I don't think anyone has ever exclaimed I have too much closet space or too many cabinets. Americans have a lot of stuff. According to the Self Storage Association, one in 10 US households currently rent a self storage unit, a number that has increased approximately 65 percent from one in 17 in the last 15 years.
How do you know when your stuff might be taking over? When it starts to pile up consistently in one or more places.
For us, our entry hall had become a dumping ground for shoes and jackets. Every night when we returned home with Gates, we were finding it easier to leave our shoes where we stepped out of them and our jackets and scarfs simply draped over the railing. We intended to put everything away after Gates went to bed but somehow never got to it. With an inquisitive toddler, this meant we were spending a lot of time grabbing of shoes out of her hands before they went into her mouth.
Before you start thinking of getting a storage unit or getting creative with your closets, take stock of what you have and get rid of what you don't need. Do this regularly, at least once a year, to keep your stuff under control. You may need to do this more frequently if you aren't entirely honest about what you really need or you are always acquiring stuff. It will be obvious when the time has come.
Tips for Keeping Clutter at Bay
- Do a thorough spring cleaning at least once a year. If you haven't used a bath product or worn an outfit in years, why spend time figuring out how to store it? Throw it out or donate it.
- Consider how you use items. If you're frequently running back into the house for bags for grocery shopping, look at putting them near the front door.
- Make it easy to access items. If you're always piling up containers to put away later, your convenient storage location may be too full.
- Take advantage of unused space. The obvious candidates are the backs of doors and under furniture. The not so obvious options are shower walls, below shelves, and in deep drawers. When leveraging open space make sure you can easily get things out as well as put them away.
Got any tips for keeping your house in order?