We all know the feeling: you walk into a room of your house and the first thing you notice are the old magazines and newspapers lying around, the clothes hanging over the back of the chairs, or the toys lining the steps of your staircase. Rather than throw your hands up in the air and admit defeat, and believing that your solution will be moving into a bigger space to accommodate all of your stuff, you need to simply learn to maximize the space you have. The following tips will help you to make the most of the space you have?however large or small?and get you on your way to being clutter-free!

1) One of the first problems everyone has when deciding to organize is that overwhelming feeling of having too much stuff! But if you are going to seriously tackle those mountains of belongings piling up around you, you have to really learn to let go. This means sorting through your things and dividing them into items to keep (including those in need of repair), items to throw out (especially those that can?t be repaired), and possibly items to give to Goodwill or to sell in a yard sale. To help you as you organize, keep labeled boxes handy, so that your things can be sorted into the appropriate ?keep? or ?trash? piles.

One helpful piece of advice in deciding whether to keep things, particularly clothes, is to ask yourself, ?Have I used or worn this in the past year?? If you haven?t, then get rid of it! Stop holding onto those pants that you hope will finally fit you this year! Consider buying yourself a new pair a pants your treat for when you do finally get down to that goal size! As soon as you have your sorting completed, follow through with the organization process and remove those items that you don?t plan to keep.

2) Make the most use of the storage space you already have. Start by completely emptying and cleaning your space to see what you have to work with. For your clothes closet, consider purchasing expandable or collapsible hangers that allow you to hang more items on each hanger. Rather than take up your closet floor with piles of mismatched shoes, purchase hanging plastic shoe storage bags that can fit on the back of your closet door and can keep your shoes off the floor and organized by pairs. Use that open closet floor space for smaller, portable storage units such as a set of plastic drawers on wheels or a simple low shelving unit, to hold items such as linens or off-season clothing. You can also store clothes and linens in shallow plastic tubs stowed under your bed. Add decorative hooks in your closet walls to allow you to hang items such as hats, belts, and bags.

Whenever possible, avoid just throwing a mixture of items into one drawer, such as a makeup drawer or a kitchen tool drawer. And whatever you do, DO NOT have a ?junk drawer!? Instead, establish exactly what each drawer will be and stick to that designation. Purchase drawer divider trays at an organization or kitchen and bedroom store to keep your drawers clean and organized. This will also allow you to move through your day more quickly when you don?t have to search through the drawer to find things. In your kitchen, consider keeping your most-used kitchen utensils at your reach by storing them upright in a small stainless steel tool canister on the counter.

3) Does it seem like you can never keep up with the piles of newspapers, store circulars, and junk mail that constantly come to your home? One of the easiest ways that you can keep your home clutter-free is to organize your paperwork! Have a space set aside to immediately file your paperwork as it comes into your house. Keep a storage unit or accordion file in that space, and sort your paperwork into bills, both incoming and outgoing, receipts, and/or mail to keep. Place a small wastepaper basket and even a paper shredder near your paper filing area so that you can immediately throw out the papers you won?t be keeping rather than letting them pile up around the house.

4) It will do you no good if you get one space clean and in the next week the clutter piles back up?you?ll feel as if you can never catch up! Once you clean and organize your space, make an effort to keep it that way. Stick to the tips discussed above, and you can not only organize your space, but also keep it that way. If you organize as you go along, it will save you the hassle of having a large job all at once. Rather than waiting to do one big ?spring cleaning,? consider having a mini de-clutter day each month. And you can follow the tips above each day to maintain your clutter-free space all year long. That means not just throwing your mail on the counter as you bring it in, but sorting it before you set it down. Don?t just throw items into drawers without looking, but keep things in divider trays in designated drawers. Whatever you do, keep on top of the clutter, so you don?t clean in circles!

While these ideas may seem simple, they can go a long way to getting your home organized. Remember that you don?t have to organize your entire house all in one day. If the task of organizing your space seems impossible, start small and work on one room, or one drawer, at a time!