Clean Up The Clutter With ShopSmart’s Clutter Control Tips

When it comes to stowing your stuff, we tend to fall into one of two camps: the outies, who keep their things out and within easy reach, and the innies, who hide everything in a closet or inside a drawer. The trick to finding tools and systems that will keep your house in order depends on knowing your personal style. The March 2010 issue of ShopSmart features the ultimate organizing guide, with advice on the four biggest trouble spots and how to determine if you’re an innie or an outie.

“Before you jump to conclusions, outies aren’t necessarily slobs and innies aren’t necessarily neat freaks,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “No matter what your personal storage style, you can get it     together by checking out our easy clutter control tips.”

OUTIE: If you’re an outie, you worry that you’ll forget something if it’s not in plain sight. You work best with organizing tools that provide an instant view of what’s inside. Here are some of ShopSmart’s tips for outies:

Desk: Your ideas flow best when you see what you have around you. But to keep piles and sprawl down:

  • Hang a shelf. It’s a great use of space, and it helps avoid piles when you run out of desktop real estate.
  • Organize up. Vertical storage helps you group similar items and keeps the desk clutter-free.

Closet: Using hooks and shelves can help you assess frequently worn clothes fast. Here are some other ways to help you save time and prioritize your stuff:

  • Let it all hang out. Hang handbags, scarves and belts on a decorative coat rack.
  • Use cubbies. An open-cube storage system is great for letting you see items at a glance.

Jewelry: Even with jewelry, you want visibility at a glance. Here’s how to keep it looking neat, not cluttered:

  • Hang it on the wall. Hang a fabric-covered cushion board and drape the jewelry over nails or pins.
  • Drape it. A specifically designed jewelry tree or even a small sculpture with branching arms looks nice on a dresser and provides the perfect perch for loop earrings and necklaces.

Junk Drawer: If it’s out of sight, it might end up out of mind. Put junk-drawer stuff on display:

  • Think transparent. Small, see-through glass jars can house change, push pins, rubber bands and more.
  • Be smart about hooks. Pull items out of the drawer and hang them.

INNIE: If you’re an innie, your priority is having a calm and serene visual slate, so select closed containers in a single hue or pattern for a spare and tidy look. Here are some of ShopSmart’s tips for innies:

Desk: You derive a sense of serenity from a clean, spare work surface. Clutter is distracting. To keep it serene:

  • Limit the color palette. Keep desk accessories within a limited color range to maintain calm.
  • Separate your stuff. Use drawer organizers or modular drawer inserts for supplies and papers.

Closet: You need systems that you can trust and that are instinctive and obvious. Grouping like things together is one tried-and-true tactic. Here are some others:

  • Keep hangers the same. It eliminates visual clutter.
  • Group clothing by length. It’s an easy way to find stuffy and frees up more floor space.

Jewelry: You like to put things in compartments and behind closed doors, so invest in a nice jewelry box. Or try these other options:

  • Use two boxes. Keep a small box for the pieces you wear frequently and a larger one to tame and conceal the items you use less often.
  • Outfit a drawer. Velvet-lined jewelry trays or inserts that fit inside a draw can accommodate everything.

Junk Drawer: By nature, you’re a stasher but you also like things tidy and serene. Here’s how to keep the junk drawer from becoming a jumble:

  • Divide and conquer. Try using modular drawer organizers that fit their contents precisely.
  • Make it uniform. Simple organizers with similar shapes will keep the look consistent.

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