1. When buying electronics, download the manual and store it in the cloud.
If you’re positive you won’t be returning it, you can safely discard the manual. Uploading an electronic copy to the virtual cloud of your choice keeps you covered in case the manufacturer stops producing the item and takes the manual down from its site.
Read more here about archiving your manuals into iBooks (if you have an iPad).
2. Enlist the rule of five every time you clean.
Whenever you’re cleaning a room, get rid of at least five items, whether it’s a piece of trash, an old magazine, or just something you haven’t used in ages.
4. Hang your bags with shower curtain hooks.
The hooks take up less space than hangers. And it’s a great way to compartmentalize the things in your closet that don’t have a place — scarves, belts, socks.
5. Utilize your under-desk space.
It’s a great place to keep organized baskets.
6. Make the kids a stuffed animal pen with bungee cords.
They’re easier to find, easier to put away. And your child gets a kick out of having a zoo-like pen for all the stuffed animals. Get the directions here.
7. When cleaning the bedroom, always make the bed first.
There are a myriad of reasons. 1) It serves as a mission control center for organizing and folding, 2) you’ll be less likely to climb into bed and take a nap in the middle of your cleaning sesh, and 3) your messy stuff will look weird and out of place once the bed is all neat.
8. On a super-hot day, clean out your fridge and freezer.
It’ll feel less like work and more like a treat.
9. Limit your closet to 40 hangers.
Sometimes you need hard-and-fast rules to keep organized. Here is a great resource for donation places where your clutter will do good.
11. Or simplify it to this one question:
13. Use compartmentalized boxes for small things you need to keep organized, like batteries.
14. Declutter your Facebook feed.
Tip #1: When you see pesty updates from Candy Crush or Spotify that you seriously could care less about, hover your mouse over the post and click “Hide all stories from ______”
Tip #2: Make friend lists. Only follow your close friends. This also comes in handy later on when you want to post an event or news item that you only want your legit pals to see.
15. Fold your bedsheets up and stuff them in a matching pillowcase.
16. Employ the “Crap Basket” system for your family.
Everyone gets a crap basket. If you see or collect anyone’s crap throughout the house, it goes in that person’s basket. And then they’re responsible for putting it back into their rooms.
17. Hang your mail holder on the side of a table or kitchen counter.
It’ll keep the clutter off your precious visible surfaces.
18. Always open your mail next to the recycling bin so you can immediately purge unwanted junk mail.
19. Hang your lesser used cords on Command hooks on the inside of your cupboards.
Command hooks are magical.
20. For the garage or backyard, hang a basket so you can wrap the hose around it and keep the sprinkler inside the bucket.
21. Run a power strip through the back of a nightstand so you can charge your gadgets out of sight.
Most nightstands with drawers should have a gap in the back.
22. When you buy a new shirt, donate two from your closet.
Or just do the one-in one-out rule for ALL possessions. ESPECIALLY if you’re a shopaholic.
23. Put your cosmetics into palettes.
You’ll feel so good after you do this. It’ll make getting ready so much faster, too. Z Palettes makes customizeable magnetic ones.
24. Use a pegboard and zip ties underneath your desk to keep your wires neat.
Check out the before and after here.
25. Keep your discount cards virtually on your phone with the Key Ring app.
Get it here. And if you don’t have a smartphone, hole-punching your discount and gift cards and adding them to a single key ring can keep your purse organized.
26. Find ways to get rid of your old books.
1. Donate any children’s books that the kids have outgrown to a local library.
2. Give books away to family and friends you believe would enjoy them.
3. Sell your old textbooks for a little extra cash.
4. For cookbooks, only keep the ones with a large number of recipes you plan on making. If there are only a couple useable recipes, photocopy them and keep them in a binder and give the cookbook away.
27. Keep your cleaning supplies in a mobile bucket caddy.
You (or anyone else) will be able to go room to room to clean very easily with this handy bucket.
28. Use hooks, not towel bars.
They’re much more likely to keep your towels off the floor.
29. Wrap the cords around your unused appliances and secure with Velcro.
It’ll keep your spaces neater.
31. Identify your clutter traps. Then divide and conquer.
Is there a certain place where everyone just dumps their stuff out of sheer laziness? Is it the entryway? Under the kitchen sink? A junk drawer? Identify each of the clutter traps and dedicate an hour each weekend to each one. See if there’s an easy way to compartmentalize the stuff you really need while throwing out the things you can bear to part with.
32. Use your iPhone or iPad as a pocket scanner with Genius Scan.
You can keep all your documents electronically without having to invest in a scanner. Get the app here.
33. Limit your dish sets to two or three more than the required place settings.
This keeps your dishwasher from getting insane, and if you don’t have a dishwasher, household members will be more prone to actually doing the dishes if there are none available to use. And you have enough extra place settings for guests.
34. Spread your minimalist lifestyle by only giving gifts that people can use.
Take a friend out to eat for their birthday. Give a coupon for a free oil change as a Christmas gift. A bottle of wine is always handy. This cuts down on lame gifts and people will learn to reciprocate similarly.