Cleaning forgotten clutter zones

Our dog “Batgirl,” a middle-aged Boston Terrier, has a habit of holding a toy in her mouth as she looks out the window. If someone is walking down the street, she’ll grab a tennis ball and give them a good stare. If a car is parking at the neighbor’s house, she’ll welcome them with a squirrel chew toy and a mild growl. Her behavior is a sign that she’s protecting the family and showing off her favorite goodies in the process. The only problem with her scheme comes when she barks.

Inevitably, the tennis ball will fall from her jaws and tumble behind the couch. Mr. Squirrel sometimes suffers a similar fate. So, one of us has to pull out the couch to retrieve those objects, and usually discovers a whole menagerie of lost and forgotten things.

Items I’ve found behind the couch: Pencils, erasers, notebooks, action figures, hand sanitizer, and a water bottle I’d been missing for ages. After cleaning behind the couch, I typically turn to other forgotten places in my house that love to accumulate junk:

  • The top of the washing machine. We often find little bits and bobs in pockets while doing laundry. Designate a small, portable basket to capture/redistribute these treasures, and then return objects to their proper homes ever couple weeks.
  • Under beds. The classic “out of sight, out of mind” storage solution is a magnet for clutter. Get some low-profile, open containers on wheels to help keep these areas stay organized and useful.
  • The junk drawer. I’ve written about this before. Make an appointment to dig in there every few months or so to keep clutter from getting out of control.
  • That one closet. You know the one. For us, it’s right behind the front door, and houses the vacuum cleaner, a mop, and other cleaning items. The problem is that lone shelf that loves to gather anything and everything. Labeled bins can help organize this space.
  • Your home’s primary entrance. People love to drop shoes, backpacks, umbrellas, and clutter right at the door. Give this potential problem area some TLC once a week.

Those are the big offenders here at Chez Caolo. What are the forgotten clutter zones in your home? What’s it like under your kitchen sink? Sound off, and let us know how you keep hidden clutter areas under control.

4 Comments for “Cleaning forgotten clutter zones”

  1. posted by infmom on

    When we lived in an extremely cramped townhouse, my husband often said he wished we could put a chair in our bedroom for him to sit on to put his shoes on.

    When we bought our own house, I put a nice vintage armless rocking chair that had belonged to my grandmother in our bedroom by his side of the bed.

    He has never, to my knowledge, sat in that chair to put his shoes on. He drops his jeans on it and he’s got bags full of miscellaneous clutter stashed behind it (what happens when I insist he clean up around his chair in the living room).

    About 4am this morning one of our cats got tangled in something and ended up knocking the phone off his nightstand and behind that chair. It took about 10 minutes just to find where it was. Guess what? This weekend either he DEALS with that stuff or I move the chair to the living room for our granddaughter to rock in, and summarily toss all those bags. Grrr.

  2. posted by G. on

    @infmom – it sounds to me like either he’d rather have a non-rocking chair or the location. Or both?

  3. posted by G. on

    that should be or a different location.

  4. posted by Jennifer on

    Great article. Rocking chairs, and my favorite, treadmills are magnets for clutter. I own a home cleaning business so I am very familiar with “that drawer,” or “that closet.” The first thing that I do when I enter into a new clients home is to buy out of my own pocket some storage bins, and do some reorganizing. I appreciate you writing this article, and I am very glad I bumped into it. Great info!

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