Three places clutter might be hiding in your life

After having to scrape frost off the car windows yesterday morning, I’m finally willing to accept that fall has arrived. As I have been pulling out all the cold-weather supplies (coats, hats, boots, shovels, grill covers, etc.), I’ve stumbled upon some unexpected clutter in these storage spaces. If you haven’t already pulled out these supplies in your own home (or done the same with warmer-weather supplies if you live in the southern hemisphere), be sure to check out these locations for hidden clutter:

  • Linen storage. I found a couple blankets and flannel sheets that I stored over the winter that should have been donated to our local animal shelter back in April. The elastic is shot in one set of sheets and two of the blankets have worn thin in places. Inspect your cooler weather linens to see if they’re ready for six months of use. (And give your warmer weather items a serious inspection before putting them into storage.)
  • Exterior storage boxes/sheds. If you store items outdoors during the winter, but in protective storage, be sure to give these areas a good review before putting tools away for the season. Small rodents and other critters may have been using these locations for living quarters during the summer months.
  • Car trunk. While loading a blanket and some freeze-dried snacks into the trunk of our car, I noticed a number of summer items hadn’t made it out of the trunk yet. Pull everything out of the trunk of your car and evaluate if it should live the winter in this space. If you don’t have a car, inspect the basket on your bike or thoroughly go through your backpack.

Have you found hidden clutter in your home while getting things ready for winter? If so, tell us where so we can all give these spaces a good review before the cool temperatures have us nesting indoors.

20 Comments for “Three places clutter might be hiding in your life”

  1. posted by Jeni on

    My sources of hidden clutter seem to center around food. No matter how many times I sort out the pantry or fridge, two weeks later, they’re impenetrable again.

  2. posted by ami | 40daystochange on

    Hidden clutter? My clutter sprawls proudly – everywhere. I might have hidden clutter – but I’d have to move the open clutter to find it.

  3. posted by priest's wife on

    As a homeschooler- our clutter concerned school supplies, books, paper- some contained and some not. Overwhelming!

  4. posted by Sylvia on

    Our hidden clutter is in the front hallway closet – where we store coats in the winter and all manner of outdoor needs in the summer. I just found broken umbrellas, last year’s phone books, and summerweight raincoats in there that needed trashing or storing away. I also bought a new set of “nice” wooden hangers to hold out heavy winter coats and recycled the wire hangers at the dry cleaners. Thanks for inspiration, unclutterer!

  5. posted by WilliamB on

    I know where my clutter is: in the attic and garage, which are areas of shared control. My roommate would disagree that the areas are cluttered although he does agree they are disorganized.

    My disorganization is my desk, which is my eternal Spot of Problems. Over time I’ve succeeded in eliminating big old piles but until people stop sending me mail, alum orgs stop sending me information, friends stop telling me about interesting things to do, infrastructure stops needing maintenance, and the tax code no longer needs to be obeyed, I will have piles on my desk.

    @Jeni – are you (your household) buying more things or are the things you have getting cluttered again?

  6. posted by Wendy on

    Our garage becomes cluttered over the summer with car washing and garden supplies and tools. Everything has a home but hubby isn’t very good at putting things back where they belong. We take the afternoon and put the supplies and tools back, toss/recycle empty containers, sort though seeds, sweep out the grass and spider webs, and make a list for garden supplies needed for next year.

  7. posted by Dawn F on

    The weather is finally cooling down (thank you Lord!) here in South Texas so I think it’s time to go through all of the pool toys, beach towels and other summer items/toys. Some things might need to be tossed out and the worn out beach towels can be dropped off at the local animal shelter. Check expiration dates on sunscreen, too.

    Love Unclutterer!

  8. posted by gypsy packer on

    Textiles. Clothing, old linens saved for drop cloths, and paperback books hiding in odd corners. Canning projects that didn’t quite work out.

  9. posted by infmom on

    Thanks for the reminder. We have a bunch of single-bed sheets that nobody’s going to use again (son has an extra long mattress, we have a queen size waterbed, and my daughter has no use for the single-bed sheets that once adorned her bed.

    Time to call Out of the Closet and make a donation.

  10. posted by Lipat on

    I was rearranging the kitchen cupboards (in order to get not-safe-for-toddler pans to higher ground) when I came across a box of mason jars in the corner cupboard of the lower cabinets. That’s always been the black hole of the kitchen for me.

  11. posted by Susan in FL on

    @Erin – Are those sheets with the shot elastic still good except for the elastic? Get some “sheet garters” at a linen store to keep the sheets tucked in and you’ll get several more years of use from the sheets before they are worn thin, tear and are relegated to the rag bag.

  12. posted by Sky on

    Food! I just cleaned my pantry and fridge. How does all that stuff hide so well?

  13. posted by Laundromat Business on

    If sheets and linens have not been used for a while, then it makes sense to launder them before use.

    Also, as far as decluttering goes, just donating old items to the Salvation Army or Goodwill is simple and easy plus it benefits everyone.

  14. posted by Another Deb on

    My hidden clutter area is the space between my CPU and the underside of my desk. I pile magazines and things I intend to go through there. After a few weeks it is all new to me again! Right now the pile includes a guitar training manual, a box of baseball cards I will be researching and some catalogs. Where is that cat, now?

  15. posted by Cathie on

    LOL @ Ami. I feel your pain.

  16. posted by Celeste on

    For me it’s cupboards. Under the kitchen cupboard I found DD’s bubble-blowing stuff; I don’t know why I stashed it there except it’s in bottles. It became cloudy and gooey so I dumped it and recycled the bottles. If it was still clear and nice I would have kept it for using in the tub during the winter.

    In the bathroom cupboard I found bottles and tubes of bug spray and different sunscreens. Some of it had expiration dates of next year and some of it was mostly used up, but I tossed it all because it’s clutter for the winter. Truthfully I’d just rather start with fresh supplies next year for confidence that nothing has broken down over time. Some things just seem pennywise and pound-foolish to hang onto.

  17. posted by Beligilr on

    My spare bedroom/catch-all room/computer room is so cluttered I have to move stuff to get to the other side.
    It’s home to all the stuff I just can’t seem to find a home for such as hubby’s musical instruments and sound equipment, yoga mats and other seldom used (but someday I’ll get back to it) exercise equipment, books, papers, stuff to ebay…
    But the rest of the house is pretty good. Peter Walsh’s quote keeps me on task: “Clutter is the result of a deferred decision or postponed action.”

  18. posted by STL Mom on

    My sewing room/craft room/extra bedroom/storage room is a black hole of clutter. Recently I considered moving the radio because I have to step over or move several boxes to reach the radio. Then it occurred to me that the radio’s location is not the problem – the boxes are! I can’t believe I got so used to those boxes that I was ready to move the radio instead of cleaning up the boxes…

  19. posted by Gotham Organizers on

    Great to see where people’s clutter piles up. Here in NYC it’s ususally closets and corners – we don’t have sheds, garages, attics, or car trunks.

    Just to set the record straight: Barbara Hemphill, a pioneer in the organizing field, popularized the phrase that Clutter is postponed decisions long before anyone outside of Australia had heard of Peter Walsh. Read her article on the topic:;id=3909

  20. posted by Marie on

    My father-in-law is the worst with the car trunk. Things go in there and hide for years. My husband’s waders turned out to be buried in there, and years of severe weather exposure caused too many cracks to repair. For the next fishing trip, FIL shelled out $90 to replace them. Expensive lesson.

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