Even if you're a black belt in Marie Kondo-ing your home, there are a few spaces people never want to declutter, but really should.
Like other areas of the home, these spaces deserve to be tidy. It'll free up valuable time too. Minutes wasted repeatedly hunting for sneakers, phones and other things add up and make life feel out of control. Yet an hour or so invested in decluttering each of these places will multiply, so you'll get the time back tenfold.
So what are 5 spaces people never want to declutter, but really should? Here's what our professional organizing experts have observed–and advise, and how to declutter your home in these problem areas.
1. The junk drawer
We all have one, the junk drawer, usually in the kitchen is rammed with things like odd utensils, boxes of drawing pins, batteries, picture hooks, scissors, candles, repair kits and more.
These random bits need a home and the junk drawer is an obvious place but it doesn't have to be a chaotic pile of stuff. It is possible to have an orderly system, so you can find what you need quickly and easily when you need it.
'People get overwhelmed by junk drawers because they are usually a variety of random, unrelated stuff, it's an abyss,' says professional organizer Dawn Falcone, founder, The Chaos Liberator.
So how do you declutter a junk drawer? 'The best thing to do is clear off your counters, empty the drawer and have a trash can nearby. Begin by sorting similar items into piles (if there are any).
'Did things end up in the junk drawer that belong somewhere else? If so, shift them to where they belong
'Once you've pared down, it's time to put it back, but I'd recommend getting a junk drawer organizer. It can be simple drawer organizers or boxes in different sizes, or expandable drawer dividers. A junk drawer organizer will prevent this space from getting cluttered again.'
2. The principal bedroom
With two people sharing a space, the principal bedroom can easily accumulate clutter. Whether it's stacks of clean clothes waiting to be put away, piles of dirty laundry ready for the wash or sneakers and bags strewn around, it soon mounts up.
'I've been in gorgeously appointed homes with fancy kitchens and beautiful entertainment areas where the master bedroom was sorely neglected,' says Dawn Falcone. 'Bedrooms often become dumping grounds for excess items, unfinished projects and things that just don't have a dedicated home. It's important to declutter this space because bedrooms are places of rest.
'The last thing anyone needs to see before drifting off to sleep and waking in the morning is clutter. It can impact your sleep and ability to calm down.
There's a way to organize a bedroom effectively, too. 'With bedrooms it's best to start small and simple. Bedside tables and the top of dressers are quick and easy to do. The goal should be to only have essentials on these surfaces.
'Look for decorative and functional baskets that can be placed under the bedside table to house excess items that you may need. Once surfaces are cleared, start going through closets and drawers, eventually working your way to any items piled on the floor.'
3. Clothes storage
'Getting your closet organization in order is like being in good shape–you have to keep working at it to maintain it,' says professional organizer Amanda Wiss, founder of Urban Clarity. 'Once you set up systems in your home, it is easy to get back to an organized place-but you do need to recognize when you need a refresh.'
'Many of us have more socks and underwear than we know what to do with. It’s an oft-forgotten spot when it comes to decluttering because we pass in and out of it so quickly. But, it’s a good idea to get back to basics.
'Pull out all of your intimates and make a pile of (good quality and condition) everyday and special occasion, then recycle the rest,' Amanda adds. 'If you can no longer see the top of your dresser, it’s time to take everything off of it and declutter.'
'Another sign you need to declutter is that you can't get into your drawers. Drawers that once opened easily and smoothly now get stuck every time you try to access them, from the overflowing jumble of things that have been shoved inside. Chances are half of what's in those drawers can be re-homed, recycled, or trashed.'
4. The entryway
Whether it's a console covered in keys and mail or an overflowing coat rack, the entryway can soon become a cluttered mess. This makes the flow in and out of your home longer and more stressful than it needs to be.
'People often don't focus on the entryway since little time is spent here,' says Dawn at The Chaos Liberator. 'Yet it's the first space you see when you walk in the door after a long day at work and the last thing you see before heading out for a busy day. It can set your mood so it's best to declutter it.
'First, decide what you really need to live in this area. Keep it simple; coats, accessories (hats, gloves, umbrellas etc), boots, shoes and backpacks or work/school bags.
'Go through the area and let go of coats and accessories that no longer fit, or are extremely worn. Do the same with shoes and boots. Your entryway storage doesn't need to hold every pair of shoes you and your family own. Dress shoes or boots only worn on occasion can live in bedroom closets.
'Think about the best storage solutions for your space. Do you have room for a bench with storage for shoes? Is there an entryway closet that can hold all of the coats and accessories? Do you need to add wall hooks to hold coats and bags? Or create a maildrop station? Do your best to maximize your entryway space.'
5. Maildrop stations
Maildrop stations can be in the entryway, on kitchen countertops, or kitchen tables and can soon become a mess, if you're not on top of it.
'People avoid clearing this space because they are overwhelmed with the paper and the to-dos connected with the paper,' says Dawn. 'It can get cluttered if you don't have a proper mail drop station or a regular system to deal with the mail.
'So carve out some time to handle the mail mountain. Begin by sorting into piles like "Junk mail, recycling, bills, invitations etc. Once the mail is opened, further separate into piles like, "Take Action Immediately" (1-5 days), "To Do Later" (1-2 weeks), "Secondary To-Dos" (more than 2 weeks away).
'Now decide where you'd like to create a mail drop system. Maybe it can fit in your foyer or entryway. Will you use a wall mount or will a surface system work best?
'Schedule time on your calendar every week to deal with your mail. Consider going as paper free as possible. If you're already paying bills online or automatically, log-in to select the paperless billing option. Unsubscribe from magazine and junk mail offers.'
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Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites
A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.
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