Clear the Clutter From That “Catch-All” Space That Every Home Has


Just about every home has a “catch-all” space that we use to keep things out of the way. It may be the garage, your loft or attic, or maybe a spare room. As the keeper of everything that is really not worthy to go into the house, your “catch-all” place can be one of the messiest places in your home. Why? Because it’s viewed as a storage area full of “things” that you will sort later.

If you’re like most people, it is probably a jumble old toys, sporting equipment, and and “stuff” that you might need one day and are loathe to clear out. While this is not the time to drag everything out and do a complete clean (save that for a Saturday in the spring), there are a few things you can do in your 15-minute allocation of time – although some preparation must have taken place prior.

Be sure you have organised your “catch-all” space in such a way that everything has a place – and that means on a wall, on a shelf, in a cupboard or in a designated floor area. It’s helpful to label these areas so that when you do a 15-minute decluttering, you know where everything goes.

When you’re ready to start, take out any large objects that are taking up a lot of space. It’s easier to clean up without large objects in your way. Tackle the big items first: hoovers, bicycles, sporting good equipment, tools. Put them where they belong. If something needs to be tossed out, do it. If something needs to be repaired, attach a tag or piece of tape on it indicating such and take care of it later.

With the big items cleaned up, you’ll want to start on smaller items. If there’s anything on the floor, put it on a counter or shelf. If the shelves are a complete mess, spend no more than 5 minutes organising them. The best approach with shelves is putting like items together. For example, if you have 5 cans of paint on the floor and an empty shelf, put all the paint cans on that shelf. Then, when you are doing a more thorough cleaning, find all the cans of paint and give them their own shelf.

Tools are a problem in and of themselves. If you have a lot, the only way to declutter them is to either put them in their place (and you may not have time for that) or hide them in a box. This is a touchy area and their decluttering is probably best accomplished by the person in the household who uses those items the most. Give him or her a plan for doing a major decluttering of just these items and a plan that includes a 15-minute decluttering just for them.

Cupboards are are great when decluttering because you can quickly stash things and then come back and do a cupboard reorganisation later. They are also a good place to put anything hazardous so that it is either under lock and key or on a high shelf that it cannot be reached by small children.

To really get to grips with your “catch-all” space will, in all reality, need a series of 15-minute decluttering sessions. Start by giving it a good pass to see what you have, then come up with that plan to tackle specific areas.

Tackle one cupboard, or set of shelves or corner of the area at a time. That way it will not seem so daunting and you will be surprised at how soon you will see a difference. Seeing that difference will also make you more motivated to start your next 15-minute decluttering session too!

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