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Learn how to declutter a house fast with these 7 easy tips and tricks! And keep it that way.
With our renovation coming up, it’s time for us to clean out and clear out the clutter. That’s what prompted this post!
I’ve had a love for cleaning and decluttering my whole life – I think I was just born that way. I’ve become quite good at it over all these years.
I’m one of those types that like to take everything apart only to put it neatly back together.
Sometimes when I’m playing with my kids, I’ll subconsciously start to “organize” the toys and my kids will say – “Mom, you’re cleaning again.” LOL. That’s me!
Unfortunately, decluttering is not really a once and done thing. It’s a process that we have to continue to do throughout our lives.
But, sometimes it’s hard!
Where do you begin?
Well, I hope I can make it a little easier for you today. I’m sharing my best tips and tricks for decluttering your home right now.
These are all ideas I’ve picked up through the years that have totally worked for me and that I continue to do to this day.
My Favorite Tips for Decluttering
1. The Basket and Trash Bag Method
This is one of my very favorite methods for decluttering your home super quick. Just grab a laundry basket and a trash bag. If you need some motivation – set a timer for 5 minutes or 10 minutes – whatever you think you can handle.
Why a timer?
Well, if you hate cleaning/organizing, the timer gives you an endpoint.
Now go from room to room and throw away or recycle any trash you see. Old papers, magazines, tissues, etc. Anything that doesn’t belong there but isn’t trash goes in the basket to be put away later.
It’s amazing the difference this will make – and you will be surprised how much trash and stuff accumulates. Especially with kids running around!
2. Go Paperless
This has made a world of difference for our family!
Here are the ways we went paperless:
- Sign up for paperless bills and pay them online. You can save on stamps this way too.
- Get off the junk mail lists! Go to this FTC website for more information.
- Subscribe to digital magazines and newspapers instead of paper magazines. Most magazines these days give you the option. Actually, I subscribe to most of my digital magazines through Amazon!
- Set up an online system to store important files and documents. Choose a cloud service (Amazon Drive, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Evernote, etc), and start scanning all your documents and upload them to these sites. You can encrypt documents and set up passcodes to certain folders within these cloud drives. Take a few hours each month to go through past documents and folders and starting uploading! I know that you need some hard copies of things, but this will get rid of most of the bulk.
- Appliance Manuals are another biggie that take up a ton of space and most of them are available online!!
- Buy a good paper shredder. We bought this paper shredder from Amazon and it’s great. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and you can even shred old credit cards with it.
- What about all those takeout menus? Did you know a lot of takeout menus are online now? However, if you still want your hard copy menus, take one of these pocket folders and attach it to the inside of one of your kitchen cabinets with sticky tape or velcro tape. Now they are all in one place but hidden from sight and out of your drawers. Make sure you only have one menu copy each! 🙂
3. Set up a System to Organize Mail
Mail is one of the biggest clutter bugs. And it’s hard to stick to a mail organizing method if it’s inconvenient.
For instance, we used to keep our paper shredder downstairs in the basement and our mail basket was upstairs on the main floor. I would have to start a “shred me” pile and take the pile downstairs each time.
Now, instead of having to run downstairs each time, I keep our paper shredder in the main floor closet. As soon as we get shred mail, I place it immediately in the shred bin. When the bin gets full, I pull it out and start shredding. Then the process starts all over again.
The point is – I made it easy to keep it organized! I don’t have to go out of my way anymore.
After you go paperless, set up a system that works for you to handle the rest.
4. Make a Command Center
Sometimes, you just need a place where you can look at everything quick and keep it all together. Enter – a Command Center!
It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as a bulletin board hung behind a door or on the inside of a closet. (Can you tell I like to keep stuff hidden?)
Keep school papers here, homework calendars, important reminders, etc. It gets it off your counters and it’s much easier to keep everything organized this way.
5. Donate often and Keep A donate box in your Trunk!
Take a box and start filling it with stuff to donate. I learned a little trick about how to decide what to donate. I learned this from Emily Ley. She is a fantastic professional organizer and author.
She tells her followers to repeat this mantra:
“Keep only the best, the favorite and the necessary.”-Emily ley
It’s very similar to the Marie Kondo method of only keeping items that “spark joy.” Which I have also used often!
When you come across an item – ask yourself …
- Is this the best?
- Is this my favorite?
- Is this really necessary?
I actually just used this for deciding whether or not to donate my slow cooker. I have an Instant Pot and I haven’t used my slow cooker in about 6 months. (UPDATE: It’s been donated, I’m in love with my Instant Pot!)
We should really only surround ourselves with things that make us happy.
After filling up your donate box, take it out to your car!
This is the key. Don’t let it sit around in your house somewhere. This simple act makes it much easier to actually get the stuff out the door. When you are out running errands one day, you can drop off the box at a church, shelter or donation center. This is such a help to you and others.
I am constantly finding things to donate so for me it’s a year-round activity. But you could just pick several times a year and commit to decluttering. With each new season, take some time to go through the clothes and determine if anything needs to go. Go through your kitchen stuff during Spring Cleaning. Does your neighborhood host an annual garage sale? Make a point of going through items before then every year so you can take part in the sale.
6. Baskets are your new Best Friend
I am a bit of a basket hoarder. I don’t think you can have too many baskets! We keep one in our living room to hold kids’ toys, one in our family room to hold blankets, there are several in the bedrooms to hold books, etc. They are everywhere!
You can use them to hold stuffed animals, towels and pet toys – even toilet paper! You can find a reason to put a basket in any room. The baskets help rooms to look clean and also give you a place to put stuff when you are done with it.
Home Goods is also a great source of inexpensive baskets.
Don’t forget about the outside too…
We use these storage seats outside and they have been a lifesaver! We used to have one and I ended up buying another because they are watertight and hold so much stuff. They are great for storing all those gardening tools and supplies.
One of these days, I’m going to make a cute cushion seat for the top.
7. Tough tip: Stop Buying
Time for some tough love.
In order to get a handle on clutter – we need to stop buying more clutter.
We don’t need more space, we need less stuff.
Set a rule that if you do buy something, you have to take something out. This is especially true in our closets! Or upcycle the things you already own so you can actually use them instead of adding MORE.
Having a clutter-free home is not only good for you, it’s good for your family too!
I hope these tips give you some new insights and help you.
NEED SOME MORE HELP??
Here are some ideas to help you get started.
59 Things you can get rid of right now
- Old Pots and Pans you never use (ya know, the scratched up gross ones)
- Excess serving dishes, utensils and coffee mugs.
- Excess measuring spoons and cups.
- Water bottles and sippy cups – You don’t need that many! Trust me!
- Expired food and any food you don’t like or won’t use. Look in the pantry, fridge, and freezer.
- Excess oven mitts – you really only need two and some trivets for the table.
- Leftover storage containers without lids or that are damaged/stained beyond repair.
- Excess takeout menus.
- Plastic and paper grocery bags. Try using the reusable ones!
- Old spices.
- Dish towels that ripped, stained and just ugly.
- Excess flower vases. Keep a few or just the ones you actually use!
- Excess magnets.
- Clothes that are stained or ripped or that you haven’t worn in the last year.
- Maternity clothes if you are truly done with those.
- Broken jewelry if you don’t plan on fixing it.
- Excess hangers.
- Coats you never wear.
- Excess hats, scarves, and gloves. Gloves with holes or without a pair.
- Don’t forget about old ties, belts, and purses!
- Socks with holes or missing a pair. Treat yourself to a new pair. 🙂
- Shoes you haven’t worn in the last year.
- Sheets, towels, and blankets you don’t like or won’t use.
- Those tiny little sample bottles or hotel toiletry bottles. Or keep just a couple for travel and guests if you must and get rid of the rest. Trust me – you won’t use any more than two if that.
- Old and moldy bath toys. Keep only the ones your kids actually play with.
- Multiple bottles of half-used or empty shampoos and soaps. Consolidate into one bottle if they are the same or get rid of it.
- Old loofahs and sponges.
- Excess shower curtains. You can wash the one you use.
- Makeup, perfume and nail polish that is old and that you never wear.
- Excess Stuffed animals – keep only the ones your kids really play with.
- Old toys that your kids have outgrown.
- Kids old Artwork and Homework
- Broken crayons, dried out markers and paints.
- Used coloring books.
- Puzzles and games with missing pieces.
- Old baby items you know you won’t ever use again – bottles, pacifiers, baby monitors, baby dishes, baby spoons, unused diapers, etc. Of course, a few of those adorable, memorable outfits and blankets are ok to keep but store them together in a vacuum-sealed container.
- Clothes and shoes they have outgrown.
- Books they have outgrown.
- Old bikes and outdoor toys.
- DVDs you never watch or that you can watch online instead.
- PAPERS: Old notebooks, calendars, magazines, newspapers, expired coupons, junk mail, old and duplicate greeting cards
- CDs you never listen to.
- Old Books you don’t read and that you don’t want to display.
- Old Phones, electronics, and computers
- Old Candles.
- Excess wrapping papers and gift bags – you don’t need that many!
- Dead batteries. Recycle them instead!
- Excess office supplies (do you really need 100 pens and three staplers?)
- Expired medicines, sunscreens, and vitamins.
- Store Loyalty cards.
- Faux flowers and plants you aren’t using.
- Excess holiday decorations.
- Excess or broken gardening supplies and Hyman tools.
- Old and/or gross pet toys, leashes, and bowls. (Exception: a few pet mementos).
- Craft supplies that haven’t been used in years.
- Old, unused decor items and lamps.
- Excess pillows in storage.
- Old cardboard boxes.
- Loose change – keep one jar for all loose change and then periodically cash it in!
I know it can be hard to get started when you feel overwhelmed. The best thing you can do is just start. Look around you right now and just start!
I know you can do it! 🙂
My dog Sasha knows you can do it! I mean, can you say no to this face?
Thanks for reading!