Our laundry room holds a simple secret that keeps our home clutter-free: a shelf with several baskets. Here's how each basket maintains order:
* Return basket: Corrals merchandise that needs to be returned to stores and items to return to friends (like borrowed books and food containers). If you cover the basket's label with clear packing tape, you can use a dry erase marker to remind yourself of the stores you need to revisit.
* Resale basket: Contains quality items for consignment or resale (on Craigslist, perhaps). These are items that are difficult to give away but need to go to someone who can use them more than you do now. You'll probably end up giving away items from this basket, but initially, knowing you intend to sell something can help you let go of an item that's been unused for too long.
* Donate basket: Holds items destined for charitable organizations. Line this basket with a paper or plastic bag for drop off at a donation site. Stained clothing and other unwanted items land here.
* I recently added a Toy Rotation basket. This is useful for the playthings I dislike but my children prefer to keep: small plastic novelties, battery-operated noisemakers, and items with licensed characters all belong here. If someone asks for an item, I retrieve it until it loses appeal again. If the toys aren't missed within a few months, I move them to the donation basket. Perhaps Toy Purgatory would be a more appropriate name for this basket since the toys are held in limbo here until I can purge them from the house without protest!
The shelf, supporting brackets, and baskets were all purchased from Lowe's Home Improvement. What's your best secret for keeping your home decluttered? Feel free to post a photo of your organization system on Intentional Mama's Facebook page!