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Organizing

15 Things That Are Secretly Causing Clutter In Your Home

Find out what are the most common clutter culprits, and learn how to keep them under control

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Photography: Pixabay & Toto Labrador (Main Photos)

Clutter can accumulate everywhere. What really causes it is our being unaware of it. Based on our experience, when we leave something unnoticed, the tendency is to forget about it. And aside from clutter leading to a messy home, it can also cause disorder in your schedule, a muddled mindset, and more.

But before we get sucked into our rabbit hole of clutter, here are the 15 clutter-causing things to watch out for in your home. Once you create a system of organizing and cleaning, then managing these should not be a problem.

1. Bills and documents


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We do not notice that our bills start to pile up especially when you’ve enrolled your account to automatic debit. Those flyers and pamphlets they hand out in the mail, even the brochures and catalogues that are given when you shop in stores, they all add up.

Tip: As soon as you get any kind of paper document or mail, open it and file it right away before it all piles up.  

READ: Everything You Need To Know About Organizing Important Documents

2. Coins and loose change


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It’s second nature for most of us to empty our pockets when we get home. But the tendency is to just dump the coins anywhere.

Tip: If you have a designated bin or bowl, or one of those plastic containers, just label it “Change/Coins,” not only will you train yourself to put them in one spot, but you’ll also have made yourself a piggy bank for savings.

3. Cardboard boxes

The reason why we keep old cardboard boxes is because we always think: “I will have a use for it.” Oftentimes, referring to future use is the main driver for creating clutter.

Tip: If you know for sure that you will have a need for that cardboard box, then neatly fold it and place it in a spot. Otherwise, dispose of it.

4. Old toys


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Sentimental value is another major factor for clutter. Our emotional attachment to things makes it very hard to let go—remember the Toy Story trilogy!

Tip: If we’re still holding on to old toys, keep the ones that hold memories and meaning for you or your child, otherwise, think of the other children who will be happy with those toys.  

READ: My Son And I De-Cluttered Our Closets Over The Weekend And This Is What Happened

5. Outdated or broken gadgets

With the deluge of new gadgets every few months, it’s so easy to accumulate old ones—computers, laptops, mobile phones, printers, etc.

Tip: Selling your old gadgets would be a good idea, or you can send it back to the manufacturer so they can properly take care of electronic waste.

6. Clothes, bags, and shoes


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Because of the changing fashion trends and sales—not to mention e-commerce—it’s so easy to buy more clothing without thinking of where to store it all.

Tip: Keep it if you’re going to pass it down to your daughter or son. If you haven’t worn it in a year, sell or donate it. Whatever reason for keeping or giving away clothes, mindfulness is key. It’s always a good mantra to think that someone else will benefit from your clothes.

READ: How To – Maintaining An Organized Closet

7. Too many of the same thing

If you have too many pieces of the same thing or same function, then that is too much. (Do you really need two printers, or two coffee machines?)

Tip: Whatever the reason is for buying the second, third, or fourth version of something, if you know that you will not use the other models, then it would be best to donate or sell it.

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8. Plastic or paper bags

Rather than collect the plastic bags from grocery stores, why not bring reusable totes when you shop? This way, you lessen the plastic pollution and become more conscious of the bags that you store at home.

Tip: Instead of just setting aside paper bags, reuse or recycle them as a gift bags.

9. DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes

We have gone from the era of laser discs all the way to USBs, and most of us might keep a favorite collection or a mix tape an old boyfriend made for us.

Tip: You can keep some for obvious sentimental reasons. Otherwise, properly dispose of this along with electronic waste such as cables, wires, and batteries.

10. Books and magazines


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Do you have “unread book debt,” or are your print magazine subscriptions lying in a pile in your house?

Tip: Since there has been a transition to online publishing, it is time to re-think what printed products we would keep in our home.

READ: Organizing Your Magazine Collection

11. Little trinkets: keychains, magnets, buttons

It’s easy for little trinkets and souvenirs to accumulate and pile up if you don’t have storage for them.

Tip: Dedicate a bin (or bins) to contain all of these small items.

12. Gifts that you cannot give away, but are in storage

There are some items that are most likely given by a loved one, but you don’t use it.

Tip: If selling it or donating the gift is not an option at the moment, then just make it sure it is neatly tucked away behind closet doors.

13. Souvenirs from parties

Party favors or free items, like mugs, pens, and souvenir décor are the easiest to give away or discard.

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Tip: If you have no definite use, then decide on it right away rather than keep it collecting dust in your home.

14. Take away containers, plastic spoons and forks

Those take-out containers from restaurants or online food delivery can eat up precious kitchen space.  

Tip: Re-use would be the best practice for it. Otherwise, bring your own reusable food containers and utensils.

READ: See How One Family Is Reducing The Use of Plastic In Their Home

15. Expired products: personal care, medicine, canned food


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Sometimes we forget what we have in our pantry, and keep canned goods that have long expired!

Tip: Consuming expired goods can be dangerous, so do a monthly, quarterly, or even twice a year check of your pantry or medicine cabinet to ensure that all products are still good, and can be used by its “best before” date.

READ: 7 Ways To Organize A Small Pantry

Now that the secret is out, make sure you create your own manageable system for minimizing your clutter. Just make sure it is a system that is workable and sustainable for your lifestyle.

Maan Sicam and Joanne Endaya are two of RL’s Style Spotters, and are the ladies behind Happy Helpers, a professional home cleaning and social enterprise in Metro Manila. To read about them, click here, or visit their website for their cleaning services. 

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