Decluttering and simplifying your home and your life sometimes involve big decluttering projects. But there are ways to work on clearing the clutter from your home with smaller projects and actions too. And sometimes these smaller tasks to reduce clutter can end up making the biggest difference in simplifying your home and your life.
In today’s post, you’ll learn 11 simple decluttering habits, tasks and projects you can do to help simplify your life and reduce clutter in your home.
Easy ways to reduce clutter for good
These habits, tasks and projects to reduce clutter are in no particular order. Start by implementing one or two at a time. Then slowly add one or two more to your routine when you feel ready.
Instead of trying to change your entire home, all of your habits and do a bunch of projects all at once, keep it simple and make one or two new changes at a time. Slow and steady is a great way to approach decluttering.
1. Create a designated landing zone in your entryway
The entryway is a hard-working zone of your house. It gets a lot of traffic in and out. And is a place where “stuff” and messes tend to pile up.
Sometimes the clutter and mess come from keys, coats, shoes, bags, etc. not being put away properly.
Other times entryway clutter is from new things coming into the house being dumped and left when you get home. Or things that need to leave the house or be dealt with might be causing clutter in the entryway.
One sure way to reduce clutter in the entryway is by creating designated homes for everything that tends to pile up in the entryway. When things have a clear home and it’s easy to put them away in their home, it can go a long way towards helping tame entryway clutter and mess.
Start by giving everything a home
First, start by creating clear, easy to access homes for the things you and your family need as you are coming and going from the house. The easier it is to put things away, the more likely they will be put away consistently.
Pay attention to what often gets left out in your entryway, then come up with a plan to manage those things better. This could be baskets for keys, phones, hats and gloves, etc. It could be hooks on the wall or in a closet for coats and bags. Find what will work best for you.
Then, create systems to suit your lifestyle
Next, notice what other kinds of things tend to pile up in the entryway. See if you can find a better system or solution to manage those things.
For example, having an outgoing basket is a great way to contain and manage all the things that need to leave your home, or go with you when you leave. It could hold things like store returns, library books to return, borrowed items to return, etc.
2. Create a sustainable system to manage paperwork
Paper is big source of clutter in many homes. If left unchecked, mail, school papers, paperwork you need to deal with, lists, etc. can quickly get out of control and add a lot of mess and clutter to your home. Especially on the flat surfaces like countertops, tables, and desks.
A great way to reduce clutter in your home is by coming up with a better way to manage paperwork and control paper clutter.
The easiest way to reduce paper clutter is by going paperless whenever possible. Many companies have an option to go paperless with bills, statements, etc.
Simply reducing the amount of physical paper coming into your home is a great way to reduce paper clutter overall.
Next, figure out a sustainable system for you to manage paperwork. What works best for you, whether it’s scanning and filing paperwork digitally, or storing hard copies, will depend on your family, lifestyle, preferences, etc. The key is finding a way to manage the paperwork that is easy for you to keep up with and maintain.
It can be helpful to have a place to contain incoming paperwork that needs to be dealt with. Ideally, it shouldn’t be able to hold too much paperwork. Enough to keep paperwork from spreading all over the house. But limited enough space that it forces you to deal with paperwork more regularly. Before it gets out of control!
Then, get in the habit of dealing with the paperwork regularly. Get rid of what you don’t need, take action on what needs it, and file – digitally or paper copies – any paperwork you need to keep.
3. Get rid of clutter-catching furniture
Another way to reduce clutter in your home is by reducing the number of “clutter catching” spots in your home.
These are the places and pieces of furniture that tend to serve no purpose other than collecting clutter.
For example, it might be the chair in your bedroom you rarely sit on but is always covered in clothes. Or the table in your entryway that is constantly covered in clutter.
If the item of furniture is only being used to collect clutter, consider getting rid of the piece of furniture all together!
When deciding to keep or get rid of a piece of furniture, remember to ask yourself if it’s adding value to your life because you use it or love it. Or if it’s just adding (or collecting) clutter instead. Aim to only keep things you either use, need or love!
4. Keep kitchen and bathroom counters clear
Some clutter catching surfaces in your home can’t be removed. Not only are they attached to your house. But you do actually use and need these surfaces on a regular basis.
But flat surfaces, particularly in high use, high traffic areas, can quickly and easily become places for clutter to accumulate.
And the worst part is, clutter always seems to attract more clutter! So the more “stuff” sitting on your flat surfaces, the quicker and easier it is for more “stuff” and clutter to end up there too.
Find places to keep things that you usually keep on your kitchen and bathroom counters somewhere other than ON your counters. Maybe putting them away in a cupboard or drawer for example.
When the kitchen and bathroom counters start mostly cleared off, there’s less stuff there to attract more stuff and clutter from accumulating.
Not only that, but you’ll give yourself more space to use your kitchen and bathroom counters. And cleaning will be easier too when there’s less stuff to clean and clean around.
5. Get in the habit of doing daily resets
One way to make a dramatic difference in the way your home looks, feels and functions is by doing daily resets to pick up, tidy and quickly clean the spaces in your home.
A daily reset is taking a few minutes to pick up, tidy and clean a space to return it to baseline, or how you prefer to keep it when things are picked up and put away. It’s not a deep clean, just picking up and returning things to where they belong and doing some surface cleaning.
The more consistent you are with daily resets, the quicker and easier they become. Simply because the space and any messes don’t have a chance to get completely out of control before the next reset.
Daily resets can also help you from feeling like you’re picking up and tidying all day long. When resets are already planned into the rhythm of your days, you know you’ll clean up at that time. And can give yourself permission not to worry about trying to pick up messes in between.
6. Set up family baskets
Having a basket for each member of your family is a great way to control the mess and clutter that belongs to other members of your family.
Sometimes clutter is caused by the stuff you or your family uses or loves but needs to be put away where it belongs. But it can be frustrating dealing with that stuff and reminding family members to put it away.
That’s where the beauty of family baskets comes in!
When you come across something that belongs to someone else in your family and needs to be put away, add it to that family member’s basket. Then, at the end of the day, everyone is responsible for putting anything in their basket away where it belongs and returning their empty basket.
A basket makes it easy for you to collect and pick up other people’s stuff as you find it. And means there can be less nagging – I mean reminders ? – from you asking them to put it away!
7. Use one, get rid of one
Another easy way to reduce clutter in your home is by getting in the habit of noticing and removing duplicate items.
Every time you use something you have multiples or duplicates of, see if you can choose one to use and one to get rid of. Have an ongoing decluttering box to hold the things you’re getting rid of in-between runs to the donation center to make this easier to do.
For example, as you make your coffee in the morning, choose the mug you’ll use, then see if there is a mug you can get rid of.
When you’re cooking, choose the spatula you’ll use, and see if there is a duplicate to get rid of.
When you’re putting makeup on, choose a lipstick, eye shadow, blush, etc. to wear. Then see if there is another you could get rid of.
Making an effort to notice and get rid of duplicate items for a few weeks will make a big difference in reducing the amount of clutter in your home. All without requiring much extra time or effort on your part!
8. Be a gatekeeper
Another simple, but important, way to reduce clutter is by stopping clutter from entering your home at all!
Be a gatekeeper, spotting and stopping clutter before it even has a chance to enter your home.
Before bringing home or allowing anything into your home, ask yourself if it will add value to your home and your life, or just add clutter.
By taking a few minutes to evaluate if you will truly use, need or love something, it will go a long way towards keeping your home clutter-free.
For example, sort mail and recycle what you don’t need before you even bring it inside. Politely decline freebie items you know you won’t use or don’t need. Deal with garbage or junk as soon as you come home, instead of setting it aside to deal with later.
It’s amazing how taking action and keeping clutter out before it even enters your home can make a big difference in keeping your home clutter-free.
9. Collect experiences, not things
And speaking of being a gatekeeper, another important aspect of this is making an effort to bring less stuff home in general.
Make an effort to shop less, buy less and bring home less stuff you don’t truly need or love that will eventually end up as clutter. Really assess if you truly need or love something before buying it and bringing it home.
Pay attention to what kinds of things you’re getting rid of as you declutter. Then use those things as lessons to help make more thoughtful and intentional purchases moving forward.
A great way to help make this shift is by focusing on doing more and buying less. Studies show that you usually get longer-lasting happiness from spending money on experiences rather than buying things anyway.
10. Make decluttering a habit
Another way to reduce clutter in your home without much extra time or effort is by making decluttering a habit.
Always keep an eye out for anything you don’t use, need, love or isn’t adding value to your life. Instead of picking it up, putting it away, leaving it where it is, etc. get rid of it right then and never have to deal with it again!
Stay vigilant about spotting and getting rid of clutter as you go about your normal activities at home. Over time, you’ll notice it’s adding up to help you make big progress towards reducing the clutter in your home. And keeping your home clutter free!
11. Spend more time decluttering than organizing
If your goal is to reduce the amount of clutter in your home, aim to spend more time decluttering and less time organizing.
Organizing often just shifts clutter around. Finding new ways to fit more “stuff” in your home.
But organized clutter is still clutter. It’s still there weighing on your mind. And sooner or later will likely find its way out of its organized spot. And add clutter to your house again.
When you spend more time and effort decluttering than organizing, you get rid of the stuff you don’t use, need or love. Then you don’t have to think about it or deal with it again!
Small steps to reduce clutter for good
Decluttering and simplifying your home isn’t only accomplished during big, weekend-long purging sessions.
There are small, simple actions and habits you can take without much extra time or effort. But with consistency, they will add up over time. Making a big impact on the amount of clutter in your home. And helping you reach your clutter-free goals!
Which of these decluttering tips are you going to start using to help reduce clutter in your home? Leave a comment below and let me know!