Actionable Tips towards Decluttering your Home for good

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You’ve finally decided it’s time to declutter your home and are looking for some tips on how to even get started.

Looking at a cluttered space all day can be draining. I’ve been wanting to declutter my space lately. With spring finally being here, I think decluttering and reorganizing may be on a lot of people’s minds. It is the season for spring cleaning after all. 

Some exciting news in my life is that I just recently purchased a new home! While this is exciting, the amount of packing I need to do is overwhelming. I want to start the decluttering process before I move so I don’t bring anything I don’t need to my new home.

 

While I hope you find this post helpful, when it comes to decluttering, the best thing you can do is to actually start. Whether that is 5 minutes or picking one room and running with it, you need to start somewhere. I know the number of things to declutter can be overwhelming but piece by piece, you’ll get there. 

You can find my free decluttering checklist I’ve created for you below so you can have some guidance and inspiration while you’re organizing your home. I’ve made one sheet per room so you can pick a room and start decluttering. That way you can completely finish the checklist for one room without being overwhelmed. 

Decluttering can actually make your space look bigger! I have more tips on how to make a room look bigger here. Just imagine if you got rid of some of the items you never touch. It’s pretty easy to accumulate junk the more time we spend in a home. 

The benefits of removing the clutter from your home

Several studies have shown that having a messy home can lead to anxiety or other mental disorders. This isn’t the case for everyone, it just depends on how you react to the mess. A survey done by Rubbermaid found that 57 percent of participants were feeling “stressed” and 42 percent said they were “more anxious” when their home was cluttered and disorganized.

For example, my boyfriend claims he likes ‘organized chaos’ as he calls it (but I honestly think he’s just making up excuses not to clean). However, if the mess of our apartment doesn’t stress him out, that’s perfectly fine for him. I, on the other hand, look at a messy apartment and I immediately get stressed about finding time to clean it all up and making everything look aesthetically pleasing again. This causes stress on our relationship since I’m stressed about it and he’s fine with the mess. The struggle over here. 

If we had less stuff, there would be fewer things to clean up and put away. You’re never going to completely get rid of the mess since life happens but with less stuff, there is less opportunity. I know we are way overdue to go through all the junk we’ve accumulated over the years. 

We also have family members trying to give us stuff when they declutter their home and that’s frustrating. I understand that they are being nice and they think we would like it but we don’t need more things in our home either. Does anyone else experience this struggle? Keep this in mind when you are giving away some of your items. Make sure the receiver actually wants it.

Different Styles of Organization and Decluttering

If you are still trying to figure out how to start decluttering your home, here are a few popular techniques you can use. 

The Konmari method is a great way to declutter your home

KonMari Method

This method was created by tidying expert Marie Kondo. In super simple terms, you only keep items that spark joy or speaks to your heart. If you follow this method, you could easily get rid of a lot of junk or things that are just lying around your household.

One of the things that make her technique different is that she teaches that you should organize by category rather than by room. Once you have decluttered everything in your home, then you can start organizing and buying additional storage and bins if needed. In most cases, you won’t need to since you got rid of a lot of items. Marie has said that most of her clients are able to completely declutter their homes in 6 months or less but it should be done quickly.

She does suggest going in the below order of decluttering, leaving things with sentimental value last so it’s easier to decide to let things go the more you do it. You’ll be a decluttering machine by the end in theory!

Clothes -> Books -> Papers -> Miscellaneous items -> Sentimental items

This method has worked for thousands of her clients and people who have read her book. If you want to learn more about this method, you could check out her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

Minimalist 90/90 days

The idea behind this one is really simple:  toss it if you haven’t used it in the past 90 days and you aren’t going to use it in the following 90 days. You can exclude seasonal things such as Christmas decorations in this practice. You could also adjust this so that it is for a year, just look at 6 months timeframes instead. 

This method is supposed to make it easier to part with your belongings. It’s a little easier of a concept to grasp than asking yourself if your vacuum cleaner brings you joy. Maybe not, but you probably used it in the last 90 days … hopefully… 

Washi tape/Hanger trick 

This hanger trick is a great way to identify which clothes you haven't worn in a year when decluttering your home

I’m sure you’ve seen this one before. At least with a hanger. This is a way to see what items you don’t use in your closet or kitchen for a designated amount of time, like a year. The hanger you turn them all the other way and once you wear the item of clothing, you put the hanger back the regular way. For the washi tape, with this method, you’d place a piece of tape on the pots and pans and once you use it you’d take the tape off. 

 I know it is tempting to hold on to clothes that you may fit into someday or once you lose those extra 10 pounds but it’s better to part ways with them. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done but it’ll make organizing your drawers and closets so much easier. The plus side is if you do end up losing the weight, you can treat yourself to some new clothing that fits your personality in that season of your life.

It’s a good way to know for sure what you have worn or what pan you’ve used. Pick a designated time, it can even be a year, and once the year is up, toss or donate anything you didn’t use. 

Tips while you Declutter

Here are a few things to think about when decluttering your home. I tried to make the checklist as thorough as possible but here are some tips to go with it. I made the closet a separate page since that will be one of the bigger decluttering projects. Hopefully, these tips will be helpful as you go through the checklist to declutter your own home.

Entryway

The entryway is such an awkward space especially if you live in an apartment or a smaller home. I don’t know about you but I do not have a grand entryway to make this Pinterest-worthy organized entryway. Actually, my new home is going to have a smaller entryway than my apartment.

So with the lack of space, it’s hard to have it not look cluttered especially since we tend to drop everything as soon as we walk into the door. Because of this, this should be the first question you ask yourself. What gets dropped in the entryway? 

Once you know this, you can start finding homes for the things that should be left in the entryway. Design experts suggest only leaving your most used shoes in the entryway closet. The other ones should be brought to your bedroom closet.

It is also a good idea to remove coats and other seasonal attire when you aren’t using them. By putting them in storage, it’ll allow your entryway closet to look a lot less cluttered. 

Bathroom

The bathroom is very hard to organize because it is often small and doesn’t have a lot of storage space. Between make-up, beauty products, and bathroom supplies, it’s hard to find space for it all!

You should start with everyday essentials and give them a home first. If you can, store them at eye-level. Make sure they are in easy-to-grab places. You’re much more likely to put them away if they are easy to grab and put back. After each item has a spot, then move onto the seldom-used items. Could items you don’t use often be stored somewhere else? Or better yet, donated or trashed?

The easiest thing you can do is check for any expired products and ditch items you know you don’t use. I know I have extra shampoo bottles or make-up products that I didn’t like that much and for some reason hold on to them just in case. I don’t know what I’m preparing for since I didn’t like it in the first place.

Kitchen

The kitchen is tricky because there is so much stuff that has to be in the kitchen. Between food and kitchen supplies, organizing and decluttering your kitchen can definitely be overwhelming. It just gets trickier if you’re working with a small kitchen. This doesn’t mean all your problems would be solved if you had a bigger kitchen then it just opens up the opportunity for you to have unnecessary items in your kitchen. 

The easiest thing you can do in your decluttering journey is to check for any expired food items and throw them away. If there are food items you know your family isn’t going to eat then you should toss these items as well. 

the key is less clutter on your counter tops when decluttering your home

Once you begin organizing your cabinets, try to place items near where you’ll use them. This way it’ll be easy to grab and put away. Group similar or complementary items together. It will help the flow of your kitchen and it will just feel more organized even if you don’t get rid of anything at all. 

Kitchen counters are an easy area to get messy quickly because it is so easy to drop everything on the counter. After all, the kitchen is one of the most trafficked areas in our homes. Everyone has got to eat! The best advice I can give you for the countertops is to try to have as few items as possible on them. Everything on the counter should have a purpose and you should really only have items you use on a regular basis on the countertops instead of in the cabinets. 

Bedrooms & Closets

The bedroom is a difficult spot to organize as well. At least for me since I have a problem letting go of clothes. Unfortunately, that is the biggest category you should focus on when organizing your bedroom. Having fewer clothes is going to make it instantly easier to keep your room clean. I know it’s the sad truth.

The clothes you’re getting rid of though are clothes you don’t like or never wear! It’s easier to figure out what you want to wear if you only have clothes you love. I suggest that you take everything out of your drawers and closets and decide what you are going to keep and what you are going to donate. I would then go through your clothing and shoes by category. It’s much easier to get rid of your least favorite pair of jeans when you have your go-to pairs sitting right in front of you.

Your nightstand should only have the essentials. The items should be used only during your bedtime routine. Design experts suggest that you should only have items in your bedroom that you use for sleeping or doing the dirty. I don’t think this is realistic especially in smaller homes or apartments but you should follow this rule for your nightstand. You don’t want one of the first things you see or one of the last to be a complete mess. That isn’t going to help anyone’s mental health.

You should also ensure you organize the tops of anything else in the bedroom: dressers, chests, and bureaus. Make them look aesthetically pleasing to you. Unlike the kitchen countertops, you can have decor or things that look nice such as jewelry or watches that you want to display.

Your closet will be one of the hardest projects when decluttering your home

Living Room

The living room can be deceptively hard to declutter. In theory, it seems pretty easy since this is where your main decor focus is probably going to be and there are lots of cute storage options to hide the clutter. But in reality, this room is used as an entertainment space, a place to relax, in some cases a place to eat, watch TV, and if you have pets or children, their toys can easily be left out.

When you are decluttering this space, you have to decide what you want to use this room for. Is it going to be the entertainment area? The play area? Are you big movie lovers and it’ll be a place to relax and watch a movie? Are you a bookworm and you want to create a cozy place to read a good book? Once you know how you will use this space, it’s much easier to organize and decide what needs to stay in the living room.

The best tip I found is to have functional storage since it’s inevitable that there will be some items you’ll want to put away when guests come. An ottoman is a great example because you can store extra throw pillows and blankets but people can also sit on it. It is also helpful to have a designated place to put things you use every day in. If the controllers for the TV or video games have a designated spot, it is easier for your family to know that they need to put them there when they are finished.

Dining Room

The biggest clutter concerned for the dining room is throwing stuff on the dining room table or in that room or space in general because it’s not used very often. I currently live in an apartment and we don’t have a dining room but we do have a dining area with a good size dining room table. We have the tendency to throw things like mail or Amazon boxes on the table. We really only clean it off if we have guests coming over.

This is not a good tactic, my friend. Once I created a designated spot for Amazon packages and mail, this area stayed a lot cleaner. If you have a china cabinet, make sure that you don’t have any old silverware or worn napkins. If your bar area is in your dining room, make sure you have that organized and get rid of any alcohol someone brought over that you never touch. No one wants that cotton candy vodka anyways.

Laundry Room and Office

Shelves are your friends in these areas. If you are fortunate enough to have an office, this would be a great place to house your paperwork and any bills that came in the mail. The junk mail you should try to toss right away or pick a designated day to sort through the mail.

For the laundry room, throw out any detergent that you are no longer using or any other potential expired items you may have stored in there including sunscreen, medicine, and cleaning supplies. If you have a pile of unmatched socks and they’ve been sitting there for months, they are most likely safe to toss. I have another article on how I organized my small laundry room on a budget if you need some inspiration.

Decluttering your home isn’t going to be easy.

I hope you find these tips and the checklist helpful. Many of us hold on to items we haven’t used in years. Take this as your thumbs up that you can get rid of that old cell phone charger or that box of cords that have no use.

Don’t try to organize your house in one go. It’s nice to split it up by room or category so you can see the progress but it isn’t overwhelming. Another benefit is that it is easier to clean when there is less stuff to clean around. Hopefully, once you do a deep purge, you’ll incorporate these habits into some kind of schedule. That is why I included a space to add the date on your decluttering checklist. That way you know the last time you purged your closest. It could help as well if you are incorporating the 90/90 method from the minimalist. Though I would also put a reminder on your phone or calendar.

Once you have your home completely decluttered and organized, check out my post on creating a cleaning schedule. This way you won’t have to do this huge overhaul again because you’ll keep your home in tip-top shape all the time! I also have a free chore checklist you can grab. 

Until Next Time,

Actionable steps towards decluttering your home

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