By Sarah Aguirre, About.com Guide
To clear clutter, you have to know where it is. Obvious clutter is easy, but what about all those hidden caches of stuff hiding in your home? These 8 trouble spots may be hiding a lot of clutter but the solutions for getting rid of it are simple to implement.
What You May Find in the Linen Closet
Worn out sheets and linens
Linens for beds in sizes you no longer own
Towels past their prime
Cleaning rags ready to be retired
Tablecloths that you'll never use
More sets of linens than are needed
Decluttering the Linen Closet
To declutter the linen closet,, start by sorting linens by purpose or by the room they are used in. This will give you a better idea of how many items you actually have. Go through and remove any items that are no longer used, or are stained, or damaged. Next decide how many of each kind of linen you actually need. This might be different for each family. Once you've sorted what you are keeping, neatly fold and arrange those items and get rid of the ones not needed.
What You May Find Under the Kitchen Sink
Excess cleaning supplies
Fire extenguisher that need to be replaced
Items you no longer need
Empty or nearly empty cleaning supplies
Dectluttering Under the Sink
There may be some fairly dangerous types of clutter hiding under your kitchen sink. Cleaning chemicals and household items may seem like they will last forever, but can actually lose their ability to clean over time. Be sure to dispose of these items properly. If your cleaning supplies have changed in scent, consistency, or color, they may need to replaced. Make sure to remove any damaged containers as well. Tidy up under sink by storing items for similar jobs in bins to organize them.
What You May Find In Your Clothes Closets
Clothes that no longer fit
Clothes that are damaged or no longer worn
Clothes that you no longer like
Accessories that are no longer wanted
Shoes that have seen better days
Decluttering the Clothes Closet
One of the biggest clutterers in our closets are items that are rarely or never worn. One of the most common excuses is that we may one day fit into clothes that aren't fitting right now. Unless there is a definite day in the future when that will happen, you might be better off buying new clothes when new goals are achieved. We sometimes also keep clothing, shoes, and accessories that we don't really like. Let go of these items to make room for ones that you love.
What You May Find in the Pantry
Expired food or food that has gone bad
Small appliances that haven't been used in years
Food that you don't like and will never eat
Items that you like but no longer want to eat
Decluttering the Pantry
Decluttering the pantry works best if you start by removing everything. Shelves will need to be wiped down anyway, and having everything out will make the job that much easier. Sort out any items that have expired or gone bad and throw them away. Take out food that you will not eat and make arrangements to donate it. Go through other items in the pantry and get rid of items that are only taking up space. Some use the one year rule of thumb. If you haven't used it in a year, let it go.
What You May Find in the Utensil Drawers
Too much of any one item
Items that are dull or damaged beyond repair
Items that are never used
Odds and ends that found their way in.
Decluttering the Utensil Drawers
I was a little shocked when I recently dug into my utensil drawers. They were overflowing but not with items that I actually needed. To declutter your utensil drawers, start by sorting through the entire drawer. Remove items that are not needed or are damaged. Wipe out the drawers thoroughly and replace the items you actually need. Consider using a utensil caddy to separate items and make them more easily located.
What You May Find in Junk Drawers
Menus for restaraunts
Rubber bands that are wadded together
Batteries that are past their prime
A variety of items that may make your head spin
Decluttering Junk Drawers
Junk drawers are made to hold those miscellaneous items we can't seem to find other places for. This can make decluttering difficult. I like to start by removing everything and doing a quick sweep for trash, then items that have a home elsewhere in your house. Finally, sort through and organize those remaining necessities. Try a drawer organization system to keep this clutter drawer more thoroughly organized.
What You May Find on Bookshelves
Books you no longer want
Stacks of magazines
Old library books that are way past due
Books you borrowed from other people
Decorative items that you'd like to replace
Papers that need to be sorted, shredded, or filed
To declutter, remove all the books and decorative items so that shelves can be dusted. Get rid of items that you have no intention of reading or using. For magazines containing single articles or recipes that you wanted to keep, clip the items out to save. I've even been known to take pictures of recipes with my camera phone so that I limit the paper in my collections. Consider donating items that are still in good condition but need a home other than yours.
What You May Find in Storage Areas
Old items that are no longer needed
Items that belong to other people
Treasured items that are in danger of being damaged
Accessories for items you no longer own
Papers that can be shredded or discarded
A scary assortment of stuff
Decluttering Storage Areas
Storage areas can take a long time to declutter. I recommend setting aside an entire day or series of days dependin on the enormity of the task. it's also a good idea to have help. There may be items that are heavy or bulky that need to be moved. Give yourself an incentive, like preparing for a garage sale, to get yourself motivated. Be sure to throw out trash, donate other items, and repackage any damaged boxes.