20 Ways to Declutter Your Home

Caroline Gilbert
Written by Caroline Gilbert
Updated October 10, 2022
woman cleaning and boxing up belongings
Photo: kate_sept2004 / E+ / Getty Images

Declutter your home and your mind with these tips and strategies

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Walking into a clean and tidy home can immediately help you feel relaxed. Plus, you won’t find yourself tripping over objects or spending hours searching for essentials. 

To create an orderly household, first start by decluttering your home—empty all of your junk drawers, clear out your closet, and get rid of what you no longer need. A decluttered home will also help you feel less overwhelmed when it comes to taking care of your home and will make it easier to stick to your cleaning routine.

The guide below offers tips on how to declutter your home to make it more welcoming and enjoyable. We also offer printable checklists to help you purge and organize different spaces in your home. If you don’t have the time or energy to declutter your household, consider hiring a local professional home and garage organizer.

Why Declutter?

Decluttering your home will help you determine which items add value to your life. By paying closer attention to household items, you’ll reduce frivolous spending and will likely practice better financial habits. You might also profit from old clothes, appliances, or tools. Decluttering your home also has several mental and physical health benefits. It can relieve stress and gives you a sense of security, control, and accomplishment.

When Does Clutter Become Problematic?

Clutter becomes problematic when it adds stress to your life. Constantly looking for items can drain your energy. In more extreme cases, clutter can impact your mental and physical health to varying degrees. In severe cases, clutter can lead to hoarding, which increases the likelihood of mold, dust, insects, and rodents.

Quick Decluttering Tips

Ready to get started? Check out our decluttering tips below to help you organize and keep your home clutter-free.

Decluttering tips infographic

How to Declutter With Purpose

Declutter with purpose by giving yourself a timeline and setting goals. For example, your goal might be to declutter one area of the house each weekend over the next six weekends. Read on for more tips to get started.

sorting labels mockup infographic

Download the Sorting Labels Here

Create a Declutter Sorting System

Using sorting labels can help keep you organized and on track. That’s why we created these printable sorting labels that you can use to quickly categorize items from different spaces.

You should place the above-mentioned sorting labels on the outside of large bins or on the outside of trash bags. These labels will help to keep you organized and on track. Trust us, it’ll feel good to get rid of all the clutter.

  • Recycle items that can be safely and responsibly recycled, such as paper, plastics, or glass.

  • Trash pieces you can’t recycle due to condition or defectiveness.

  • Donate items in good condition to someone else or an organization.

  • Sell high-value items online or at a garage sale.

  • Store items that bring value to your life.

person organizing folded shirts into small bins
Photo: Damian Lugowski / iStock / Getty Images

Declutter With Your Kids

If you have kids, you know that a large portion of the clutter is theirs. These can be toys, video games, clothes, electronics, and more. Get your kids involved in the decluttering and organization process. This chore card and scoring system will help show your kids the benefits of organizing their living spaces. Plus, you can offer rewards or payment for working hard and completing chores.

How to Declutter Your Bedrooms

Your bedroom is an important place to keep tidy—it’s a space to unwind and focus on rest. Plus, decluttering your bedroom usually doesn’t take a ton of time so it’s a good place to start. To make the task go faster, use the provided sorting labels above and follow the tips below.

1. Declutter Flat Surfaces

First, take a look at flat surfaces, such as nightstands and dressers. Aim to have a maximum of three decoration or utility items on each. This can include lamps, framed photos, or books—anything that’s useful or brings you joy. Keeping these spaces clear and organized will help create a calm space that’s perfect for decompressing.

2. Clean Out Drawers

Pull everything out of your drawers and consider what belongs and what doesn’t. Next, figure out where it should go—if not here, where? If you can’t easily figure these things out, place the item in one of the non-storage bins.

3. Store Items Under the Bed

Some seasonal items are necessary to keep, such as decorations, bedding, and clothing. If you’re short on closet space, store these items in plastic bins under the bed. If you don’t travel often, consider storing seasonal clothing items in suitcases to further declutter closet space.

happy woman sorting clothes into charity bin
Photo: Damian Lugowski / iStock / Getty Images

How to Declutter Your Closet

Closets are often overrun with random or single-use items, particularly clothing. Sometimes we just toss items in random spots, never to be worn again. Decluttering your closet can be therapeutic, from getting rid of unworn pieces to purging items with emotional baggage.

1. Start by Tidying the Space

This might seem counterintuitive, but you should tidy your closet first. When arranging your closet, actively take into account all of the items you have in the space. We recommend sorting items by type. For instance, group your jeans together—this way, you know how many pairs and styles you own.

2. Sell or Donate Clothes and Shoes

At this stage, it’s important to remember the 80/20 rule: You wear 20% of your clothing 80% of the time. With this in mind, you should be able to sell, donate, or toss a lot of clothing. 

To help decide which items to happily remove from your life, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does this piece of clothing still fit me?

  • Have I worn it in the past year?

  • Is it damaged beyond repair?

After going through each item in your closet, say goodbye to the ones you want to toss by placing them in the appropriately labeled bins. If items are damaged, too personalized, or unfashionable, consider donating them to your local animal shelter, which will often turn clothes into rags or serve as crate cushioning for the animals.

3. Organize and Clean Closet Shelves

To make sure you’re decluttering with the future in mind, mindfully organize your closet shelves. Keeping your closet tidy will become habitual over time. Having a clean space will hopefully make you cringe at the thought of making it messy again. 

Here are a few ways to keep an organized closet:

  • Neatly store socks, underwear, or headwear in small containers

  • Avoid stacking or storing clothing behind hung clothes

  • Dedicate five to 10 minutes each week to reorganize anything out of place

woman folding towels in luxury bathroom
Photo: kate_sept2004 / E+ / Getty Images

How to Declutter Your Bathrooms

Bathrooms can quickly become cluttered, especially since we use them multiple times a day. More so than other areas, your bathroom will likely consist of items that need trashing—we’ll guide you through the important steps below.

1. Clear Out Everything in the Medicine Cabinet and From Under the Sink

A lot of this stuff is likely outdated, expired, or no longer used, so get that trash bin ready. Take everything out first and then discard expired makeup, skin products, and medications. After you’re done, wipe the inside of the medicine cabinet and sink area down with a disinfectant wipe to get rid of any makeup residue or dust.

2. Add a Magnetic Strip

Free up your counter space by purchasing and installing a magnetic strip in your bathroom. A strong strip can hold all of your bobby pins, tweezers, and fingernail clippers in one place. Install the magnetic strip under the sink for a clean bathroom aesthetic.

3. Move to Cabinet Drawers and Cleaning Supplies

Another place where items can quickly pile up: cabinets. Go ahead and remove everything, then evaluate what to keep and what to toss. Like your kitchen pantry, there are staple items you shouldn’t throw away. For example, cleaning supplies, a first-aid kit, sewing supplies, and towels or linens are nice to have on hand. Remove any expired items or items that are not used at least once a year.

4. Fasten a Spice Rack to the Wall

To clear up valuable counter space, screw, tape, or glue a spice rack to one of your bathroom walls. Just make sure that it can withstand the humidity from showering. Place your shaving cream, toothbrush, combs, mouth wash, and creams inside the spice rack.

woman organizing her kitchen cabinets
Photo: 2K Studio / iStock / Getty Images

How to Declutter Your Kitchen

For some people, the kitchen is their sanctuary. For others, it’s an unused area acting as extra storage space. One way to get more use out of your kitchen is to create more prepping and cooking space. The tips below will help you strategically organize your kitchen area so you can enjoy cooking fun and healthy meals.

1. Clean Like You Normally Would

First, start with a normal clean kitchen space. That means you should empty the dishwasher, put away leftovers in the fridge, and put pots and pans in their proper homes. Also, wipe down the countertops with disinfecting spray.

2. Go Through the Pantry, Freezer, and Fridge

It’s best to tackle one zone at a time. If you’re working with other people to declutter the kitchen, assign them each to a zone. You’re looking to toss expired items, so have a fresh trash bin or bag available.

3. Purge or Relocate Items

Many items might hold sentimental value but have little practical use, like family heirlooms or gifts. Some objects will get used only once every year for big holiday events. It’s OK to keep those, but if you’re short on kitchen real estate, then consider storing them elsewhere. 

Here are several categories that typically need decluttering:

  • Storage containers: All those plastic or glass storage containers that never seem to have their matching lids can cause lots of frustration. Do yourself a favor and pair all the containers with their lids. Then, sort out the ones you use most often and donate the rest. 

  • Appliances: First, check to see if they still work. For those that do, but aren’t getting used nearly enough, consider putting them in the “sell” or “donate” bins. Dispose of anything that’s broken.

  • Pots and pans: Consider if you really need or use all of your pots and pans. Maybe you only have a select few that you use, while others are simply collecting dust. Again, look to sell or donate forgotten items.

4. End With Decluttered Countertops

Lastly, focus on the countertops. You should only have three to four main items on your counters, such as a knife block, coffee maker, and tea kettle. If it’s on the counter, you should be using it frequently. For all other items, categorize and relocate them to cabinets. Baking utensils should stick together, as should spices and seasonings.

woman hanging plant in her living room
Photo: AleksandarNakic / E+ / Getty Images

How to Declutter Your Living Room

All right, on to one of the most important areas of your home: the living room. One tricky thing about living rooms is that they typically don’t offer a lot of storage space. That’s OK—part of decluttering this area is deciding on permanent storage spaces and regularly tidying up.

1. Decide on Permanent Storage Spaces

For commonly used items, such as books, remote controls, magazines, or blankets, decide on permanent storage spaces. These spaces can be in closets or specific areas on coffee or side tables. Just make sure they get put away every time.

2. Declutter the Entertainment Areas

Entertainment areas are where your family and guests get together to relax and entertain. Regardless of your entertainment area’s use, make sure all electronics are stored away, such as video games, remote controls, headphones, and systems. Also, remove mail, toys, glasses, or magazines just sitting around the living room.

3. Redecorate Walls, Coffee Tables, and Side Tables

Don’t be afraid to redecorate. Minimalism is in style, so feel empowered to put unwanted artwork or throw pillows and blankets in the “sale” or “donate” bins. This might seem counterintuitive, but adding decorative ornaments to coffee and side tables can help keep you from putting clutter in these spaces.

man taking out trash from garage
Photo: NickyLloyd / E+ / Getty Images

How to Declutter Your Garage and Car

Finally, your garage and cars need decluttering. For some, these spaces may be easy to keep organized. While for others, they can be spaces to dump all of the extra clutter that wouldn’t fit inside their home. Don’t be afraid of the challenge, though! You can space this job out over a weekend or two. If it’s too much to do by yourself, then look into hiring a professional garage organizer.

1. Categorize Items by Type

Make sure your labeled bins are empty and ready to use. Next, go ahead and categorize items by these bins. For instance, you can donate old appliances, sports equipment, or never-used tools and purge rusty car parts, broken items, or junk. Look into responsibly recycling these items or if your city has bulk pickup days. 

For anything you’re keeping, go ahead and place them in these categories:

  • Sporting equipment

  • Tools and hardware

  • Gardening equipment

  • Vehicle tools and hardware

2. Create Storage and Organization Spaces and Systems

Once you’ve sorted everything, you can organize your garage by creating storage spaces. 

Here are several ways to create storage space in your garage:

  • Create a storage system: Purchase large bins, buckets, or shelves to place items either in or on top of.

  • Install a pegboard: A pegboard is great for hanging items you use often. They’re visible, easily accessible, and organized.

  • Purchase and label a tool cabinet: Large tool drawers or cabinets are constructed with organization in mind. It’ll be easy to place different tools, screws, bolts, etc. into different drawers and then label them.

If you need help, hire a local garage organizer to install storage space.

3. Make Your Car Ride-Share Friendly

Pretend you use your car for a ride-sharing business. That means tossing out all the clutter and trash you’ve accumulated over the years. Take large items out that don’t need to live in your vehicle and keep only the essential paperwork stored away in the glove box or middle console. Your trunk should also be clutter-free and have only the essentials such as the spare tire, jumper cables, and windshield scraper and chains (if you live in a snowy climate).

8 Habits to Prevent Clutter From Accumulating

woman recycling plastic bottles in kitchen
Photo: recep-bg / E+ / Getty Images

These eight habits will help prevent clutter from accumulating in your home. Make life easier by only having to declutter your entire household once or twice per year. Also, feel free to refer to this printable when clutter begins to accumulate again.

1. Control the Mail

Stay on top of paper clutter by not allowing mail to pile up. You can create a system for storing coupons, important bills, and recyclable material. Plus, you can call companies and remove yourself from their mailing lists.

2. Donate Often

Make donating a part of your life. Find your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, and animal or homeless shelter to donate unused or lightly worn items.

3. Buy Based on Needs

It’s OK to splurge a bit here and there, but if you buy only what you need, you’ll most certainly cut down on the clutter.

4. Turn Hangers Around

A fun trick for each season is to keep track of clothing items you wear. Once an item is worn, turn the hanger in the opposite direction. After each season, donate any unworn items.

5. Say No to Free Stuff

Free stuff is awesome, right? Not always. At the time, it seems nice, but many of these items may never see the light of day again.

6. Implement a One In, One Out Policy

Treat your closets, cabinets, and drawers like a nightclub. If a new item goes in, something else must come out. This tactic will help keep the number of possessions roughly stable over time.

7. Store Strategically

Store items near where they’re most used. Not having to walk across your home will make it easier to put items away.

8. Go Paper-Free

In today’s digital age, there’s an easier way to stay organized. Take pictures or scan important documents then organize them on a hard drive or cloud storage account. Once done, shred and recycle the paper.

Decluttering your house should feel exhilarating, not overwhelming. Remember to create a schedule and use the printable checklists and labels to make sure you’re strategically decluttering all aspects of your life. If decluttering your home is too overwhelming, consider hiring a local professional organizer.

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