What to Do With All The Crap In Your House

No matter how organised you are, there are always little bits and pieces that float around your house that don’t really have a home. Your blood donor card, the spare shoe laces that came with your new sneakers, the instruction booklet for your Kindle, that bit of metal that fell off the door in the bathroom. These kinds of things tend to pile up on surfaces and never get put away because they don’t really have a place to be put. I’m about to give you places to put them. You’re welcome.

Photo 22-12-2015, 5 52 19 PM

Screws, alan keys and small pieces of black rubber

I’ve found so many small pieces of unidentifiable black rubber on the floor of my houses throughout my life and it’s just infuriating. Bits from the bottom of chairs, seals from fridges and tiny little cords with little plug imports that look super important. I used to have this giant bowl that I’d throw them all in but the last time I moved, I found three dead moths in it and I totally creeped myself out so now that’s not a thing. The best place to store things like rogue screws and little bits of hardware that you find around the place is in a plastic container or jar with a lid that’s stored in the same area that you keep things like light bulbs and tools. When you find a random screw or Weird Thing and you don’t know what it is, pop in the container. Then each time you move house throw anything away that you couldn’t find what it belonged to. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lifetime of carpet savers that have fallen off chairs that you haven’t owned since the late 90s.

Loyalty cards, coupons and take away menus

There’s no point in keeping loyalty cards, coupons and gift certificates in a drawer where you can’t see them and they’ll expire. I also don’t like to carry them in my wallet because if I carried every card, certificate and voucher around with me I’d need a butler. Next time you’re at an office supply store buy a cheap pinboard and stick it to a wall near your door. So when you find something like a coupon or a voucher for an online shop that you love, pin it to the board so you don’t forget about it. Every now and then clear the board of anything that has expired or any menus from takeaway stores that you didn’t like. It’s a much better system than leaving them crumpled in a drawer, or worse still in a pile on your desk or kitchen bench.

Instruction booklets

Take all your instruction booklets and put them in a folder like the ones I mentioned in this post. If you have instruction booklets for things like the vacuum cleaner that you’ve had for ten years, just throw it away. If you have any instruction booklets that you haven’t looked at since you bought the item, throw them away. Most instruction booklets are available online. Mr Smaggle made me throw away my camera instruction booklet and I actually needed it for something so I Googled it and it was available on their website, despite the fact that the model was about 7 years old. Only keep what you absolutely need and throw the rest away. It’s also a good idea to keep things like warranties and receipts of warranted goods in this folder too.

Chargers, cables, batteries and cords

The best storage solution I’ve come up with so far for storing items like this to keep them in flat document drawers. I have a stack of about 5 sets of document drawers next to my desk at home with things like extra iPhone cords, business cards, phone cases and accessories like headphones. They’re fantastic because they’re really shallow so they don’t get messy and it makes it difficult to lose anything. You can also allocate whole drawers to single category items like travel adaptors or batteries. If you keep each drawer labelled correctly, this system will never fail you.

Buttons, shoelaces and bra straps

I keep a small drawer divider in my underwear drawer where I store things like spare bra straps, buttons and those little packets of spare thread and beads that you sometimes get when you buy a new top or dress. Some people keep these items in a sewing box but I found that my sewing box tends to get buried in a cupboard and it’s a pain to get it out. I go to my underwear drawer every day so I’ve always got a place to toss important little things like spare buttons. Again, clean it out regularly and ditch any bra straps and buttons from clothing that you no longer own.

Happy sorting!

How do you keep all your random crap sorted? Do you clutter up your surfaces? Or do you have a system?

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  1. Trish 5 years ago

    I lovvvve the post it board for your coupons these things drive me crazy!! I use one of those hang up behind the door shoe storage pouches for all my cords, cables + batteries and other easily tangled miscellaneous tech annoyance/necessities.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Those things are dead useful. I’ve got one that I use to keep my cleaning supplies in!

  2. Dee 5 years ago

    We just did a massive clean out over the break – I mean… crap I’ve been toting around since my uni years… 12 years ago. I was pretty ruthless – like you pointed out… found old manuals for things I haven’t owned in years. I keep all the things like screws/allan keys etc in a small toolbox we keep upstairs in the house (this has also been with me since my uni years).

    Good ideas in this post. 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I did the same thing over the holiday and we’re currently working one section of our house at a time, trying to clear it all out. We did the bathroom and laundry last night – felt amazing!

  3. Nicole (@dorkabrain) 5 years ago

    The whole “all manuals are somewhere online” is so true; I definitely need to go through them and chuck most (all) of them away.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      It’s a total game changer. Another I love doing is throwing out bills once I’ve paid them. There’s no need to keep them! It’s brilliant!

  4. hugzillablog 5 years ago

    We’ve started chucking manuals too – so liberating! We used to have a filing cabinet full of them. My trick for the random stuff that seems to pile up in the kitchen is to have a funky bread bin on the counter. It has a lid, so no issues with moth corpses. LOL.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I’ve heard about your bread bin! I feel like I need one now… no more buying stuff!

  5. chrisatpb 5 years ago

    Must be a holiday thing. I had a bit of a declutter last week. Chucked out a bazillion tech/media cords that have been sitting in the same drawer, untouched, for years. There are still some there and if they are still untouched this time next year, out they go! About once a year I sort through filing cabinet and throw out expired warranties manuals etc. went through the kitchen and my wardrobe too. It is very liberating. xx

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      It’s so hard getting rid of things like that! I do love the konmari method for stuff like that though – you can only keep things that are useful or beautiful. I love it because it’s so cut and dry. You can’t just keep things because you’re semi-fond of them. It’s awesome.

  6. Alix 5 years ago

    We have moved house 3 times since I met my husband and I swear he has a box of powercords that keeps coming with us even though he has no idea what they’re for – I think there’s a Nokia 5210 cord in there somewhere!! I’m a big fan of the manuals online thing and definitely try to get rid of as much paper as possible. I like The Minimalist’s approach which is that you’re never really more than 20 minutes away from something you need “just in case” – batteries, floor savers for chair legs etc, etc. You don’t need to have absolutely everything on hand all the time. Great post!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I really want to try that hard core thing where you put everything into storage and you’re only allowed to take one thing per day out of storage over the course of a year. It would be insanely difficult but at the end of the year you only 365 items that you really, really need. How cool is that?

  7. Chelsea 5 years ago

    Yes! Good! I so needed this!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      It’s the perfect time of year for it really!

  8. theplumbette 5 years ago

    I need to do the pinboard for my vouchers. One of my $50 beauty vouchers expired before I could use it. 🙁

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Oh no! That’s the worst! I’m pretty crap at vouchers too. I always forget about them,

  9. I use the Stocard app on my phone for keeping my loyalty card levels down. I have various boxes for “things” in particular places like buttons, hanging straps, gift bags, batteries, duct tape, super glue etc. Also, a well-organised double drawer filing cabinet that gets sorted a few times a year!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I live in a tiny house so it’s hard to keep everything all organised but our systems sound very similar. I like everything to have a nice little spot to sit in!

  10. KezUnprepared 5 years ago

    Oh, honey – you had me at the post title!!!! I started heavily decluttering my home office before Christmas (have lost momentum but will be back on the wagon with it soon enough) and it was SO LIBERATING throwing out old instruction booklets and bills and things that belonged to stuff we don’t even own anymore for places we don’t even live anymore!!! It’s crazy how much crap we keep without really thinking about it! x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I love organising things. I use to work in a newsagent and when I’m standing in line to buy stuff I alway tidy the lollies and things on the counter. I can’t help it and I just love neatness!

  11. Jane Lamason 5 years ago

    Ooo! I love a good sort out. Throwing out instruction books as I write. In fact I bought a portable scanner and am slowly going paperless.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I’ve just been talking photos of most things like receipt and stuff. It’s awesome because I can just file things away.

  12. Gina 5 years ago

    Why bother with takeout menus? I would venture that you could find 95% of the restaurants menus you want online. The only loyalty cards I carry are my library card and a grocery store card that gives me $$ off of gasoline. Otherwise, I give my phone number or email when I’m checking out.

  13. peregrinationgourmande 5 years ago

    No system yet! And it’s getting arrggghhhh. I’m working on Mari Kondo book to get rid of everything haha! But with 2 small children the crap is wayyyyy more present!!!! xx cathy

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