The notes, the mail, the spare coins, the batteries you can’t throw in the bin, the shit you hide from the kids, coupons, keys, lipgloss, recipes on scraps of paper, shopping lists, pens, bobby pins…. everything. Everything that doesn’t really have a place yet or ever.
Mine is the top of the microwave.
It’s just out of sight enough so that I don’t clog up the rest of the house’s surfaces with detritus, and just handy enough to hold pretty much everything.
I used to actually love having a basket or drawer for crap, because you know if you ever lost anything, it would be in the crap drawer. It was a place for orphaned things to go. When my sister and I first lived together when I was 20 and she was 16, we had this thing where if something was in the house and we didn’t know where it belonged, we’d Blu-Tak it to the wall. We had ridiculous things stuck up there – notes, pens, a toy motorbike, business cards, phone numbers, international coins, even a hubcap at one point. It was unusual, but it was also a pretty rad talking point. And considering the house was an eyesore to start with (pink walls, brown carpet, red rug, and lime-green kitchen) it just suited the insane eclectic vibe. Plus we never lost the hot guys’ numbers.
But in my quest for pretty minimalism, I’ve tried to wrestle the stupid microwave melting pot under control. Some weeks I nail it, and other weeks (like this one) it’s covered in letters, people’s addresses, hand cream, bubbles, an old box, receipts and who knows what else. It’s my tidiness achilles heel and I can’t always stop people from dipping me into the River Styx by it.
I’ve found these tips to be super useful:
- deal with everything as it comes into the house. Don’t put letters somewhere and think you’ll read them or file them later. Do it now, it will take less than a minute.
- Really do have a place for everything. Put receipts in a certain spot if you need to keep them, keep pens in a cup somewhere else, scan your recipes into Evernote or email them to yourself, etc.
- Make your trap pretty. Why not have an eye-pleasing receptacle for detritus that doesn’t really have a place? we have a basket by the front door for that. You’d be surprised what we’ll find in there! I always get my woven baskets and wooden bowls from the op shop and I’ve got my eye out for just the right microwave topper.
- Purge regularly. I don’t have many cleaning rules, but I do at least go through the trap every week and toss the crap I just can’t deal with. It gets donated, recycled, rehomed or just plain binned.
- Be realistic. Are you really going to use that coupon? Because I’ve a track record of using 0% of any coupon I’ve ever been in contact with, no matter how interesting it is or how useful it might be “someday”. These days I just know I’m not going to use it. I hate shopping! I’m far more hardass with what I actually keep now.
- Stop and think. Normally I realise there really is a place this thing belongs, and I’m just being lazy chucking it on the microwave to deal with later. But that’s actually double-handling and very silly. So when I remember, I stop and think about what I’ve got in my hand before I do the chuck.
- Bring in less to start with. Only buy what you need, say no to the free pen, say no to the receipt if you don’t need it further down the track, minimise your lipgloss collection (yeah that’s hard), put the phone number straight in your phone, toss the junk mail in the recycling bin before you even get to the clutter trap area.
Now if we could just work on my car! Jeeeeeez.
Do you have a clutter trap? Where is it? How do you manage it?