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4 Overlooked Areas to Declutter Now

President & Owner of Mise en Place Home, a Hawaii-based company.


We have all swooned over Pinterest and Instagram posts of neatly stacked and color coordinated linen closets, refrigerators, and pantries. Let’s be honest, we are in the middle of an organizing movement thanks to KonMari and The Home Edit. But what about those other areas that are easily forgotten and are not as glamorous? Well, it may be time to take a deep dive into addressing these areas.


1. Under the Bed

If you live in an urban city where city life is large but the space you live in small, the area under the bed is prime real estate. Usually home to seasonal clothing, paperwork, holiday decorations, miscellaneous items as well as a few unintended dust bunnies, it may be time to look at what you are housing under there. My suggestion is to remove everything, yes everything from under the bed. I am sure you will be surprised as to the number of items that are being stored there. Give it a good cleaning so you are starting with a fresh space. If you’ve got paperwork stored there, save those for last. Go through the clothing and holiday decor first and decide what to donate or discard. Clothes and decorations can sometimes become tattered even if stored carefully or you may find them outdated and no longer suite your style. Vacuum seal and bag seasonal clothing for protection and maximizing space. Miscellaneous items can range from your child’s toys to suitcases. As KonMari would say, decide which items still “sparks joy”. Make sure to utilize suitcases as containers for other smaller things; do not keep suitcases zipped up with nothing inside of them, they are like a 2-for-1 container! For paperwork, any legal documents or sentimental items you’ll want to store in a moisture free safe container. All non-pertinent or faded documents should be tossed. Make sure to put labels on containers so they are easily visible the next time you crouch down to retrieve your belongings.


2. Jewelry Boxes & Drawers

Jewelry is just one of those things that tends to accumulate without really much effort. Remove everything so you can take stock of what you have. Quickly identify your favorites and most used pieces then set them aside. For those items that you have outgrown, ask friends if they are interested in them or post and resell it. If you have jewelry that needs some minor repair, make a point to get it fixed as soon as possible so you can start wearing it again. If you have an item that is missing a counterpart, but holds sentimental value, try to repurpose your jewelry in a new way. For instance, a current fashion trend is asymmetrical earrings, which means they do not need to match, try to use it as decoration on a hat, turn it into a belt buckle, or pin it to a sweater (have a Carrie Bradshaw moment!). Once all the jewelry has been removed from your box or drawer, wipe it down completely. If you have a velvet or felt lined jewelry box or inserts, give it a good shake out. If lint persists, use a lint roller or even a hand-held vacuum to remove it completely. Give your pieces a good cleaning and polish before putting everything back. Make sure to group like articles together: necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings so your eye can easily process where to look when choosing your next adornment.

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3. Car Console & Glove Compartment

Does anyone keep gloves in the glove compartment anymore? As for me, I know my car console and glove compartment are just plain gross! Besides the requisite paperwork such as car registration and insurance card, it houses my sunglasses, flashlight, and sunscreen. However, other unsightly items can be found, like used tissue paper, a wrapper from something I had eaten, miscellaneous receipts (usually with chewing gum in it), cables, old pens, rubber bands, and small kids’ toys. Once again, start by taking out everything. Decide what are absolute musts and toss anything you would categorize as trash. For non-essential items, find out if there’s a more appropriate place they should be stored. Give everything a good disinfecting wipe. Designate either the console or glove compartment as an emergency only area where you keep the car registration, insurance card, owner’s manual, and a flashlight; this way you don’t have to fumble to find them quickly. Due to recent health concerns, hand-sanitizer and a mask may need to be included in your emergency section. Personal items such as your parking card, sunglasses, contact solution, and a pen, can be get kept together. You may even want to further cluster like items by placing them in color-coded bags/pouches for easy identification.


4. The Family Closet

Usually situated nearest the front door, the family closet is really a grab & go/dumping station to get you quickly in and out of the house. This closet usually services multiple family members and no one really lays claim to be responsible for it…well, maybe mom. We tend to ask a lot of our family closet, as it needs to house various sized jackets, shoes, hats, backpacks and sometimes even sports equipment. Decluttering this area will require participation from all family members so this will be a group exercise. Clear everything out and divide articles into the belongings of each family member; any unclaimed pieces, in usable condition, can be donated to your charity of choice. Color code hangers and designate a color for each family member. Each member should only have a set number of hangers and when their hangers are full, any excess items will need to be stored in a different closet. Don’t use wire hangers that you’ve gotten from the dry cleaner as they are too flimsy and frankly unsightly. Return the wire hangers back to your dry cleaner the next time you need to drop off clothes for cleaning - it’s a good form of recycling. Wood hangers are too large and often any nicely lined coats or puffer jackets slide right off unless properly top buttoned or zipped up (and who has time for that!). You will want to maximize your space so buy thin profile, felt or velvet wrapped hangers. Shoes are probably the most difficult to store because they are bulky and vary in size. If you can find a over-the-door hanging unit or if you have shelving, dedicate a specific shelf or area of space for each family member so that’s it’s understood no one else can encumber upon the other’s space. Utilize baskets or containers for odd items like umbrellas and gloves. Don’t forget that there’s real estate on the closet walls and the inside of the door. Use hooks to hang hats, scarves, or any other miscellaneous items.

Making the commitment to declutter these overlooked spaces can be challenging at first but I guarantee when you start, you will feel a shift of excitement and a sense of happiness wash over you every time you see these well- organized spaces. Good luck and let’s get decluttering!

© 2020 Courtney Hannah

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