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8 Quick Tricks to Clear Clutter

Prepare for last-minute guests and declutter your place with these easy solutions.

We’ve all been there: An unplanned guest is on the way over — and as we survey our home, we panic as the realization sets in that it’s all in a state of cluttered disarray.

Never fear! With the tiniest amount of planning, you can quickly clear the way and dazzle that last-minute visitor. Keep calm and tidy on with these helpful tips.


1. Create a master list

Create a master list of typical clutter hot spots — the kitchen table, bathroom countertops, the family room, playroom — and their remedies so that you can immediately spring into action.

2. Assignments for all

Kids love to be involved, and when time is precious, demand all hands on deck. Assign each child a few tasks from your list and turn it into a game — see who can beat the clock!

3. A daily junk basket

This is a standard tool for those who’ve been around the decluttering block a few times. Toss the daily essentials you don’t want lying around for prying or judgmental eyes — think keys, bills, mail, handheld devices, kids’ toys, dog toys — into a laundry basket and stash it away. Done!

4. A family room catchall

Another option for hiding items like toys, blankets, and remotes? Toss them in a large, attractive (preferably tightly woven) basket. Then place a neatly folded blanket on top. Et voilà: the look of chic, intentional blanket storage.

5. Bathroom bins

Assign each family member a small plastic bin that fits under the sink or in a bathroom closet. When it’s time to host guests, simply drop all those countertop items — toothbrushes, hair products, cosmetics — into each bin and stow out of sight. Do a quick wipe of the countertops and you’re good to go.

6. Appliance stash

Clear out a kitchen cabinet space for your countertop appliances. That way, you’ll be able to quickly stash the toaster, coffee maker, and other appliances that normally hang out on the counter, leaving your countertops tidier.

7. Dishwasher storage

Sometimes a last-minute event calls for extreme action. Even if there are still strands of spaghetti stuck to a plate, toss all those dirty dishes in the dishwasher. You can deal with the ramifications later.

8. Unexpected hiding places

It’s a given that closets and cabinets are fair game for inquiring eyes, but the hamper? Not so much. When you’re in a pinch, any concealed nook that isn’t easily snooped can become a handy hideout for clutter. Even the slim space under the couch can provide quick cover for laptops and related cords.

What are your quick clutter-clearing secrets? (Share your tips in the comments below. We promise we won’t look!)