I'd recommend the book _Organizing from the Inside Out_. The premise of the book is that your organization scheme should be the one that works for _you_ and your lifestyle, not the one that your mother or your aunt or your English teacher or Mary Poppins thinks is best. Some people are visual organizers, some people need the organization scheme to be really pretty, some people have a "need for abundance" and that needs to be catered to in the organization scheme, and so on.
The book won't necessarily give you an organization scheme that will work for you, but it might give you some ideas, and also amply demonstrate the idea that if a scheme isn't working for you, there's a very good chance that the problem is the scheme, not you.
If your husband is keeping your storage areas filled with old stuff that isn't in use, I'd say that he's more than half the problem. My guy also likes to keep all of his old clothes, but I don't let those clothes stay in the active drawers or closets - I stuff them in boxes and stash them in the spare bedroom and, well, I don't ask him first. :) This makes the spare bedroom a mess, but it makes it possible to use the normal storage areas in the other rooms.
The keys that let _me_ keep a place tidy (your keys may be different) are:
- Sparsely filled storage. If I have to rearrange things to put away that teacup or that book or that basketball, I won't put it away. Ideally, I'd like to keep all of my storage areas no more than seventy percent full. I'm not there yet. I think that empty storage space is the biggest key, and the lack of it is the biggest cause of the "It was clean three hours ago; what happened?!" phenomenon.
So, yes, a huge (huge huge huge) part of solving the problem is getting rid of stuff, or at the very least getting it out of the main living areas.
- Simple storage, without mixing things or putting things in front of other things. The sock drawer is only for socks. The stack of dinner plates contains only dinner plates, all identical in the stack - I never ever stack salad plates on top. Yes, there are two stacks of cereal bowls, but they're in front of each other, and all the bowls are identical, so we never have to reach for the back stack until we've used up the front stack.
If there isn't enough storage for everything to go in "simple storage", I give the everyday stuff prime storage space, and do the complicated storage for the rarely used stuff. So the everyday china gets simple storage, while the tea set and sushi plates and other rarely-used entertaining things are all tucked into one cabinet like a puzzle. That way, the messy cleanup only happens once in a while if we have a party.
- Edited to add: One-handed storage. Wherever possible, organize your storage so that you can take things out and put them away with one hand. And fight like mad against storage where you have to take one thing out to put another thing away. (Like, say, lifting the salad plates off the stack to put that dinner plate under them.) The easier and more instantaneous it is to put something away, the more likely that you will put it away.
- Landing zones. In addition to having permanent homes for things, I have temporary "homes" where I can drop stuff when I don't want to put it away properly yet. A tiny basket in my bathroom to drop dirty clothes in, shelves and a bench by the front door for dumping keys and mail and packages and shoes (we kick them under the bench), a shelf just off the living room that allows me to sweep through the living room and quickly put all the books and magazines on that shelf, a basket to hold magazines and random papers, little decorative bowls all over the house where I can drop keys or change or a piece of jewelry or whatever small, hard object I have and don't want to put away properly.
I can keep an eye on these areas, and when they start to fill up, I know that I should plan on taking an hour or so to put their contents away. But since they can absorb a few days' worth of "droppoff clutter", I can do that cleaning at my leisure. When I do put the stuff away, the dropoff areas should be empty or nearly empty.
- Willingness to use landing zones. There's a pull against putting things away - I'm going to get back to that knitting project, that book, that checkbook, that bill, that magazine, that newspaper, any time now, so why put it away? I resist that pull and put all that stuff in a landing zone, so that it's not cluttering the place, but it's easily find it again when I'm ready to pick it up.
- Strict storage rules where I have trouble. For example, very few things "live" on my kitchen countertops - when the kitchen is picked up, my countertops are almost totally clear, front to back. The only things that belong there are the kitchen soap and sponge, the upright mixer, and the electric kettle, and I'd like to stash the kettle somewhere.
I designated one cabinet shelf for those little things that I frequently grab and therefore otherwise keep on the counter - cooking salt, box of tea, vitamin bottle, sugar dispenser. I moved the canisters to a convenient cabinet right above the counter so it's easy to sling their weight up and down, and I force myself to put them back every time I use them. I just realized last month that I'd been letting the drain plug clutter up the kitchen counter for years, without using it to plug the drain more often than once every couple of years, so it was evicted to under the sink.
Getting the kitchen counters to this clear state, and wiping them down, makes me feel good, so I resist when my SO wants to store a knife block or something similar on the countertop.
I'm not claiming that I achieve this flawlessly - there does tend to be other stuff. That box of cereal that we don't have cabinet room for because my "70% full" plan failed for the staples cabinet, a bunch of bananas (what _do_ you do with bananas? I don't want perishable food out of sight in a cabinet), a flat of drinks - but the fact that none of this _lives_ there means that this clutter doesn't just build and build and build. I clear space in a cabinet for the cereal, we eat the bananas, I get the drinks put away, so space is always being cleared even as other stuff is coming in and trying to claim a space. My "short counter" usually has a few uninvited things trespassing in the back; if this overflows into the "long counter" I declare war and get it cleared.
Simlarly, nothing lives on my toilet tank, or on top of the fridge, or on my bathroom sink (I have shelves in the bathroom, and when they approach a full state I start to get rid of or rehome stuff), and so on.
Again, this is what works for me. It's entirely possible that you might need the a different strategy. For example, except for books and music and DVDs, I like my stuff stored out of sight, but maybe you're one of those people who needs to be able to see their stuff. In that case, you might want to consider open shelves instead of closed cabinets and closed drawers - maybe a visible stack of colorful sweaters on a pretty shelf or an attractive basket of socks is what it would take to motivate you to put stuff away.
Getting an organized house is much more about rearranging and changing the house to suit you, than about changing you to suit the house. Sure, you'll have to form some habits and force yourself to do some things, but in general when you find that something just doesn't get done, odds are that the problem is with the house.