How do you feel about your home right now? Is it a place that you love to be, a haven from the outside world that supports you and your family to relax and recharge your batteries? Or is your home a burden on your time and energy? Do you spend your precious free time tidying and cleaning it when this time could be spent on more important things with your family, friends or for yourself? If your home is feeling more like a burden than a sanctuary right now, ditch the clutter and take back control with these 20 ways to declutter your home.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR HOME RIGHT NOW?
First, let me ask you some questions…
- What do you feel when you walk in through your front door? Is it relief and peace, or do you sigh with a heavy heart that the invisible house elf once again hasn’t tidied and cleaned whilst you were out?
- Do you dread visitors dropping by unexpectedly because of the mess? Are you embarrassed about what guests might think about how you keep the home and worried about what message it gives out about you more generally?
- Does it feel like a constant struggle 24/7 to keep your home clean and tidy? Are you always clearing up toys and other stuff throughout the day in a never-ending battle of you vs the toys?
- Do you find yourself spending your precious free time catching up on chores instead of doing other things which are more important to you, like playing with your kids, or getting some relaxation time before you go to bed?
What about this?
- Would you prefer your home to be calm, relaxed and a welcoming space for you and your family to spend time in?
- Do you wish you had more free time to do the things that you WANT to do, instead of what you NEED to do – that includes tidying the home, cleaning it and making sure you’ve all got clean clothes!
- How about spending time with your kids playing with that Lego instead of constantly picking it up?
- What about an evening with your partner chilling out watching a film with a glass of wine, instead of catching up on laundry and washing the dirty dishes?
- Or simply heading off to the park, hitting the gym, going out for the day – without worrying what state the home is in and how you’re going to catch up on your chores when you get back?
HOW CAN DECLUTTERING HELP ME?
If you’re overwhelmed by the clutter and/or constantly looking after your stuff (picking it up, moving and cleaning it) then your home is probably feeling more of a burden than a joy.
- If you declutter your home, you’ll be removing all the stuff that you and your family don’t use, no longer need and get no enjoyment from.
- When you declutter your home, you end up with less stuff generally. It’s easier to look after what you’ve got left.
- As it’s easier, it’s also quicker! Tidying the home and keeping it clean takes less time.
- Less time spent doing chores and looking after your home and the stuff in it, means you’ve got more time for other things which you WANT to do.
- More time for being with your kids, your family, by yourself.
- You’ll also have more energy to do other things because you won’t be worn out from playing catch-up with the housework, that constant battle against the toys or the dirty dishes and laundry piles that you’re sorting every evening.
HOW DO I DECLUTTER?
Decluttering feels like it should be easy but it’s not always like that. My advice would be to keep the process as simple as possible. This way you’re much more likely to get started and stick with it.
Try just asking yourself 3 simple questions every time you look at each item in your home.
- Do I love it?
- Do I need it?
- Does it add value?
If the answer to all of these questions is no, then you don’t really need to keep it! Check out this post for more information on how to decide what to declutter.
MY TOP DECLUTTERING TIPS
Before we get started on my 20 ways to declutter your home, I think it’s important to give you just a few of my top decluttering tips. They’re based on common problems that I hear many of you struggling with and they’re my top tips for solving common decluttering problems. Check them out to see if you recognise any of them! Hopefully I can trouble-shoot those problems for you right from the start!
#1 Think differently
Be prepared to face some tough decisions, especially when it comes to certain areas in your home, or types of item. Tackling the garage or attic is best done when you’ve got time on your hands, lots of energy (a good supply of coffee!) and you’re in the right frame of mind. Check out this post on how to think like a Minimalist for some helpful tips.
#2 Listen to yourself
Things that your kids have made, old family heirlooms, baby photos and so on can be difficult to declutter for many of us. So if you’re feeling emotional or not in the right mindset to remember WHY you’re doing this (to spur you on when the going gets tough), then maybe leave these areas for another time. You might like this post on how to declutter sentimental items for some extra help.
#3 If you’re a hoarder
If you’re a hoarder and have A LOT of clutter then you’re going to need to be hard on yourself and kind to yourself in equal measures! For some of us, we use our clutter as a kind of safety blanket against the world. We attach complex emotions to our possessions that can be hard to separate ourselves from. We also think about ‘what if I need that‘, or ‘I’ll keep it just in case‘…
If you’re REALLY struggling with ditching that clutter, then check out this post I wrote on 9 decluttering tips for hoarders. It’s a really popular one so hoarders out there – you’re not alone!
#4 If no-one else understands what you’re doing
This is a biggie! When I first began decluttering my home, it was difficult enough challenging myself to change my habits and adjust to the changes of how to live with less, but meeting confusion or even resistance from my husband and kids was SO de-motivating. But this was only in the beginning, because I soon learnt strategies to help my loved ones get on board without alienating them or derailing my progress.
If you need some help to explain to others what you’re doing, why and how it matters and find ways to compromise, adjust and incorporate minimalism and decluttering into your lifestyle, then I can help! Check out this post on what to do if you’re the only minimalist in the house! Again, it’s another popular one so it must resonate with many!
20 WAYS TO DECLUTTER YOUR HOME
To get you started here’s a list of 20 ways to declutter your home which will help you get control over your home and the stuff in it. This will lighten your heart and mind and create more time and space for you to do other things… Decluttering your home is just the first step to being able to declutter your life!
Make a cup of coffee, turn up the music and give them a go!
#1 Grab a laundry hamper and take it round the house
Make a tour of your home with the laundry hamper in hand and collect up anything that doesn’t belong in that room and return it to its proper home.
#2 The table tops
Clear the stuff from all your table tops and surfaces. Dust them down, keep them clear and only put back items that you love and want to look at.
#3 Your wardrobe
Take everything out of your wardrobe. Find another home in the house for everything that shouldn’t be there, a wardrobe is for clothes only! Clean the inside thoroughly. Sort your clothes into 3 piles (keep, donate, throw away). Only put back into your wardrobe the items you want to keep. These should be pieces that are in good condition, that you love and make you feel good when you put them on. Take the donate and throw away piles straight to a charity shop or the bin. Click this link to read more about how to declutter your wardrobe and love your clothes.
#4 The children’s clothes
Follow the same process as for your clothes (above). Think about what stage of life your kids are in, do they need lots of trousers because they’re currently potty-training? How many pretty dresses does your daughter actually wear or does she live in leggings and tops? Keeping on top of the laundry will mean you need less clothes. Colour code underwear and socks by child if you have several kids and it takes time to sort through whose socks are whose when they all look the same.
#5 The toys
Ask your children (if they’re old enough) to go through their toys and make piles of the ones they play with all the time, the ones they play with sometimes and the ones they never play with. Explain that there are children who don’t have so many toys and encourage your kids to donate the toys they never use to them. Click this link on how to declutter toys. There are some toys that I won’t declutter and you can read about these here.
#6 The kitchen cupboards and drawers
Go through your kitchen and pull out all the utensils, pots, bowls, mugs, glasses, cutlery etc that you don’t use. Either donate or throw them away. If you’re not sure if you’ll need something, put it in a box in the garage for 2 weeks and if it’s not used after that time, then donate/throw it. Clean the cupboards and drawers and put everything back in an organised and tidy way. You should have a bit more space now to do this because you’ve got less stuff!
#7 Your living room
Look at your living room, is it full of things that don’t belong in the room but have ended up there because it’s where your family spend a lot of time? Do you need a nice looking basket or toy box which can stay in the room so that the toys can be thrown in there at the end of the day without having to spend time collecting them all up and returning them to your child’s bedroom each evening? Is your living room a reflection of you – warm and cosy, light and airy? Are the table tops cluttered with stuff, drawers overflowing? Sort through them!
#8 Your books
Work out the storage space you have available in your home for books. Only keep enough books that will fit in this space. Give away any excess books (unless you really feel you need to buy more storage because you’re a bookworm and love books). Donate or throw away books that you no longer want, that are in bad shape or you have multiple copies of.
#9 The children’s artwork
Perhaps your children love drawing and colouring. Find a place to store the artwork that they’ve created that week. At the end of the week, ask them (or choose yourself) which ones are their best and which they want to keep. Take a photo of that artwork and save it on your computer. Throw away the actual artwork. Explain to your kids in a way that’s appropriate to their age and understanding that you can’t keep every physical thing they create but you can keep a digital copy of it. If you need more help then check out this post on how to declutter your kids’ artwork.
#10 The hallway
Shoes, coats, bags, hats, scarves, footballs, incoming post, keys, letters from the school… all these things tend to get dumped in the hallway as you come in and out of the front door unless you can find a more organised and suitable home for them. Think about how your hallway is used and the sorts of stuff that accumulates there. Do you need boxes for shoes, hooks for coats, shelving or cupboards for bags, a bowl or hooks for keys? Find a way of using the space available and giving everything a home. Teach your family to put and keep everything in its place.
#11 Your garage or loft
Often the dumping ground for random stuff, stuff that we don’t want to throw away, to keep just in case we need it, not for now but maybe a different season, stuff that we don’t want cluttering up our house and we can’t, won’t or don’t want to throw away. Choose just a corner of the garage or loft to sort, not the whole space. Set your timer for 5, 10, or 30 minutes. Think long and hard the last time you used each item. If you got rid of it only to find you needed it, would it really be expensive to replace? Be ruthless, yet practical. Put the stuff into 3 piles – keep, donate, throw away. When the timer goes off, stop. Take the donation pile to the charity shop, and the throw away pile in the rubbish. Do another clear out session in a week’s time (set it in your calendar) and watch the clutter reduce!
#12 Cupboards throughout the house
Look through the cupboards in your house. Can you remember what’s in there or are they a dumping ground for stuff that you don’t know what to do with?! Choose one cupboard at a time, pull everything out and work through it consistently with the keep/donate/throw away piles. Find a proper home for the stuff you want to keep and immediately deal with the other two piles so these don’t end up getting left out and contributing to the clutter.
#13 Your jewellery
Sort through your jewellery, keep the items you love, donate/throw away the rest. Give it all a clean and put it back neat and organised.
#14 The kitchen work surface
Remove all the items, clean it thoroughly and only put back what you absolutely must have there. Find a new home/donate/throw away everything else.
#15 Your bedside table
The surface and drawers shouldn’t be a dumping ground for random stuff. Only have what you need for the night and first thing in the morning, for example, a light, an alarm clock/your phone, a book, notepad and pen. Get rid of the rest as it will distract you from a calming bedtime and good night’s sleep.
#16 Outdoor coats and shoes
Go through all of this and, in the case of your kids, make sure they still fit. Donate/throw away the rest. Work out which coats, if any, you need out for the particular season you are in and store the rest. For example, you don’t need a lightweight summer mac on your coat rack in mid winter.
#17 Your children’s books
Either with or without your kids, sort through the books, donate the ones you don’t read anymore, throw away the tattered ones and keep the rest in a nice bookcase or on a shelf.
#18 The linen cupboard
Take everything out and sort into piles. Bath towels, hand towels, pillow cases, sheets and duvet covers for your bed, for the children’s room and any guests that might stay. Be ruthless with items that are threadbare or have holes. Put back into the cupboard only enough of each item that you’ll think you need depending on the size of your household. Keeping up with a regular laundry routine will usually mean you need less towels, sheets etc. You can always keep a few sheets/towels back for the dog or as rags if you would like.
#19 A drawer of your choice
Pick any drawer around the house and empty it completely. Sort into piles and throw away/donate anything that you don’t want to keep. Ask yourself whether you are really likely to ever use that item. Chances are that if you haven’t used it in the last 6-12 months then you’d probably forgotten it was there anyway. Only put back what should be kept in that drawer, make sure it’s neat and organised and re-home what’s left over.
#20 Plates, glasses and cutlery
Go through all the plates, glasses and cutlery in your kitchen. Work out how many of each you actually use, keep a few spares for visitors and in case of breakages and get rid of the rest. Keep on top of washing dirty dishes and you won’t need to reach into the cupboard for a new glass every time your child asks for a drink.
TAKE BACK CONTROL OVER YOUR HOME
Our homes are often a burden instead of a sanctuary from the world. They use up our precious energy and free time as we battle to keep them clean, tidy and clutter-free amidst the daily demands of busy family life. They take us away from being truly present for the people and things that are most important to us.
Simplify Your Home is a complete home decluttering course to help you ditch the chaos, lessen the stress and get control over your home.
It’s your first but vital step to creating an intentional life with more time, space and freedom for the things that are most important to YOU!