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10 Ways to Declutter Your Home [+ FREE Checklist]

Clutter got you feeling claustrophobic? At my worst, I used to have to beat a path from the bedroom door to my bed, where I’d then sleep on a pile of clothes or cooped up in a corner away from the books and papers strewn across the sheets.

When your life’s like that, it’s hard to feel you can make any progress. But I persevered and, slowly but surely, I regained some floor space and, now, the only thing I share my bed with is my husband.

So let’s look at 10 ways you can declutter your home in just a few minutes a day, as well as a few tips to keep the crap at bay once and for all. Then grab the free 4-page “Declutter Your Home” PDF checklist and work your way through it. By the end, your home will have a lot more breathing space and will feel much more warm and welcoming.

Declutter your home header

What is considered clutter?

Physical clutter comes in many guises — sometimes it’s the free samples you get with your skincare consultation, and sometimes it’s the crochet collection you inherit from your mother-in-law. In short, it’s the shit you don’t want or need.

What should you do before you start?

Before you start to declutter your home, ask yourself WHY you want to do it. More often than not, the answer is, essentially, that the clutter makes you unhappy.

  • Maybe you feel stressed or overwhelmed by the mess
  • Maybe it’s stopping you from really enjoying your home and relaxing in it
  • Maybe you’re spending too much time frantically looking for your keys, or
  • Perhaps you’re just sick of the panic every time someone comes to call.
Or maybe it’s secret answer E — all of the above.

Whatever the reason, keep it forefront in your mind as you proceed through these steps. Having a strong “why” will spur you on to success.

And look, you didn’t suddenly wake up one morning to find yourself covered in crap, so you’re unlikely to get rid of it overnight either. Slow and steady, GYSTers. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you’re unlikely to unburden yourself in that timeframe either.

You can follow the steps in each individual room before moving on to another room, or you can apply step 1 to your entire house before moving on to the next step. Pick which one you think will work best for you, and work at a pace that suits.

Ready for a peaceful, luxurious home? I know I am!

Declutter Your Home pin

10 Things to Get Rid Of to Declutter Your Home

1. Trash

There’s always the odd empty wrapper or box lying around. Grab a small bin and zip around your house, quickly dumping the junk. This is stuff that’s genuinely rubbish — empty packaging, drinks bottles, takeaway coffee cups… Stuff that’s supposed to go straight in the bin but somehow ends up on the arm of a chair or left on a desk.

And to stop it building back up, look at the places where the rubbish usually accumulates and consider putting a bin there. (Putting a bin beside our bedroom door helped us immensely, particularly this past week because my husband’s been ill so having a bin close by means we don’t end up with a bunch of used tissues and empty packets of painkillers all over the bedside locker.)

2. Expired food

Don’t pretend you don’t have a can of dried food that’s been there since the dawn of time. Or a jar of spices that’s been sitting there since you first moved into the place. Or a drink with some form of unidentified floating object in it. Have a quick rummage in the cupboards, as well as the fridge and freezer, and pull out anything that’s past its prime.

Apart from taking up valuable real estate in your home and being potentially harmful to your health, stuff like that attracts insects and rodents. And it sucks to get all excited about cooking something (though, admittedly, I don’t know this feeling) only to find that one of the ingredients would be more at home in a chemistry lab than your kitchen cupboards.

Get into the habit of having regular raids before you go get more groceries. This will ensure you only have fresh food on hand, will show you what you have so you can use it up, will remind you what you need to replace, will stop you buying duplicates, and will make way for all the new food.

Declutter your home -- Fruit & Vegetables

3. Broken items

Anything beyond repair should’ve been dealt with in step 1. This is for things that are in some way salvageable — holey socks, the shirt with a loose button, action figures with their arms missing… The first thing to do is ask yourself if you even WANT to mend it. I mean, are you really bothered? Is it worth your time and effort? If not, dump it. Just because something IS salvageable doesn’t mean you SHOULD. (I had a coat that hung around for ages waiting for me to re-attach a button. Guess what? I realised that if I couldn’t find five minutes out of the tens of thousands it had been left sitting there, it couldn’t really mean all that much to me. I let it go.)

If you really DO want to salvage it, consider whether you’re going to do it yourself or have someone else do it. Schedule that shit and get it done.

And hey, there’s no time like the present! A stitch in time, an’ all that jazz.

4. Loose change

My husband is a terror for leaving coin clutter around the place, and my daughter loves playing with them so I find them everywhere. (And hey, finders keepers, right?)

Have a central place to put them all so you don’t end up with some loose change on the kitchen table, some on the bedside locker, some in the washing machine, and some down the back of the couch. (Having some in the centre console of the car for tolls or parking charges is fine.) Either set yourself up with a piggy bank or, better yet, just throw them straight into your purse.

Declutter your home -- Piggy bank

5. The contents of your bag and/or purse

It was handy for Mary Poppins ‘cause she was magic. For the rest of us, it’s an abyss that’s giving us back problems. Empty it and sift through it. I can almost guarantee you’ll be horrified by some of what you find. I know I was!

Declutter you home -- bag contents

If your bag lacks a lot of handy pockets, try using an organiser to keep things neat and tidy (and easily transferrable if you use different bags). I have this one (affiliate link):

6. Toiletries

Expired or unused. Just get rid of them. I don’t care if that cream cost an arm and a leg; if you’re not slapping it on your face every day, all it’s doing is reminding you of money misspent. Let it go, along with the guilt.

Cosmetics and creams have expiry dates too. Stick to them, particularly for sun creams or anything that goes near your eyes. Unlike food items, though, very few will have a specific date stamped on them. Instead, they’ll have a little symbol of a small, cylindrical tub with the lid off, and an indication of how long you should keep it after opening (usually in months, denoted ‘M’).

Declutter your home -- Toiletries expiry date

Use a Sharpie or a little sticker to mark the open date on the item itself, so there’s no chance you’ll think you only opened that mascara last month when, in fact, it was many moons ago.

7. Toys

Let’s face it, kids don’t need 99% of the stuff they have, nor will they miss most of it. When I did the KonMari Method, the category with the biggest benefits by far was toys. We have reclaimed our living space, and I still get a great sense of satisfaction from walking into the sitting room and being able to see the floor and reach all the furniture without tripping over anything.

Declutter your home -- toys
Click the pic to be taken to my post on completing the ‘toys’ sub-category of the KonMari Method

And don’t let your kids off lightly — if they’re old enough, they should get involved. Ask them what toys they have that would make great gifts for other, less well off kids, and then box them up and send them on their way.

A less cluttered home for you (and the avoidance of a few sprained ankles, no doubt), and valuable lessons about philanthropy and appreciating their belongings for your kids. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Use big clutter-attracting events like birthdays and Christmas as an excuse. ‘Cause hey, Santa can’t bring more toys if he can’t even find his way to the tree.

8. Papers

Old bank statements, bills that have been paid, newspapers and magazines you’ve already read or have no real intention of reading, receipts for things you no longer own, old pay slips, every birthday and Christmas card you’ve ever received…

(Just me?)

This can be a time-consuming one so I suggest giving it a few minutes every day until you get it under control. The first thing to do is to cut things off at the source. Stop junk mail from coming in by unsubscribing to mailing lists. (Details on how to do this will vary by country so do a quick Google search for how to stop it. Another great way I’ve found is, if it has a return address on it, return to sender with a note asking them to remove you from their list.) Re-evaluate all the subscriptions you currently have and decide whether you need them. Cancel those you no longer want. (Added bonus: saving money.)

Deal with mail as soon as it arrives. Have a recycling bin nearby. Scribble a “return to sender” on those you no longer want to receive, and dump anything that’s a one-off or has no return address or that just isn’t relevant to you right now. Anything that contains sensitive information should be shredded or otherwise destroyed. (Keep a small box for storing papers for this purpose. Don’t let it get too full before you deal with it.)

If it’s a bill, pay it. If it’s an important piece of reference material, file it. If it’s a magazine, put it somewhere you can easily reach for and read it the next time you have a chance, like beside the couch or on your bedside locker. In short, do something with it, don’t just let it build up. It shouldn’t take longer than a minute or two to deal with the mail every morning, so no excuses.

Declutter your home -- paper clutter
Click the pic to be taken to my post on completing the ‘paper’ category of the KonMari Method
9. Unwanted gifts

Ah, there’s no more dangerous clutter than that of a sense of obligation. (I’ll be coming back to this topic next week when I deal with eliminating mental clutter.) Unwanted gifts are emotional minefields — you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but you also don’t want to damage your own (which is what you’re doing every time you look at them).

Personally, I think it’s pretty uncouth to ask someone what they’ve done with the gift you gave them, but maybe that’s just me. If you think you can get rid of it without it being noticed, do it. Or wear it/use it for a while afterwards when the gift-giver’s around before slowly phasing it out. Or re-purpose it into something you actually WILL enjoy, like repainting a piece of furniture.

Look around at the unwanted gifts you’ve held onto for years. They’ve served their purpose so it’s time to bid them adieu and either dump them, re-gift them, or drop them off at the charity shop. More often than not, nobody will even notice.

10. Things that don’t spark joy

Come on, you knew it was going to be on the list. You don’t go through the KonMari Method and come out the other side not singing its praises and adopting its practices. If something doesn’t fit into any of the above steps, just ask yourself if it truly brings you joy. Notice the clothes you reach for every day, the foods you always eat, the types of books you love to read, the blanket you reach for when you want to snuggle up… Your home should be full of the things you use and love.

If it’s causing you annoyance, give serious consideration to getting rid of it. Do it with one thing and then notice how its absence has had no negative impact on your life whatsoever. Then do it with another thing.

“Oh, but I might need it someday,” I hear you say. ‘Someday’ isn’t a day of the week, friend, so do yourself a favour and unburden yourself now.

And there you have it — 10 things to get rid of to declutter your home quickly and easily in just a few minutes a day, without the need for a marathon cleaning spree. Once you complete this list, your home will be a haven for you and your family, and you’ll be free to follow the pursuits that make you happy instead of constantly searching for your purse or having to call your phone because you can’t find it.

If you want the handy-dandy 4-page PDF for quick reference, click the image:

Declutter your home lightbox

In the meantime, I’d love to know — what category of clutter do you suffer with most? Comment below.

Declutter your home PDF pin

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3 Responses

  1. This is perfect for me right now. We are moving on April 1st and I am aiming to declutter as I pack mostly cause we are moving to a house half the size with 2 less bedrooms but also because I horde so much stuff ‘just incase’ I need i. I will definitely be using your checklist:) Thank x

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