10 Lazy Tricks for a Clutter-Free Home

So, you’re not a neat freak? You can still keep your house from spinning into chaos if you just follow one simple rule: Make it easy to put items away, and you’ll do it more often. To keep your house tidy without breaking a sweat, try these 10 simple shortcuts.

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  1. Binge on Bins and Baskets

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    For containing everyday clutter that you actually need and use, storage tubs and baskets are a lifesaver. Opaque bins look neater than translucent plastic ones; stick to one color and shape. Label them or arrange them neatly lined up or stacked where you need them.

    Related: 15 Clever Uses for the Space Under the Stairs


  2. Fix Up Your Drawers

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    Sort through those overstuffed drawers, jettison the items you no longer use, and organize the rest. Whip up custom containers from repurposed cereal and other food boxes that have been cut to size and lined with pretty paper.

    Related: 8 Organizers for the Little Stuff You Always Lose


  3. Go Behind Closed Doors

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    The back sides of closet and cabinet doors are valuable real estate, so outfit them with plenty of hooks and containers. Hide dishwashing tools inside a lower cabinet door to keep your sink area clutter-free, hang notebooks and supplies inside a craft room door, and restore order to your entry by hanging baskets for gloves and hats inside the coat closet door.

    Related: Start Fresh—10 Essentials for an Organized Entryway


  4. Use the Circular File

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    Keep a small recycling bin in the front hall or garage side door for pitching junk mail as soon as it enters the house. Place another bin wherever you like to read newspapers and magazines, and toss them as soon as you’ve finished perusing them. (Want to clip an article? Snap a phone pic or archive the digital version instead.)

    Related: 7 Ways to Transform Your Mudroom in 48 Hours

    Flickr via Rubbermaid

  5. Bag the Digital Debris

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    A lazy and totally effective solution for all those digital doodads: Color-code your extra cords, and then toss each device’s accessories into labeled bags. Want to take it one step further? Stow them all in an attractive file box on an office shelf or under a desk.

    Related: Under $50—10 Must-Haves for an Organized Desk


  6. Pare Down Kitchen Gadgets

    Kitchen appliances

    Once upon a time, that salad shooter seemed like a supercool idea. But let’s face it: A knife can do the same job and is much easier to clean and store. To reclaim counter space and cut down on kitchen clutter, winnow out those single-purpose, space-consuming gadgets. Stash items you might use a few times a year (hello, waffle iron) in a storage bin in the garage or hall closet.

    Related: Stay Sharp—12 Knife Storage Options to Buy or DIY


  7. Try a Tray

    Coffee table tray

    A favorite trick of stylists and lazy-but-neat homeowners: Gather small items in attractive trays. Use them in the bedroom for jewelry and perfume, in the bathroom for cleansers and makeup, or on the living room coffee table to keep remotes and magazines tidy.

    Related: 11 Lessons to Learn from AirBnB's Tiniest Homes

    etsy.com via kateslittleshop

  8. Mind Your Binders

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    You might already use them to file recipes or health records, but three-ring binders can hold more than papers. Outfitted with plastic zip pouches or photo sleeves, large binders can also be used to organize hardware, sewing supplies, or garden seeds.

    Related: Organize Your Garden Gear with 11 Crucial Buys


  9. Don't Leave Shoes Underfoot

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    Tired of tripping over sneakers? Invest in a cubby bench, roomy basket, or shoe rack that fits near your entry. Or try your hand at a clever hack—everything from wooden crates to wall-mounted magazine holders can be used to corral footwear.

    Related: 11 Smart Ways to Organize Your Winter Footwear


  10. Declutter Daily

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    Tuck a garbage bag or box for giveaways into a closet or corner and use it often. Whenever you come across outgrown pants, a no-longer-loved toy, or a book you know you won’t read twice, toss it in the box. When it’s full, donate the goodies or pass them to friends who can use them.

    Related: 11 Easy DIY Projects to Declutter Your Home