Clutter is a problem that can very quickly take over a home before it is noticed. A couple papers left here or there, a few articles of clothing draped over a chair and some books and toys scattered about, and you've got clutter. It can be very difficult to control clutter because it is so easy to fall into the clutter trap. Fortunately, with a little effort, it is possible to crawl back out of the clutter trap and reclaim your nice and tidy home.
The first step to clutter control is to get rid of the clutter. Take the time to sort through the areas that collect the most clutter, such as counters, drawers, and closets. Don't try to tackle a big task all at once. Start small, breaking the tasks into manageable sized chunks. Sort the clutter into three piles. One pile is for things you need to keep, and one is for things to give, or throw, away. The third pile is for things you are unsure about. Be ruthless. Unless it is a seasonable item, it should be used regularly. There is no point in keeping something if the only thing it does is take up space.
Go through the house, decluttering each area as you come to it. Depending on your home, this clutter control step may only take a couple of hours or as much as a couple of weeks. As soon as you have taken care of one area, get rid of your junk pile. Don't let it stick around to become clutter again. Everything in the third pile should be set in an out of the way place, like the garage, for a few months. As you need items, go get them. Whatever is left at the end of that time should be gotten rid of.
Designate a place for everything, and use organizational products to help keep things where they belong. Try to keep track of where things end up, and where they are most often used. The most logical place for a mail sorter, for example, is near the door. This eliminates the likelihood of the mail being trailed through the house and turning into clutter. Have a system in place for each room of the house, and make sure the system is practical. If it takes too much time or effort to keep things neat, it is more likely that the clutter problem will come back.
Get your family to help out with the clutter control. Even young children can help by picking up their toys. Older children can be responsible for going through the house before bed to gather up all of their things and keeping their rooms neat. Any other adults in the household should be responsible for their own things, as well as being able to help out with other cluttered areas. Show everyone the new organizational systems, and explain that you expect them to use them. Use gentle reminders to keep everyone working on improving their clutter habits. It may take a while, but before long, the new habits will replace the old ones, and your family will be enjoying the benefits of clutter control