The first step in dealing with clutter should always be to take a long, hard look at everything and be honest with yourself about which things you really need and which ones you can part with. You’d be surprised how often something that seemed indispensable a year or even just a few months ago can feel completely pointless now. “Why am I hanging onto this again?”
Inevitably, though, there will be things that you just can’t bear to part with. That’s where your creative and crafty side comes in. Depending on what kinds of things clutter up your house – photos, shoe boxes, grocery bags, magazines, mail, knickknacks, cell phone chargers, or something else entirely – there are plenty of simple DIY solutions that look great without costing much.
Here are just a few of our favorites:
Set up a set-down station. One of the most common sources of clutter (and reasons for being late to work) is all that stuff you toss down when you come home. Things like your keys, wallet, cell phone, and purse. First, find a place that’s as close to your front door as possible. If you have a little end table or shelf nearby, great. You can set up a nice-looking bowl or dress up a shoe box with wrapping paper to use as your receptacle for the things you always put down. If nothing’s close by, it might be worth installing a small wall shelf.
Be a cereal magazine collector. It’s all too easy to let old magazines pile up, and it can be difficult to convince yourself to get rid of them if they still have articles you want to read or found really useful. You could go out to Ikea or an office store and pay anywhere from $3 to $10 for magazine organizers, but why when you’ve got perfectly good cereal boxes you can use? The next time you polish off your Cap’n Crunch or Raisin Bran, don’t toss the box – clean it up and use some nice wrapping paper, fabric, or even an old paper grocery bag to cover the box and make it look good. Presto! – you’ve got a cheap and easy organizer.
Create a hanging picture collage. Freestanding framed photos inevitably start to look like clutter after a while, especially as you get more and more of them. But there’s a fun and easy way to “clean up” and make them feel new again – a wall montage. First you want to collect all the framed photos together to see how many you have and what sizes they are. Ideally, you want a good number that can work together to create a particular design when you put it up on the wall. To make sure you like it before going through with it, we recommend taping paper to the wall that’s been cut to the size of the frames in the shape of the design you want. Feel free to move them around until you’re sure you like the look, then start hammering and hanging. In no time, you’ll have a montage of wall photos arranged beautifully.
Make a book “shelf.” This has got to be one of the cooler small-scale DIY projects out there if you’ve got a lot of books lying around or minimal space for “real” shelves. The idea is that you take large, thick book that you don’t really like and make it into a “shelf” for other books. Oh, and by the way, this design basically makes it look like your books are floating on the wall. Awesome. You use a drill, some screws, and some glue to install an L-bracket inside the “shelf” book and bind the pages together, creating a stable surface upon which to set the other books. You probably don’t want to put too many books on this makeshift shelf, but it sure is eye-catching, and you may even want to make several of these shelves to form a pattern on the wall.
Of course, there are times when you’ve just got so much clutter that no amount of clever DIY trickery is going to cut it, or you need to keep it somewhere safe while you’re getting your craft on. In cases like this, self-storage can be a great inexpensive way to open up the space while you work on coming up with another solution.
About the author: Marty Reardon has written for the home & garden industry for many years and has received many accolades. When he’s not writing, you can find Marty reviewing Peoria storage or fishing with his son.
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