Add your best clutter clearing tip!
Emily Hurley
November 13, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I'm sure each of you has at least one tip when it comes to clearing clutter in your home, even if you don't always follow it yourself ;) Let's see what the Houzz community can come up with!

Share your tip! (photos encouraged)

Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Emily Hurley
Here's a simple one.

Everytime you find a pen that doesn't work in your house, THROW IT AWAY! There is no reason to leave it til later because it might miraculously work again. Toss it.
November 13, 2013 at 11:32am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Jennifer Bush
For the kitchen, I try to clean as I cook so there isn't much piling up in the evening. Our kitchen is small so even a little clutter really gets in the way.
November 13, 2013 at 11:51am        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
vkilpatrick
Don't buy stuff, craft supplies, storage bins ect until you know for sure what you need! And don't be emotional when clearing out-just toss it! I 've heard some groups have craft supplies or sewing scraps swap parties-great idea. Don't forget the cupcakes!
November 13, 2013 at 11:54am        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Mark
I take advantage of every little space I can find to help decluter my home. On the back of my closet door I just finished building shelves which I will be putting to good use. The other thing I did was to use the very narrow space at the bottom of this cabinet that is in a small foyer. The top part of the cabinet was recessed into the wall allowing me to store some of my collectables but the bottom couldn't be so I was left with a very narrow space so I decided to built shelves to store shoes in. Ten pairs of shoes fit in that space.
November 13, 2013 at 11:56am        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
unwantedadvice
Emily, the pic you provided would drive me nutty! How would one possibly clean all that stuff?

I read a clutter story on here and it was something like, you see something out of place, you pick it up and put it where it belongs and that can mean toss away too. Wish I could remember more but it was in the de-cluttering section.

As far as my own getting rid of clutter, I am choosing to sit here and type out this big, long, rambling comment about clutter instead of getting off my arse and doing something about all the stuff that needs my attention right now. Sing along with Robert Palmer, " might as well face it, I'm addicted to houzz".
November 13, 2013 at 12:05pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Stohlman & Kilner Remodeling Contractors
-What you have not use in the past six months, it 's trash....most of the time.
-Ask your self what do you really need?
-Clean a bit everyday
November 13, 2013 at 12:06pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
mamadubbs
We try to go through our closets every couple of years. If we haven't worn something since the last clean, throw it out or give it away. Same with buying new. Buy a pair of pants, get rid of a pair. It's a great idea even if I don't always follow it myself ;)
November 13, 2013 at 12:10pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Piff
Big believer in one goes in, one goes out mentality. As gorgeous as that photo is, I would have hives if I had that much stuff. I'm an aggressive culler. Whenever my mom comes to visit, she always brings me a little tchotchke of some sort. It's really sweet but I get so annoyed. Ugh THINGS.
November 13, 2013 at 12:13pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
Putting matching wicker baskets on the shelves of storage closets (especially in bathrooms) has transformed our lives. Everything now has its place, and the clutter is hidden.
November 13, 2013 at 1:08pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
California Closets
A place for everything and everything in its place!
November 13, 2013 at 1:09pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
indianpatti
I keep 2 boxes in my garage for the Salvation Army ... 1 for clothing, the other for houseware. Whenever I find something that we have not used for 6 months, I put it in the appropriate box. When a box is full, I drop it off.
November 13, 2013 at 1:12pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Kari D
Don't buy things impulsively. Just because there's a sale or limited quantity doesnt mean you should buy it. I tell myself if I've lived without it until now I don't really need it. That's how I avoid the chaos of too much stuff (and Black Friday).
November 13, 2013 at 1:13pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
Wait 24 hours before buying anything except groceries! After you've slept on it, purchases rarely feel as necessary (or even attractive) as they do in the store.
November 13, 2013 at 1:18pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Maddy Montemayor
If I haven't used it in the last 6 months, unless it's holiday decor I get rid of it. And I am guilty of keeping pens...I keep wishing they will work again :( haha
November 13, 2013 at 1:32pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Judy M
Simple, every item needs a home, if you don't have space for a new item, old items must be tossed to make room.

I prefer as much closed storage as possible.
November 13, 2013 at 1:33pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
unwantedadvice
I looked up the decluttering column on houzz and it is by Alison Hodgson, " Three Magic Words for a Cleaner Home and a Better Life". Simple but succinctly clear, "How about now". Give it a read!
November 13, 2013 at 1:44pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
smileyface2013
The (original) Happy Homemaker, Sue Ann Nivens says:

"Now, if you want to tidy up in a hurry, think of your living room as a big clock. Start at midnight, and then go around the room working clockwise toward the kitchen. You'll be done in two shakes of a lamb's tail. "

I love Betty White! :)

source: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0148018/quotes
November 13, 2013 at 1:55pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Luciana
I got confused when I read the title 'add your best cluttering tips'! already thinking Houzz had gone mad! Why would someone be interested in tips on how to clutter a space, does anybody actually need tips for that and, most importantly, do I have a photo to illustrate it (I admit I have a small, tiny, teenie-weenie obsession with posting photos). Anyway, my brain kicked into gear few seconds later (bloody English!) and realised the mistake.

Unfortunately, I seem to have no great wisdom to impart regarding de-cluttering (are you sure you don't want tips about cluttering? I can write an essay about that!).
I do have a box (for 'stuff') and a bag (for clothes) for charity in the basement and use one of the guest rooms to just dump things I'm not sure about - until it's time for my mother to come over and then the charity box (and basement) get filled up really quick.

And just because I have to post photos, here's some with the mess in each of the rooms in our basement, but that's acceptable because basements are supposed to be messy, right?
November 13, 2013 at 3:06pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
smileyface2013
Luciana, you're hysterical! Thanks for the laughs! :)
November 13, 2013 at 4:51pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
hparks74
Ummm.... Don't ever look under the beds.
November 13, 2013 at 5:18pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PirateFoxy
I just cannot do the 'if you haven't used it in 6 months throw it out' thing because it feels like EVERY TIME I do that, I end up needing the whatever it was a month later. Plus I tend to live with computer/electrical engineering geeks and try to convince THEM to throw away that random something-or-other. HAH.

My solution is to put limits on collection sizes of things. For example, a relatively large basket on a closet shelf is for kid's crafting odds and ends - paper towel rolls, interesting empty jars, bits of fabric and string, all that random stuff that accumulates that kids sometimes have fun with. If something particularly exciting comes in and the basket is full, something has to go so the new thing can stay. In the kitchen, I have a drawer for take out container type things. For everyday we use glass snapware for leftovers, so the drawer is little containers that seem useful for packing lunches, and stuff that is likely to be used sending leftovers home with a guest, those sorts of things where you don't want to worry about getting it back. Drawer is too full? Weed stuff out.

Usually it doesn't take that long to either decide you don't really need to keep the new thing, or find something to take out that makes you go 'why did I decide to keep THIS?'

And also, I find it important to have these things be stuff that is put AWAY. Closed closet, closed drawer - even a generally 'cluttered' space like a craft room I at least want to be able to close the door. Otherwise I feel like seeing cluttered stuff makes you feel less like staying on top of putting things away - it's like the visual cue is 'well, it's okay if that thing is out, so why not this other stuff?' (I even try to enforce this with stuff that might not get properly put away, like a throw on a sofa - I want people to use it, so I want to leave it out, but rather than leave it all jumbled up I fold it and casually drape it over the back or an arm, so it at least doesn't look like it was just left in a pile.)

And when I had several housemates when I was younger, I went so far as to use labels. Inside of the kitchen cabinets, for example, had labels that matched up with each shelf saying what went on that shelf. Even when people knew darn well where stuff belonged, without the labels invariably stuff would end up wherever, and usually then things didn't fit in properly because all the bowls weren't nested, etc. (This was when I lived in the UK, so our kitchen for multiple people was approximately the size of a postage stamp.) I imagine that might help with people like kids, too, just be a little reminder of where things go and to THINK about where you are putting things?
November 13, 2013 at 10:16pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
countbla
One place for everything, including easily accessible garbage/recycling containers near areas where they get generated is probably the most important one, from a workflow point of view anyway.

For papers/filing, I found that slapping post-its on new file folders makes sorting documents a bit faster, then after the filing session is done, fire up the computer/printer and make the "proper" labels that look acceptable to my sometimes (ok overly) detailed-obsessed mind ;).
November 13, 2013 at 10:42pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
cox homes
We went from a 3 bedroom full house with great storage 1600 sq ft, to downsize 2 bedroom 1000sq ft, no garage or storage solutions. I decided then (10 yrs ago) to simplify my life. Anything I had doubles of 1 was-- gone. Anything broken, ran down or not working I'll fix it later items--gone. If haven't used in 6 months --gone. Any furniture too big--gone. Excess furniture--gone. Collections keep one. Clothing if haven't worn it 6 months--gone. Okay, so this took care of toasters, sheet ,blankets, towels, broken flashlights, microwaves and other small applnces-I swear to fix someday, Excercise equipmnt, tools, prom dresses, skinny pants skirts and coats, big sectional, loveseat and couch, too many bookshelves, too many books, and pretty soon I was downsized. I've kept it up all these yrs. My best solution was to only keep 8spoons,8knives,8forks,5serving spoons, and a block knife set. If mor shows up find who belongs to it. If company comes-plastic. I do the same with cups,bowls,plates,platters, serving bowls, glasses, and don't buy new unless 1 gets broke.
November 14, 2013 at 12:01am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
lepstein
My favourite is from Peter Walsh: on my birthday, I turn all my hanging clothes so that the hanger is backwards. Every time I wear something, the hanger gets turned the right way. Next birthday, if the hanger is still backwards, I haven't worn it for a year, so out it goes (usually donated).
November 14, 2013 at 12:26am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PirateFoxy
I dunno if I could survive with only 8 pieces of cutlery/place settings. Drives me nuts when entertaining to have to do dishes mid-meal or plan what I'm serving based on what needs a bowl and spoon vs plate and knife and fork and which pieces I haven't used yet. Though I do tend to entertain for fairly large gatherings so that's something where using the space for extra items is 'worth' it. (That said, I do not store all of my spares in the kitchen with everything else. The kitchen gets enough for everyday and my average random-gathering 'large' group. Everything else gets packed up neatly and goes in a labeled tub that can be stored essentially anywhere in the house as long as it's accessible when necessary - stuff big enough to need the extra pieces usually requires planning in advance anyway, so I have plenty of time to get things out.

(I should admit to having a generalized hatred of paper plates and plastic cutlery, though. I just don't enjoy the experience of eating as much when using them for normal meals. A picnic or bbq, okay. Anything that requires a knife and fork? No thanks.)

So I guess in a way that is a clutter clearing tip - spend some time actually thinking about your needs realistically. If you haven't used something often but you do use it, are you willing to sacrifice the space to keep it? Can you find a good place to keep it - just stuffing it Somewhere doesn't count, it has to be someplace where that thing can live. (Like my spare dishes might not end up anywhere near the kitchen, but they always go back to the same place, the tub doesn't shuffle around between closets and the basement and the garage.)

Now if only I could conquer the clutter in my clothing closet. Just no one look in there. :)
November 14, 2013 at 12:36am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
mmarbuv
It's a good day if you throw something away!
November 14, 2013 at 2:54am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
smugsy1122
I grew up in a home littered by clutter and packrat mentality. It drives me insane and I cannot stand it in my own home.

I have two upstairs / downstairs baskets - one at the top of the steps, one at the bottom. They are decorative and small (about 6 x 8). If something made its way to the wrong floor and it is time to put it away but there is no desire to walk to the other floor just to put it away, it goes in the basket. The next time someone goes upstairs, they take the item with them.

My family members also no that if something sits in the basket for too long, then it is fair game for the trash can.
November 14, 2013 at 4:27am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Gail Barley Interiors, LLC
Store things near where they are used and then they are easy to put away. This goes for the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room, any room. If you are unloading the dishwasher, you should not have to walk all around the kitchen. Pots near the stove, glasses near the fridge and dishes near the dining table. Make it easy to put things away!
November 14, 2013 at 6:41am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Anna Hill Designs
I really like to keep my bedroom and kitchen clean and clutter free. The kitchen seems to be more on autopilot for some reason - maybe because I'm a bit of a clean freak where I cook - but the bedroom requires a bit of a ritual.

I make sure I do these three things every day:

1. I always make the bed in the morning. Making the bed takes less than a minute and has a HUGE impact (more bang for my buck with effort and results.)

2. I have a pretty basket near the door where I put items that belong in other parts of the house. I "empty" the basket twice or three times a week to redistribute belongings to their proper place.

3. Every morning, I clean all surfaces of the daily accumulations. (Nightstand, chair, floor, dresser, etc.) This only takes a few minutes (or sometimes there is nothing) and it keeps my bedroom clean and free from clutter.

My bedroom is my sanctuary and I take good care of myself by keeping my bedroom clean. There is nothing like coming home after a long day knowing my sanctuary is clean and clutter free.
November 14, 2013 at 7:02am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
tsudhonimh
If you have a lot of stuff ... as in the article's photo of a craft area ... corral similar items into containers or shelves.

Keeping it all visible is a decluttering paradox. It may seem messier than having things behind closed doors all tidily boxed up, but it keeps you from rummaging through things looking for the teal marker, leaving a mess you promise yourself will clean up later. It also keeps you from buying duplicates or running out of supplies because you can see at a glance how much you hyave on hand.
November 14, 2013 at 7:04am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PirateFoxy
@tsudonimh Good point about having some stuff visible. In the small kitchen I mentioned, I definitely found it more effective to have some items on open shelves rather than tucked away - things like tea and sugar that often got used multiple times a day especially, because often people wouldn't put them back in a cabinet if they were expecting to want another cup of tea in the next hour or so. Likewise some things that are staples but not necessarily used every day, like flour - I emptied the bag into a nice looking well-sealed jar with a neat label, and it was on an open shelf with other similar dry goods, so people could see easily what we had and not be tempted to just buy more. ("Oh, it's not that expensive, I'll buy another bag Just In Case...")

I do think if you're going to have stuff visible then you want it to be as neat as possible even though it's on show - like the dry goods in original packaging on the shelf would have been quite visually cluttered because of all the different sizes and shapes and colors. Decanting everything into appropriately sized jars of a similar style reduces the visual impact even though everything is 'on show'.

I also found it very helpful to install a rail system below the upper cabinets (like some of the ones at Ikea) and got some wire shelves that were supported by the rail. That way I could leave tea/coffee/sugar out near the kettle but they weren't actually sitting on the counter, which looked visually cleaner. I think if a space like a counter is sort of visually tidy it helps things that don't belong stand out more and so people are more likely to notice and put things away.

(I have no idea how some people who LIKE the very 'busy' look of lots of decorative objects manage, it would drive me nuts.)
November 14, 2013 at 8:15am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
keestey
The picture you posted would gives me hives! I am no Martha but looking for things drives me nuts. My partner is just the opposite-wants everything to be visible. The garage is his domain. It is a triple with room for my car only and only because I insisted. Inside the house everything has a home. Although he appreciates my organization, it is not in his nature. A classic case of opposites attract.
November 14, 2013 at 8:53am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Kari D
Seasonal things should not be limited to 6 months. I say wait a year before ridding something.
November 17, 2013 at 12:03pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
pkstanley
This is my tip for a neat closet. Invest in flocked skinny hangers. Not only will you be able to fit more in your closet, it will look incredibly neat. Then arrange like clothes together: pants, jeans, blouses, etc. Finally, and this is a biggy, when you come home with a new item and there is no hanger for it, something else has to go. I have been told by a realtor friend, that I have the neatest closet that he has ever seen!
November 17, 2013 at 2:54pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
kaicade
Donate, donate or sell or throw out! We downsized, and I find messy, unorganized spots are just trying to hold too much stuff. Clothes and toys are constantly being donated at our house. We got rid of many rarely used kitchen items too. I love the space it frees up! I visited a replica of Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home, and they had one four drawer dresser for the entire family! By those standards, we are all hoarders.
November 17, 2013 at 7:30pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
lepstein
I agree, kaicade, and I do donate. Unfortunately, it seems that the empty spaces just fill up with other junk. A never-ending process (I guess that's the point). I visited a Hutterite colony as a kid and they also had one chest and no closets. I've never forgotten the immaculate homes.

pkstanley: I do love the flocked skinny hangers as clothing does not slip off them. Are they ok on sweater shoulders?
November 17, 2013 at 10:29pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Darzy
I just allow one room for clutter (my dressing room closet). That way, the house looks "uncluttered" but behold - don't open that door!
November 17, 2013 at 10:54pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
meggielh
Separate all the clothes you haven't worn in a year into two piles - one to keep and one to give away. Then give them both away!
November 17, 2013 at 11:15pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Mandy Johnson
I have a friend that gets rid of TWO THINGs once they buy ONE thing. This is for most stuff but not all I'm sure
November 17, 2013 at 11:16pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
meggielh
If you really can't bear to let go of things, try this. Put anything you know you really don't use or need but just can't bear to part with quite yet into a cardboard box. Seal it up, mark the date on it, but not the contents. After six months, give the box away WITHOUT opening it! If you haven't dug the items out before then, chances are you won't ever need them.
November 17, 2013 at 11:25pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Caroline Dilbeck
I have two separate issues: Clothes and house clutter. My clothing rule is if I haven't worn it in a year (or for the whole season) it goes into a Goodwill bag we keep in our hall closet. This gives us time to go back and get a piece of clothing if we change our mind (which RARELY happens. Out of sight out of mind.) When the bag is full, my husband and I take it to the donation center without a second glance. For house clutter, I usually do a run through twice a year (once after the holiday season and once at the end of summer). I will clear off all table tops and bookshelves. We clean out closets and shelving in the garage and kitchen completely. We make trash, give, and sell piles. The best part: posting the sell pile on craigslist. It is a great way to make some extra cash!
November 18, 2013 at 6:30am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
chookchook2
Have an armoire with a desk hidden in it,also space for computer equipment, filing drawer, cd shelf, divided stationery drawer, locked cupboards underneath. Shut doors,very neat.
November 18, 2013 at 6:52am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
momof5x
I tell family members to put anything they don't want into the chairity box ( put there for the purpose) outside their room and I will pick it up end of week. Surprising what that can do! I pack everything and drop it off at the donation box in one of our localities.
November 18, 2013 at 7:32am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
lepstein
momof5x: I hope you take the kids with you. It is great for them to learn the value of giving.
November 18, 2013 at 8:35am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
cox homes
One thing I do admit to is a junk drawer. Only for smaller items. For instance, and extra pair scissors, tape disp, screws from a project leftover,etc... Then once a month I clean it out and put all away.
November 18, 2013 at 9:41am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
novicenoodler
Keep surfaces clear and stay away from items besides art that are only used for decoration. They are *literally* just taking up space. It can be tempting to load up on knick-knacks and decor, but I prefer to keep things simple with a one to three items that do triple-duty as decorative, sentimental and practical pieces per surface. For example, I have one bowl on my coffee table and one lamp with a candle on the side table, that's it. The rest of the design is in the furniture, wall hangings, curtains, rug, etc. Some people like and can pull of the stuffed full of decor look, but it is so much work and goes from organized to total mess incredibly easily and is much more of a challenge to coordinate. Plus, to me it feels wasteful because it requires coordinating so many little items that have to be repurchased every time the room is redecorated.
November 18, 2013 at 9:53am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
novicenoodler
Oh also, take advantage of vertical space and odd interior areas! Install shelving on the insides of cabinets and doors, use space underneath *and* above to organize and spread it out visually.
November 18, 2013 at 9:59am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Liza Hausman
Regular purging for sure. Having no-gift kid birthday parties (donate instead), Ikea wall units that are only 12 inches deep and have great colored bins for toys that make for easy clean-up, a spice drawer, and more regular purging
November 18, 2013 at 10:01am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
lepstein
While I understand that "vertical space" can be handy, I am under 5' tall. When I store something too high (i.e., that requires a ladder to get to), I usually forget it is there. Then, several years later, out it goes.
November 18, 2013 at 11:14am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
rosecafe
Moving house frequently does the job. That's when you down size to the right size. : )
November 20, 2013 at 2:36am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Comforts of Home
I have too much stuff...it's all good stuff just too much. I owned a very large country store for 11 years and tired to collect only the best things. Now I feel a little stuck with it all. So, I look for people I know that would enjoy it and give it to them. Just gave my Precious Moments collection which consisted of 3 pieces to a 15 year old Amish girl who loves them:)
November 20, 2013 at 3:17am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
rredpenn
We had 22 years', and two kids', worth of junk accumulating, and an eventual move in the future. So, even though I dreaded the thought, I had two garage sales. Our area has an annual garage sale weekend in August that spans miles of a main highway running through multiple towns. I couldn't have done it without the traffic generated by the garage sale weekend, because we lived in a semi-rural area. The established sale date really motivated me to get it done. I had a closet downstairs where for months, things intended for the August garage sale went and waited. It was a hassle, but also very satisfying. Things that didn't sell went to Goodwill immediately afterwards. I wasn't in it to make money, but the first year, I just put a huge sign up-- "Everything--Twenty-five Cents!" (We got around $300.00!) Did the same the second year, and came out with even more, so it was worth the effort. The biggest payoff was getting all the stuff gone!
November 20, 2013 at 4:34am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
lepstein
Comforts of Home: I have a friend who had a bookstore. She holds a Garage Sale twice each summer and puts out books. Changes them each time. I think she also donates what doesn't go.
November 20, 2013 at 12:22pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
littlehoneybee
I grew up with a paper hoarder, so to this day I don't subscribe to magazines and I read the newspaper online. Junk mail goes immediately into the recycling bin. Bills are paid online and then filed away for one year at which time, they are shredded. Now if I can just get my kids' schools to stop sending home so much paper...
November 20, 2013 at 12:38pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
mommickey
A trash bag or donation bag a week. Everyone has enough to fill it. Craigslist I have five full pages of items I have sold and that's not including ebay. I made 1400. a month selling my kids clothes before and that didn't include the donations. When we moved into this house we combined two homes into one when I met my husband. So we had alot of get rid of still clearing the small stuff.
November 20, 2013 at 12:46pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PirateFoxy
@littlehoneybee - that reminds me of another thing I do to help with clutter. I actually do like magazines for reading in certain situations (when traveling, mostly) or will buy them occasionally when I want inspiration for something. However, who wants a whole stack of magazines sitting around just because you like two pictures? So as I'm reading I mark the pages where there's a picture/column/etc. that I want to refer back to, and then when I get home I go through and if I still like whatever it is, I cut it out of the magazine. Magazine goes in the recycle pile, cutting goes in a file folder temporarily. I have a set of cutting books (basically just sketchbooks with a solid binding) labeled by category (house, kitchen, fashion/makeup, artistic inspiration, etc.) and when I have time or a movie I want to watch, I get those out and a glue stick and my cuttings folder and stick the new cuttings into the books in appropriate places. (If it's a column or article where I need to see both sides, I staple it just at the top or side so you can flip it over.)

This keeps the overall amount of stuff I'm saving small, PLUS it's actually very useful because over time you'll start to see patterns and preferences that you might not have been aware of if you actually sit and look at the things that catch your eye. (Like you might think you like a color in a particular photo, but when you put it next to other things you've liked in the past, it becomes evident that it's not necessarily that color so much as the contrast, or the light levels, or...)

You could also take photos or scan them in, of course, and save them that way, but sometimes I like to have a physical object to look at. Seems to work better for me creatively. (And yes, sometimes I do print out pictures from online to add, too, even with Houzz and Pinterest. Some stuff I just need in hard copy.)

ETA: This has come in super-handy for hair issues, actually. The book I use for fashion/hair type stuff is small enough that I can take it with me to the salon, and I group hair styles together based on timeline (i.e. there's a page from when I was in college, and then when I graduated and felt I should have a more 'grown up' look I started a new page, etc.) so I can show my stylist the current page and she can see what I like and then advise me on how to get something similar that works with my hair and facial features. So I don't get a cookie-cutter haircut and I get something that's flattering, but still has elements of the look I liked.
November 20, 2013 at 1:41pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
bellesum
Children's birthday parties is a great source of clutter for both guests and host.

I try to go through my kids' party bags and remove all the junky novelties immediately. My kids don't really remember or care about them beyond the initial excitement. All the candies go into a ziplock bag that goes into the fridge. I usually cull the accumulated candies whenever they accumulate too much or take them to the office for colleagues to help themselves. My kids do not have free access to candies so there is bound to be excess.

I have also taken more care with what I give out in party bags for my kids' parties or the birthday gifts I pick for other children. I do not give anything in party bags that I do not want for myself. No more cheap novelties from party shops or Oriental Trading! Sometimes a single good quality item is better than a bag full of cheap little junk.

I usually give birthday presents from a tried and tested list that I know will be useful or educational or fun. In fact, recently, I had too little advance notice to shop for a birthday present so I gave book vouchers instead. The kid gets to pick the books he likes.
November 20, 2013 at 2:25pm   
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
What are your best de-cluttering tips?
Most of us admit that we have too much stuff in our...
Your Best Tip for Keeping your Holiday Sanity...
What is your single best tip to keeping your home (and...
Your Best Tip for Moving into your First Home?
What do you wish you knew when you moved into the first...
Your Best Organizing Tips - Tell us!
We're getting close to that time when people get their...
More Discussions
Strange shape bathroom decoration with Porcelanosa tiles
I have a dilemma with the following shape bathroom....
Need backsplash suggestions
We are building a home and are doing our own backsplash....
How to salvage something from this bedroom on a budget?
OK - so first off I know how awful this bedroom looks,...
Need Help! Cabinet help!
Hello. We are currently customizing a house we bought....
Tap water or bottled water?
When you're thirsty, what do you grab - the tap and...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2014 Houzz Inc.
Houzz® The new way to design your home™