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How to Declutter: 5 Home Clutter Culprits to Fix Before (and After) You Move

a woman organizes clothes in living room of her home.
Susumu Yoshioka/ Getty Images
a woman organizes clothes in living room of her home.

Susumu Yoshioka/ Getty Images

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. If you’re staging your home for sale or have just moved, you probably love the fresh look and feel of a decluttered home. But after some time, life happens and you find yourself accumulating (and overwhelmed by) stuff.Well, home clutter no more! We’ll show you how to declutter your space by looking at the most common home clutter culprits and how to fix them, before and after your move.

Clutter culprit 1: Crowded kitchen countertops

The biggest home clutter culprit is often the kitchen countertops. Why? Items left here have nowhere to hide and are the first thing you notice. Instead of appreciating the gorgeous and well-thought-out selection of Quartz surface, you see the vitamin collection or stack of bills. Here are some ideas on how to declutter the most visible part of your kitchen for a fresh and open kitchen space.

Image Source/ Getty Images

How to declutter your kitchen:

  • To maximize cabinet and drawer storage, focus on kitchen organization items that store behind closed doors.
  • Avoid overloading the walls, open shelves and pot racks with items.
  • Select smaller countertop appliances that store easily or choose under-cabinet mounted styles.
  • Use attractive boxes and baskets to hold smaller items that must stay on the countertops.
  • Consider creating an appliance “garage” by adding a door that hides appliances when not in use.

Check out how this home conquers kitchen counter clutter:

yinyang/ Getty Images

Andreas von Einsiedel/ Getty Images

Clutter culprit 2: Crowded, dusty bookcases and shelves

Bookcases are the perfect organizational furniture. Whether you’re living in a small studio or a large home, chances are bookcases or wall shelves are an important element in your home. But over utilizing your bookcases by loading them creates a crowded, cluttered effect. Luckily, there are simple design secrets to maximize your bookcases and shelves — while still displaying your belongings artfully.

Jonas Ingerstedt/ Getty Images

How to declutter your bookshelves:

  • Get rid of anything you haven’t used in more than a year.
  • Sort the bookcase items by size and type. Make piles for books, magazines, decorative objects like vases or photos, and small items.
  • When placing items on a shelf, leave some open space to visually lighten up the shelf.
  • Arrange your books back in your shelves by size or color. Be sure to use no more than half of each shelf for books.
  • Place magazines or smaller items that don’t need to be displayed in decorative boxes and arrange them in the lowest and highest shelves.
  • Place odd-number groupings of your objects like vases, candles or photo frames in the empty space you’ve left next to the books.

Here are some other ideas on how to organize your bookcases or shelves:

Bookshelf and fireplace in decorated living room at home

Klaus Vedfelt/ Getty Images

Luxury Restaurant in design Hotel in St. Petersburg; Interior; Lounge with fireplace

Vostok. Getty Images

Clutter culprit 3: The drop-everything entryway

The entry area might be the busiest place in your home. It’s likely to house a collection of shoes for all seasons, kids’ backpacks, sports equipment and more. A cluttered entry hall makes it harder to find your keys and other things you need in the morning. But with a little planning you can declutter and beautify your entrance, no matter the size.

Gorgeous flooring and cubbyholes in newly built Tour home

PC Photography/ Getty Images

How to declutter your entryway:

  • Start by adding a small or narrow table, bookcase or bench to hold keys, chargers and other items. One with drawers or doors makes it easier to hide clutter quickly.
  • Identify what items “live” in your entry and add a basket or two to catch them.
  • Add hooks or a coat rack to hold jackets, bags and backpacks.
  • Create a charging station by adding a multi-outlet charger for all your devices.

Here are other ideas for how to declutter and organize your entry:

Spacious entryway with intricate detail and design

PC Photography/ Getty Images

 Rain boots and gingham decorated flooring in new custom home

PC Photography/ Getty Images

Clutter culprit 4: Overloaded closets

An overloaded closet creates a couple of problems. It makes getting ready or finding what you need harder than it needs to be. And if you’re closet is overloaded, chances are, some of its contents are lying around the room. At worse, things that can be stored in the closet for a clutter-free home end up in plain view.

Stylish clothes, shoes and home stuff in large wardrobe closet. Dressing room interior with big wardrobe

wip-studiolublin/ Getty Images

How to declutter a closet:

  • Get rid of everything you haven’t used in the last year. A handy trick involves placing clothes on a hanger on the rod backward. Set the date to check back a year later. Whatever hanger was not pulled out in the last 12 months and still remains backward holds an item you haven’t used and should be considered for donation.
  • Once you’ve edited your closet, consider upgrading to a smart, closet organization system. These systems are usually affordable and make good use of the smallest of spaces.
  • Shelves, baskets, boxes and drawers make better use of space than hanging rods.
  • Box or bag larger or seasonal items and store in the higher shelving area.

This is one of the most organized closets ever. Steal some of these ideas for yours:

Big wardrobe with different clothes for dressing room. Walk in closet

Mariakray/ Getty Images

Modern wardrobe interior with different female clothes, hats and shoes

didecs/ Getty Images

Clutter culprit 5: A garage where only boxes park

Do you have tons of boxes filled with items you rarely use in your garage? Is there a treadmill or a collection of bikes and sporting goods collecting dust? Do you wish you could actually park your car in your garage? Much like the tips on how to declutter a closet, an organized garage starts with deciding to toss, sell and donate items you rarely use.

interior garage storage shelves

laughingmango/ Getty Images

How to organize and declutter a garage:

  • Once you’ve edited your garage items down to the essentials, store them in labeled plastic bins. Cardboard boxes tend to attract critters and don’t stack as easily as plastic bins.
  • If you have many boxes, add a garage shelving system to place them in.
  • Add hooks to hang items like bikes.
  • A pegboard system is a good inexpensive way to hang tools and other items on the wall.

Other ideas to declutter your garage:

A clean and tidy garage where everything has a place.

Lisa Stokes/ Getty Images

Take some time to reorganize these five zones and you’ll be living in a clean, clutter-free and organized home — pre- or post-move — in no time!


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