Spring cleaning fever has hit hard at my house and this week I’ve purged closets, vacuumed under furniture, and checked the expiration date on every canned good and spice in my pantry. Goodbye, can of beans that expired in 2012. Now I’m tackling all the clutter that’s piling up and tangling up, and just generally making my house look messy. It’s about to get real, and I have some great home decluttering tips to help you reduce the madness too.
I especially love them because they’re the kinds of things you can do once and it’s pretty much taken care of forever. Or for a good long while, at least. That’s the kind of home decluttering we really can get behind.
Digitize your user manuals
When you’re sure you’re not going to be returning an item, toss the hard copy of the user’s manual that fills up random drawers and file folders, and instead download the digital version to your tablet or computer. You can find the manual version online pretty easily through sites like manualsonline.com which is a database of more than 7,000 products. Or just search for the exact product name/number online.
Apartment Therapy has a great tip on how to save them in iBooks through your iTunes library if you’re an iOS user. But you can always store them in a file in the cloud (with clear file names!) too. It will clear up plenty of desk or file cabinet space, cloud storage means you can access it from anywhere. Which is helpful, should your camera go on the fritz while you’re on vacation.
Tame those tangled cords
We cannot offer this tip often enough! If your desk is dusted and your screens are wiped clean, a big tangle of cords makes the whole room look messy. Especially if they’re in plain site, or dangling behind a desk with an open back. Unplug everything, dust well, and then set your computer or TV back up again fresh. You may be surprised by how many unnecessary cables you have loitering back there, getting into who-knows-what kind of trouble. We have offered tons of ways to manage cord tangles, like the Soba Cable Bundler from BlueLounge which is clean, streamlined, and affordable. But it can be as simple as using cord ties, too.
Charge your gadgets in one place, out of site.
If you’re like most of us, you probably have a smartphone charging next to the bed, an iPad charging the living room, some game controllers by the TV…you get the cluttered picture. So we love this elegant Cove home recharging center that we discovered on Indiegogo, from Griffin, of all people. It charges up to five devices at once all when you place them on the non-scratch shelves hidden behind one of three beautiful wood finishes. They look fantastic in any decor too; like a modern breadbox. Liz grabbed one for herself at a nice $50 discount through the Indiegogo campaign — but do it now. It ends on May 14. Your home will be more organized by the end of the year when it’s slated to arrive.
Of course you might still want to keep that phone by your bedside. But for the rest of your gadgets, this is a pretty gorgeous, smart solution.
Upgrade to a desk built with tech in mind
If you have a big budget for your spring organization, look for desks built specifically to manage today’s multi-gadget world. You’ll be amazed at how much clutter they can hide. From a hook for dangling your headphones to a gadget dock and hidden power compartment that hides unsightly cords, the wooden tech desk from Artifox is a brilliant purchase.
To further keep your workspace minimalist (if not design magazine worthy; let’s be realistic) simply stash printers, file cabinets, and other things you don’t need every moment somewhere behind closed doors or out of your eyeline.
Purge junk mail, then keep it from piling up again.
A huge way to keep clutter from coming back is to keep it from coming through your door in the first place. By simply entering your email or physical mailing address at a site like Catalog Choice or the Paper Karma app, you can cancel dozens of subscriptions at one time. I’ve tried them, and I’ve been shocked by how light the junk mail in my mailbox has become soon after. You do have to refresh it every year or so as those companies get hold of your address again, but these services really do the job amazingly well.
You can even go digital on the magazines you do want to read, by downloading the Next Issue app (above) to your iPad. For just $9.99 a month, you can read more than 140 magazines without stacks of them piling up on your coffee table or hallway hutch. Besides, that’s already less than one issue of Vanity Fair and one InStyle alone, if you’re talking newsstand prices.
Don’t save every piece of your kids’ artwork. We know, it pains us too.
Even though I feel heartless throwing out my kids’ precious works of art, it’s the only practical thing to do in a home the size of mine. And any personal organizer will tell you that even if you’re in a mansion, just saving a few very special pieces is best for keeping clutter at bay. I mean, how many adorable spindly-legged stick figure drawings from your four-year-old do you really need? But if you’re still having trouble purging (we get it), you can do what I do and help my kids scan their projects into the ArtKive app for safekeeping.
While you can of course just shoot artwork using your smartphone camera, then filing, ArtKive is made to manage multiple kids and help you label and sort by date. You can even purchase a photo book through the app featuring their masterpieces at the end of the school year. That’s a way of showing them how much you value your work.
They don’t have to know it’s partly about valuing a decluttered home, too.
See more of our tech organization tips at Cool Mom Tech. Feel us sending you our good vibes for getting seriously organized in the meantime!