As much as we hate it, we somehow can’t avoid clutter building up in our homes. Our busy lives make it easy to set something aside to deal with “later,” even if we know later may never happen, and that’s exactly how clutter multiplies. Whether you just put something down or have been avoiding a growing pile of miscellaneous items for months, if it’s making your home messy, its time may be up!

From the junk drawer to under the coffee table and beyond, we have five clutter busters that will turn the seemingly unmanageable chaos into a neat and tidy space.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before starting.

Tackling clutter can be overwhelming and exhausting. Focus on one room at a time to make things less daunting. Starting with an easy area can be a good warm up and give you an extra boost of motivation.

Once you’ve picked where to start, take some time to evaluate the space and identify what the biggest areas of need are. Now that you have an understanding of how much you have to do and what’s the highest priority, you can put together a winning strategy!

Ready to get started? Grab 3 empty boxes and label them “Keep,” “Donate ” and “Discard.” Believe us, you’re going to put them to use soon!

1. Give Everything a Home

Making sure everything has a place to go when you’re not using it makes cleaning up fast and easy. If you don’t have space for everything, prioritize what you need and what you can part with. Are your boxes ready? Bins and baskets will be your new best friend for larger items you never knew what to do with. Small plastic organizers can optimize space where storage is short, like bathroom closets or that infamous junk drawer, so you can fit everything you need in a neat and orderly fashion. Be sure to keep regularly used items easily accessible. You’ll be amazed at the time you save from not having to look for things!

Although this can be a weekend (or two) project, you can always change things later as you discover what works best for your household. And don’t forget, new items need a home too, which may mean getting rid of something else. *Queue next clutter buster.*

2. One-In-One-Out Rule

This rule helps to avoid the accumulation of things that seem to happen overnight. Every time you bring home a new item, find one thing to remove. Not only will you avoid adding to the clutter, but this rule will also help you decide whether you really need something or not. Putting it into practice can be as simple as throwing out a piece of old mail for every new piece you need to keep, or getting rid of a pair of shoes that have seen better days. Don’t forget about the donation box for items that could have a second life.

If you’re really looking for a challenge, change this to the one-in-two-out rule!

3. The One-Year Test

When sorting through rooms and closets, you may come across things that don’t look too familiar. If it’s been a year since you used that kitchen gadget or wore that shirt in the back of your closet, chances are you aren’t going to any time soon, despite what you tell yourself. Free up space quickly by eliminating anything that falls under the one year category. Speed up the process by gathering everything you want to review and doing a rapid round of yes or no.

Take a second look at what barely got into the "yes" pile and determine if you can do without it. Anything that has a no can be tossed or added to your donation box.

4. 10-Minute Challenge

Give yourself the gift of a less stressful morning with the 10-minute challenge! Every night, spend 10 minutes to “reset” your home. Put away and organize all the clutter of the day into its rightful place, unload the dishwasher, put the shoes by the door and arrange the pillows and blankets on the couch. If you have little helpers, you can turn it into a game to see who can put away the most in five minutes (there may need to be a really good prize on the line). Waking up to a clutter-free house will give you a positive boost to start your day!

5. Unsubscribe, Delete, Repeat

Let’s be honest, the clutter doesn’t stop in our homes. Our digital lives can benefit from a clean sweep, too. Inboxes are often overflowing with deals and promotions that are long expired. The next time you check your email, unsubscribe from the first three brands you see that you no longer shop at or have never even heard of. After you unsubscribe, delete the original email andthe email letting you know how much they’ll miss you. Make this a habit, and pretty soon you’ll actually be able to see the mega deals from the places you love before they expire.

Conquer clutter once and for all!

Staying on top of clutter on a regular basis is key to keeping it at a minimum. Choose any of these clutter busters or mix and match to find what works best for your family and schedule. Pretty soon you'll forget clutter even existed.

Quick Tips

Visit your local Dollar Tree to look for plastic organizers. The stock can rotate often, so if they don’t have what you need the first time, check back in a few weeks.

Don’t let the donation box become clutter in your car. As soon as you’ve filled your donation box, drop it off.

If you’re storing large bins, label them by number, then create an inventory list for each to keep in a folder. No more guessing games!

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