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What is your biggest clutter hot spot?

Many, many of you have written in or commented in the last few months that you are really struggling with home organization. So I’m excited to let you know that I’ve teamed up with Andrea Dekker from Simple Organized Living to bring you a brand-new monthly feature called called “Ask the Organizer“.

Each month, we’ll feature one organizing question and let you weigh in your thoughts, answers, and opinions. Then later in the month, Andrea will pick one or two of the most popular responses and share her tips, ideas, and suggestions for dealing with those issues!

So, to start things off, this month’s question is:

What is your biggest clutter hot spot?

Leave your answers below and then check back in a couple weeks for Andrea’s expert organizing advice!

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286 Comments

  • Ashley P. says:

    Dining room table. It’s where the mail goes. It’s where the groceries go. It’s where the lunch box goes.

    I tried an old trick of always keeping the table set with dishes, to discourage me from piling stuff on there. But since I’ve started working over time, by the time I get home, I just don’t care anymore. So everything winds up dumped there, and by Saturday it’s accumulated so much, I don’t want to deal with cleaning it.

    I guess when we move in a few weeks, I’ll have to start all over again retraining myself to keep my stuff off the table!

    • Michelle says:

      Same here! It’s just me and my hubby, and I know I’m the worst offender. Mail, newspaper, coupons, just STUFF everywhere on the table, and I hate eating dinner with a giant pile of stuff sitting next to me, reminding me of all the things I have to deal with but don’t want to.

    • Kris says:

      Ditto. Kitchen table, hands down, is the worst offender.

  • Kitchen counters is #1, garage is #2

    • Kathleen says:

      I second the kitchen counters!! Always a clutter of school papers, mail, etc. It’s a catch all spot! I feel like it never stays clutter free!

  • Diane says:

    The top of the piano, then the computer desk.

  • Rachel says:

    My basement! Sort of functions like our garage since we do not have a garage.

  • april says:

    my desk…papers, stuff that need to be repaired, coupons, odds and ends that need to be put away, magazines, bills and my laptop are all squeezed on it’s little surface

  • jackie r says:

    I live in a junior 4 apt.( 4 rooms liv/dining rm combined, gally kitchen~10×12 bedrm n 8×10 bedrm~4 grwn ups n 1 dog with a grandbaby due in the fall…ive used walls for shelves extra drawers n bookcases for food pantires etc!) Its organized but its not..everything in a place but its an exterior space n it fels like im choking in clutter! Not sure anyone can help, outside of moving n with a dog n a future baby…not happening in bklyn NY! in a word? HELP!!! Thnnx n God bless you for your dynamic website!! Helpful in giving me huge heads up in my shopping these days and your forums are very enlightening!

  • Amy says:

    The kitchen island. Everyone walks in the house and dumps toys, mail, electronics, ect.

    • Christine says:

      AMEN! I look at it every day and ask WHY! I do it myself too, which is so frustrating.

    • Erin says:

      YES!! The kitchen island. It’s the bane of my existence! My dresser is actually worse, but the island bothers me more because it’s right in the middle of our living space. Everyone comes home and dumps stuff on it: the mail, backpacks, laptops, keys, you name it. I’m guilty of it myself!

    • Cindy says:

      Kitchen bar counter – ALWAYS cluttered!

    • Virginia says:

      Same here- especially bad with school papers! I think they send home at least 5 papers/child/day- that multiplies quickly!!!

      • Courtney says:

        I used to have that problem. But, I cleared it off, and timed how long it took me to put everything where it goes. It took me 45 minutes! So then I put a Post-It note with 45 minutes on the countertop. Every time I went to put something down, I saw the 45 minutes, and would put it were it went instead. Weird, but it worked for me.

        In doing so, I also realized that my purse was the number one culprit because I didn’t have a place for it. So I hung up one of those gorilla hooks, and voila! My purse isn’t lost anymore, and it’s not on the island either! I did discover in the process that a few things “belong” there for our family: kleenex, and diaper wipes. Again, weird, but that’s where we look for them, and that’s the most central location in our home for them to be. So I accepted that, and created a spot for them.

    • Mona says:

      Yep, the kitchen island. I actually have a lot of counter space when I can keep it clean, but it’s like a magnet and stuff just lands there.

    • Patrice says:

      I don’t have an island, but we do have a small countertop on the other side of the kitchen from where I do my cooking. It’s about the size of an island and since I don’t ever use it for cooking, it pretty much gets used as a dump station for everything. It’s in the perfect location to become a famly “command center”, so I put the planner and menu there. I’d like for that to be all that goes in that spot, but it’s just so convenient to toss junk there and tell myself I’ll put it away later…

    • Grace S says:

      Same here. I think that that is it’s true function, a clutter island!

    • Cindy says:

      Yup–kitchen island here, too! Paper, bills, homework, little toys, electronics, ‘to do’s. The table is the second/overflow, where lots of my husband’s papers and magazines end up. We try to keep it under control by sorting out junk mail and recycling kids’ papers right away, but there is ALWAYS stuff left over that collects there! Argh!

  • Megan says:

    My desk! 🙂

  • Viva says:

    My home office. I don’t even use it for work- just for processing bills, mail, my daughter’s school work, and other papers. Even though I have a very organized paper filing system, the office area always gets messy, with papers piled everywhere and miscellaneous items ending up on top of the desk. Usually items that I don’t know what to do with, like a video game I haven’t yet unpacked, magazines I haven’t yet read, and various items of my husband.

  • Heather says:

    My kitchen counter! It doesn’t matter that I have a file hanger for mail and my husband and I each have our own – we keep putting the mail and anything else in our hands when we walk in the house. I usually go through it every day or two and sort through my stuff and put it away/throw it out, but my husband is another story. He can let things pile up for months and be OK with it. It’s so frustrating!! This is right in the main living area, so when anyone comes over, they see it.

  • Christy says:

    The dining table is the worst! Everything gets dumped there – mail, purses, lunchbags, and whatever my 2 year old happens to be carrying around. I know I should clear it off every evening before dinner, but I have to confess that most days I just let the pile grow.

    • jennifer says:

      Sounds like our house.

      My husband and I both set up our laptops here, since our desk never got put back together after we moved.

    • Tricia says:

      Oh Christy, I can so relate to you. We are trying our best to keep it cleared off, but some days a little pile begins. I know I need to do something about it, but yet I avoid it. Hoping to spend a good 10 minutes today to clear it off, and get things back in order 🙂

  • Sarah M. says:

    The desk. I have a hard time keeping everything filed. And DH doesn’t help…he’s good at piling up papers! My dresser is also a catch-all, but since I can’t stand it being cluttered, I clear it off fairly regularly.
    The apartment attached to our house is a totally different story. We use it only for storage, and it is an absolute disaster. Utterly, overwhelmingly disorganized. I don’t think I’ll ever get to it until our kids are older, though.

    • Courtney says:

      Is it legal for renting? Maybe knowing how much you are paying by using it for storage would motivate you?

      Just a thought.

  • Mindy Estes says:

    Mine are my kitchen counters and the coffee table int he living room.

  • Angie says:

    My coffee table I throw everything on there and also my kitchen stove and counters.

  • Michelle H. says:

    Kitchen island. First flat surface when you come in the front door, and everything gets dumped on it.

  • Hannah says:

    The school room: shelves, desk, table, etc.

  • Amber says:

    Every horizontal surface in my house is a huge hot spot! It’s awful! The worst ones consistently are the dining room table, our dressers and a hallway table.

    • Heidi says:

      I agree. I often say that horizontal sufaces are my nemesis.

    • Christy says:

      Yes! I put a Christmas display on my dresser to keep myself from leaving stuff there. I think I need to have different seasonal decor to keep that up during the year (but I’m not much of a decorator). And more importantly – I need a place to put things that gravitate toward all those horizontal surfaces!

  • Sommer P. says:

    My kitchen counter/table, everything ends up there! Mail, newspapers, school books, clothes, etc… its crazy!

  • Bambi Mudget says:

    My area is the desk area but everyone else drops whatever they feel like all over the house. It’s so frustrating. We have a very small house and it always looks like a tornado hit with six people in it.

  • Jen Sullivan says:

    My desk! Piles and piles and piles!!!

  • Debra says:

    Need I be one more to add the kitchen counter?.

  • Erica says:

    My clutter hot spot is my large kitchen island! (aka My Workstation!)

  • Melissa says:

    Our desk! We pile things there that don’t have a home or we don’t have time to deal with right away. We hardly use it other than for storage/piles, so we are getting rid of it! We have our desktop computer hooked up to the TV since the monitor went kaput, and we rarely use our laptop at the desk; so we decided to simplify. We are keeping our two drawer filing cabinet to store files, and hold our printer…we hooked the printer to our in house wireless network, and all our software and backup disks are going in a CD Folder. Someday, we may need to purchase a desk again when the kiddos are old enough to have computer homework…but for now this works!

  • Joscelyn says:

    On the counter right by the phone! Papers, junk, and who knows what. It’s awful. But I have no storage in this house and no place for a desk! :/ Mostly the items that don’t have a place to go go there!

  • Carrie says:

    Kitchen Counters……and basement. Once those two go, the whole house is pretty much a goner!!

  • Amber in Maine says:

    Ours is the kitchen table/island. Which is literally the first surface inside the main door (and there’s really no changing that). It’s a huge counter-height table (5 by 8) but it always seems covered in things. I swear I can clear it in the evening (a monumental task I don’t always get done) and magically in the morning it’s covered again.

    It’s particularly problematic because other than that island there is a total of 5 feet of counter-space in our kitchen… occupied by a coffee maker, dish drain, utensil caddy, etc. So it’s where food prep has to happen.

    And there is no good place for another “landing spot” in the kitchen. The room is 16X22, but there are 4 windows, 5 doors, a woodstove and a closet, so wall space is limited (and the cabinets and appliances are on them).

    Any advice is totally welcome!

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Syanne says:

    Kitchen counter. As soon as I get all the papers cleared off, my husband starts putting computer parts on it!

  • Robyn says:

    Kitchen island. Dining Table. My desk – where everything with no home ends up. Then the garage. My kids bring home SO many papers from school that I can’t keep up – and they are only 4 & 5 ! Overwhelmed by the Paper clutter. I also have a pretty rad filing system in a 5 drawer file cabinet… but getting the papers into it is the problem. lol.

  • Carrie says:

    We have this lovely “fruit bowl” on top of a shelf in our kitchen. Except, the minute the last piece of fruit is eaten, it starts to fill with junk. Before we know it we have a “junk bowl” full to the brim.
    It’s difficult because with three little kids, I am constantly picking something up off the floor that I don’t want them to get their hands on, but don’t have time to deal with right at that moment. All the advice about dealing with something the first time you pick it up sounds good, but it’s not that practical when you’ve got to haul one off to time out for spitting on the other one, and you’ve got something in the oven that just made the smoke alarm go off so you have to climb up on a stepstool to turn it off …

    • Lianna says:

      Carrie, I have the exact same “fruit bowl” thing! I have decided to just live with it. I figure it is a relatively small space and I need a spot to drop those items like you mentioned. Once the bowl starts to get too full I go through it and return everything where it belongs.

    • erica says:

      Amen, Carrie! I will soon have 3- ages 4 and under- the kitchen island is the closest place to put things that they shouldn’t have. I’d love to deal with things as soon as I touch them but I have the same issues as you-dealing with discipline, etc instead 🙂
      So…my island continues to collect the clutter.
      My other worst habit is to throw everything in a laundry basket and hide it when guests are coming, and then after they leave I almost never get back to the stuff in the laundry basket.

    • Stephanie says:

      Mine are 1 and 3 so I totally get it. What we do is have a designated high up spot on top of the pantry cabinet in the kitchen and another spot in the living room that we can reach and they can’t for all the random little things that we can’t deal with immediately. Right now there is a pen, three random books, some elastics and a magnet that I will deal with when I can but right now they are out of the way and I know where they are. Later, I will take a few minutes and put those items away but that will be after the baby stops nursing and I get out of the chair 🙂

  • Kandace says:

    Kitchen counter, our desks, and the garage. These spots are limbo for so many items, project ideas, papers. With 2 little ones, we’re okay with the chaos– for now.

  • Lisa says:

    Kitchen counter!! It is my home office, mail dumping ground, coupon station, the spot i keep the usb cords for various toys, the place i keep our camera, camcorder, phone charger, and it’s a basic place to dump when we get home, help!!! 🙂

  • Alison says:

    My desk!

    I have a feeling I’m going to really enjoy this new monthly feature — thanks!!

  • Audrey says:

    A school/craft table on the kitchen with a small book shelf! Everyone uses it. There are papers, book, mail, bills coupons, coloring, purses, thats where the groceries go, and library book. I’m always messing with it trying keep it tidy, bit I don’t seem to make any progress!

  • Sassy says:

    Kitchen counters.

  • My kitchen including counters, kitchen table, drawers and cabinets. I told my hubby just yesterday with homeschooling in there it’s the busiest room in the house!

  • Ellen Greeley says:

    The kitchen counter – recipes, coupons, mail, kids’ papers – ahhh!

  • Sallie says:

    Kitchen counter and the dining table. For some reason, my husband and I think that if we put everything there, it will magically be put away where it goes. Of course, our naive beliefs of a magically enhanced table have since suffered a serious blow.

  • Emily says:

    Kitchen, most specifically the island. It tends to collect papers, clutter, mail we don’t want to deal with at the time it comes in, and a little bit of everything else. We’re getting a lot better about dealing with the mail the dail it comes in, but it seems all of our counters tend to collect items.

  • Alicia Elliott says:

    My kitchen island FOR SURE! It seems EVERYTHING gets thrown there! I hate it!

  • Gail says:

    My desk. Piles of papers. Bins. Only because it seems to be where important papers need to be kept so they don’t get lost. I now handle my parents bookkeeping and paperwork as well as my own, so the volume is doubled. Double the bills, double the important papers and double the junk mail.

  • Sarah says:

    The spare bedroom and utility room… easiest places to throw things and shut the door when someone is coming over on short notice! We’re going to be in trouble when we need that spare bedroom for another baby someday!

  • Ingrid says:

    Under the basement stairs. We store memorabilia, cleaning supplies, gardening, overstock juice and drinks, and paint supplies there. 🙁

  • Carrie says:

    Right now, it’s my whole house. I’m in a major decluttering mode and there are piles everywhere of things to sell, donate, or reorganize. The kitchen isn’t too bad, but I can’t stand anything on counters besides food preparation. I cringe when somebody stops over and puts a purse on my counter. Just think of all the germs on the bottom of a purse! Yuck.

    I’m looking forward to this post. I need to keep motivated on this project.

  • Kim says:

    #1: kitchen counters, #2 is my office desk.

  • Lesley says:

    Our kitchen table which we don’t use for anything but a drop off station. To stop the clutter build up there, we are going to sell the table. I know this will force us to stop cluttering it up with mail and what not and file the paper work immediately.

  • Kelly says:

    Too many places to name! But I’ll try…

    Kitchen table, kitchen countertops, coffee/side tables in living room, tops of dressers, guestroom beds

  • Courtney says:

    MY CLOSET!! It’s the default spot when I don’t know where else to put something.

  • Kim N. says:

    Kitchen counters. The paper is out of control!!!!!!!!!

  • Sue says:

    My biggest clutter hot spot is/are my kitchen counters. It is the dumping ground of papers coming home from school, mail, catalogs, newspapers, reciepts, to do lists, phone and iPad charger, recipes and my collection of cookbooks.

    Second biggest hot spot is my nightstand. Books, extraneous hair scrunchies, lip balm, hand lotion, water glass, tissues, more books and magazines and whatever the kids bring me while I’m in my bedroom.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  • Lindsay says:

    Kitchen counter where keys, bills, and who knows what else accumulates! I struggle with finding the right spot for all the paper that seems to gather there.

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