Simple Ways to Declutter Your House
Put it on a shelf:
Organize things where you can see them to remind you what you have and what is actually getting used. This will make you want to declutter more often.
A house divided:
Use dividers and trays in your drawers, nightstand, kitchen, TV stand, etc. to declutter and stay organized. You can also use buckets for kids toys, outdoor necessities (sunscreen, baseball bat)
Have a set place for things:
Keep your house neat by putting things where they belong the first time. Keys should only be dropped off on the key hook, for example. Shoes should always get stored on the entry-way shoe rack. Mail goes in the inbox or outbox, so you can take care of it later. This will prevent the need to declutter constantly.
Year-Round Declutter Methods
The 4-Box Method:
Gather 3 cardboard boxes and a large trash can. Label each of them: one for “put away”, “one for “sell or give away”, and one for “storage”. Of course, anything needing to be thrown out goes in the garbage can. Room by room, force yourself to make quick decisions by putting clutter into one of the boxes or the trash can. Do yourself a favor by quickly selling or donating anything in the donation box (the idea is to get it out of your house quickly so IT doesn’t become clutter). If you don’t have time to donate it the same day, throw it into your car to get it out of the house. Storage boxes can be labeled with the contents and then put into the garage or attic. Bring trash to the curb that day so you don’t change your mind!
Pick A Hot Spot:
Where’s the messiest area in the house? Is it the living room, the kitchen table, the hallway? Pick one hot spot at a time and be ruthless. Choosing one spot each day can make a quick difference without overwhelming even the busiest people. You can choose these spots at will, or make a list and check off one area per day. If you’re pressed for time (aren’t we all?), choose small areas like the coffee table or one bookshelf instead of trying to conquer a whole room.
Have A Mantra:
“Does this bring me joy?” (the Marie Kondo method) or “Is it necessary?” or “Would I buy this today?” are all good questions to ask yourself as you make a decision for each item. Pick one or two questions to ask yourself for every item that isn’t a quick decision.
Set A Timer:
Whether you have 5, 10, 15, or 30 minutes, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you know you have a time limit. Put on your favorite music to zone in and make the time fly by.
One A Day:
Pick one (or two or three) things a day to get rid of (give away or throw away). That’s at least 365 things per year! It can be big or small, but you’ll feel accomplished if you make this effort consistently. This is a great way to simplify your life and home.
Closet Hanger Method:
Once every 6 months, turn your closet hangers in the reverse direction. When you use something and hang it up again, place it in the correct position. At the end of the 6 months, see which items are still in their original reversed position – those are likely candidates for your giveaway box.
Fill One Bag:
Grab a trash bag and move quickly through your home throwing away everything that is an obvious choice for the garbage. See how quickly your can fill it, and repeat this every month or as needed. When you’re trying to get in the mood to clean, putting on your favorite songs is always a sure way to boost your mood and make you work faster. This is a great way to declutter.
Work in Categories:
Make a list of all the categories you want to tackle over time. Your list might include your clothes, shoes, office supplies, kitchen cabinets, storage bins, drawers, fridge, freezer, toy chests, etc. Anytime you think of a category, add it to your list. When you have time, choose one thing on your list to check off. If you have other household members, delegate a task to them, such as going through the pantry to find all the expired food items. Kids can contribute with simple tasks like gathering all the shoes around the house and putting them all in one place (with their matching pair, of course!). Hire a house cleaning service to do the deep cleaning so you can focus on the items that involve more decision making.
Pick A Number:
This is a fun challenge to reduce your overall amount of stuff. For example, count the number of items you have hanging in your closet. Let’s say the number is 80 items. Challenge yourself to cut that down to 60 (whatever number you’re comfortable with), and start removing things from your closet. Set a reward to celebrate if you accomplish your goal! If you don’t meet the challenge, you’ve still made progress!
Declutter & Dispose Household Items
Give Away or Throw Away
- Magazines and newspapers
- Paper scraps, wedding invites, save-the-date cards, and travel brochures
- Old rubber bands you have too many of
- CDs and DVDs you don’t enjoy
- Hair ties that have lost elasticity
- Scarves you don’t wear
- Bills and receipts you no longer need (shred bills!)
- The backs of earrings (or half of a pair)
- Work-out bath mats and hallway rugs
- Accessories you no longer use
- Worn-out shoes
- Board games missing pieces
- Frequent shopper cards you don’t use
- Unused toys (kids toys or pet toys)
- Unused vases
- Outdated or broken electronics
- Old cables and wires you don’t use
- Old school books (donate to the library or schools!)
- Rusted jewelry or garden items
- Extra buttons
- Expired coupons
- Ticket stubs
- Extra tupperware
- Pens and markers that don’t work
- Old cell phones (donate them!)
- Old planners
- Extra kitchen utensils
- Hole-y socks
- Spare parts you don’t need
- Old manuals
- Clothes that no longer fit
- Old hangers that are bent or not fit to hang good clothes on
- Old shirts
- Old bras and underwear
- Purses, bags, or wallets you don’t use
- Old pillows
- Old prom dress (you can also sell your wedding dress online!)
- Damaged goods
- Stockings with runs
- Old makeup and nail polish
- Old toiletries
- Expired food or old spices
- Snacks your kids and pets don’t eat
- Leftover change (Don’t throw it away! Put it in a piggy bank or give it to a lucky kid.)
- Gifts you don’t like
Images via OneKingsLane, RealSimple