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Clearing Your Clutter Hot Spots

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Hot Spots are like clutter magnets, the surfaces that collect the flotsam and jetsam of our too-busy lives. Since recognizing a problem is always the first step to solving it, take a quick look in each room in your home and identify where the clutter usually goes.

One good thing about living in our tiny apartment -- there really aren't many places for clutter to fit. On the other hand, anything left lying out of place can spoil the look of a room. Identifying my hot spots was at least 50% of the work of eliminating them.

It helped that I could see a clear pattern; they were all near entrances of rooms. Packages or packaging material sometimes sat too long on the entry table. The edge of the dresser was right within reach as I entered the bedroom, and whatever was in my hands or pockets would get plopped down there when I returned home from work or errands. This often included books, receipts, sunglasses, and new purchases. The top of the shoe cabinet outside our bathroom door is home to a couple of bins for lotions, hair products, etc., and is just below a small wall cabinet storing spare toiletries. For some reason, this smooth, white surface was very inviting for items whose proper homes were literally inches away.

Where are your hot spots?

Do you see any patterns in how and/or why you leave things on certain surfaces?

Have these areas always drawn clutter, or has something changed?

The Daily Declutter

Hot Spots won't really go away unless you address them on a daily basis. But even in the beginning you really only need to spend two to five minutes eliminating them.

  • Set the timer for 2 to 5 minutes. Do not set it for more just because your house is messy. A short period of time will be easier to stick with on a daily basis.

  • Remove items from your hot spots, putting each item where it truly belongs, not in another temporary home. If you don't know where something belongs, create a real space for it.

  • As you're putting items away, can you figure out why they always end up in a hot spot? Does something you use every day belong on a high shelf? Maybe it needs a more accessible home going forward.

  • Enjoy the challenge. Put on music or a podcast you've been waiting to hear. Start brewing a cup of tea or pour a glass of something stronger before you begin. Know your reward is not only a tidier home but also time to relax when you are finished.

  • Stop when the timer goes off. No cheating.

  • Repeat the next day.

Ask Yourself...

  • Where do clothes go when they're neither clean or dirty? Hang a few hooks on the back of closet or designate a separate section of your closet for hanging items you've worn but don't need to wash yet. Designating a proper home for these clothes can help you avoid draping them on furniture.

  • Can I block traffic from my hot spot and eliminate it altogether? By adding a faux plant to my entry table and purchasing a small tray to hold my sunglasses and Metrocard, I kept two everyday items from landing on the edge of my dresser (because they had a new, better home). Plus, this made it difficult for Amazon packages to linger. Creating small vignettes like this helps reinforce where things belong, because you get used to seeing certain items together. We can see our clutter for the interloper it is and feel a greater to push to get it out of the way and where it belongs.

  • How can I make a 2-minute Hot Spot Declutter part of my routine? Pair a declutter with another daily activity. Plan to set the timer after you've finished dishes, for example, or before you select your clothes or pack your bag for the next day. If it's something you find yourself dreading or postponing, set an alarm on your phone. Or, make it the last thing you do for the day and tell yourself when you're done with your hot spots, the rest of the evening is yours to enjoy.

Remember, we're happy to help when you're ready to tackle even bigger organizing projects. Contact me at or call 917.420.4277.

#organizingideas #professionalorganizer #happyhome #smallchanges

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