How to Declutter Your Home

How to Declutter Your Home

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Do you feel like you’re walking into a disaster zone when you go from one room to the next inside your home? You see a cluttered mess in corners and along the walls of the house, and it causes you to feel stressed and discouraged. You’re probably wondering how you’ll ever declutter the property and get it to look as good as it did when you first moved in, or before you and family members got sick. 

While it may feel out of reach for you now, it’s possible to declutter the home, get rid of things that you no longer need, and keep your belongings more organized. Once you’ve got the organization down, you won’t have to worry so much about dealing with more clutter in the future.

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How to Declutter Your Home

How to Declutter Your Home

1. Work on One Room at a Time

It’s easy to feel discouraged when you know that you have an entire home full of clutter that needs cleaning and organizing. However, try not to think of it like that because it’ll only cause you to put the process of decluttering off for more days. 

Instead, think about how you’ll tackle one room first before you begin working on another. For example, you may want to focus on the living room before any other room in the home because it’s the first room people see when they walk through the front door.

Carve out enough time

Tackle the critical tasks in one room before you move on to the next one. For example, you may need to go through items to see what you’re not using and can get rid of, vacuum floors, wipe down walls, and find proper storage areas for different things inside your house instead of leaving them lying around. Once you’re done in the living room, move over to the dining room and then focus on the kitchen. But, again, don’t expect to get everything done in one day or even a week.

Make it a goal of decluttering one room a day

It’s easier to declutter the home when you focus on one room at a time each day. So, instead of overworking yourself by getting to everything in a few hours, do one room per day until you feel content with the way your home looks. Once you’ve managed to declutter and organize, it becomes that much easier to keep things looking spotless and organized.

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2. Get Rid of What You Don’t Need

Go through the belongings in your home and start getting rid of what you don’t need. There is no good reason to keep items that you’re not using and that don’t serve a purpose for you because they’re only going to hog up some of the space in the home. If you don’t want to throw certain items out, you don’t have to do that. You can always donate items to less fortunate people. 

Helping others with your junk

It can make you feel good knowing that you’re doing something nice for others while working on decluttering your home. It’s challenging to find peace amongst the chaos, but when you’re eliminating clutter, you’re eliminating the challenges others are facing at the same time as you provide them with things they can put to use.

3. Use Organization Tools in Each Room

Start buying and using organization tools for each room. The specific items you’ll need will depend on the room. 

Buy space-saving containers 

For example, you can use space-saving containers for the kitchen that will help you keep spices, vegetables, beverages, and snacks organized and in specific areas of the kitchen. On the other hand, you can declutter the bathroom and organize it by getting an over-the-toilet organizer. It saves space and provides you with an area for different items, including sanitary napkins, flushable wipes, and other products that you might like to keep near the toilet.

Search for excellent organizational products 

You can find many excellent organizational products that save space and help you on your quest to get rid of the clutter. It’ll make each room in your home look a lot neater. These products can also make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for when you need it because you’re putting these items in specific spots every family member is aware of.

4. Make Use of Wall Space

Don’t hesitate to make use of wall space. If you have blank walls, you may want to consider hanging shelves to clear up some space on the floor. The great thing about wall shelves is that you can put all kinds of things on them, such as small toys, figurines, or even books. 

Got extra space?

The items you’ll add to these shelves will depend on the size of the item, along with where you’re putting them. For example, you’re probably not going to want a hanging bookshelf in the bathroom. However, it’s an excellent idea for the living room or dining room area where you might have extra space on the walls available for you to use.

5. Avoid Leaving Things Where They Don’t Belong

Try to get in the habit of putting things back where they belong when you’re done using them. It’s one of the easiest ways for you to end up with clutter in the home if things are left out. You grab something, use it, and then set it down on the dining room table or somewhere else in the house where it doesn’t belong. It will then sit there for several days or weeks until you finally feel motivated to move it to the right spot.

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Create less frustration for yourself 

If you can stop doing that, you can save yourself a lot of frustration in the long run. Instead of putting it down anywhere, try to put the item back as soon as you finish using it. You’ll be glad that you did when it comes time to pick up and clean different rooms in the home because it’s one less thing to deal with at the end of the day.

6. Think About Parting With Special Items

Let’s be real here, I’m not talking about parting with Grandma’s Broche, not at all. For the last three months, I have been “letting go” of items that are heirlooms to me. In the past, they were very special to me, but I thought to myself, why am I holding on to these? My daughters and granddaughters can enjoy these items NOW while they are young and will love decorating their tables for family or neighborhood parties.

Back when Mark and I were married we “registered” for items we could use to start this new chapter in our lives. We chose the most beautiful china, not too fancy, not too plain, just right. Not too expensive, but nicer than everyday eating dishes.

When we sold our home and moved here to “downsize’ to a smaller home, where we would have very little snow, if any, a few things changed. This neighborhood has been different than anywhere we have lived. The china sat in my china hutch cabinet, the goblets started collecting dust.

I gave my china to one daughter who uses it often, which brings me joy. When I gave her the china I said, “please use it, let it get chipped, it’s okay, it means it was loved.” Please enjoy those special things now while your family can use them.

Then I started letting go of many “special” items, I can’t store it when it is not used. What a waste when family members can use it. My granddaughters who are over 20 years of age now are thrilled to set their table like grandma used to do.

They have been taught where to put the salad fork, the dinner fork, the knife, the dessert fork, and the spoon. The goblets go at the tip of the knife, the knife needs to be turned so the sharp edge is toward the plate so as not to cut someone. This brings me joy.

Final Word 

Decluttering the home takes time and effort. It’s not something you can expect to do in one day. However, if you prioritize getting a bit done each day, you can make some significant progress. Before you know it, you’ll have your home looking good again, and you’ll have managed to get rid of all of the clutter for good.

Be sure to stick with simple rules for yourself, such as putting something back when you’re done with it. With that thought in mind, you can keep your home free of clutter. Also, be mindful of what you really “need” and steer clear of those impulse purchases that may bring you short-term pleasure, but then ends up just taking up space, you’ll be glad you did. May God Bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Kitchenware Deposit photos_202299468_s-2019

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  1. Linda, have you been peeking at my house? This is exactly what I need. Now what do I do with all of hubby’s boxes of who knows what? LOL

    1. Hi Deborah, LOL! It’s so funny because I’ve been decluttering for months and months. Just a week ago Mark got the bug to let go of stuff. It’s baby steps but I will take it. LOL! Linda

  2. I’ve been de-cluttering my home for a long time, sigh. One thing you wrote about is the good feeling of having someone actually Using things that had been taking up space. I went thru my under counter kitchen cabinet where I stored ‘impulse buy’ appliances. Had them stacked, ready to go to thrift store. My grandson’s friend stopped in, asked what I was doing with them. She asked if she could have them. She had just closed on her first home, so needed kitchen things. We were both happy campers! I continue to weed out things I no longer use. One thing I’ve done for years that has helped is having a Space just for thrift store items. Like if one of us has an article of clothing we don’t like/doesn’t fit, we just put on top of a big frig (it sits along a very tall wall). That’s my Thrift Space. I now keep a box up there for whatnots, jewelry, pictures, utensils, books. Anytime I’m going by the thrift, I just grab the box, put the clothing on top. It makes it easy to get the stuff gone without an extra trip to town or feel like it’s work to de-clutter.

    1. Hi Wendy, oh, I love this idea!! I have a “spot” in the garage that is the “donate” area. Once or twice a week we take whatever is there IF we are going into town. I’m so afraid they will shut down the thrift stores like last year! I love your story about grandsons friend ending things in their new home!! We let go and they can use it!! Yay! I was just thinking about what you said about small appliances (impulse buy). I got rid of two InstaPots and an air fryer this last weekend to grandkids! I have less and they have items they can use. It’s wonderful!! Linda

      1. I have 2 sisters who got Insta-pots. One uses hers about once every two weeks. She has to put it in her lower level as she doesn’t have room for it in her kitchen. The other puts hers in her attached garage at her townhouse. Now,both of these girls got those Air Fryer things. They use these almost on a daily basis. I have neither, nor do I want either. I simply don’t make big enough meals to need either.

        1. Hi Wendy, I used to teach cooking/baking/dehydrating classes at a fancy kitchen store. I have the Fagor now called the Savor pressure cooker because I took classes from Chef Brad. I will always keep my Fagor pressure cooker it’s made better than the InstaPot. I bought my first one at that kitchen store and have never looked back. I mainly use it for meat to make sure it’s super tender, fall off the bone pieces. The air fryer I bought because I wanted to know what was all the rave. Well, I would rather BBQ a steak than cook it in an air fryer. It’s nice we don’t have to cook big meals anymore. LOL! Life is good! Linda

  3. We downsized to a much smaller home 8 years ago and our beautiful 43 year old wedding china has been boxed up ever since. I’ve decided I want to enjoy it and use it as our everyday dishes but I remember Oprah showing how some china dishes have lead in them and should be tested before using. I’ve looked for lead test kits but they all seem to test for lead paint like on walls. Do you know how to test older china for lead? Do you know a reliable test kit I could buy? I really want to use our beautiful china, even if it gets chipped! Thanks!

  4. One thing I learned about decluttering is that you have to realize that you hold on to things, lol. I moved into a smaller apartment, but I didn’t lose my “buying in case of need later” mentality. But now, after 7 years, I began to declutter my apartment and the joy of giving away and getting rid of stuff you really don’t use put me on another level of purpose.
    When you spoke on giving away heirlooms, I was once again reminded of something I did last month that really changed me. My brother-in-law’s mother passed in May at the age of 92. It took a couple of months for them to clean out her apartment. They were trying to give things away to the family that maybe the grandchildren would cherish. One of the things they had was a trash bag full of yarn, or so they said, including a granny-square afghan. They didn’t want to give to the children because they felt they wouldn’t take care of it. So they thought of me because I crochet and loom knit. They told me why they decided to give it to me and the fact that they didn’t realize just how skilled Mo. Gunn was in crocheting, they knew I would appreciate it. But they didn’t want it either. I took it with the promise that I wouldn’t give it to Goodwill…
    When I went through the bags of yarn, it was a lot of old knitting needles, markers, old yarn and scraps. I could have used it as waste yarns but it was old and kinda had a smell; in fact the bags had more of her crocheted items in it than yarn. I washed them all. My daughters didn’t want any of it and I didn’t either, so I thought it best to give it all away. They were nice, fluffy, smelled good and I felt real good giving them away to someone who would probably appreciate it better than me. I had a load to drop off, and the excitement of giving away handmade items caught me up in the moment…
    Two days later, that conversation came back to my mind. I was mortified! I tried to get the afghan back to no avail and had the unfortunate task of informing my sister and brother-in-law. That text was so full of contrition, a mean person would have shaken their head. After a day or so, she graciously responded, saying no worries but not “I forgive you”. I think I would feel the same way. I learned to slow down and appreciate what someone else places in your hand for a reason. I realize as a mother and grandmother myself, my children may do the same thing with my items I hold dear when I leave here. But in the end, I’d rather someone have it who appreciates it than not.

    1. Hi Vanessa, oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment. We have all been gifted items where we are put in a situation that is a bit awkward! When my mother died I was given her “spinning wheel”. It was my great-grandmother’s and I really do not have the joy for it as my mother did. I knew I would be in trouble if I gave it to the thrift store, so I called a sibling to see if she wanted it. She did! I did not! It was a win-win for both of us! This is why I am getting rid of items now while my daughters may want to use them or I will donate now instead of after I’m gone. I told my husband we have gone through our parent’s “stuff” and it was not fun. We filled garbage cans, and I mean many garbage cans. Yes, some stuff was worth donating but most was not. This is why I want to do it now. I can’t imagine the conversation coming back to you after you donated the afghan!! Someone is loving it right now! Oh my! I hope they “forgive you”, it was an honest mistake. Life is good! Linda

    2. Vanessa, I think it was a little unfair to make you promise to keep this stuff when they didn’t want it, didn’t even know what it was. I probably wouldn’t have even told them anything was given away nor tossed out due to poor condition. Just sayin’.

      1. Hey Wendy, thanks for your comment and truth be told, I thought of that fact that they didn’t want to keep it themselves and gave it to me. She actually did state that they did give it to me, so if I decided to give it away, then no worries, right? I’m okay now. Thanks again for the encouragement and insight.

  5. Good Morning, Linda, I’ve been decluttering my home for the past 5 years, lol. I went from a 3 bdrm home to a 2 bdrm home to a 5th wheel trailer. I had a lot, and I do mean a lot, of “stuff”. Over the years I’ve learned that all the things I have collected, all the clothes I have purchased, is just that…..”STUFF”. I normally do my purging in the summer, but this year I’m not because I want to see just what I use each season. I’m finding that I can get rid of a lot of my summer clothes, so I’ve started a bag for Goodwill. I did clean out under my sink and got rid of half of what I had (appliance wise) and kept only the things that I really do use on a regular basis. So, to go along with your suggestions, it does take a while to declutter and it’s something that can’t be done in one day. It does take a while to do it. Each time I get rid of “stuff”, I feel so good because I’m not keeping baggage I truly don’t need. Great article, by the way. Blessings!

  6. I have always tried to stay on top of “stuff” with mixed results. I like watching those decluttering vlogs on Youtube.
    Recently I heard someone mention in one of those vlogs to change your thoughts around. Don’t ask: “What do I need to get rid of”, but “What do I want to keep.”. For some reason this has been sticking with me and now everywhere I look in my house I want to apply this. Such a simple change of perspective has set me free to get rid of so much with way less stress.

  7. Oh my, This is exactly what I did when I retired. Clothing and stuff I didn’t need went to the Good will/Thrift store. A local lady in town does a program for young ladies just starting out working/interviewing (an off shoot of her prom dress program) and I donated most of my business suits and shoes to her. After working 30+ years and the inevitable weight gain and loss I had quite a collection of “business” attire.

    1. Hi Kathy, oh, my goodness what a blessing to those young ladies interviewing for jobs!! That was a tough one for me, I had beautiful suits and I loved shoes, way too many shoes. It felt so good to let them go to others who could use them at our local thrift store. Decluttering is awesome, Linda

  8. A couple of years ago, I did a 30 in 30 challenge (30 bags out in 30 days). I did stretch it to 30 bags/boxes/big items in 60 days though!! What I do now is have 3 boxes: Keep, Donate, and Toss. I have found that having them always available, I can put things in as I find them. Once the boxes are full, I deal with them – i.e., I toss what is in the Toss box or haul the Donate box to the thrift store. The Keep box never gets full because I place things in the box but within a couple of days, they find their rightful place. I want it noted, however, that many things I put in the Keep box then in a proper place sometimes get donated the 2nd or 3rd time around!!

    I have also set up 4 boxes for my 4 grandchildren and when I find a “precious” item that I think they might like to have when I am gone, it goes in the appropriate box. I don’t have a box for my daughter or son-in-law for the simple reason that they don’t WANT any of my stuff!!

    Ah – now to set a date to start going through things!

    1. Hi Leanne, I forgot about the Toss Box, Donate Box, and Keep Box. I need to add that to the post, a great reminder, and a tip! I love hearing about the precious items for the grandkids. I totally agree with you, the 2nd or 3rd time around, decluttering never ends. LOL! I LOVE your comment, Linda

  9. I would say the best way to declutter is to MOVE!! LOL….. we downsized 5 years ago, and even though we had garage sales over the years, as the kids grew, I managed to rid our home of 1365 items…(I am a number’s person) now, five years later, we have accumulated enough for another garage sale!! Some have been upgrades, some toys the grandsons have outgrown. One thing I have come to realize, is just because you have the room to store it, doesn’t mean you should keep it, or buy it in the first place. Our home was designed by two women, I know that because I have TWO walk-in closets, TWO 8 ft closets, TWO pantry closets and TWO linen closets……

    1. Hi Chris, oh my gosh, I thought I was a numbers person, why didn’t I count the stuff I for rid of, I LOVE this! LOL! Oh, your house would be any women’s dream, it had to have been designed by a woman! Squeal! It’s so funny it seems like a never-ending job to declutter. You are so right, just because we have the room, we may not need the “stuff”, great comment! Linda

      1. Vanessa, I think it was a little unfair to make you promise to keep this stuff when they didn’t want it, didn’t even know what it was. I probably wouldn’t have even told them anything was given away nor tossed out due to poor condition. Just sayin’.

  10. …..when it comes to china and crystal USE IT!! We use our good china daily, because I still love it and my girls are not going to want it. Orange juice taste much better in crystal and hot chocolate is twice as warming in a hand painted tea cup my Godmother made. I even keep our electric toothbrushes in a crystal tumbler. The same with bedding and table linens….. use the things you love, ….

    1. Hi Chris, YES! Use your china and crystal goblets! I didn’t have crystal but I love drinking out of my “Old Town” goblets! I wish I had been given a hand-painted teacup!! Aww, that would be so special!! Life is good when we use things we cherish! Best comment, Linda

  11. Oh, Linda! As a retired teacher (and now a homeschooling grandma), I have drawers and files, shelves and rooms full of stuff, much of it for art purposes. But I’m trying.
    The best thing for me is to stay home. I love thrifting and can find the best books, clothing, etc., which all hang around in my vehicles as well as my house—and eventually around my neck.
    My parents passed on a year ago after living with me for 4 years, so I have all their treasures: telephone collections, old address books, pictures and FROGS. It is absolutely overwhelming, but we wanted them to be happy when they came here, so their stuff had to come also. MY kids traveled from Oregon and Arizona to load up and transport Grampa’s garage and museum of collectibles despite the 119 F. down in Riverside area of California. Did I mention hundreds of bonsais?
    There is no way for me to organize a room in a day, but I can go through a couple of Mom’s shoeboxes-full. And I can clean out one cupboard, then check it off my list. I am grateful when I find a pal who will pass on shirts/socks/underwear to “someone she knows.”
    In the meantime, I’m working to use my food storage and trying not to be too depressed over the slow progress in down-sizing. I need a vacation!!!
    Shirley in So. Oregon

    1. Hi Shirley, that would be a big job, going through our own stuff and our parents’ stuff. Oh, my gosh, the telephone collections, old address books, pictures, and the FROGS! They were treasures once, now someone else can enjoy them. The Bonsai trees, oh my. We all have stuff, we all have treasures, and we all have junk, or at least I do (the junk). It really is overwhelming the older we get, Shirley. I have told my husband, we do not want our kids to have to go through all our stuff. There really is no way to organize one room in a day unless it’s almost empty! LOL! We all need a vacation, I hear you, my friend! Last year was confinement and it doesn’t look very good going forward either. Hopefully, we will all stay safe and well. One box at a time. We can do it. Love you, Linda

  12. Linda, this is one of your best articles EVER! My wife and I lost the battle against clutter a few years ago when she got sick and could no longer help me keep things tidy and organized. Then her uncle died and we inherited an entire houseful of his stuff. Result–chaos. We quit having friends over because our home was such a mess–not dirty, just cluttered.

    Now I’m in the process of repainting every room, redoing our floors (removing saltillo tile and replacing it with wood look vinyl planks, new carpet and then on to new countertops and sink in the kitchen. Great time for decluttering and I will follow your approach to solving this long, LONG overdue problem.

    We already donated all of his clothing to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, so that was the first step.
    The second step will be to have one Enormous garage sale, or more likely a series of them. We’ll do that this Fall when it cools down a bit. We will have a HUGE section of FREE stuff.

    1. Hi Ray, oh my goodness, that is a BIG job for sure! I’m sorry your wife got sick, it takes a team to work on stuff like this. New paint makes a HUGE difference, and of course, new flooring and the kitchen with new countertops and a sink will be awesome. Donating to help others is the best thing ever. I remember my mom saying, “do you want anything in my house”? I said, “Mom, I have too much stuff already”, I think I hurt her feeling looking back. I wish I had taken some “stuff” just to make her feel better. It wasn’t until I got older and wiser, I realized I may have hurt her feelings. I did help her empty 5 closets and we took several trips to the thrift stores. We all have stuff, I do not want my girls to go through “stuff” after I’m gone. There will always be some, but I want to lessen the load NOW. Stay safe, and stay well, my friend, Linda

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