Does the thought of decluttering your entire home totally freak you out (aka overwhelm you)?
Isn’t it amazing how quickly stuff piles up in our home and starts to take up so much of our space?
Every time I have moved throughout the years it was unbelievable to me how much stuff I pulled out of drawers, cabinets, closets, and just things sitting around that had no real value to me.
Where did it all come from?
During one move about 8 years ago I had enough of it all and decluttered down to the bare necessities when I was packing the boxes. That was the best move ever and putting things away in the new house was a freeing experience because I actually had cabinet and counter space left over.
Several years later when I moved from that home into an RV fulltime, it wasn’t nearly as hard since I had only moved necessities and was very intentional about clutter not rebuilding. However, I will add that moving from a 2500 SF home into an RV takes more than just decluttering. 😉
If you have been wanting to declutter and don’t know where to begin, this list will give you a great start!
Once you take that first step I am sure it will feel so awesome you will get excited to do a little each day until your home feels so much bigger because it has less stuff in it.
Tips For Decluttering Your Home
Before you start your decluttering mission, do a quick run-through of these tips. They will set you up for success and help you continue moving forward.
Remember the key is to take small steps forward one at a time!
Have A Game Plan Before You Start
Before you actually dive into decluttering an area, room, or home, creating a plan to follow will highly increase your likelihood of success!
Use The Four-Box Method
When it comes to accomplishing a big job, success is all about having a system to guide you and then following it.
I love the ‘four-box method’ because it is straightforward and you can visually see progress being made, a huge motivator for any busy mom I have ever talked to!
It’s super simple and this is how it works.
Get four boxes or storage bins and label them like this:
Box 1: Trash (broken or of no use to anyone)
Box 2: Give away or sell (gotta go)
Box 3: Keep (already has a home)
Box 4: Put away (needs a home)
Start going through your items and things laying around that don’t belong in the room you are decluttering and put them in the right box.
If you want to dive in headfirst and set your goals as you go, you’re not alone!
This is how many people start the decluttering process.
I have found the people that start this way struggle more down the road. For this reason I don’t recommend it.
The important thing is that no matter how you decide to start (with or without a plan), make a conscious effort to start small.
For example, rather than starting with a whole room, break that room down into smaller areas, such as the closet and drawers.
[bctt tweet=”The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lau Tzu” username=”drtawnaschmidt”]
Answer 5 Key Questions About Each Item
Deciding what to do with an item can consume hours if you let it!
Answer these 5 questions for each item to help you make a quick decision and keep moving forward:
- Do I use this?
- Do I have more than one of this item without reason?
- Would I buy this again?
- Does this simplify my life?
- Does this make me feel happy?
Keep in mind there are items you can use more than one like spatulas in the kitchen . . . but do you need 8 of them? Maybe …. but probably not! 😲
Just because an item doesn’t fit all 5 questions doesn’t mean it needs to go! I have many functional items that don’t make my heart warm when I look at them, but I use them often!
These questions are meant to get you thinking.
If you start over-analyzing you will not only slow your progress, but you will also find that your decluttering mission isn’t as successful as it could be.
Take Before & After Photos
The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” has so much truth in it!
Most people get motivated by looking at before and after pictures to see the progress of others. They make it seem real and attainable.
For example, if you are redoing your landscaping, before and after pictures can give you great ideas for your own yard while making you believe that you can have a yard that looks fabulous!
Taking your own before and after pics as you declutter small areas is no different when it comes to motivation!
When you get discouraged, go back to these photos and it will likely get you moving forward again!
Each of these tips is broken down into specific how-to’s in the post 10 Expert Hacks To Declutter Anything, plus I include an additional 5 expert tips to give you a quick-start to decluttering your home!
101 Things To Declutter For A Tidy & Spacious Home
Making the decision to declutter and actually doing it are two different things.
It is easy to ‘want’ and ‘plan’ to do it, but actually getting starting is usually the hardest part!
Choosing the things to keep and get rid of is what causes the overwhelm, not the actual act of going through the things.
I created this list of 101 things to give you a jump start and gain some confidence! I broke it into categories so you can start small and quickly get big wins!
Things To Declutter In The Kitchen
1. Plastic bowls with no lids & storage containers you don’t use
2. Cookbooks you don’t use
3. Refrigerator magnets
4. Old dish towels & potholders
5. Chipped or cracked glass bakeware
6. Utensils you have more than one
7. Pots & pans with damaged cooking surface or broken handles
8. Spices you never use
9. Appliance instruction manuals (get them online as needed)
10. Baking sheets, cake pans & cupcake pans damaged from baked-on food
11. Recipes printed and stuffed in drawers & recipe magazines
12. Small appliances you never use
13. Bottles, cups, child plates your kids have outgrown
14. Plastic cups from past parties or fast food places
15. Chipped coffee mugs, drinking glasses, and dishes
16. Mixes, boxed dinners, jello packets that are out-of-date
17. Plastic grocery bags
18. Measuring cups & spoons with duplicates
19. Notepads, pens, pencils, paper clips, tape, etc. you never use
20. Calendars from prior years
21. Travel mugs with missing lids or that don’t keep drink hot or cold
22. Extra mason jars
Things To Declutter In The Living Room
23. Magazines you don’t read
24. Extra pillows & throw blankets
25. Dead houseplants or artificial plants laden with dust
26. DVDs, CDs, video games
27. Broken or unused drink coasters
28. Decor you no longer like or that looks out of place
29. Stained or thread-bare rugs
30. Candles used up or with broken wicks
31. VCR player & recorder, answering machine, or outdated and unused technology items
Things To Declutter In The Bedroom
32. Extra hangers
33. Socks with holes or stretched out
34. Jewelry you don’t wear or has lost color if costume jewelry
35. Clothes that no longer fit
36. Shoes you don’t wear
37. Stained or thread-bare rugs
38. Window coverings you don’t use
39. Comforters, bedspreads, sheets, linens you don’t use
40. Purses & accessories you don’t use
41. Belts that don’t fit or you don’t use
42. Pillows that have flattened out and you don’t use
43. Empty lotion bottles & other empty or near-empty products you don’t use
Things To Declutter In The Bathroom
44. Makeup that is expired
45. Outdated vitamins, prescription & over-the-counter medicine
46. Outdated lotions & sunscreens
47. Dried-up nail color
48. Used-up candles
49. Dusty potpourri with no fragrance left
50. Cosmetics you don’t use
51. Sample products you haven’t used
52. Hairbrushes & combs with missing bristles or teeth
53. Torn, faded, or worn-out washcloths and towels
54. Empty perfume & cologne bottles
55. Excess headbands, hair accessories & bobby pins
56. Hair stylers broken or no longer used
57. Fingernail clippers & tweezers you have duplicates of
58. Skin-care products that are expired
59. Make-up brushes that haven’t been cleaned
60. Knick-knacks sitting on cabinets
Things To Declutter In The Home Office
61. Old bills
62. Paychecks older than 2 years
63. Expired coupons & gift cards
64. Extra notebooks
65. Ticket stubs
67. Outdated electronic items
68. Old Christmas, birthday & other cards
69. Expired coupons
70. Old day planners & calendars
71. Take-out menus
72. Old newspapers
Things To Declutter In The Kid’s Bedroom + Toys
73. Dried up Playdoh
74. Books your child has outgrown
75. Backpacks no longer used
76. Diaper bags your child has outgrown
77. Toys your child has outgrown
78. Games with missing pieces
79. Clothes & pajamas that no longer fit
80. Decor, wall hangings, & furniture your child has outgrown
81. Extra sheets or crib sheets that are no longer used
82. Broken crayons & colored pencils, & color books with few empty pages
83. Socks with no mate
84. Stray batteries that probably don’t work
85. Broken toys and toy pieces
Things To Declutter In The Garage
86. Flower pots that are broken or not used
87. Watering cans you don’t use or have more than one
88. Old product cardboard boxes
89. Holiday decorations you don’t use
90. Broken holiday lights
91. Nails & screws that are rusted
92. Bicycles & helmets not used or outgrown
93. Paint that is dried out and old & used paintbrushes
94. Rakes & hand tools that are broken or you have duplicates
95. Patio furniture not being used or broken
96. Outdoor toys no longer used or broken
97. Empty oil bottles
98. Stacks of wood no longer needed
99. Portable chairs that are broken
100. House fans & portable air conditioners that are broken or no longer used
101. Trash cans no longer used
What To Do With The Stuff You’re Getting Rid Of
Once you get things in your four boxes you will need to empty the boxes to keep moving forward.
The exciting part is you know exactly what to do with the items in each box thanks to the four-box decluttering method.
When you get to the ‘give away/sell’ box, my recommendation is to sell as many items as possible to get some extra cash in your pocket!
However, make sure the item is going to make enough money that it is worth your time to advertise it minus any commissions you may have to pay.
For example, a
For example, c
[bctt tweet=”Need some extra cash? Why not sell your clutter instead of donating!” username=”drtawnaschmidt”]
My first goto place for selling online is Facebook Marketplace.
Many cities also have a local marketplace (started by someone in your town) which is a great way to connect with others that may want what you have.
- Bag Borrow Or Steal and Yoogi’s Closet are great if you have clothing or accessories to sell.
Bonus: If an app partners with Rakuten buyers are more likely to purchase from them so be sure and weigh this into the decision of where to sell your items.
Donating items can be the best choice for some things.
Look at your time spent to sell it versus the amount of return (how much cash you will get.)
Keep in mind donated items can be deducted on your income tax so this is a great option if you can use more deductions.
Be sure to get a receipt because you will need it for your income tax file. If you ever get audited the receipt provides proof you actually did make the donation and your tax deduction is legitimate.
Some of the items you have in your trash box can be recycled.
If you choose this option (which I recommend) get an additional box to use for these items as you work!
Top Pick Amazon Decluttering Baskets
What Is Your Favorite Decluttering Tip?
If you have been thinking about decluttering but had no idea where to start, this list is a great resource for you!
If you have already started the process (or even finished!) I would love to hear your favorite tips that helped you get through the process!