32 PRACTICAL WAYS TO DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE TODAY
Sometimes life is busy and complicated. It feels even more difficult to try to simplify when we can’t press the pause button on that life and work out what to simplify, let alone how to do it. Here are 32 practical ways to declutter your life today if you’re craving more time, space and ease in your every day.
THE BENEFITS OF DECLUTTERING
Decluttering our homes has been shown to bring enormous benefits in reducing our stress levels, increasing our productivity and focus and encouraging feelings of calm and peace. Not only can a decluttered home be easier to manage and keep clean and tidy, it also provides us with a sanctuary from the outside world where we can rest, relax and recharge.
So, why not bring the same decluttering benefits to your life more generally? In this article I’m sharing 32 practical ways to declutter your life today if you’re feeling tired, stressed out or just in need of some space and fresh perspective.
HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE
Bringing a little simplicity into our lives is not about creating the perfect life but it is about finding ways to make life easier. It could be by decluttering a cluttered home, knocking things off our calendar so we’re less busy, developing good habits, tending to our self-care and living each day with more joy and purpose.
There are many, many ways that we can declutter our busy lives and the path we choose to help us do this will look different to all of us. Whether you’re a student juggling studying with part-time work, a parent juggling kids and career or retired and finding you have too much spare time on your hands and maybe too much clutter accumulated over the years, decluttering home and life looks and feels different to all of us. Especially if life is challenging in other ways too.
One thing I do know is that when you’re looking to make changes, big or small, it helps to have some practical steps and quick (or fairly quick!) wins. These are things that we can tick off quickly and easily when we’ve done them. We can feel proud of getting them done, motivated to carry on and encouraged by the progress and the benefits we can see and feel.
Quick wins are good for giving us a boost. Life is complicated enough sometimes so I’m all for things that give us joy and oomph and that’s what I’d like to share with you today – 32 practical ways to declutter your life today and create space to build a life you love!
32 PRACTICAL WAYS TO DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE TODAY
Here are some ways to declutter your life and help you find more ease and lightness instead of stress and rush.
1. Declutter your schedule
Is there anything on your calendar that you can postpone or cancel? Do you need to do everything listed for the next week or month or could you find a way to say ‘no’ and, importantly, find a way to be ok with that? No doesn’t mean no forever. It could just mean not for today, not right now, not until you’ve got a little more time to spare. Saying no is like a muscle. The more you use the word, the stronger it becomes.
2. Declutter your nightstand
Clear your bedside table and only leave on it what you need for the night – maybe an alarm clock, a notebook, any medication you require. Can you think of anything else? Your bedroom should be a calm and peaceful space, designed to help you relax and unwind from the day and drift off for restorative sleep. A cluttered bedroom will distract your eyes and brain and may disturb your sleep. Read more about how to declutter your bedroom and why it matters.
3. Declutter your purse or wallet
Grab your bag and/or purse and wallet and tip the contents out on your bed, floor or table top. Just look at the stuff that you accumulate and carry around with you! You might really have a weight on your shoulders so wouldn’t it be great to free yourself from that after all? Get rid of expired coupons and vouchers, match receipts against your bank statements and shred or file as appropriate. Check for pens that don’t work, half open packets of tissues and dried out baby wipes and random stuff that collects at the bottom which we forget about. Keep only what you really need. A bag is not another storage solution!
4. Declutter the apps on your phone
Our mobile phones are a seductive and tempting way to waste our time and remove us from living our life to the full. We’re often too busy scrolling social media feeds to be truly present and engaged in what’s happening around and in front of us. Remove distraction by decluttering apps on your phone that you don’t use, don’t need or don’t find value in. You could even go so far as decluttering your social media apps so you’re forced to find a computer, log in and check them out. This may be enough faff to help you cut down on your social media consumption! Here are some other productive things you could do with your phone instead.
5. Declutter your fridge
Throw out stale food or anything you won’t eat. Whilst you’re there, give the inside of your fridge a good clean and wipe down. Maybe it’ll be easier to see what’s in there and therefore make meal planning and meal prep a little bit easier. Clear the front of the fridge of magnets, post it notes and random paperwork too!
6. Write a Not-To-Do list
The reverse of a To Do list but just as important. Try this fun little exercise and write down 3 things you’re NOT going to do this week.
7. Plan your meals for tomorrow
Meal planning is a great way to save yourself time, energy and stress in the kitchen. Try planning your meals for tomorrow including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Make sure you’ve got the ingredients and prepare what you can in advance. Look forward to eating your meals without the prior stress of deciding what to eat, how to cook it and whether you’ve got everything you need, especially when you’re tired, hungry and so is your family!
8. Declutter your clothes
A minimalist wardrobe and simplified closet makes it so much easier to get dressed each day, in clothes you enjoy wearing and feel comfortable in. We keep clothes we don’t wear for many reasons, because they were gifts, remind us of past events, in the hope we’ll fit them again some day, or just in case we have an opportunity to wear them. The problem is that all these clothes fill up our closet but we still only wear probably a small proportion of what’s in there. This means that every time you go to find something to wear, you’re wading through a stuffed closet but which still doesn’t offer you choice and flexibility. Here are some tips on decluttering clothes, creating a personal uniform and knowing how to decide which clothes to keep and which to get rid of.
9. Declutter your make-up
Discard anything that’s past its best or that you don’t like to wear and make a list to buy replacements when you can.
10. Declutter your contact list or address book
Check your contacts are up-to-date and you have a clear list of emergency contacts in case you ever need it. Add these contacts to your address book, save them on your computer or onto your phone so you can find and access them easily.
11. Declutter your emails
Spend 5 minutes sorting through your emails. Delete the junk, flag up the ones to action, create folders for easy searching and archive the rest. Cancel email newsletter subscriptions that you no longer find helpful. Try to keep on top of your emails by checking them every day or week, depending on how many emails you receive. I tend to check mine at a set time of day so that I can focus on getting on with other things. I try to be aware of creating more than consuming, whether that’s social media or writing and replying to emails.
12. Declutter your finances and expenses
Look through your bank statements and see if there are any expenses you can get rid of. Subscriptions you no longer require, memberships you don’t make use of, recurring payments that you’d forgotten about but no longer need. Look to see what debt you have, make a plan to pay it off and, if you can, save a little. Shop wisely, avoid impulse buys that drain your bank account and clutter your cupboards. Maybe a minimalist approach to your finances could help you save money?
13. Declutter the rubbish
Empty the bins and put out the recycling. Check which day of the week your waste gets taken and make a note to use these days to do a little regular decluttering of your home each week. Our waste gets taken on a Thursday morning so on Wednesday I go round the house looking for stuff that needs getting rid of or donating. I can fill up my waste and recycling bins to clear the clutter from my home and the waste will get taken away the next day. Using this system is a great way of building up a regular decluttering habit and helps us stay clutter-free.
14. Make a To Do list for tomorrow
List just 3 things that you need to get done tomorrow. Add more if you want but these are just a luxury only if you get those 3 most important things done. Keep your list short, sweet and simple! Your To Do list should inspire and motivate you to be productive, not bring you down for being unrealistic! Check out this post on how to write a simple, strategic To Do list for more help with this.
15. Declutter your kitchen worktop
Flat surfaces around your home are a notorious clutter hotspot. Take a moment to tackle just one of these surfaces in the kitchen. Re-home anything that normally lives on the worktop and put it in a cupboard or drawer for now. Enjoy having a clearer surface that’s easier to clean, looks more spacious and is easier to prepare food on. Here are some more tips on how to declutter kitchen counters and keep them clutter-free.
16. Start a shopping list on your phone
Keep an ongoing shopping list handy for next time you hit the shops. Include anything that’s running low and refer to it next time you go shopping. You’re much less likely to run out of things so you also won’t need to run to the shops for a last-minute errand. Having a visual list like this also means that you won’t have to rely on your memory!
17. Declutter paper clutter
Deal with the pile(s) of paperwork that’s been needing your attention. Paperwork builds up really quickly for most of us and without a robust, simple and effective strategy to deal with it, those paper piles build up. Keep it simple. Set a reminder on your phone to deal with paperwork once a day or week. Use an easy system to sort into junk, recycle, shred, action and file so you know where to put each item. Deal with the papers that need actioning when your reminder goes off and in between, sift through the rubbish and junk every day. Don’t put off filing and shredding but keep on top of it and make it easier to deal with. Keep a separate box or tray for papers, leaflets, brochures etc you’re not sure you’ll need long term but you don’t want to throw just yet.
18. Declutter your car
Make sure you’ve got spare change, baby wipes, notepad and pen, tissues, a first aid kit, umbrella and anything else you might like to keep handy. Get rid of rubbish and random stuff that builds up. Again, set a slot of time each week or month for another car declutter.
19. Create routines for your home
Our homes can be a burden on our time and energy. Make it easier to keep your home clean and tidy by creating some household routines to help your home tick over with minimal effort. Use this free workbook to help you set up household routines of your own, or try these tips on how to spend less time cleaning.
20. Declutter bad habits
Ok, so this may be easier for some than others but, as far as possible, try to build positive and healthy good habits and work away from bad habits. Small actions repeated often build up to big progress and that’s exactly why habits are a great way of making profound and meaningful change more realistic and possible for many of us. What small habits can you implement today to declutter your life? Make your bed every morning, meditate before bed, read one chapter of a book each day, find a new podcast to listen to?
21. Declutter your mornings
Your mornings set the tone for the rest of your day so starting your day out right, for body and mind, is important. Although there are many things you can do as part of your morning routine, I encourage you to take time to work out what would really support you the best in your current life. You don’t need to do lots of things, but as an example, I currently like to do 20 minutes of journaling and just sitting in quiet with my tea, 20 minutes of stretching and moving my body and 20 minutes of reading or listening to a podcast. Sometimes it’s not quite 20 minutes on each but I’ve found this to be a great combination of activities to put me in a positive mindset for my day – whatever it throws at me! Here are some more morning routine ideas you could try.
22. Build good decluttering habits
Put a box by your front door and aim to put something in it every day this week to declutter or donate. Empty it at the end of the week or on waste collection day. I mentioned earlier about building good decluttering habits. Clutter creeps around our homes so it’s important to build strategies into our life to keep that clutter away. Here are some more tips on how to stop the cycle of clutter.
23. Do the laundry and housework regularly
Change a bed or swap some towels if you need to bump up the load. Plan 10 minutes’ worth of housework tomorrow and the next so you do a little bit often. No need to let it build up and sap your time and energy when you could be doing other things!
24. Experiment with decluttering
Pick a room, say the living room, bathroom or bedroom. Clear the surfaces and remove everything except the necessary and the truly loved. Put the rest in a box for now and deal with these later after your experiment is over. See how easy it is to look after that room and how it feels to be in it! Decluttering isn’t always easy. There are many reasons why decluttering is hard. We feel guilty, don’t have time or motivation, our spouse might not be on board or we get stuck in a decluttering rut. Experiment with different ways of decluttering to see what works for you or try this 30-day Declutter Challenge to get started with!
25. Declutter your mind
Spend 5 minutes brainstorming the biggest stressors in your life onto paper. Write them all down, thrash out why they’re stressing you out and see if you can find ways to overcome them. 5 minutes of your time now decluttering your mind could save you loads of stress for the future.
26. Block out some time for yourself
Make a promise to take your lunch-break, not grab a sandwich at your desk or enjoy a nap whilst the baby naps. If you don’t have time, make time, even if it’s just 10 minutes. It’s important to listen to your body and rest if you need.
28. Be mindful of the different types of clutter in your life
As you go about your day, be aware of when you feel stressed, tired or busy. What triggers these feelings and what can you do to ease them? Awareness that there’s a problem is the first step to solving that problem. Maybe think about the different types of clutter in your life so you can formulate your own vision for a simpler, decluttered life.
29. Sit still for 5 minutes
I warn you, it’s not as easy as it sounds! Use those five minutes to think what you’re grateful for, what makes you excited to get up in the morning, what makes you laugh, what makes you happy. Make a pledge to yourself to do more of these things every day if possible! Live for the present, for the every day, not just for the weekends or someday in the future.
30. Declutter your desk
A cluttered outer environment = a cluttered inner environment. So, to maximise your productivity, reduce distraction, build focus and clarity and help you be as efficient as possible, try these tips on how to create a minimalist workspace.
31. Get clear on your priorities
If you don’t know what’s important to you, how do you know what you can let go of or declutter? Decluttering your life is not just about getting rid of things, owning less stuff or never buying anything new. It’s about being aware of and purposeful in what you keep out so you have more space for the important things. If you struggle with identifying your priorities or you feel that busy life has blurred your boundaries, you might enjoy this article on how to define your priorities and the free worksheet that you can get with it.
32. Use these decluttering journal prompts
Journaling is a great way to reconnect with the inner you and work out what you want from life, and why you want it. Try these decluttering journal prompts to help you understand your reasons for thinking decluttering may help you, and what you hope to change and/or achieve. What do you learn about yourself and your life and how will this help you declutter your life?
QUICK WINS TO LONG-TERM HABITS TO DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE
Many of the ideas I’ve suggested in this article will give you some quick wins but practice them regularly and they’ll also give you long-term gain to declutter your life.
Simplifying life isn’t a do-it-once kind of project that you can tick off. Simplicity is, in fact, a lifestyle and mindset shift that one needs to practice every day. That practice isn’t always conscious, it becomes second nature with time. You just naturally often choose less over more, quality over quantity, mindful over mindless.
That’s not to say you won’t ever do things on a whim, because they’re frivolous or fun – a simple life isn’t dull, bland or about never spending money or making decisions and then u-turning on them. But, a simpler life is one that’s more full of the things that lift us up than hold us back.
And those quick wins which can turn into long-term life choices can give us space, time and freedom to make the most of that life.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
I’d love to hear from you if you have any other suggestions to add to this list. If you’ve done any of these activities yourself, which did you found most helpful and which did you struggle with? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.
Here are some more articles and resources to help you declutter your life and home in different ways:
- Decluttering Mindset: How to Get Into the Right Mindset to Declutter
- The Connection Between Mindfulness and Decluttering
- Decluttering Mistakes and How to Overcome Them
- The Cost of Clutter: What Is Your Clutter Costing You?
- How to Find the Motivation to Declutter Your Home
- A Beginner’s Guide to Slow Living
- How to Reset Your Life
YOU MIGHT FIND THIS HELPFUL…
Many of the ways to declutter your life I mentioned above are to do with decluttering your home. After all, home is where we spend our time, it’s the hub of family life and the place we leave and come back to each day.
Clearing clutter in our home is a key first step for decluttering our life more generally.
Yet, I know from my own experience and from hearing from many others over the years, decluttering isn’t easy. Not only is it a struggle to find time, energy and the right approach to dealing with a home full of stuff, but it’s our mindset that often shapes our decluttering success or lack of it.
To help you get a good start in decluttering your home, I created a decluttering guide, workbook and checklists to help you clear your clutter and keep that clutter away for good. Simplify Your Home has all the information laid out for you in a simple, practical and easy to follow way.
If you want to declutter your life, maybe you’d like to start with Simplify Your Home?