The All In One Guide Of How To Declutter Your Home

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Simple ways to declutter your home

Less stress, more time, and more money. Sound good? Simple ways to declutter your home, the benefits are bigger than you think.

When we are out traveling, we reflect on what stuff we actually need. I’m talking about all those material possessions we fill our homes with. We find that while traveling, we simply don’t miss our stuff. 

It begs the question, what do you really need to be happy?  For most, it’s really not that much if we get to the bottom of it and it’s definitely not the material things in the end.  So before all of the clutter begins to take over let’s take some time to learn how to declutter your home to create more space for yourself.

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So come along for the ride as we,

Declutter your home!

What are the benefits of decluttering

  • Less mess – cleaning and organizing will be easier
  • More money – the cost of all this stuff can really add up. Maybe it’s time to sell some things and invest in an Emergency Fund
  • Less stress – It’s amazing the stress that having lots of possessions puts on you. Get rid of stuff and you will feel lighter on your feet.
  • Most importantly – More TIME and ENERGY to do the things you love

What Is Clutter?

I decided to do a quick Google search for the answer and this is what I got

 “Clutter is a large amount of things that are not arranged in a neat or orderly way”

Clutter is that stuff that slowly overwhelms your life and your house.  It’s that paperwork that doesn’t have a home and remains in the dining room on the armoire.  Its all of your kid’s toys shoved in a corner of the living room because there isn’t a place for them. 

Let’s just say if someone was to call you a “clutterbug” it may sound cute and all but its really not one of those endearing names you want to be called. Let’s dive in and learn how to declutter your life.

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Where To Begin Decluttering

The trick to decluttering is to take it in small doses. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you open your garage and go “now what?” I get anxious just thinking about it.

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things has a great blog on giving something away each day.  Her gradual transition to declutter her home, one day at a time, is a great way to approach this transformation.

3 Life Skills For A Clutter-Free House

  1. Purchase with intention
  2. Purge often
  3. Have a place for everything

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how to declutter your house

Clearing Clutter

If you are anything like me when your home is filled with clutter, it can be overwhelming.  I hate the feeling of trying to tackle a mountain of stuff, it just stresses me out.

Gather Your Tools To Clear The Clutter

Before we dive in you want to make sure you are ready, so gather up a couple garbage bags, 3 laundry baskets (or boxes): 1 box for Donation, 1 “for goes in a different room,” and the last “action needed.”

Starting The Decluttering Process

Below you will find an all-inclusive list that is not meant to be tackled in a single day. Take it slow so it’s not overwhelming. Give yourself time, commit at least 5 minutes to complete the specific task.  At the end of the article, I will go over some creative and potentially money making ideas of what you can do with your extra stuff.

How To Declutter The Kitchen

  • Plastic grocery bags – I bet you have a million and you probably only need a dozen. PLEASE recycle them. Most grocery stores have recycling. Start using a reusable grocery bag like this for future shopping trips. You can organize all of your grocery bags in an upcycled empty wipe dispenser, check out this cool DIY.
  • Cookbooks – Maybe your diet or tastes have changed. Trade in a few old books for a new one.  Or better yet find your favorite foodie blogger and follow their site for creative ideas.  My favorite site for great recipes is Well Plated.
  • Travel mugs – Go through all those cheap and ugly travel mugs that we all accumulate. Find the ones without lids and toss them.
  • Cookie sheets and baking pans – Those seem to replicate like rabbits.  We recommend a simple metal rack to solve the avalanche issues with baking pans.  Take the time to recognize which pans you don’t use, and the pans that can be multi-purpose.
  • Extra kitchen utensils – How many bottle openers do you really need? And why do you still have the old can-opener that sucks?  Start by completely clearing out your drawer.  Sort through all items.  Anything stained, broken or past its prime should be discarded.  Consider getting rid of utensils or gadgets that only have one function if a multi-tool will do the same thing.
  • Food storage containers – If your cabinet or drawer won’t close because its stuffed with containers you most likely have too many.  If it doesn’t have a lid it’s time to go. Only keep a reasonable amount that your family will actually use.
  • Fridge – Expired food, sauces, condiments.  Toss them!
how to declutter your home

How To Declutter Your Bedroom

  • Socks – The ones with the holes, or the poor solo sock.  Time to toss them!
  • Clothing – Take an honest assessment of when you last wore something. If it’s been over a year, say adios!  You can either donate or sell your items on places like Thredup and Poshmark to make some extra cash.
  • Jewelry and Accessories – Try to disassociate with anything sentimental, it will be liberating in the end.  Remember we don’t want our belongings owning us.  If you have outdated jewelry that is no longer your style it’s time to donate.
  • Shoes – Be honest, recognize what shoes you actually wear and get rid of the shoes that you “might” wear with that special outfit.
  • Hangers – Now that you got rid of a few things, make your closet look better by tossing those ugly plastic hangers
  • Bed linen – You don’t need more than 2 sets per bed.  Donate any bedding that that doesn’t fit your bed properly or doesn’t fit with your latest room decor.

How To Declutter Your Bathroom

  • Makeup- For many makeup collections are one of those things that just keeps growing.  However, like everything else in life if you don’t use it or it doesn’t add value there is no point in keeping it.
  • Pull out all your makeup, sort through it and ask yourself “When is the last time I used this?” “Will I use it within 6 months?” and “Would I buy this again today?”  Remember makeup has expiration dates.  Toss all products that are expired.
Image result for beauty product and lotion expiration guide
Source: Skincare By Alana
  • Pharmaceuticals (drugs) – Expired or no longer using. Leftover drugs can be deadly to children. Check with your local police or fire department for safe disposal sites. Dumping them down the drain is not a good idea.
  • Toiletries – Having too many toiletries can cost you time and money.  The clutter from toiletries can be frustrating when you are reaching for something and bottles are falling over getting in your way.  The empty or unused bottles that litter your shower or bath should be discarded. 
  • Toss products that are old or expired and any items that are leaking.  Think about combining partially used bottles of products that you want to keep using.
  • Curling iron – How about that crimper from the 80’s, adios you don’t need it!
  • Bathroom towels-Our rule of thumb is to only have 2-3 towels per person, 2 hand towels for each bathroom and 1-2 spare towels per guest.
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how to declutter your house

How To Declutter Paperwork

The mounds of financial documents, junk mail, and letters can be overwhelming. Keeping things organized will really help when you need to find things down the road.

Gather all paperwork throughout your home and place it into one pile.  Turn on a good show and start going through all the paperwork putting it into the proper receptacle. 

If you have personal identity information on any of your documents be sure to safely dispose of them. Here are some quick decluttering tips to keep the pile in check.

Keep for less than a year

  • ATM, bank deposit receipts, credit card statements. Unless these are specifically needed for tax returns they can be shredded after a year. Insurance policies and statements can be tossed once the new ones arrive.

Keep for more than a year

  • Vehicle titles are kept until you sell the vehicle.
  • Loan documents are kept until the loan is paid off

Keep for 7 years

  • Tax records paper or digital should be kept for 7 years. The IRS has 6 years to come after you.

Keep forever

  • Birth certificates, social security cards, marriage certificates, death certificates.
  • Retirement plans, life insurance, living will, estate plans

Be Clutter Free By Going Paperless

A good way to reduce clutter is by going paperless.  Scan all your bills and important paperwork and save it on a file on your computer.  An alternative option for getting rid of paperwork is to use an app like Evernote where you take a picture of the document and it saves it as a PDF.

How To Declutter Your Electronics

  • If you have old phones or other electronics be sure to check out Gazelle. They buy your old electronics for straight up cash. No bidding and no hassle. We’ve used them a lot for our old phones. They will even mail you a box with a pre-paid shipping label. Super easy!

Miscellaneous

  • Books – While it’s nice to have some on display, too many is no good
  • Movies – VHS, DVD, Laserdisc :). You get the idea
  • Music – Tapes, CD’s, consider going all digital
  • Kids toys – Time to clean house.
  • Extra power cords – All those power cords that go to nothing
  • Spare change – Gather all those spare change piles around the house and get them turned into cash. Take it to your bank or Coinstar. Have a plan for the money and put it towards something beneficial. Retirement, HSA, IRAs, Acorns app or an Emergency Fund to name a few.

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    How To Declutter Your Garage

    • Old paint – Consider transferring paint to a smaller container if there isn’t much left. Paint stores have small airtight containers that work great for this. I take pictures of all my paint codes and store them on google drive. Check with your local dump for a safe disposal spot.
    • Decorations – Seasonal decor you don’t use
    • Gardening – Go through your gardening supplies
    • Car care – Old motor oil or things that were left behind from a previous car
    • Things that aren’t working – Bikes, exercise machines, inflatables that have holes. Either get them fixed or they must go. Ask your local bike shop for a good charity that takes non-working bicycles. This article covers some reputable bicycle donation programs.

    Alternative Options For Your Old Clutter

    • If you aren’t familiar with Freecycle then take a minute to read this article.  

    The Freecycle Network has a lofty goal: to establish a “worldwide gift economy” that cuts down on waste, decreases consumerism and connects people through giving. It’s a really great system and will make you feel good about yourself

    Decluttering Summary

    • Take your time – Don’t make this stressful. That’s why I really like Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things, just one thing a day. I recommend doing this over at least a month. Establish your declutter zones and schedule them over the month in your planner.
    • If you plan to sell some items, which you should, make sure you have a goal for the money. This is a great opportunity to invest in your future.
    • Some things will be difficult to get rid of. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. You will have more time and less stress if you do this. It really is liberating!

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    Start decluttering your house today

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