing LED Stick Anywhere lights, $30 for 3; homedepot.com.
- Set rules like at school: Once you’re done playing with something, return it to its rightful home.
- Use clear bins so kids can see what goes inside. Keep them small; bigger bins become dumping grounds.
- Place a hamper in their closet where they can toss clothes they’ve outgrown. When it fills up, make a trip to the donation center.
Make storing collections part of the room’s decor. Use a magnetic knife holder to corral Matchbox cars.
To buy: Eket storage combination with legs, $130; ikea.com/us; Half Dot rug, $299 (4 by 6 ft.), and Wood and Wire gray cube bins, $29 each; landofnod.com; Sterilite large flip-top bins, $22 for 6; amazon.com; Our Tall Shoe Boxes, $4 each; containerstore.com; Magnetic Strip bulletin board, $13, and Mighties magnets, $8 for 8; threebythree.com; One World Denim Globe Pouf, $248; michelevarian.com.
- Hang all clothes facing the same direction and arrange like items together so you can easily see what you have (and need).
- Use an acrylic letter file to stash clutch purses upright on a closet shelf.
- If you’re consigning pieces online and they haven’t sold in three months, donate them. Keep them separate from your closet in the meantime.
- Prevent discarded clothes from piling up on the bedroom chair. Place a basket next to it where those items should land (out of sight) until they can be sorted.
Style flat surfaces like dresser tops and bedside tables with a few objects you enjoy to discourage them from becoming landing strips for clutter.
To buy: Bamboo deep drawer organizers, $30 for 2; containerstore.com; Silver rope hamper, $99; potterybarnkids.com; Calvin Klein x Pendleton Peter wool saddle blanket, $285; calvinklein.us; Billy lounge chair and ottoman; Liz O’Brien Antiques, 212.755.3800 for info; Peek 6-drawer dresser, $1,999; bludot.com; Seagrass basket, $128 (short); serenaandlily.com; Custom rug, $599; abchome.com for similar; Vases; The End of History, 212.647.7598 for info.Our Experts
- Sally Augustin, PhD, environmental and design psychologist
- Elspeth Bell, PhD, psychologist specializing in clutter issues
- Jacquie Denny, cofounder of the online auction site Everything But The House (EBTH)
- Molly Graves, cofounder of The Neat Method
- Isha Gupta, MD, neurologist at IGEA Brain & Spine
- Debra Johnson, Merry Maids home cleaning expert
- Ellen Madere, professional organizer in Old Lyme, Connecticut
- Melissa Maker, author of Clean My Space
- Jordan Marks, cofounder and owner of It’s Organized
- Andrew Mellen, professional organizer
- Rachel Rosenthal, organizing expert
- Beth Penn, author of The Little Book of Tidying and founder of Bneato Bar in Los Angeles
- Gail Saltz, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell Medical College
- Mimi Shagaga, Beverly Hills–based clinical psychologist