7 Simple Steps to Declutter for a Happy, Functional Home
1. Just Toss It
My favorite way to kick things off is to grab a trash bag and go room to room and toss anything that hasn’t been used in months. This is an easy step to begin the process and frees up space for everything else. Even if you spend 10 minutes in each room to avoid becoming overwhelmed, you’ll see great progress!
Be sure to not skip out on drawers, they are the most common spot to hide junk and thus continue to be ignored.
Here’s a list of things to toss by room to get you started:
- Old makeup, expired sunscreen, expired medicine, dried nail polish, unused product samples, old hair ties.
- Receipts in nightstands, broken jewelry, damaged clothes, empty shoe boxes
- Dried up pens, old books/magazines, receipts, mail, unused cords/chargers, notebooks that you don’t refer back to, old manuals, outdated papers. Clean off your desk and only keep the essentials. Build around your computer(s) and wipe everything down. I keep my diffuser, a desk lamp, notepad, chargers, calendar, and a jar of pens and supplies. Doing this makes all the difference for thinking clearly and productively.
- Kitchenware storage without lids, unused cookware, purge junk drawer of unused items and find a home in other rooms based on usage, check expiration dates & toss unused food in fridge/pantry -organize by food type and give real estate to your most used items.
- Old cleaners, batteries, craft supplies, home decor, toys, paint, broken tools, sports equipment.
- Papers, receipts, under the seats, the trunk.
2. Donate the Usable
After tossing, do the same thing with a donate bag. Things that you don’t use but are usable are great for someone in need. Separating these steps allows you to move faster and in turn complete the decluttering process.
3. Give Everything a Place
If you take away just one tip, this is it. Everything in your home should have a specific spot that it belongs and stays in. Try to make everything as accessible as possible. This will increase your chances of actually using the item and in turn, make it quicker and easier to put away. Within cabinets, organize products by usage type. Label containers/baskets to help other family members remember where things go and get everyone in the habit.
4. Empty Space is a Good Thing
If a space is filled to its maximum capacity, it can be more difficult to keep it organized and usable. Try to keep at least 20% free space in your cabinets, drawers, etc. This will give you a little freedom to shuffle items around as you use them and find the most functional organization.
5. Buy Organizational Items Last
The biggest mistake people make is buying all sorts of bins and baskets thinking that is the answer. Of course these are very helpful, but decluttering first is absolutely essential. You get to see what you have to work with, categorize, and free up space. Even letting yourself live with a space for a week can give you a lot of information on what you may need. At the end of the post, I’ve provided my favorite organization/storage products to give you organized freedom.
6. Purchase Functional Decor, too
Make the most of your space by purchasing functional decor. I’m talking beyond baskets – things like ottomans to hide common daily used items or toys that can also be used for extra seating. Floating shelves are also a great way to maximize space while still creating an aesthetically pleasing look.
7. Stay Away from Sales/Future Self Purchases
It’s the new year, and we have a lot of goals. One of which is probably to cut back spending. This directly impacts the clutter in our home. Not getting sucked into sales for the sake of it being on sale, or buying for the future, is a great start to keeping the clutter away. Try a no-spend month on extra items like clothing, jewelry, etc. to accomplish this! Focus on using what you have now.
Unsubscribe from wasteful emails that bring sales to you. This will cut down unnecessary spending, too! To save time, an awesome tool Unroll.me allows you to quickly run through a list of your subscriptions and remove.
Looking for specific closet organization tips? Check out my recent post: How to Organize Your Closet like a Pro in 7 Easy Steps
Shop Recommended Home Organization Products