36 Cleaning and Organizing Hacks to Conquer Clutter

Wrapped umbrella placed in open drawer with organized books and keys above

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

If you are stuck in a decluttering slump, use these clutter hacks to get your home clutter-free. They cover each room in your house and each type of household clutter with the best ideas to declutter your spaces.

These 36 clutter hacks offer helpful cleaning and organizing inspiration.


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  • 01 of 36

    Designate a Spot for 'Junk'

    designated junk drawer

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Whether you accumulate junk by the front door, in front of the TV, or in a drawer, it's best to limit yourself to one small space.

    In your living room or TV room, store remote controls in a caddy. It’s amazing how much a caddy or tray can transform a pile of clutter into something useful. If you have a junk drawer, use a muffin tin for little odds and ends. Small containers in drawers help separate odds and ends and make them easier to find.

    A junk bowl, tray, or drawer is only effective if you make a point to go through it regularly and either trash or file the items.

  • 02 of 36

    Use Magnetic Desk Organizers

    desk organizers

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Use magnetic desk accessories to corral office supplies. By using magnetic trays, you can rest easy knowing your paperclips or bulletin-board tacks will be securely in their container when you need them.

  • 03 of 36

    Designate a Donation Center

    Wicker basket filled with clothing and accessories to donate

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Having a place to donate old clothing, shoes, and accessories before beginning to declutter makes the process easier. Find a local donation center or charity that you can easily leave lightly used items with.

  • 04 of 36

    Hang Kids' Artwork

    Young kid's crayon drawing hung up on refrigerator with magnets

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Hang kids’ artwork from clips to avoid fridge clutter. You have to display your kids’ artwork, but not forever, and you can make it look more interesting than just hanging it on the fridge with magnets.

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  • 05 of 36

    Use Shower Curtain Rings to Hold Just About Everything

    shower rings holding handbags

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Shower curtain rods are surprisingly useful. You can use them in your bedroom closet to hang ties, scarves, handbags, or belts. In the kitchen, they can effectively hold tea towels or dishrags. Carefully place fabric items on metal shower hooks, or use plastic shower hooks instead.

  • 06 of 36

    Declutter Your Mudroom With Built-In Storage, Hooks, and Bins

    organized mudroom

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    The mudroom or entry tends to be a dumping ground. Take the time to either DIY or build proper storage for things like umbrellas, winter gear, bags, and shoes. Organize your mudroom by moving stuff off the floor and onto hooks for easy retrieval. Built-in storage such as shelves or cubbies can also go a long way to uncluttering a mudroom.

    In the end, your mudroom will be functional and look better.

  • 07 of 36

    Be Prepared With Baskets

    Person utilizing baskets for clutter organization

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu

    Use attractive baskets for quick living room decluttering. This corrals clutter in a way that doesn't detract from your decorating scheme.

  • 08 of 36

    Create a Clutter Cabinet for Home Accessories

    cubes storing books and bins

    The Spruce / Gene Yoon

    A "clutter cabinet" can store home accessories like tchotchkes, picnic gear, candlesticks, and centerpieces, and decor items you display only sometimes, like picture frames, mementos, vases, and seasonal items.

    These can be stored in an accessories cabinet or in project bins. This way, when you want to change up your decor or entertain, you know exactly where to retrieve these items. Plus, when it’s time to store them again, you know exactly where to put them.

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  • 09 of 36

    Have a System for Project Magazines

    paper filing system

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Don’t save a magazine for one recipe in it. Have a system for managing the content in magazines you actually want to keep. Store recipes in your recipe file, DIY project ideas in your DIY project file, and so on.

  • 10 of 36

    Invest in a Shredder

    paper shredder

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    If you have lots of paper clutter, a shredder will help keep it under control. Use a shredder as you go through the mail so these piles of junk mail don't even get a chance to accumulate. Also, periodically go through your files to see if there is anything you can shred.

  • 11 of 36

    Save Countertop Space

    Kitchen knives hung on metal strip for utensil organization

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Get rid of the knife block that takes up valuable counter space. Instead, store knives on a magnetic strip on the wall or in a drawer with a divider.

  • 12 of 36

    Use Storage-Friendly Furniture

    using a nightstand for storage

    The Spruce / Candace Madonna

    A bed can double as a storage unit by either storing items in the dead space underneath or choosing a bed with built-in storage. In small spaces, using furniture as storage is not only smart but is necessary. This may mean picking an ottoman with storage, nightstands with drawers, or tall bookshelves.

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  • 13 of 36

    Create Clutter Hub Spots

    A hallway hub for shoes

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Create a “hallway hub” to keep halls clear. Think of these “way stations” as places to dump clutter that belongs in another room until it can be carried to its proper spot.

  • 14 of 36

    Set a Timer for 15 Minutes

    cleaning with vinegar

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    If you hate cleaning, commit to cleaning for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Set the timer and clean or declutter while listening to a podcast. Or, tidy the kitchen while you’re waiting for water to boil.

  • 15 of 36

    Treat Every Item in Your Home the Way You’d Treat a Fork

    organized kitchen drawer

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    If you think of everything as a fork, it becomes obvious when it's out of place. Because when you find a fork in the bathroom, you know it doesn't go there. You know it goes in the kitchen in a drawer in the utensil holder with the other forks. Everything in your home should have a storage space like that.

  • 16 of 36

    Use Your Smartphone

    Smartphone taking pictures of document to reduce paper clutter

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Take photos of paper menus and schedules to avoid extra paper clutter. Don’t save paperwork that can easily be found online. This includes documents like user manuals, credit card agreements, and take out menus. You can take photos of one-page documents, or bookmark them in your browser, store them in Evernote, or just Google them when needed.

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  • 17 of 36

    Use Hanging Storage

    over the door hanging storage

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Use a hanging shoe organizer for items other than shoes. In closets, these can be used for storing gloves, scarves, or jewelry. You can use them in the kitchen for boxed or canned food. The clear pockets allow you to see the contents while also holding them securely.

  • 18 of 36

    Get Familiar With the Box Method

    four container method

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    The “box method" uses three boxes—put away, donate/sell, and storage—plus a trash can. Go through your items one by one and place them in a box. Try to go with your "gut" feeling for each item. The idea is to quickly decide what to do for each item.

  • 19 of 36

    Store Plastic Bags for Later Use

    White plastic bags rolled in ball and stored in old paper towel roll

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Store extra plastic bags in a paper towel tube to keep them from ending up in an unattractive clump. You can also purchase or DIY a fabric holder for plastic bags. Either way, they'll be stored and ready for use as small wastebasket liners, dog waste bags, or tote returns back to the store.

  • 20 of 36

    Store Seasonally

    closet with winter items up front

    The Spruce / Candace Madonna

    Rotate seasonal items in your front closet so the clothing you wear most often is right up front. Plus, switching out your clothes each season will give you a chance to examine each piece to see if any repairs are needed or if it's time to donate a piece of clothing.

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  • 21 of 36

    Use Baskets in the Linen Closet

    Linen closet in a laundry room using baskets

    The Spruce / Sophia Reay

    Linen closets are often prone to clutter, and a good solution to try is putting bath towels or other linens into baskets. If having these items in their own individual baskets works for you, this can make organizing easier.

  • 22 of 36

    Pare Down Your Clothing

    Shirts placed on hangers and organized on clothing rack

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Move toward a minimalist wardrobe. You will find once you start decluttering your clothing that you no longer need all those scarves, sweaters, jeans, and even shoes that you thought you did. You’ll save space in your closet and have less clothing to maintain.

  • 23 of 36

    Give Everyone's Items a Space

    Gray fabric bin stored in shelf below organized books

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    If you have a big family, give everyone a shoe bin in the mudroom, entryway, or foyer. Creating storage spaces for individual family members may even get your kids to help you keep the house tidy as well.

  • 24 of 36

    Quickly Declutter a Bag

    decluttering a handbag

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Even if you are short on time, you can still tackle clutter. Decluttering your bag only takes five minutes. Dump everything out of your handbag and replace just the essentials (e.g., wallet, sunglasses, lip balm). File things like receipts and appointment reminders and trash the obvious trash like used tissues, straw wrappers, and old grocery lists.

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  • 25 of 36

    Control Your Email Clutter and Junk Mail

    Email clutter controlled on iPad program

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Cut email clutter by setting up filters, unsubscribing to spam, and clearing out your inbox. You can even set up two email addresses: one for things you have the subscribe to and one you only give to friends and family. This way, when you check your main email, you know it’s going to be something you really want to read. When you check your "newsletter" account, you can be surgical about deleting it.

    For junk mail, unsubscribe from any catalog you don't regularly buy from or can view online. The same goes for magazines. There is no need for them to arrive at your house if you never read them. Also, go around your house and collect any catalog or magazine you've already read and recycle it.

  • 26 of 36

    Don’t Neglect the Junk in Your Car

    Person vacuuming a car seat

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

    Keep a trash bag in your car for coffee cups, old receipts, and other odds and ends that accumulate on the passenger seat, under the driver's seat, and in the trunk. Spending just a minute or two each day going through your car looking for trash will ensure it doesn't pile up.

  • 27 of 36

    Use the 5 Things a Day Rule

    Keys hung on wall above organized drawer countertop with houseplant

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    An interesting practice you may want to try is the "5 Things a Day" rule. Throughout the day, try picking up five things without homes and find places for them. Everyone has those items in their home that seem to always end up in random spots, such as remotes, keys, or notebooks. This is the time to find a designated spot for them, once and for all.

  • 28 of 36

    Fill One Bag a Week

    clutter basket

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Decluttering your entire home at once is daunting. Instead, commit to filling just one trash bag a week with things to donate, shred, or trash. Breaking it down into this small task will make it much easier to complete.

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  • 29 of 36

    Start Moving Prep Early

    Moving boxes labeled and stacked in living room

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    If you’re moving, start early. It makes no sense to pack and move the clutter you’re going to toss anyway. But, start early. Even though decluttering can be fast, some items like keepsakes and old clothing can take time to declutter.

    This technique can also help you declutter even if you aren't actually moving. Just act like you are. You know that decluttering makes staging your home and packing easier. If you pretend you're moving, as you declutter, ask yourself if you would pack an item and move it to a new home.

  • 30 of 36

    Check Food Expiration Dates

    Trail mix packs held up with expiration dates printed in front

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Know what to toss in your pantry each week and schedule time to give it a good once-over. The same goes for your freezer—toss anything expired, with freezer burn, or if you just can no longer identify it.

  • 31 of 36

    Organize Recipes 10 Minutes at a Time

    Handwritten and printed recipe's organized and clipped in notebook

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    If you have recipes stuck inside cookbooks or stuffed in a drawer, take 10 minutes at a time to declutter them. For one 10-minute chunk, gather all your recipes. For the next 10-minute span, go through the recipes and weed out the ones that you don't want to keep. Continue this for tasks such as putting them in a binder, rewriting the smeared ones, and so on. This is a big project so breaking it up into small, manageable spurts is smart.

  • 32 of 36

    Use the Traveler's Method

    Travel toiletries and hair care stored around mulit-pocket bag

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Declutter with the “traveler’s method.” Think of decluttering your home the way you would pack a suitcase for travel. Your home is only so big and can only fit so much. So, designate one caddy for toiletries, for example. Once it's full, you can no longer keep any more toiletries unless you purge something already in the caddy. Continue this process throughout your home.

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  • 33 of 36

    Use a Scanner for Office Clutter

    paper in trays

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Greatly reduce office clutter by investing in a scanner. Use it to scan in receipts needed for taxes, digital backups for vital documents like mortgages or extended warranties, and more. Once scanned, you can safely store these documents away, and you may even find while sorting through a lot of the paper clutter that you don't need to keep a copy of it—either scanned or paper version.

  • 34 of 36

    Declutter for the Holidays

    storing holiday decor in storage containers

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Plan a clutter-free Christmas by donating ornaments and decor you haven't used for years. This also goes for wrapping paper that you haven't used for a few years. Also, go through your inventory to see what you have and plan to use before heading out to buy more bows and ribbons.

    Reduce clutter by rethinking your gifts, that way you don't unintentionally add clutter to someone else's home. If you know someone is following a low-carb diet, for example, don't make them a "bread in a jar" gift.

  • 35 of 36

    Designate Specific Areas for Toys

    basket with toys

    The Spruce / Nanor Zinzalian

    Kids' toys end up strewn across the house making your home look messier than it actually is. Get your kids in the habit of storing toys in the same place by designating specific spaces for toys, either in their rooms, a playroom, or a corner of the living room.

  • 36 of 36

    Use Pegboards to Organize Visually

    peg board

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Use a pegboard to fight closet clutter or to store crafts supplies. The more you can see, the easier it is to keep track of what you use and what you’re just permanently storing.

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