Containers That Conquer Clutter

Ok, time for a few more tips for getting your clutter under control.  There’s just no way around it – you can’t make it pretty if you can’t get ahold of the clutter.   So, pretty containers help!  HomeGoods carries pretty fabric-covered containers that match many decor styles.

Have a cubby or basket assigned to each of your children (and/or your husband!).  Throw anything lying around into the right cubby and, when it’s full, require the owner to clean it out.  This may not be easy to enforce at first, but it may help to assign a certain time of day to put things away – like before dinner or television time.

Keep a donation hamper in your closet or laundry room.  Whenever you go to try something on that doesn’t fit right, toss it in the hamper.  Once a week, look through your hangers and see if there’s something you haven’t worn this season.  Keep adding items until the hamper is full – then take it to Goodwill or some other charity.

Buy storage bins and baskets in mass from the Dollar Tree.  Make sure they are the sizes you need, and buy them in the same colors to match your decor.  Label them and store them in a bookcase or on shelves to keep things organized and easy-to-find.

I always have a pretty journal nearby or in my purse.  I use it to jot down notes, lists, etc.  Every week or so, I rip out the pages I don’t need anymore (like grocery lists I’ve already used).  When the journal is full, I transfer any information I need to keep and start with a fresh, new journal.

  Your nightstand should be a clutter-free zone.  I keep a few things in a small drawer – my glasses, chap stick, a nail file, television remote, and antacids.  My tabletop holds only a pretty stack of books under a lamp and a coaster for a glass of water.  I keep a pretty basket underneath for books and magazines – and maybe a pair of socks.

  Streamline your cleaning products to the basics:  window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner with bleach, wood polish, abrasive cleaner, and floor cleaner.  Keep them in a clear tub under the kitchen or bathroom sink along with a dust mitt or lint-free cloth, an abrasive brush, and a roll of paper towels.   You’ll know exactly where to find cleaning supplies, and you can simply carry the tub around the house while doing chores.

Photo Credits:  India Rose, Woman’s Day, Land of Nod, Good Housekeeping, Quilting Gallery, Decor8, Kristie Barnett.


  1. Dianne Tant

    I love the basket by the nightstand idea!

  2. Jen C.

    i’ve been dreading it, but you have inspired me to finally clean up my nightstand. now maybe i can go to bed without hating myself for leaving it so icky for so long.

  3. Phyllis Hill

    I love all your declutter tips. Always working on that one. FYI, the best glass cleaner is rubbing alcohol. It doesn’t streak, also can be used on counter tops and sinks. White vinegar diluted with water is great on the floors.

  4. kristiebarnett

    Thanks for the cleaning tips, Phyllis. I will try both!

  5. Chelle

    Finally I have the time to read your blog. It is beautiful! I love all the pretty boxes. I need some way to “pretty up” our schooling area AKA the kitchen table. I need to look into some pretty boxes.

  6. Phyllis Hill

    Kristie, I cleaned off my nightstand. Which also meant cleaning out my nightstand drawer. Thank you for the encouragement. I have a few more cleaning tips if you would like them.:)

  7. Jana

    Kristie, I love the idea of having separate cubbies (folding) for each child! We sometimes play a “game” I like to call “Where’s My Stuff?” I give each girl an empty basket or bag and they have to go through every room in the house and collect their own things that don’t belong in that particular room. I have some who are greater “repeat offenders” than others so the cubbies would be ideal.

  8. kristiebarnett

    Jana, we have a basket at the bottom of the stairs that I throw stuff in that belongs to the girls. I’m often saying, “Time to take the basket upstairs and put your stuff away.” But I REALLY like your game with the empty bag/basket. I need to set out a couple of smaller baskets and try that! Thanks for the idea 🙂

  9. Lora

    LOVE this stuff. Why it seems so simple here in bloggy land and so complicated at my house I’ll never know!

  10. Karen

    This is a great gathering of good ideas. I use all of them, and I have this suggestion: the key to keeping things organized and beautiful is to buy TONS of baskets (especially lined ones), and those lovely paper lined boxes that you can get really cheaply at Ross’s and elsewhere. Plus, go to Staples and buy the Martha Stewart storage labels and other storage supplies plus some stackable plastic baskets (small ones), and organizing and staying that way(!) will be easy! I was never good at keeping things organized till I just bought a whole load of baskets and organized what went into them.


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