GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: How to cut clutter in your home

Take control of your clutter with these ideas from Good Housekeeping. (Photo by Jane Colclasure)

Bring order to your world with these simple solutions from Good Housekeeping.

What really causes clutter?

A one-time purge – or a binge on organizing supplies – won’t cure an overflow of objects. People need to break habits that lead to clutter. Any of these sound familiar?

Habit: Being afraid to let go of items (“I might need it later,” “My kids might want this someday” or similar fears).

How to deal: “Ask yourself, ‘What is the worst-case scenario if I get rid of this?’ and play that scenario out to its end. The answer usually is not that scary. In many cases, you can repurchase the item if it’s still needed,” said organization expert Lorie Marrero.

Habit: Not stepping up to tasks. “Family members walk right by something left out on the counter, but unless someone takes the initiative to make sure it gets cleared, it’s highly unlikely to happen,” she said.

How to deal: Assign clear responsibilities, communicate them and give consequences when they’re not accomplished.

Habit: Procrastination. This is the worst of the bunch, says Marrero. “I dare say that delaying decisions about where to put things – or waiting to put them there – is the cause of all clutter.”

How to deal: Being aware is the first step.      “Then,” Marrero says, “if you hear yourself say, ‘I’ll just put it here for now,’ resist the urge.”

How to Declutter

Different decluttering approaches work for different people and situations. Try organizing by:

Frequency of use: Place your most-used items in spots where they’re easiest to access. For instance, store weekday food staples on eye-level pantry shelves.

Color: From craft supplies to clothing, bedding and towel sets, and even produce, sometimes arranging things by hue is the only way to achieve at-a-glance recall.

Season: The key to managing seasonal clothing, outdoor gear and decorations? Group by time of use, label clearly and position for easy swapping.

Order or theme: By alphabetizing DVDs, storing tax returns in chronological order or shelving books according to genre, the organizing rubric is set.

If you find items you don’t want – or need:

Try one of these get-rid-of-it options:

Sell it secondhand: National chains like Play It Again Sports, Plato’s Closet, Music Go Round, Buffalo Exchange and GameStop give you money – or store credit – for used sports gear, clothing, musical instruments and video games and equipment.

Sell it online: You can sell goods on or and ship them at the buyer’s expense; sell electronics to, which lists its purchase prices online; or advertise your used things on

Host a yard sale: Pick a Saturday and advertise well – in local media and with easy-to-read, smartly placed signs. Mark prices ahead of time so you can focus on ringing up sales – but be willing to lower prices.

Donate it: To receive a charitable tax deduction for donated goods, check sites like and

Toss it: If you hate to admit it, but your clutter is more like junk, find out your township’s rules and regulations for getting rid of it. Better yet, look online for appropriate recycling pickup services in your area.



Free Organizational Gear

Who needs expensive organizing products when you already have these helpers?



Paper-towel rolls

Prevent extension cords, holiday garlands and even ribbon remnants from getting tangled by wrapping them around empty rolls.

Glass jars

These see-through vessels are ideal for containing individual types of items, like nails, screws or buttons.

Six-pack holders

Use the cardboard carriers as caddies for utensils, napkins or condiments when dining alfresco.

Old belts

To manage rolls of tape, grab a belt, slip on your tapes, and buckle up. Hang it near other fix-it essentials.

Cake pans

Repurpose them to store group-related items, such as baking supplies, in their own go-to area inside the pantry.

Flower pots     Collect stray pruners, gloves and other gardening gear in unused planters. This way, they’re ready to use during the spring and summer.


Recalls Alert

The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, 800-638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.

PRODUCT/VEHICLE                 PROBLEM       

Fred Meyer Children’s zipper hooded sweatshirts and girls bomber jackets, sold at Fred Meyer, Kroger, Smith’s and Fry’s Marketplace from February 2017 through March 2017 for between $7 and $10.

The zipper pull can detach from the sweatshirt, posing choking and laceration hazards to children. Consumers should immediately stop using the sweatshirt or jacket, and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers can contact Fred Meyer at 800-576-4377 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at Click on “Recall Alert” located at the bottom of the page for more information.

Mercedes-Benz 2017 E300, E300 4Matic and E43 AMG

The front passenger occupant detection control unit may have been incorrectly installed. As a result, the front passenger seat occupant may be misclassified. For example, an adult may be misclassified as a child, causing the front passenger air bag to be deactivated in the event of a crash. If the passenger front air bag does not deploy as intended in the event of a crash, it can increase the risk of a injury. MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the routing of the pressure hose of the seat occupancy detection control unit and replace the pressure hose and seat occupancy detection mat if necessary for free. The recall is expected to begin in early March 2017. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 800-367-6372.

© Hearst Communications Inc.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate