One of the most challenging issues for people who have the tendency to gather clutter can be summed up by one word “miscellaneous”. What does this word really mean and why does it cause such a problem?
Miscellaneous means a mixture of various things, which are not usually connected with each other. One of the most important aspects of organizing your possessions is identifying where you use them and giving items a home in the same area to be returned to once used. Much of the clutter that builds up in homes, in the kitchen in particular, is made up of items that simply do not have a home, so they float around the house being gathered up into piles on shelves or countertops, looked at but not dealt with, shoved into closets before guests arrive and then moved again.
What is this miscellaneous clutter and how can we keep it under control? Here are just a few of the things that can end up being miscellaneous clutter (how many do you have lurking in your house?): bills you need to pay; forms from your kids’ school you need to complete and return; random pens and pieces of stationary, and clips and other “could be useful” items like elastic bands and tie wraps. Other items include scraps of paper with important numbers and messages on; things that need to be glued, assembled or repaired; lottery tickets (by the way, you didn’t win…); and the list goes on. How do we deal with all of these items so they don’t just come back?
Here are three suggestions to help you organize the main types of miscellaneous clutter:
1. Create a kitchen “junk drawer” to give all of those odds and ends you want to keep a home.
Choose your drawer, then add a cheap drawer organizing system with a variety of compartment sizes (can be bought from many home stores for less than $10) and simply fill with your previously homeless items — try to keep like with like when filling compartments and throw away what is genuinely garbage as you go.
2. To handle day-to-day family paperwork, a letter tray or small vertical filing box (with at least two sections for “in” and “out”) is probably the most straightforward solution.
This will allow you to capture all that floating paper in one place and you can still easily see whether you have paperwork or filing to attend to.
3. Write a list of all of the small random jobs you have to do. Then set aside 10 minutes every day to work through your list of jobs, crossing jobs off as you go.
This works well for tackling clutter like toy repair jobs, a piece of awkward ironing or hand-washing, the note to remind you to phone and make an appointment, writing a birthday card, etc.