Find simple, creative tips for how to declutter your home with success.
I’ve always been a fan of home organization, and thought I was pretty good at decluttering on a regular basis.
And, then we dramatically downsized our home.
Moving into a space about 1/3 the size of our previous home put my decluttering and home organization skills to the test!
Through the process, I developed some key methods and tricks that help immensely when doing a major declutter, as well as regular home clutter maintenance.
If you, too, want to live in a space with less clutter, here are some tips to get you on your way to a clutter free home.
10 Tips for How to Declutter Your Home
Imagine your end goal of an organized home
We all need motivation to get a project started and finished.
As you begin the process of decluttering, keep your end goal in mind.
Imagine the freedom and relaxing atmosphere of having a clutter free home home.
Let that be what keeps moving you forward with your home organization ideas.
Determine a plan to declutter your home
There are many ways to start a whole home organization project. But, I recommend taking it one step at a time.
How you want that to look is up to you.
Here are some options:
- Set a timer and work on decluttering an area for 15 minutes a day.
- Use a decluttering checklist (like the one in this post) to work on one room or space a week.
- Fill up a trash bag a day (or one a week) to donate to a thrift store.
- Get a jumpstart on home decluttering by asking a friend to come and help you for a few hours.
Regardless of how you declutter, just doing something is better than nothing.
Set up a drop off zone
As you begin the process of decluttering, designate an area where you will consistently put items that you want to donate, sell, or give away. Then, as time and schedule allows, deal with each pile.
We have a bench in our garage where we always have a box designated for the thrift store. As we regularly find things we’d like to donate, we put it into the box. Once we have enough to warrant a trip to the store, we load it into the car and take it away.
Develop a healthy decluttering mindset
There is a lot of fear about the process of decluttering. Many people are paralyzed by the big “what if” question:
“What if I want it later?”
The fear of regret of getting rid of an item stops people from even trying to declutter anything at all!
I encourage you, instead, to think about the freedom of
- having less “stuff” to look after and find space for
- having less to clean and maintain
- having more space to accomplish the tasks you love doing
- buying fewer items and choosing things that you’ll really love and use regularly
There came a point when I realized that my “stuff” was a burden instead of a blessing. Too much stuff can weigh you down and stress you out.
Start decluttering items that are the least sentimental first
Sentimental items are the things we have the most emotional attachment to. Leave them for last in your decluttering journey. By then, you will have had lots of experience in sorting and purging items. I found the kon marie method of home organization especially helpful to discover the order in which to tackle decluttering items.
Clothes and junk drawers are a great place to start. Remember, every small task you accomplish in the area of decluttering and organization will help give you confidence as you move toward the choices of sentimental items.
Ask key questions when you want to declutter your home
Here are some questions that will help you determine if you should keep, toss, donate, or sell an item.
- Have I used this in the past year?
- Have I forgotten I even had this thing?
- If an item is broken, will I really repair it?
- Does this piece of clothing fit me anymore?
- Do I feel good while I wear this piece of clothing?
If you answered no to any of those questions, then it’s quite clear that you could get rid of those items without regret!
Questions to ask regarding items that were given to you:
- Do I use this item?
- Does looking at this item bring back good memories?
- Can I see myself using this item in the future?
No? Then, I give you permission to get rid of it. Getting rid of something someone gave to you doesn’t mean you don’t care for them. Dispose of it appropriately so as not to offend inadvertently (like maybe don’t sell something your mother-in-law gave you on a Facebook page that she might see!;)).
Find creative & thoughtful ways to deal with sentimental items
I am a very sentimental person. However, even though I’ve downsized greatly, I don’t have any regrets in the area of precious, sentimental items.
Here are some creative ways to handle sentimental items:
- Use them! If you absolutely love Grandma’s china and silverware, why just store it to use once a year for Christmas? Rather, put it in your cupboard and use it on a regular basis. It will bring back great memories at every meal.
- Pass on precious heirlooms to family members who appreciate its story. I passed on my precious hope chest to one of my sons when I discovered it absolutely wouldn’t fit in our small house. I’m so glad to know it and its story is staying in the family.
- Scan precious family recipe cards and turn them into recipe card gifts.
- Turn old boxes of pictures into family history books by scanning the pictures and writing the stories down. Online sources like Shutterfly make the process smooth.
- Decorate with it. Having up sentimental items in our home as decor adds to the cozy factor in our home and tells our unique family story.
Designate a specific area for specific things
Sometimes our space limitations will help us determine how much stuff we can keep/ buy.
For example, as a home decor blogger and enthusiast, I have to constantly keep my seasonal decor in check. I have one closet to store it in. That’s it! Once it starts to overflow, I know it’s time to go through it again and get rid of some stuff.
It really does make me stick to the “one thing in, one thing out” rule!
Buy pretty storage containers only after you know exactly what you need
I hate to break it to you, but the secret to organization isn’t more pretty baskets and color coordinated tags.
I know it’s a disappointment, but you have to do the decluttering work before you purchase the organizational systems and containers!
Until you know exactly the things you want to store and where it will go, you will waste your money on items that won’t fit or be appropriate storage. It will only ADD TO your clutter!
Develop daily habits to declutter your home
Although from time to time we all need to do major decluttering projects, a lot of work can be spared if we develop daily decluttering habits.
Some of these habits include:
- Deal with paper mail as soon as it comes into the house. (Junk mail in the trash/ recycling and important items in a file.)
- Put items in their places when they are out of place.
- Use a donate box to put items when you discover you no longer need or use something.
Great & helpful resources for decluttering and home organization
Disclosure: These books are affiliate links for your shopping convenience.
Two books that have helped me immensely in the area of decluttering are:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – Gives great & practical tips on the step by step process of decluttering & how to organize specific items.
- Make Room for What You Love by Melissa Michaels – Gives a great description and reasons why decluttering and organization can help our homes feel the way we want it to feel!
Additional Home Organization Ideas:
- Small Kitchen Organization can be a challenge! Here are some storage ideas.
- 5 Simple Ideas for Small Master Bedroom Organization
- Small Bathroom Organization ideas that look pretty, too!
- Entry Closet Organization with Farmhouse style.
Want help getting started in decluttering your home?
I’ve put together a free Home Organization series just for you! Included in it are:
- Simple 15 minute organization tasks for each day
- Additional resources and ideas for more specific spaces – like organizing kitchen cupboards, pantry organization, and how to organize small closets.
- FREE printable checklists
Click here or the button below to get started today.