12 Clutter Busting Routines for any family

Living in smaller apartments we need to learn to start de-cluttering our lives and maximize our living spaces. Here are some ways that you can get your kids involved in this new family way of living.

Here are 12 Clutter Busting Routines we have found helpful in our home:

Different colour baskets for different recycling materials

1. Place junk mail immediately into a recycling bin. Take note of the natural flow of mail into your home. Placing a recycling baskets prior to your “mail drop-off zone” can catch most of that junk mail before it even reaches your counter. Get your kids involved and ask them to put the mail in the baskets for your.  Teach them the importance of recycling.

2. Store kitchen appliances out of sight. Toasters, can openers, coffee makers… they all take up space. And while it may not seem like much space by looking at them, the first time you prepare dinner on a counter without them present, you’ll quickly notice the difference. If you think it’s going to be a hassle putting them away every morning, don’t. It takes less than 6 seconds to put each appliance away… once you’ve found a home for it that is. Plus think of the safety aspect for your little ones, less electrical items that can fall on them or be pulled of counters make it a safer and cleaner space.

Wardrobe $750.00

3. Remove 10 articles of clothing from your closet today. Go ahead. If you are typical, it’ll take you roughly 5 minutes to grab 10 articles of clothing that you no longer wear and throw them in a box. Your remaining clothes will fit better in your closet. Your closet will be able to breathe again. And if you write “Goodwill” on the box when you are done, you’ll feel better about yourself as soon as you drop it off. Most likely, you’ll find yourself inspired to do it again. Ask your children to do the same and explain the importance of charity and giving to those in need.


4. Kids’ bedroom toys live in the toy box. Not on the floor. Not on the dresser. But in the toy box. And when the toy box gets too full of toys, it’s time to make some room. Hint, it’s usually safe to remove the toys at the bottom of the pile.

Toy Box $300

5. Kids pick up their toys each evening. This has countless benefits: 1) It teaches responsibility. 2) It helps kids realize that more isn’t always better. 3) The home is clean for mom and dad when the kids are in bed. 4) It’s a clear indication that the day has come to an end. Gosh, you’d think with all these benefits it would be easier for us to get the kids to do it…

6. Fill your containers for the garbage man. Use every trash pick-up day as an excuse to fill your recycling containers and/or garbage cans. Grab a box of old junk from the attic… old toys from the toy room… old food from the pantry… old paperwork from the office. If once a week is too often, do this exercise every other week. You’ll get the hang of it. Get the kids involved and ask them to remind you when they hear the truck coming down the road.

7. Halve decorations. No seriously, I mean it. Grab a box and walk through your living room. Remove decorations from shelves, tables, and walls that aren’t absolutely beautiful or meaningful.  Put your kiddies artwork in plastic sleeve folders so they are protected and packed away.  Frame school awards and certificates and hang them on empty walls so they don’t just lie around and collect dust.

8. Unmix and match cups, bowls, plates, and silverware. Uniformity makes for better stacking, storing, and accessing. If there is a souvenir cup or mug that is so important to you that you can’t live without it, that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t keep 5 of them. This is also important to share with your kids, are they big enough now to take responsibility to use big boy / girl crockery?

9. Keep your desk clear and clean. Drawers can adequately house most of the things needed to keep your desk functional. And a simple filing system should keep it clear of paper clutter. The next person who sits down to use the desk will thank you.  This is also important for homework hour, no distractions on the desk, its just time for you child to focus on the task at hand.

Wooden Desk $1200.00

10. Store your media out of sight. Make a home for dvd’s, cd’s, video games, and remote controls. They don’t need to be in eyesight, you use them less than you think. And if you remove them from your eyesight… maybe you’ll use them even less. The less TV time the better for family communication and bonding.

11. Keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bedroom dressers, tabletops… After you clear them the first time, keeping them clean takes daily effort. Receipts, coins, and paper clutter just keep coming and coming… it’s just easier the second time around. Plus think of the safety benefits for your toddler, no clutter means no objects in the mouth which can be so dangerous for choking.

Big open baskets are perfect for storage of newspapers

12. Finish a magazine or newspaper. Process or recycle immediately. If you’ve finished the paper product, process it and rid yourself of its clutter immediately. Good recipe in there? Put it in your recipe box and recycle the rest. Good article that your husband will enjoy? Clip it and recycle.  Article that your friend will enjoy? Clip it, mail it, and recycle (or better yet, search for it online and send it that way). Coupon too good to pass up? Cut it out and recycle. Stacks of magazines and newspapers serve little purpose in life but to clutter a room. Ask your little ones to help you clean and stack newspapers for recycling in your condo.

Thanks to J