My five best clutter busters

January 15, 2015

I’m back today with some really simple and quick tips that I use around the house to coral the clutter a bit. We talked about clutter last week and I found the comments really interesting!

It may have sounded like my house was a clutter disaster after reading it and it’s really not, I swear. ;) But I struggle with it on a daily basis like so many of you do.

I have a few tricks I’ve implemented over the years that have really helped and I thought I would share a few of them with you today!

I like to utilize things in an unusual way AND I hate wasted space so this one a good mix of the two. I started this project by painting magnetic paint on the insides of a couple of our cabinets doors, but that was a fail. I can’t get that paint to hold anything but supersonic magnets, even with like six coats.

So plan B was to adhere some metal sheeting (make sure it’s magnetic!) to the cabinets instead:

back of cabinet doors for papers using back of cabinet doors for storage

Obviously we keep the take out and delivery menus there (CHUYS!!) but you could use it for a grocery list, receipts, whatever. I’ve seen really clever ideas of using the inside of your cabinet doors for hanging measuring spoons and cups as well. We can’t do that because the middle panels on our cabinets are too thin to screw into, but I love the idea!

You can see more of how I did this and the materials I used here. It’s a great way to get some of your smaller items out of the way and out of sight.

This next idea is one we’ve used for YEARS and I LOVE IT. I think I shared it with you a looong time ago but it’s worth mentioning again. Instead of keeping DVDs and CDs (all old, we haven’t bought a CD in years now) in their cases we now do this:

get rid of dvd cases


Seriously…I cannot express how much space these save! We have the smaller versions that hold about 130 disks:

simple dvd storage

We have one for CDs and software, one for Halloween and holiday movies, one for our movies and one for the kiddo’s movies. We actually need to get another one because as I’ve gone through things lately I’ve realized we have a ton of movies.

This is a bigger version of ours (it holds way more) and this one is just a bit more than what we spent on ours but holds even more (more than 200 instead of our 130).

When we buy a DVD now it immediately comes out of the case and into a sleeve. I can’t even imagine how much space these would take up still in their cases! By the way, you can’t typically recycle the DVD cases at regular recycling locations. There are some that will take them so do a search in your area. Also, I know photographers can usually use them so you could ask around. (Or is everything digital now? Could be.)

This little storage container is another one of my favorites – I was giddy when I was filling this thing up:

small tool organizer

When I first shared this many of you mentioned alphabetizing it and I’ve since done that. After you said that it was giving me hives.

I got this sorter at Lowe’s and it’s meant to hang up on a peg board or something. Honestly though, after having filled it up I’m not sure it would hang well. Mine is so heavy I’m pretty sure the plastic would break. BUT it’s still the bomb – those drawers look tiny but they are deep. I can fit so much in there. It’s awesome to have a spot for all of the little doodads that I need day to day.

OK…so the paper issue is HUGE, right? I have to say – I have tried so many “tricks” over the years to get it under control. I tried binders, drawers, boxes…and they would work for a few weeks or even months and then it would get out of control again.

But I’ve found the solution. And it’s earth shattering, so hold on to your seats. I’m about to blow. your. mind…

A basket:

dealing with paper clutter

One basket. That’s it people. That’s. it.

We keep our recycling bins in the garage, so I do my best to sort through ads and junk mail as I come in the door with it all – but sometimes I don’t and I just dump it all in the basket. When it gets full I go sort through and file the important stuff and recycle the rest. Yes, I could just do this when I walk in the door…but I don’t. I have learned this about myself and have embraced it. :)

It is a wondrous thing, the big, deep basket. Seriously, when I had a spot for five different things it was too much and I stopped doing it. One spot? My brain can keep up with that. I’ve also started using those white boxes from the Container Store for the Bub’s school projects. I have one for each grade -- I put the ones I love in there and then when it gets full a month into the school year half way through the year I sort through that too. I’m trying to be better about that stuff – as some of you mentioned on that post last week, who am I keeping these for? Will he really want these as an adult? Will his wife frame them and hang them on the wall? I’m guessing no. So I am trying to be more deliberate with what I keep.

But you know, try the basket thing. It’s revolutionary I know. ;)

And finally, a biggie this time of year in our house – the gloves, hats and scarves. They used to land ever.y.where. Again…first of all, let’s address how many we have. How many sets of gloves does an adult really need to have? I’ve cut us down to about three pairs of gloves each. I get a few more scarves cause I’m a girl and I like my scarves.

My solution for what we really use is a shoe organizer at the top of our coat closet:

winter gear storage I labeled the bottom of each line of cubbies for each of us and just that little detail helps tremendously. Otherwise I’d be stuffing gloves in random slots and we’d never find what we want.

Another tip for the coat closet – use the back of the door:

using back of coat closet door

I use drapery tie backs for hanging scarves and bags because they are deep and hold a ton! Most of them I’ve had around for years but I’ve even started buying them specifically for organizing instead of drapes. ;) I like using simple ones like these that have a good open “hook.”

So there you go – five of my biggest clutter busters that WORK. At least in this house. I’ve used each of these for quite some time now and they help to declutter the stuff that used to clutter up our house. Any simple tips you use and love?


Affiliate links used for your convenience.

Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. For hanging measuring spoons inside my kitchen cabinet, I use 3M hooks. Those are fantastic. I don't have to put a hole in anything and they are secure. I use a lot of 3M hooks throughout my house.

    1. Exactly what I was going to comment! We rent and I can't screw into the cabinets, plus the panels are too thin, anyways, So we got small Command hooks and it works like a charm. I love having my measuring spoons and cups hanging and ready.

    2. d'oh you both beat me to it! that was my first thought as well - it's how I have my measuring cups and spoons hung in my cabinets too! :)

    3. I am a total command hook junkie!! I have my cups and spoons hung that way too!! I have a huge stash of command hooks and hangers in one of my kitchen drawers and its stuffed full! Everytime my husband opens it, he closes it, looks at me and says"Why?"

  2. Using drapery tie backs for hanging scarves and bags is beyond brilliant. Thanks for the idea.
    ...Maggie Curiel

  3. When we lived in Oregon ( snow and rain for far too long every winter) we had one of those multi-pocket shoe organizers on the back of our front closet door-gloves, hats, scarves, the dog's coat/boots, umbrellas ( the small purse sized ones)-they all fit in there with no problem.
    I also used to use of of those for the kid's art supplies out in the garage.

    We've since moved to our dream city of San Diego, and we haven't worn coats/gloves/etc in a year! I also use a big flat basket for magazines/catalogs. When it's full, it's time to recycle.

    I would take pictures of your son's work and then put those into books ( Shutterfly and etc). Save a few of the really outstanding things. The only things my kids still like to go through are things they have written! Stories, poems, etc still make them LOL. The artwork is fun, but they really don't care too much about it ( and my son actually IS an artist, and my daughter is studying graphic art/webdesign, so go figure).

    1. I use the over the door shoe organizer in my bathroom closet! I have a huge closet so the shoe organizer is great for little things like all my nail polish (which takes up half of it), pill bottles, travel stuff, small hair products, stuff like that. :) Very handy and all those little things don't get lost in my big closet

    2. I use a hanging shoe organizer, too, for cords and cables, and LOVE it! I actually just wrote a blog post about it...perfect timing! There are so many creative uses for the hanging shoe organizer..I may just have to get another one. :)

  4. The drapery tie backs idea is soooo awesome!! Thanks for sharing! I used command strips and hung corkboard on the back of my cabinet door for dr.appt cards and stuff like that. I might try your magnetic sheeting idea too though!

  5. Office supply stores have paper sleeves for disks - a box of 100 costs $7. So, I also toss the plastic cover and use a basket to store the CD/DVDs. I have a smaller CD case to use when traveling.

    I also use the basket idea for paper storage - when I get a magazine I go through it and tear out the pages that look interesting. The rest of the magazine goes into recycle and the pages go into the basket by my chair. When I have a few minutes, I then look at the pages to either toss or keep. I have a few file folders close by for travel ideas, gardening tips, renovation ideas or recipes. This is also a great way to determine if you want to keep a subscription - tear out the pages you read and compare to the size of the magazine.

  6. I kept all of my daughter's projects, report cards, etc and then when she graduated from high school, I made a scrapbook with all of those in there, one for each grade along with her school picture for that year. She loved it! Out of all her graduation gifts, it was her absolute favorite because it was twelve years in the making and the single most personal one she received.

  7. How did you hang the hooks on the door? It looks like a hollow door. All our doors are hollow and I'd love to hang some hook on them.

    1. They are hollow core but the door has a bit of thickness to it and it holds up well!

  8. Hmmm... may have to put some hooks on the inside of my coat closet and cabinets now!

  9. Cubbies. Genius! Off to Walmart.

  10. The little drawer organizer? A smaller one is perfect for your earrings. I have on in my closet and they are labeled by style (hoops, drops, studs) and color (silver, gold, black, purple). So much easier than a jewelry box.

    1. My mom put one in her bathroom for jewelry years ago and swears by it!

    2. I do the same! Mine slides so I can stack them and access the bigger compartments on the bottom. :)

  11. At the end of the year, you could photograph the box contents and make it into a little memory book.

  12. Thanks for the tips. I've been using those CD / DVD storage cases for awhile now. They are great space savers!

  13. Thanks for all of the great organizing ideas for the new year! These are awesome!


  14. Drapery tie backs as deep hooks--brilliant!

  15. 3M hooks are awesome. On the insides of my spice cab, I put cork into the recessed space. I can stick push pins in it to hold info about the meds basket, which is just above the spices. I also keep a "Mom" binder with a section for menus, because a hard day might require Chuy's...or Super China...or Jason's Deli...
    This is such a great month for all those tips!

  16. I always love your ideas... so practical and brilliant! Thanks again for all the inspiration!

  17. I've tackled a little bit of the paper by writing "Return to Sender" on some items. It has reduced a lot! I also try not to sign up for paper copies, if I sign up electronically I can always unsubscribe or move it to my Junk folder and delete everything in one click! :) Good luck!

  18. Thanks for the great tips! Our house could benefit from all of them. Hope to work on each of them in the next few weeks. And also thanks for a great blog.

  19. How do you use the drapery tiebacks on your hollow core doors? I understand that they would handle the weight of scarves, but wonder about the weight of the backpacks.

    1. They hold up well! I don't use anchors because the screws grip really well -- but you could use anchors if it worries you. :) Also, our son doesn't bring home heavy books just yet so his is pretty lightweight so far.

  20. Love your blog, thanks for all the organization tips and tricks. Wondering how you hung the baseball hats on the side of your closet? You can respond at my email address - Thank you!

  21. The drapery tie backs as hooks is a great idea, but like a few other people I am also questioning how they'd do on hollow doors for heavier stuff... do you anchor them? Or do you have solid core doors?

    After nearly two months of trying to keep our three foster kiddos lunch boxes contained to the top of the fridge when not in use, I slapped up some command hooks on the back of our pantry door. As soon as they were up, I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner! The back of the door is such an underutilized space!

    Command strips / hooks can be your best friend! I use them all over. Try them on the back of the cabinet doors for measuring cups. We hung jumbo ones at a kid friendly height on the back of the kids bedroom doors to hang their towels and a smaller one on the side of my bathroom cabinet to hang the hair dryer on. The cord strips are great for keeping cords hidden too - I know how much you hate that ;)

    We've found lots of (non frame related) uses for the photo hanging strips as well. They are better than the poster strips because they are essentially Velcro with two pieces and the tab to remove them can be hidden by the item, unlike the poster strips.

  22. Good stuff! So helpful for a tiny NYC apartment, too.


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!