Let's Attack the Clutter! Show and tell
Emily Hurley
October 14, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Do you do battle with the clutter monster? I do. I think everyone does, even if their monster is tiny, friendly and mostly cute.

Let's all choose one area and tame it. Who's in?

Share your problem area, your plan and when you are finished, let's see some after pics!

Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Brenda
I just tamed the 'clutter monster' in my master bathroom this past weekend. It had gotten so bad that if you needed an aspirin, you would have been better off driving to the store to get one, rather then try to find one in my MB cabinetry. So, I went through everything, threw out what was expired/obsolete, grouped like things together, bought plastic storage bins for each 'group', and made labels to keep it organized. Don't have any idea why I lived with the clutter for as long as I did -- it didn't really take that long to get organized and it has brought a sense of order to my morning routine.
October 14, 2013 at 2:17PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Emily Hurley
Love it! Also, I'd kill for that much storage in my Master Bathroom. :)
October 14, 2013 at 2:37PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Ryan Ganley
Oh my god, Yes I have a "Clutter Monster"!
October 15, 2013 at 2:12PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
ASVInteriors
My clutter monsters are called, Fred, max, joe. Each represents a room that I need to organize and de clutter. Fred was eliminated gangster style two weeks ago after hmmmm 8 years! He is now the art room. Max and joe.... Your turn next....
October 15, 2013 at 2:53PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
puzzlebird
The garage is my biggest clutter monster. It functions as big item storage for my small 70's ranch and unfortunately has also become the catch-all for all kinds of stuff.
October 15, 2013 at 9:15PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Sigrid
I promised to love, honor and cherish my clutter monster. He seems to think that means love, honor and cherish his stuff, too. Or at least honor and cherish it.
October 15, 2013 at 10:38PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
solraven
I've always admired the cleanliness of minimalist design, but thought it would be difficult to constantly keep your home, that sparse and uncluttered.

The other day, I was watching HGTV and they were featuring an ultra modern house on Extreme Homes. As I looked at the sparse and minimal design, I realized something, the rooms weren't minimal, but maximal... as in storage! This ultra minimalist house was really a maximal storage wonder! The walls, were large solid panels, that were full of storage! As I looked around the house, the rooms had so much secret storage, that it looked empty.

If it wasn't storage, it was hidden. The bookshelves were hidden, the TV was hidden, I think the only thing not hidden was the fireplace! LOL...

Of course, after I had this revelation, all I wanted to really see was what was behind the walls of storage. I'm sure they would be very tidy and neat, but I just wanted to "see" what was hiding behind all those panel doors.
October 16, 2013 at 12:19AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
witch06
Thank God, I thought I was the only one with such a monster in the house ! I've been de-cluttering and refurbishing my 3 220 square feet house for the last year and it's still not finished yet. I'm doing it on my own durind week-ends and holidays and this is why it takes so long. I enter each room as if it was the first time, empty all stuff and try to match my new decoration to the particular use of the room. This is why his home office became my closet and his wardrobe became our linen storage while I converted a useless corridor into a large closet for his suits. I even customized 2 Ikea towel rails into a practical tie rack in order to tidy up his closet ( http://relooking-easy.blogspot.fr/2013/05/diy-dressing-story-un-porte-cravate.html ) It's really exhausting but the end result is worth it !
October 16, 2013 at 3:21AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
elklaker
I just tackled the garage. My neighbor gave me 5 gallons of leftover house paint (light taupe) so, why not paint the garage, right? Oy vey! Let's just say that I should go out and tip the poor garbage men who are currently picking up the junk that could neither be donated nor recycled. After several trips to Goodwill and about 4 days of work, I am quite pleased!
October 16, 2013 at 4:51AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
charleee
When I retired, taming the clutter monster was one of my first priorities. I'm proud to say that after 4 years the monster has still not returned. I can't stand clutter! The hubby, however, loves "things" and collections and, yes, clutter. But as long as he keeps it out of the common areas, I'm ok with that.
October 16, 2013 at 5:13AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
pcride
Looks like you need to take out the shelves and throw up some cabinets. You have good space for multiple cabinets
October 16, 2013 at 7:09AM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
firefly5
My clutter monster is a whole room. I'm so embarrassed to post this picture because it makes my house look like one of those documentary programmes about crazy people who can't throw away newspapers and stuff. We're in the process of renovating three rooms: kitchen, dining room and study, and all the junk out of the cupboards has been piled up in this room. Anyway, it needs to be tackled, so today I start the mammoth task of working through all the junk, so that we can turn it into a nice family room. Bye bye clutter monster!
October 16, 2013 at 8:32AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
sunnydrew
Don't be embarrassed, considering the renovations. Use the time and opportunity to really go through and donate or recycle what ever you can. No sense putting all the "stuff" right back where it was. Go for it!
October 16, 2013 at 8:38AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
alh1881
What do you do if your clutter monster just keeps re-cluttering the common areas, regardless of your pleading, cajoling, reasoning, offers of help, implementation of storage systems, etc.???
October 16, 2013 at 9:54AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
JudyG Designs
IMO, chronic clutters do not do it on purpose…I think the organizational part of the brain is cluttered. Men, in particular, seem the worst offenders. There must be a lot of articles on this..

But, anyway, alh1881, get a huge basket and anything left around gets thrown into it. Maybe after a few days of hunting through the stuff…?

My prayers are with you…can’t shoot him...
October 16, 2013 at 10:04AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
happyasaclam
witch06, you are my hero! Quite a transformation! I'm going to follow your lead!
October 16, 2013 at 10:24AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
gephillips
Ugh! I am so in... It seems that I will get one room re-organized, only to find another room needs major work and by the time I get thru each room....it's time to start all over. Very small farmhouse with no closets to speak of and way too much "STUFF" I have thought about hiring an auctioneer to come in to help me. I need some repairs so maybe I could get the money together by selling my stuff to someone else :) No time to put a yard sale together, they dont do well where we are since it is so rural.
October 16, 2013 at 10:51AM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
alh1881
gephillips-- Maybe you could hire an estate sales company. Some will take your stuff and sell it in another location, so the sale wouldn't have to be in your house. They usually charge 30 to 40% of the take, but they'll get more money for the stuff than you probably would at your own garage sale. And they'll clean, organize, and remove the stuff so you won't have that burden.
October 16, 2013 at 11:03AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
charleee
alh1881, if your clutter monster is relentless about where he places his clutter, pick it all up daily and put it somewhere that will bother him. Like his side of the bed, or on top of his dresser. Actions do speak louder than words.
October 16, 2013 at 11:32AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
jpp221
I married a clutter freak. And he works in a gift shop, meaning there is always more junk to bring home (slightly scratched unsaleable but oh-so-rare must have items like ceramic soap dishes shaped like Mariah Carey). After fighting it for years, I realized that I would never tame the beast. I cleaned out and rearranged (that second part is key) the basement one day. 14 garbage bags later, he's hardly noticed anything missing--because what remains has been organized and sorted so the whole space just looks different anyway, and it's easy to convince my hoarder that "it's down there somewhere I'm sure". He might go looking for the ceramic dog playing poker by the manger nativity scene (bet you never knew there was such a thing did you), but before long he gets distracted--especially if I dangle something shiny like the house keys--and then he forgets what he was looking for anyway.
October 16, 2013 at 11:43AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
JudyG Designs
This probably is NOT the way to handle it, but when we were first married, the Clutterer was not cooperating at all. He would hang his suit pants up by carefully inserting the cuff into the bureau drawer and closing it. If I wanted something in the drawer, the pants fell on the floor and I had to hang them up. Ties, over the headboard, socks everywhere…..

One day I was so livid with the mess in the bedroom, I opened the window and threw everything out on the front lawn where it remained until Clutterer returned home from work.

45 years later, he still is a clutterer, but only in the basement where there are no windows. : > ).
October 16, 2013 at 11:44AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Joanne Heidkamp
This was clutter taming on a budget. A few weeks ago my husband and I took everything out of this closet, including the improvised plastic shelving that didn't work. One we decided what we really needed to have available in this premium space near the kitchen, we grouped it by function, measured it, and built shelves out of wood salvaged from other projects. Painted it all with leftover paint. We put each tool on the scanner and made an image, which I glued to the "tool board" and coated with varnish - it is easy to see which tool goes where, and what's missing. No budget for cute baskets - I used an assortment of boxes we had lying around. Next step is to label them - but we know what goes in each. Voila - space for cat box, litter and cat food; laundry supplies, house cleaning supplies, shoe polish, trash bags, grocery bags, extension cords, light bulbs, and the tools we reach for most often when making small repairs. Total cost was $8 for the hooks (because I wanted something nicer than nails for hanging the broom, etc). It is far from fancy, but so functional.
October 16, 2013 at 2:58PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
edithsmom
Joanne Heidkamp, your storage closet just gave me the idea I needed for our deep entry hall closet. The front has a clothes pole for coats and in the back of the closet husband stores his tools, nails,screws, extra wood,etc and has a terrible time finding what he needs. I believe we will set aside a day to re-do that closet. Thank you.
October 16, 2013 at 7:10PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Elizabeth Woodfield
Last January, we decided to sell our 3200 sq. ft. home in which we had lived and raised our children for the past 17 years. Suffice to say that all 3200 sq. ft. were stuffed to the gills with things! Our home was not ready to go on the market until early July....it took us that long to declutter, paint, and prepare the home for sale. We rented at least five dumpsters and the junk man made at least three different trips to our home, plus the countless trips making donations to different charities. We then moved into a 2200 sq. ft. home and are settling into it with the goal of everything having a place and not having junk and clutter everywhere. It's a work in progress so far. We have installed shelving systems in closets, and are using baskets and bins to organize things. I have decided to minimize the different cleansers we will use for the home so that we will have a limited number of those types of items. Plus, there will be a set of cleaners, in their own tote, on each floor of the home. My husband has been putting things into the attic for long-term storage; and we are using the garage and extensive shelving for items for which we need access (tools, decorative items) but not immediately. So far, it's been a joy moving into the home because we have, compared to the past, so little, and we have the space to make decisions about where to put it based on how it will be used. The most joyful thing is that we have agreed that we do not want to get ourselves into that massive clutter-mess we got into before.
October 16, 2013 at 8:04PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
alh1881
Here are four images of our utility/laundry room. Note that there are lots of labeled bins and cabinets, all created with the goal of reducing clutter and disorganization. Clutter Monster thinks their use is optional. Why use a basket when you can just dump it on the countertop or floor, after all? Clutter Monster also uses this room as his personal closet, which explains the clothes hanging all over the place. Clutter Monster has twice the closet space upstairs that I do. Plus he has a locker cabinet with hanging space in the utility room, but he uses it for storing papers. And I even bought an antique wardrobe cabinet and put it in the room adjacent to the utility room so that he could store some clothes downstairs if he wished. But he likes them hanging in the utility room. SIGH.
PS- Iamjudy I like your idea of throwing it all out the window! But that would get me in trouble. >:-{
October 17, 2013 at 8:34AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
edithsmom
alh 1881...you may not have meant the post to be amusing, but I have enjoyed it and other's posts about their Clutter Monsters. I suppose it's good both people in a home are not clutterers.
October 17, 2013 at 11:57AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
alh1881
edithsmom-- I retain a sense of humor about it myself-- I have to, or I'd go completely mad! :-P
October 17, 2013 at 11:59AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
LB Interiors
I've enjoyed this thread and you are all so funny! I'm the Clutter Monster with all my crafty, artsy, one day can use it, interesting shaped objects to create something, paints, brushes, sponges, rags, decorator items and weird stuff that is mostly in my garage.

Funny to come across this today, as I just prepared 8 bags of stuff for donation and only 3 bags to throw which contained bubble wrap, plastic bags alll sizes, some zippered plastic bags, margerine containers for painting, cardboard scraps, wood scraps, fabric scraps and so much more. All this stuff for creating was cluttering my mind too. Get overwhelmed with 'what should I use for the next art canvas'. So it becomes harder to even begin. But, I'm working on it :)
October 19, 2013 at 8:17PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
puzzlebird
baby steps today... I took three bags of books to the library, and two boxes to Goodwill. (only another couple of cubic yards of stuff to go ;)
October 19, 2013 at 9:30PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
makennac
This is a brilliant discussion!! If Houzz gave Academy awards for the most stirring ideas, this would win BEST in all categories!! Congrats!! I wonder if I'll find the courage to actually post a pic of my clutter and which rooms (uh huh that's plural) I'll choose to share... Gulp!! I can't. I just can't. That's why carpenters make doors!! M
October 20, 2013 at 5:59PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Elizabeth Woodfield
I'm glad that everyone here has a sense of humor! I am a firm believer that it is always important to find a bit of humor in our situations...in this case, whether we are the clutterer or our housemates are the clutterers!
October 20, 2013 at 6:16PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
gephillips
I had to clean up my "plant room" used to be a patio that the original owners made part of the house. Well it houses my oldest and dearest tropical plants during the winter. During the summer it houses all the stuff I dont have room anywhere to store. This time I did better. As I was clearing I washed the used planters,vases, and silk flowers and put them in a box for selling. I threw out the used plastic pots, butter containers(lol @ LB you are not alone) clear plastic produce containers that make great mini greenhouses if you get around to starting your veggie seeds early...which I planned on doing but never did, ha! I will see if I can get hubby to take pics for me and will get the good stuff posted on craigslist. I still have a long way to go but.....I will have to wait til my body recovers from this weekend before I start the other half of the plant room.
October 21, 2013 at 8:49AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Crystal
My clutter is paper!!!!!! I always get behind on either filing or shredding.
October 28, 2013 at 10:14PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
sbrustein
I too am inundated with paper. I am afraid to toss. When I do, I seem to need what I just threw out. I now put statements in boxes in my basement. I hate going down there.
November 10, 2013 at 6:53PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
condorehab
I moved from 2400 sq ft to 1400. In the process, I got rid of clothing I could no longer wear (lost 20 pounds) or didn't wear, extra dishes, books, cooking dishes (I had far more than I needed), spare pieces of furniture. I was ruthless- that's the only way to do it. Workmates took away a great deal; a junk service took away the rest. I still have too much but it's much more manageable. I just need time to organize it! And I have a feeling I will get rid of more.
November 10, 2013 at 7:03PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
chookchook2
Storing stuff for my kids. Thinking of getting a storage unit.
November 10, 2013 at 7:08PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
hnks
That thread is awesome!!
November 10, 2013 at 7:18PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
mkhodges
This is so timely! Just this weekend, hubby and I painted the garage. It looked soooooo good when we finished. Then we remembered all the junk was outside on the grass! It was hard, really hard, but we eliminated about half of it. Still more to be done....but the painting got us started. Now I'm on a mission.
November 10, 2013 at 7:44PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
eightpondfarm
well...actually, Christmas automatically declutters the house every year. i remove everything decorative from every shelf and surface and all over the entire house goes things christmasy. when christmas is over all the ornaments are packed away, VOILA!! a blank slate! every year i get to see new stuff, cause most of all the old stuff goes to my rented booth in the antique mall in town. since i can't seem to stay away from auctions, well....there's always a TON of new 'stuff' ready to display....for 11 months
November 10, 2013 at 8:06PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
charliebeth
I'm pretty organized thanks to what I believe might be a smidgen of OCD. :) However, my clutter monster is definitely paper. It is all in its neat little office in the neat little basket, but the basket is overflowing as I get behind on shredding and filing too. I have been trying to be better about shredding more stuff but I do get nervous about needing something and then it's too late. Has anyone else gotten into the habit of scanning receipts into your computer and tossing the actual receipt? I wish I was that progressive, but I'm not there yet. I also have a bad habit of tearing pictures out of magazines that inspire me. Some are cute haircut ideas, fashion, interior design, recipes, crafts to make, you name it. Again, they are all put into neat little categorized notebooks, but then I end up with too many notebooks. I was making "ideabooks" before Pinterest or Houzz came along! Lol! I guess I just need to get in the habit of scanning the pics into my computer and tossing the actual magazine page. It takes more discipline than I've apparently got! Argh!

I enjoy reading about the other clutter monsters and it is good to know I'm not alone. Press on, friends!
November 10, 2013 at 8:11PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Angel18432
My suggestion is not to look at the whole picture of "clutter". It will just overwhelm you and you will do nothing. Instead, pick one closet, one drawer, one cabinet and declutter.

Get one small job done at a time, and in no time, you will have accomplished a room.
November 10, 2013 at 8:13PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
arubalime
I struggle with all the stuff I have saved from my kids. I would love to box all the stuff and give it to them but they live in tiny spaces. I am talking about school papers, scrap books ( photos are digitized but...), and school ceramic art work. I pair it down every year but it is still a lot. What do you do with kid stuff?
November 10, 2013 at 8:27PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Angel18432
Arubalime, I feel for you. Saved lots of toys my kids had hoping to let grandchildren use them. One day I looked at them and said " gosh these don't look that great, wouldn't want grand kids to play with them - rather buy new" So just saved a couple.
Didn't get to Aruba this year - first time in 15 years........... Best Island by far.
November 10, 2013 at 8:42PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
OnePlan
I feel there's two types of clutter - good clutter and bad clutter - my kitchen for example is full of good clutter - stuff I like to see - that's useful !


my daughters bedroom on the other hand if definitely full of bad clutter - or maybe that's subjective- as to her it might be good clutter ?! wish she'd organise her clutter better !!!!!
November 11, 2013 at 1:02AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
firefly5
Hello again, I've made some progress with all the clutter in our soon-to-be family room, there's still a few shelves to clear, but we can actually see the floor again! And I took up the manky old carpet tiles to find reasonable floorboards. I'm pleased with how much better it looks, obviously nowhere near the finished article, but at least it looks like a room again, instead of a nightmare! The plan chest is going, and so is the old metal filing cabinet, but neither fit in my car to take to the dump, so that won't happen until next weekend.
November 11, 2013 at 10:06AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
tennisanyone
I thought I would start with all my VHS tapes. I took my VHS tapes to the library to donate. She told me to just throw them out. No one watches VHS tapes. I said "really, no one wants to watch The Little Rascals or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"? She said No. I tried to declutter.
November 11, 2013 at 10:30AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
edithsmom
Tennisanyone, what did you do with the tapes? You don't bring them home and put them in the garage or cellar, did you? LOL
November 11, 2013 at 11:56AM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
armipeg
2 years ago I got rid of the stuff known as "MAYBE ONE DAY I'LL USE IT". Now I'm clutter free, and my new philosophy is "If I don't use/need it, I don't keep it." I'm very happy with this decision.
November 11, 2013 at 2:33PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
tennisanyone
@edithsmom I threw them out but saved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
November 11, 2013 at 2:33PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Elizabeth Woodfield
That's interesting about the VHS tapes. Last summer, I took a bunch to a resale shop run by a local charity and the women there said they accepted them as some people still bought them. I'm sure they sold them fairly cheaply, but at least someone is getting some use out of them! Sorry you couldn't donate yours.
November 11, 2013 at 2:54PM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Elizabeth Woodfield
I already posted about this several weeks ago, but we decluttered in a MAJOR way last summer when we sold our very large home and moved across the country to a smaller townhouse. Now, we are very carefully putting things away and finding a home for everything, not just stacking the items "until later." I've also gotten rid of more things even as we unpacked! LOL So far, it's great because I have some empty kitchen cupboards (yes!) and our closet isn't stuffed to the brim. I'm lovin' it!
November 11, 2013 at 2:56PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
puzzlebird
awesome job @firefly5! you're making some great progress!
November 12, 2013 at 10:37AM   
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
I Need Help! Deciding on Dresser and Bedside Tables
I have a Svanby Gray Vanvik Bed from Ikea which is...
Please help completing my great room
It is a very bare space at the moment as I have focused...
How many walls should I paint?
I've started painting a guest room in a quilted fashion...
remodeling a current bathroom and considering a steam shower
Our master bathroom is too small for a big shower plus...
Dining chair conundrum...
Dear Houzz Community, I am hoping for some advice on...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2014 Houzz Inc.
Houzz® The new way to design your home™