Decluttering can often feel like a big and overwhelming project to take on. And while clearing the clutter from your home is usually a big job, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Today I’m sharing 8 easy and effective ways to help simplify decluttering and make the whole process go smoother.
Use these tips and tricks to simplify decluttering so you feel less overwhelmed and more in control of the decluttering process.
You can use the tips in this post if you’re just starting to declutter, or if you’ve been working on clearing the clutter for a while. They even work to help keep your home clutter-free once you finish the decluttering process.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
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8 Easy & Effective Ways to Simplify Decluttering
1. Make decluttering a habit
The more regularly and consistently you declutter, the more you make decluttering a habit. And as with anything, the stronger the habit, the easier it is to maintain the behaviour.
When you declutter regularly, getting rid of things you don’t use, need or love becomes a habit. You’ll start automatically noticing things that aren’t adding value to your life as you go about your day, and get rid of them.
Decluttering will stop being something you do once in a while, or at set times. And instead, become something you do all the time, without much extra thought or effort. It’s like decluttering on autopilot!
For example, when you’re tidying up at the end of the day, if you come across something you no longer need, you can get rid of it right then.
Each piece of clutter you remove adds up. And all those individual minutes spent decluttering will also add up.
By getting in the habit of consistently removing items you no longer use, need or love, you’ll begin seeing results and less clutter in your home.
Make decluttering a habit by practicing decluttering every day. Start by spending 10 minutes a day decluttering. Be consistent and stick with it until it becomes a habit.
Before long, you’ll find yourself noticing things to declutter automatically. And you’ll be able to declutter as you go about your day, always keeping an eye out for anything you don’t use, need or love.
Build your “decluttering muscles”
Plus, when you make declutter a habit, you build your “decluttering muscles”. The more you practice decluttering, the easier
2. Keep an ongoing decluttering box
A great way to simplify decluttering is removing as many barriers to clearing the clutter as possible.
A common struggle when you’re decluttering is figuring out what to do with all the stuff you’re getting rid of.
If you don’t have a plan for the items you’re getting rid of and a place to keep them in the meantime, it becomes too easy to let them sit in a pile somewhere in your house.
Not only adding a lot of visual clutter to your space. But also making it too easy for the items to get spread back out over the house undoing all of your hard work!
Don’t let your hard work clearing the clutter be undone!
If you’ve ever decluttered a room, only to have your partner/kids/etc. see what you’re getting rid of and suddenly can’t live without the item they haven’t seen, used or thought about in years, you know what I’m talking about!
It could even be you yourself second-guessing your decluttering decisions when items you decided to get rid of sit around too long waiting to be donated.
The best way to avoid this is to have an ongoing decluttering box always available somewhere in your home. If you want to simplify decluttering, you need to actually make it easy to get rid of things.
Whenever you find something you’re ready to get rid of, add it to the box. Then, when the box is full, drop it off at your predetermined donation center of choice and start again.
Instead of seeing something you’re ready to get rid of, but leaving it for your next decluttering session, a decluttering box lets you take care of it right then.
Not only will you clear a piece of physical clutter from your home. But you’ll also clear a piece of mental clutter as well. Simply because you can get rid of the item right then, rather than trying to remember to get rid of it later.
3. Do a clutter blitz
A quick, 10-minute decluttering blitz is another great way to simplify decluttering.
Grab a box or laundry basket and set a timer for 10 minutes. Find as many things to get rid of in that time as you can. You’ll probably be amazed how much you can get rid of in 10 minutes when you work quickly and efficiently.
Look for the superficial, surface clutter you don’t use, need, love or even want in your home. It can be things that need to be thrown out or recycled. Along with things to donate, sell or give away.
The key is to look for the easy stuff to get rid of – the surface clutter around your home. It’s always amazing what a difference spending a few minutes removing surface clutter makes to the way your home feels and functions.
4. Have a system to handle paperwork
Speaking of surface clutter – paperwork seems to be one of the biggest sources of paper clutter in many homes.
The key to keeping paper clutter under control is having a system in place to keep it from piling up.
The system that works for you can come in many different forms. It could be a command center, an inbox, a digital system, etc.
The key is finding a system to handle paperwork that is realistic for you so that you are able to keep up with it and easily follow through. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with a system you never use!
For example, many decluttering experts recommend digitizing your paperwork. But if you never get around to scanning things and instead always have a pile of papers waiting to be digitized, this might not be the best system for you. (Clearly, I’m speaking from experience here!)
Work with your habits, rather than against them. The end goal is to keep paper clutter from piling up. Choose a system that works to accomplish this for you, however that looks.
5. Remember that little things can make a big impact
Sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves that small actions can have a big impact on our homes and our lives.
Getting in the habit of doing little things every day to keep your home tidy, functional and clutter-free can make a big difference. Plus, they often lead to a ripple effect. These small actions inspire you to continue doing things to maintain a tidy home – like decluttering!
Because when you’re making an effort to keep your home tidy, it encourages and motivates you to clear the clutter.
Some examples of small actions that don’t take much time or effort but can have a big impact are:
- Making your bed each morning
- Unloading the dishwasher first thing in the morning so you can put dirty dishes right into it during the day, instead of having them pile up on the counter
- Quickly doing the dishes after each meal
- Hanging up your coat and putting your purse and keys away in their spot as soon as you come home
- Putting dirty clothes in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor
Clutter attracts clutter
So often clutter seems to attract more clutter in our homes. When you allow a little bit of clutter to pile up, it often opens the floodgates allowing more clutter to be added to it. These small actions can help you avoid clutter hotspots before they have a chance to get out of control.
Not only that, but they can often lead to a snowball effect – in a positive or negative way!
Here are two examples of the impact these small habits can have:
The first example is what can happen when you don’t keep up with these small habits.
Maybe you don’t unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning. So, after breakfast, you leave your cereal bowl on the counter to put in the dishwasher after you unload it. Over the course of the day, you keep adding more dirty dishes to the pile.
Then, because the counter looks so cluttered and messy, you might set the mail down on the counter and it blends into the mess and doesn’t get put away. Then your kids add their homework, your husband sets down his keys and wallet, etc.
By the end of the day, the whole counter is filled with dirty dishes and “stuff”. Your kitchen feels like a disaster and cleaning it up feels so much more overwhelming now.
Now, let’s look at the impact these small habits can have.
As soon as you get into the kitchen in the morning you unload the dishwasher. It takes less time than it takes to brew your coffee. After breakfast, you put your dishes right into the empty dishwasher and the counters are clean and clear.
When you bring the mail home and set it on the clear counter, it sticks out and can’t blend in or be forgotten. So you open, sort and file the mail in under 2 minutes.
The same with your kids’ homework and your husband’s keys and wallet – when the counters are clear and clutter-free, we notice any “stuff” sitting out and can deal with it quickly and easily.
And at the end of the day you aren’t overwhelmed by a mess in your kitchen!
This is just one example. Of course, some days life happens and you’re not always on top of everything. But the more you can get in the habit of doing these little actions, the easier it becomes to maintain a tidier, clutter-free home.
6. Declutter clothes as you’re wearing and washing them
When you’re getting ready to do laundry, look at what’s left in your closet. If you notice some items are consistently left unworn each laundry day, maybe it’s time to let go of them.
Use the same idea when you’re putting away clean clothes. Take a moment to look at the clothes and get rid of any you don’t love, are stained or damaged, or you just didn’t feel your best in when you wore them.
As you’re getting dressed, pay attention to any items you put on, but always end up taking off and not wearing. Maybe it’s time to let those items go.
If you’re having a hard time letting go of an item even though you rarely wear it, I always suggest making a point of wearing it in the next few days.
This is a great way to test if you really love it or not. And if you don’t want to wear it in the next few days, that’s a really good sign that it’s not something you love.
You can do the same with kid’s clothes too. Check what’s always left unworn on laundry day. And as you do the laundry, quickly declutter anything outgrown, stained or damaged, instead of putting it back in their closets.
When you make decluttering something that happens automatically throughout your day it helps simplify decluttering significantly. You don’t always need to set aside extra time to declutter. Instead, you simply declutter as you go!
7. Declutter seasonal items before putting them away at the end of the season
A great way to keep seasonal items, whether its clothes, décor, equipment, etc., in check, is by decluttering it at the end of the season.
Before you put seasonal items away, take a few minutes to get rid of any items you didn’t use during the season, don’t love or simply don’t need. The end of the season is a great time to do this because what you actually used and what you didn’t will still be fresh in your mind.
For example, at the end of the winter assess your winter clothes and get rid of any you didn’t wear much over the winter. Do the same with your winter outerwear, getting rid of anything worn out, you don’t love or just didn’t use.
Do the same with seasonal décor, household items, or seasonal equipment. Before putting it away get rid of anything you didn’t use, no longer love, etc. Only keep items you use, love and will be happy to see again next season.
8. Have a place for everything and everything in its place
A big source of clutter are items that don’t have a home or place to keep them. These items get left out and end up floating around your house adding clutter and mess.
When items have a home, and it’s easy to put them away in their home (having less stuff helps!), it makes keeping your home tidy and clutter-free easier.
If an item doesn’t have a home, but it’s something you use and/or love, either find or make it a home based on where and how you use it. This may require some decluttering.
But decluttering with a goal of only keeping what you have logical and easily accessible spaces for, is a great way to simplify decluttering. It gives you concrete guidelines to follow to make the process easier.
When you have a home for each item you keep, not only is it easier to put it away, preventing clutter from piling up. But it also helps you decide what is adding enough value to your life to justify taking the time and effort to find a home for it. If it’s not worth the effort, you likely don’t use or love it that much to begin with!
I love this quote to perfectly sum this idea up:
“Everyone has a place in their home for forks. If you found a random fork in the bathroom or under the couch, you’d immediately know it didn’t belong there and would return it to its drawer without another thought. Everything in your life should be this easy to put away. If an item occupies no specific location when not in use, it becomes clutter.”Steve McClatchy, author of Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example
A great way to simplify decluttering is by following a decluttering plan. Instead of trying to guess where you should declutter next, or bouncing around from one room to the next, follow a decluttering roadmap.
Join Spring into Simple – my completely free, 14-day decluttering challenge to help you kickstart your decluttering progress!
Spring into Simple takes the guesswork out of decluttering by giving you one 15-30 minute decluttering task a day, in key areas of your home. Areas that will help you make a noticeable difference in how your home looks, feels and functions as you clear the clutter.
Not only will Spring into Simple help you figure out exactly what and where to declutter. But it’ll also give you plenty of tips and motivation to make the process easier. Woohoo!
Spring into Simple start April 1st, 2019. You can learn more about the challenge and sign up HERE!
Simplify decluttering to make reaching your decluttering goals easier!
I hope these tips will help simplify decluttering for you. The easier we can make decluttering, the more likely we are to follow through, clear the clutter and start enjoying the benefits of a simplified, clutter-free home and life!
Saturday 4th of May 2019
First, sort like with like, then eliminate any duplicates or items that no longer needed. Keep like with like together in drawers or cabinets, other items in clear plastic containers. Use a basket to put things in, if they are in wrong room, take to sorting area. Kitchen and garages are a challange and should be "fined tuned" often.
Simple Lionheart Life
Saturday 4th of May 2019
Great tips Laura Ann! I love the process you use, thanks for sharing! And thanks for reading :)