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Clutter Magnets: Identifying Yours and Getting Them in Check

It's a typical day. You've just gotten home from work. You're tired and ready to put your feet up. You walk in the door. Toss your keys and bag on the table. Kick off your shoes.

Then, you look around and realize the mess in front of you.

There's a pile of miscellaneous items on the table.

A stack of mail on the floor by the door.

A bag full of recyclables next to it, waiting for tomorrow's pick-up.

How did that happen?

Your front door area has become a clutter hotspot.

What are Clutter Magnets?

A clutter magnet is a place in your home where you tend to dump items, with the intention of returning to put them in their corresponding places.

However, these things are rarely put away.

Instead, they tend to pile up for days and weeks at a time, leaving a mountain of clutter. Because you’re pulled to this area again and again to drop your stuff, it’s called a clutter magnet.

You may even have more than one. Hint, you probably do.

The Top Ten Clutter Hotspots In Our Homes

There are areas in your home that are more prone to become clutter hotspots. These are the ten most common places that are prone to clutter:

The Kitchen Counters

The kitchen counters are one of the top clutter magnets in our homes. They're used for preparing food, storing dishes, and general wiping down after cooking. But they also seem to become a catch-all for many items that don't even belong in the kitchen.

The kitchen is also one of the places where everyone congregates in your home, so it's a common spot for family members and guests to leave items sit.

A pile of mail, a stack of bills, the kids' artwork from school. All these things and more seem to find their way onto our kitchen counters.

The Kitchen/Dining Table

The kitchen/dining table is one of the most likely places to become a clutter magnet.

clutter magnets

This is because this area is often used as a workspace for adults and children alike. It's also easy to toss your coat or bag on one of the chairs, or to leave the mail on the table.

The dining area is also a gathering place for family and friends, so it's easy to get distracted by conversation.  It can be hard to remember to put things away when you're socializing.

The Junk Drawer

Every home has a junk drawer.

It's the one place where we can dump all of our random items. But, the junk drawer can also be a clutter magnet for all of those little items that you don't want to throw away.

It's not uncommon for the junk drawer to be home to things like old batteries, extra printer ink cartridges, broken pens and pencils, spare keys and change. It is that one place where you can toss all of those things that don't really go anywhere else.

Eventually, the junk drawer is overflowing and you realize it's become an extreme clutter magnet.

The Coffee Table

Books, magazines, remotes, coasters…..

The coffee table is the clutter magnet of the living room. But, with a little effort, it can be transformed into an attractive and functional centerpiece that unifies your living room.

The coffee table is often the focal point of a room, so it's important to keep the space clear and clutter-free. If you love reading magazines, try storing them in an attractive basket on the floor or in a magazine rack. If you have kids, store their toys and games in baskets too.

The End Tables

End tables are a common source of clutter. They can be used for holding books and other items while guests visit, but they often end up being more than that. Items such as remotes, mail, and other papers that we need to be able to find easily can end up on the table.

The Dresser & Nightstand

The dresser and nightstand are often cluttered with items that need to be put away, or should have been discarded long ago. This is a common issue for many people because of the many ways we use these items in our daily lives.

The dresser is where many people store their clothes and other clothing related accessories such as belts, scarves, hats or gloves. The top of the dresser is usually where you will find various items such as your wallet, keys, makeup and jewelry.

The nightstand often serves as a place to hold your alarm clock or cell phone, a place to set your drink or glasses of water and even as a surface for books.

The Closets

Closets are the number one place where clutter is created and maintained, because they're often a “catch-all” for things we don't use, don't need, or have forgotten about.

Most of us have a lot of clutter in our closets. It's often hard to determine what we should keep and what we should get rid of, because it all looks like stuff that we might need someday.

The problem with this is that clutter makes it hard to find the things you do use, so you end up wasting time looking for things that are already in your closet.

The Bathroom Vanity

The bathroom vanity is a common place for clutter to accumulate. It's where we store beauty products, makeup and hair accessories that we might need at any moment.

The problem with this is not that these items are stored in the bathroom, but that they overflow and create an eyesore. This can be avoided with some simple organization techniques.

The Garage

A garage is a great place for storing things, but it can quickly turn into an cluttered space.

Unwanted clutter in your garage may include items from past home projects like old paint, tools, and furniture. If these items are not put away after the project is completed or if they will never be used again then it's likely that at some point you'll find them in your garage.

The Basement

The basement is one of the top ten clutter magnets in our homes. It's a great place for storing things that we don't have room to store anywhere else, but it can also contain things that we don't need to keep.

If your basement isn't an additional living area, the ‘out of sight, out of mine' principle tends to come into play. This is the biggest cause of this becoming a clutter hotspot in your home. If it's not right there in front of you, it's not thought about much.

If you keep adding to the storage in your basement, it's bound to become a mess. Sorting and purging is important to keep this clutter magnet in check.

Identify Yours

We all have different clutter magnets, based on our preferences and lifestyles. It’s important to identify yours so you can start to tame the mess.

First, look for any “drop zone” near your front door or place of entry. This can be the hall table, the bottom of the stairs, or a bench – even the floor.

Then, consider any flat surface that may be a spot where you like to drop things that don’t immediately require your attention.

You also have to be aware of clutter hotspots that are “out of sight, out of mind” places like a junk drawer, garage, basement, or basket. These can very easily become overwhelmingly full of stuff that will eventually need to be dealt with. 

How to Tackle Them

Tackling the problem clutter spots in your home can seem overwhelming, but these tips will help you to make progress. Then you can instill a routine that makes tidying up simpler.

Paper is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to clutter. Try opting out of unnecessary mailings and switching to digital billing when possible. You can store the rest in binders that fit neatly on a shelf. Consider ones with pockets or sleeves so you can just slip papers into them. To avoid accumulation in your new binder system, throw away anything you absolutely don’t need.

Use caddies and other organizers to corral clutter like bathroom items, electronics cords, accessories, and such. These tools will cut down on visual clutter and ensure things have their place.

If you find yourself dropping your keys, bag and coat by the door; consider installing some hooks on the wall or getting an entry bench with coat hooks and bins.

Organize that junk drawer with dividers. Toss out those old batteries, pens and twist ties (guilty myself).

No More Clutter Magnets!

These are just a few suggestions to get you started on identify and eliminating your clutter areas. No matter what options you choose, try to opt for methods that fit your lifestyle and preferences.

Easing into new habits helps them to stick. So, keep working on getting your clutter hotspots in check and it will become second nature after a while.

What areas are the clutter hotspots in your home? Share them with me and I'll help you with tips to keep them organized!

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