When your home is too cluttered, it is hard to summon the motivation to tackle the chores you’ve been putting off and to toss or organize your scattered possessions. To make matters worse, you are crunched for time and it’s tough to get anything done around the house, no matter how hard you try. Therefore, we put together all the useful tips for decluttering your house and life.
Why is decluttering a good idea
Everyone has a little "junk" stuff around the house. Some of us may have more than a little. Regardless of how much stuff we have, we can all enjoy decluttering our lives and homes. According to Psychology Today, people tend to feel like life is out of control when they surround themselves with more things than they can manage. Research also shows that clutters we have around us contribute to stress, anxiety, guilt, embarrassment, and frustration. It can even make you chronically late! The mess causes stress. If you are not taking care of the clutter in your home, you may not be taking care of yourself either.
What is the main goal of whole-house decluttering
A lot of us like to clean and decluttering house because it helps us cope with stress and also provide a sense of control and accomplishment. For others, getting rid of the junk frees up a little extra space in the house that wasn’t there before. Some people may just need to clear out space before they move to a new house. No matter what is your reason for decluttering your life and home, this ridiculously thorough guide will help you through the process.
5 benefits of decluttering for your life
There are many benefits to owning fewer possessions. Even then, it’s tough to move into action. Cleaning is already enough of a chore, but having to clean around things you have zero emotional attachment to (or worse, actively dislike) makes cleaning the house much more stressful. We put together 5 most common benefits to declutter now.
Less to organize
It is easier to find everything you need when you have a tidy space. Things don’t just “disappear” anymore. You can move around your home and enjoy the space, instead of moving around things that are in the way.
Looking around at the clutter is a nausea-inducing sight once your home becomes cluttered enough. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look around and see a home you love?
Spending less time shopping for things and adding to the clutter means your wallet and bank accounts remain fuller, your credit cards’ statements are lower, and your home doesn’t get filled with costly things you don’t need.
More financial freedom
According to research in 2019, 59 percent of American households live on what they get from every paycheck they get, and half of the 59% have debit card debt they are paying. Proper decluttering will help you minimize your spending as you won’t spend on things that are unnecessary.
More energy for your greatest passions
With less debt, more financial freedom, and clean home, you can now focus your energy on the things you enjoy instead of worrying about “Keeping up with the Joneses.” This will ultimately make you happier.
How to get ready to declutter your home in one day
Sometimes when you only focus on the big picture things can get so overwhelming that you are beaten before you even begin. The best way to approach any project this size is to break it all down step by step, room by room, drawer by drawer.
Gather and label boxes or trash bags for sorting items to trash (optional additional box/bag for recycling), keep/relocate, donate, an additional category for “give to someone else”, staging/temporary storage for keep/relocate items that don’t have a home, repair, grab a timer so you don’t spend too much time in one room.
Create a plan for donations
Creating a solid thrifting plan is one the best way to get decluttered things donated, they are a lot of local thrift collectors that can offer thrift collecting service for you. Some thrift collectors can pick the donations up from your house, some of them will create a solid plan for your donations. Example of the thrift stores are Goodwill; Salvation Army and you can inquire about thrift collections.
Prepare mentally to declutter
Understand that you’ll be getting rid of anything you don’t use, need, or love. Put on comfortable clothes and shoes. Turn on your favorite playlist, pull up a podcast, download an audiobook, or listen to a favorite funny movie in the background (Don’t get distracted by watching it!).
15 tips for declutter your house
Similar to other spaces in your house, your goal is to remove as many items as possible from your house. Nothing feels good as sitting down to enjoy your families, friends, or entertainment in a clean and organized room.
Carve out one full clear day
We are so busy and also do a million things every single day. Early wake-ups, a school for your kids, a lot of activities: such as laundry, shopping, cooking, and job. Clear one day of all your usual to-dos and dedicate it to decluttering the house, it helps if only you can palm off the kids to Grandma or to a babysitter. Clear your schedule of all your usual jobs, so that you’ve got one uninterrupted day to focus on the task and get them done once and for all.
If you finally tuned in decluttering your home in order, avoid stepping foot into the front door and tackling the first project you can get your hands on. This is a recipe for disaster, and you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel shortly after you’ve started.
Create a decluttering checklist
There are a lot of easier ways to declutter when you have a visual representation of where you need to get started. Write down a list and strategy of decluttering or search on the Internet a ready variant.
Take before and after photos of a small area
Choose one part of your home, like your kitchen counter, and take a photo of a small area. Quickly clean off the items in the photo and take an after photo. Once you see how your home could look, it becomes easier to start decluttering more of your home.
Take out every single item from each category
Be focused and get EVERY item you own of each category out and pile them in a heap. Work by category: clothes, toys, kitchen equipment, books, bathroom items. Then sort through each and every item that you own.
Sort your shopping bags
These days, stores that don't want to be accused of adding to the growing plastic bag problem are giving away free reusable bags all over the place. It's probably time to pare your stash of bags down to only the most efficient and durable ones, or your bags may end up all over the place.
Neatly organize everything else
Now it’s time for the great part: organizing what remains. But this time around, you won’t be spending loads of cash on plastic storage containers and stylish space maker tools. Instead, you’ll be working with what you already have lying around the house. Here are a few options:
Your kitchen or clothes drawer will be clean and well-organized with a bamboo dresser drawer divider. The drawer dividers are the best way to avoid a mess in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or elsewhere in your home or office. The bamboo drawer separators will help you keep everything organized and tidy at all times!
Planning to store some items on the closet shelves? Shoeboxes, both cardboard, and plastic work like a charm, especially for accessories if you don’t have a jewelry box on hand. I also use them for arts and crafts supplies that my children use throughout the week for school projects and homework.
I’m an avid reader, so the bookshelf in the office definitely serves its purpose. But I also use it to store my children’s electronics and trophies that won’t fit into their bedroom. And occasionally, a few of my project files find their way on the middle shelf for easier access.
Unfortunately, there may be a few (or many) useful items that remain with nowhere to go. Instead of agonizing over their final resting place, find an empty, discrete area to store them until a later date.
Clean Out Your Pet Supplies
Don’t just declutter for your own peace of mind, declutter for your pets too, their health matters a lot to you too.
- Wash your pet's bed or sleeping area thoroughly.
- Throw out any toys that are falling apart. Anything with loose parts can be hazardous to your pet’s health. For example, a dried out, cracked rubber chew toy can break apart and injure your dog’s mouth or cause choking.
- Leashes and collars should be checked to make sure they can still keep your pet safe and secure. Anything that is frayed or torn should be tossed.
- Dirty toys and accessories can become moldy or harbor bacteria.
Organize Your Charging Cables and Power Bars
Get rid of any frayed cords and cables that are worn out and kinked. Exposed wires could lead to fire so don't take your chances. Make sure your cords are properly identified and labeled so that the right cable is used to charge up the right device. Roll up and bundle excess cord length to keep it from becoming a tripping hazard.
Donate clothes you never wear
To identify them, simply hang all your clothes with hangers in the reverse direction. After wearing an item, face the hanger in the correct direction. Discard the clothes you never touched after a few months.
Ask for help
Do you have supportive friends or family nearby? Call them up, mention your plans, and ask if they’d be willing to assist. Even if it’s in the form of entertaining the kids for a few hours, which you’ll need if you have little ones, a little help can go a long way.
Have a garage sale
If you are up to the task, you may be able to make a little money off your clutter by having a garage sale. Check to see if your neighborhood or homeowner’s association has a designated garage sale date. Just make sure you begin your declutter process early enough so you can participate – you’ll get more foot traffic that way.
Make a place for everything and everything in its place
Turn to your ‘KEEP’ pile of items and put each one away tidily. Since you’ve emptied your drawers and wardrobes, you’ll now have empty spaces to fill with the items you use and treasure. Give each item its place. Later on, when you see that object lying around the house, you’ll know where it belongs and you can easily return it to its place. A great tool for keeping these spaces tidy is to use drawer organizers or drawer separators. That way each item can be kept in its designated place neatly.
If you don’t need it, don’t buy it (at least until you learn to keep the messes to a minimum). And if you think you need it, take a moment to assess its functionality and whether it will best suit your needs.
Never give up
It’s all too easy to start a big declutter with gusto and then give up halfway through when you start lagging in energy. If you stop halfway then you’ll soon find the clutter creeps up and takes over again. Keep going for that 1 full day.
Declutter room by room
Sometimes when you only focus on the big picture, things can get so overwhelming that you are beaten before you even begin. The best way to approach any project this size is to break it all down step by step, room by room, drawer by drawer.
Hall Closet/Coat Closet
- Trash: Broken umbrellas, shoes caked in mud
- Keep/Relocate: Out-of-season outerwear and shoes (i.e., snow boots in winter or flip flops in summer); excess shoes and outerwear – depends on how you organize; I generally allow 1 pair of sandals and 1 pair of closed shoes per person; the rest can be stored in his/her closet, etc.; out-of-season items (Pool bag in winter, etc.)
- Donate: Ill-fitting or out-of-style outerwear; outerwear that you don’t use, need, or love
- Put Away: Place the outerwear that’s left on hangers; arrange shoes and other items neatly
Focus mostly on the flat surfaces in your kitchen, such as the table and countertops. If your kitchen cabinets aren’t extremely cluttered, you can take 5 minutes and check for expired items.
- Trash: Old/expired food that is sitting out
- Keep/Relocate: Family members’ personal items – the things they tend to leave on the kitchen counter; bills and other mail/paperwork; quickly sort and corral these items into a few neat stacks or baskets, if needed; shred any sensitive items like credit card offers, if you have time; dirty dishes, gadgets, appliances you want to keep but don’t want sitting out
- Donate: Gadgets and appliances you no longer want; food that isn’t expired, but that you probably won’t use
- Put Away: Dirty dishes, gadgets/tools, food, spices/seasonings, out-of-season décor
- Trash: Old newspapers, used coloring books, puzzles or games with many missing pieces, broken toys
- Keep/Relocate: Family members’ personal belongings, extra toys, extra books you plan to keep
- Donate: Books, movies, toys, games, and décor you no longer use, need, or love
- Put Away: Toys, magazines, books, movies, games, out-of-season décor
If your dining room table has become a dumping ground, keep your focus there. Declutter as much as you can in 30 minutes.
- Trash: Old candles, dingy/stained table linens, old paperwork on the table (Again, shred papers with personal info)
- Keep/Relocate: Anything on the dining room table that isn’t décor or isn’t needed for another necessary task (i.e., if you work on your laptop at the dining room table, etc.)
- Donate: Décor you no longer love, linens in good condition you no longer love, dishes you no longer use/need/love
- Put Away: Linens you would like to keep, specialty dishes not in use (such as a gravy boat, fine china, etc.), out-of-season décor.
Home Office or Workspace
Does your home office or workspace look like a tornado hit it? Have no fear; our tips will help with the disaster cleanup. And as an added bonus, organizing your home office can actually make you more productive! When cleaning up an office or workspace, it’s best to start with the papers. Cleaning up the paper mess is likely half the battle! Challenge yourself to remove most items from your office desk, aside from your computer, a lamp, and a few other essentials.
Trash expired or empty bath/body products expired or empty makeup and nail polish bottles, empty toilet paper rolls, broken or moldy bath toys; old or soiled cleaning supplies (including plungers and toilet cleaning wands). Keep or move excessive products, such as toilet paper, extra bath/body products, extra towels that could be better stored elsewhere (i.e., could you move those items to a linen closet for storage?), family members’ belongings. Donate useable bath/body products you no longer use/need/love; hair styling tools you no longer use. Put away dirty towels, bath/body products sitting out on the counter, bath toys.
You should definitely trash ratty, stained, or worn towels and bed linens; expired bath and body products; old cleaning supplies; any trash that may be present (Such as plastic wrapping from toilet paper packs). Keep or relocate: Cleaning supplies that would be better stored elsewhere. Donate: Towels and bed linens you no longer use/need/love, useable bath and body products you no longer use/need/love. Put Away: Items sitting outside of their designated boxes, baskets, or shelves; re-fold towels if they’re un-folded
Storage Areas (Basement, Attic, Other Closets)
Again, resist the urge to do a deep purge or start organizing. The goal today is to clear surface clutter. You can purge and organize another day. The decluttering you do now will make it easier to deep purge and organize later.
- Trash: Empty cardboard boxes, newspaper, other packing materials, broken items that can’t be repaired, old product boxes
- Keep/Relocate: Décor you’d like to use,
- Donate: Anything sitting out that you no longer use/need/love. Again, resist the urge to start going through boxes. Address surface clutter only.
- Put Away: Anything sitting out in the open. You might have lots of things that don’t really have a particular home, and that’s okay. Group like items together and line them up along the walls so there is space to move and walk. For example, group the Christmas décor together, out-of-season clothes together, Halloween décor, and so on.
Bedrooms often become dumping grounds for stuff that doesn’t have a home in your house. When you think about it, you don’t really need more than a bed, a nightstand or two, storage for clothes, shoes, and perhaps a home for jewelry and makeup. You don’t have to go to the store to buy something. You can use small gift boxes, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, or repurpose plastic containers to hold the items in the drawer. Get creative – perhaps you won’t have to send as many things to the landfill at the end of the day!
I recommend going through your clothing on another day. Deep closet purging and organization are an entirely different project. Focus on surface decluttering for now, as we’ve done in the rest of the house. Trash: Tissue paper, shopping bags, shipping boxes, price tags Put Away: Pick up and hang or fold items that are on the floor or draped elsewhere; neatly line shoes up on the floor.
Garages allow things like old sporting equipment, tools that have been long-forgotten, old kids’ toys, half-complete DIY projects, rusty car parts, storage boxes, and more to hang around like a bad cold. This is another challenging space to declutter – challenging, but not impossible! To get more information you can read our article (link).
Remove all trash from inside your house (Or place it wherever you keep it until trash collection day). Put away all keep/relocate items in their proper home, or place in a temporary storage container if they don’t yet have a home. Place donations in your car or inside the door to your home. Drop off donations as soon as possible. If necessary, repair items you planned to keep and deliver items you planned to give to friends/family. Create good habits to declutter regularly going forward.
How to declutter and clean your house in one day
For many people, clutter can be an energy zapper or they waste inordinate amounts of time looking for things they can’t find. Therefore, no matter which decluttering tip you choose to get started the goal is to take your first step in decluttering your life with excitement behind it.