Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Clutter confessions

OK, ladies, fess up! We all have at least one dreaded clutter area--whether a closet, drawer or both.

I regularly run through a mental checklist of what needs to be organized in our home, but there's always something I don't quite have a handle on. For me, paper clutter is the worst. I often tear craft and project ideas from magazines and then never do anything with them (the pages or the great ideas!); instead, I stash them in a bin where they look somewhat presentable but are just taking up space.

The second area that always looks cluttered to me is the kitchen cabinet shown above. I'm not a big fan of the lazy susan, anyway, but there are just so many bottles in there, and if I spin the cabinet too hard, they sometimes fall over. I do have a small rack above the oven with the dozen spices I use most, but the rest are jammed in here!

Third, I'm never quite sure what to do with out-of-season clothing. I seem to have started multiple "systems" with various items in one of three places--yikes!

Now it's your turn:
What is one of your dreaded clutter areas?
Any ideas for one of my three listed clutter issues? I'd love to hear them!


Anonymous said...

Dear Carrie,

Without question, my biggest clutter challenge is paper -- lists, recipes, clipped magazine or newspaper articles, bills, photos, coupons, etc! I have a box in the desk drawer for bills that works well, and a basket to collect items for sending with letters that I answer. But for other items, I am still trying to find the "system" that I will really use! I look forward to reading other people's ideas for handling this never-ending organizational challenge!

As for out-of-season clothes, I have a copy paper box on a closet shelf -- one side is labeled "summer clothes" and one side is labeled "winter clothes." This is where I keep T-shirts, shorts, etc. during the winter (with the "summer clothes" label showing) and turtlenecks, sweaters, etc. during the summer (with the "winter clothes" label showing). More than one box could be used if items are too bulky for one box. As for hang-up clothes that I don't want to fold and put into a box, I move the off-season clothes to a separate closet so that only the current season items are in my "daily" closet.

Love you!

Connie said...

Dear Carrie:

Without a doubt clothes is a thorn in my flesh. We have six kids and rotating their clothes is a nightmare. I started using Rubbermaid bins...now I am drowning in Rubbermaid. I have rubbermaid's for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, sports equipment,winter hats and mitts and then all the winter boots, then summer shoes, it's a nightmare....look forward to all your ideas.


Rachel said...

Carrie, I have enjoyed reading your blog. I, too, am always feeling the need to organize and conquer clutter but I've come to terms with my home being a work in process. Everything doesn't have to be just right today. Anyway, as far as the spice cupboard goes, a while back I moved all of our spices and baking stuff (salt, soda, etc.) to a drawer in our kitchen because I was tired of the jumble of them all in our spice cupboard. I have things like extracts or things that could drip in a little bin within the drawer. Now we can easily find any spice with minimal effort.

For clothes, I put the off season stuff in a suitcase we don't often use and all maternity stuff goes in the hope chest.

Leah in Iowa said...

OK, now I'll comment on THIS post a few times. =) Ha.

Regarding clutter, my kids are of the ages (9, 12 and 18) where they make a lot of the mess around here, but they DO help me pick up, dust, vacuum, etc., too. I figure each family member should be able to contribute to the "pleasant feeling" of the house. And also, I'm a firm believer in 2 Thess. 3:10 "If you don't work, you don't eat." (My paraphrase entirely!!)

As to my location, we don't have all that many Swenson's here. I went to switchboard.com and searched for Swenson's in my town, and four came up. So if you think you know, or don't really know for sure yet, just try typing in different towns until you find it. Call me paranoid or schizy! =) No one on the face of God's green earth that I know personally knows I have a blog except one - my cousin's wife in Montana. It's been fun to write in anonymity, but as the world continues to get smaller, I may have to be okay with being "out there". It's sorta fun to have a secret that no one else knows about, too. =)

Leah in Iowa said...

Me again ~

I do NOT consider you "stalker-ish" at ALL!! =)

AND even though we only have four Swenson's in our town, we are EXTREMELY Swedish! The town's sign is on a huge Dhala horse, and there are small Dhala horses hanging from most every business in town. Probably everyone here except me has at least SOME Swedish in them. I am French, Irish and Finnish. That being said, it's probably worse than being a Swede! LOL

If there was a way I could email you privately, I would. Any ideas?

thehomespunheart said...

Carrie -

Ok, confessions coming!

I struggle with paper stuff! Things I've clipped out of magazines, books waiting to be read, things needing attention.

My kitchen counters and dining room table are very hard to keep cleaned off!

I fortunately have such a big closet that out-of-season clothes are not my struggle. I keep my clothes pared down to what will fit in HALF my closet TOTAL. Including all in and out of season items. The other half is used to store maternity and formal clothes, gift wrap and tablecloths as well as extra hangers.

Susan said...


OK, I do not know how to send over a picture of this but the link off of Amazon. Germans have teeny tiny kitchens. They are completely compact and orderly. Many of my German friends do have their spices over the stove. I have a hanging spice rack on my wall below my cabinets from IKEA. IKEA is a store in Europe that specilizes in compact living. Their logo is "trying to do more with less." They have several locations in the US and I found it a unique shopping experience. Please visit IKEA.com for one near you.

Megan said...

I saw your post with the booklet and thought two things: 1) Oh, another book I need to read and 2) Oh, another book that will get lost on my desk.

Because my primary problem is that I unconsciously can't let a flat surface go unstacked-on. I evidently Must Stack On Every Visible Flat Surface.

Drives all of us crazy, myself included...

Kristin said...

Carrie -

Right now I see to be irritated with the clutter of toys! Toy storage space is at a minimum and things never all fit in the toy cupboard. And the corner where they pile is growing in size! I need to find a solution fast...like my dad coming out to build more storage space! Ha! We don't even have all that many toys, but now with the two girls at two stages of play, I guess more toys are out at once.

A, B & C said...

What a great idea... and I love the magazine "Real Simple". I used to have a subscription... maybe I should add that to my Christmas list this year.
Anyway, for the things you tear out of magazines or other random papers, I would buy some of those accordian folders, or you might even have some you don't use. I have one for parenting articles that I find. It has 30 compartments and they are labeled with things like, "0-3 months", "3-6 months", "sleep issues", "starting solids", etc. and then I can refer back to them when I get there, or when I have another child. I think you could really do this with anything. Recipes, articles, tips, etc.
For clothes, I actually keep my "most used" clothes in drawers together and just rotate the items for that season to the top or front of the drawer. Then in the closet, I put least used stuff in the back. Also, you can buy some of those hangers for 5 or 6 pairs of pants and put pants or skirts that are off season on that type of hanger and shove it back in the closet. That way they hang vertically, rather than horizontally, taking up more space.
My clutter confession is books. We have a ton, and being in Paris, where the only English language library CHARGES an arm and a leg, I just borrow from friends. Some live here, some mail me books, and some bring them when they visit. I need a better system of mailing books back and organizing them on my shelves. Any ideas for tabs or plastic index sleeves, to separate the books by who gave them to me and maybe a way to mark what ones need to be mailed or given back? I would love any ideas for this!

myheartisalwayshome said...

Paper seems to be my challenge. The solution I found for recipe and craft clippings is to use a binder. I have different catagories and slide the large pages into page protectors. For smaller clippings I will put the clippings on a piece of cardstock before putting into the binder. The binders I use have pockets in the front. I will slide the clippings into the pocket until I have some freetime to sort them. It took me a bit to get into this habit.

My lazy susan cabinet is a mess. I will have to straighten it out very soon. I am frustrated everytime I have to get in there. Good luck organizing!

carrie said...

Thanks to everyone who has left comments so far!

Mom, well your girls certainly inherited your love of paper! =) Good idea for clothign storage--simple and cheap.

Connie, oh my. That sure is a challenge! Maybe you could post this on your blog and ask for responses or e-mail I'm an Organizing Junkie (link on my blog).

Rachel, small world! You live in my hometown! Thanks for the ideas. I like the idea of a bin for "drippy" stuff.

Leah, I hope we can keep communicating! I've enjoyed reading your blog and your comments here.

Monica, that's inspiring that you only use half your (albeit large) closet. Posting my confession and reading the comments will hopefully motivate me to get the clothing storage issue under control!

Susan, I am already acquainted with--and somewhat enamored with--IKEA! I visited my first in France 7 years ago, and have now been to several in the U.S.

Megan, I'm quite the stacker, too. Would you prefer I not enter you in the drawing? =) I tried to leave a comment on your blog (twice, actually), and it never posted. Not sure what I did wrong.

Kristin, thanks for calling the other day. I hope you can get some more storage (and a visit from Grandpa) soon!

A, thank you for your suggestions. An accordion file is a great idea. For labeling the books, I'm a big fan of Post-its. Maybe you could have a divider on your shelf for "ones to read" and "ones already read".

Wendi, cardstock is a good idea. I think I will try that with my small clippings!

Meredith said...

I have attacked my "hot spots" one by one--but spices are my downfall. Let's just say your lazy susan would be an improvement on my spice cabinet!

For out-of-season and future-size kids clothes, I use the system outlined in the Tightwad Gazette.