If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of organizing your home, start with some life-changing decluttering ideas first. In this guide, I’ll share my best decluttering tips, so you can breathe easier and finally tackle projects in your home office, kitchen drawer, and anywhere that unwanted items are piling up.
For many people, there is something standing between them and the life they want most: clutter. Clutter in their homes, clutter in their minds, and clutter in their schedules. It can be overwhelming and in truth, suffocating too. There’s no room to breathe or live wholeheartedly.
I’ve been there myself and I know that decluttering can feel like an impossible goal—but rest assured that it’s one worth pursuing. A clutter-free life is one with more time and more energy for the things that bring you true joy.
To help you find your feet, here is a list of decluttering ideas for you to explore. Don’t feel pressured to try them all at once. Instead, take small courageous steps forward. Slow and surely, you’ll find the space that you’ve been looking for.
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Decluttering Ideas for Your Home
Before you hire a professional organizer or feel overwhelmed at the idea of going all Marie Kondo on every room, start small. An easy way to a clutter-free home is to take the first step.
Most people begin the process of simplifying their lives by decluttering their homes, so that’s where I’ll begin this list. Some of these ideas might appear small or seemingly insignificant but don’t write them off. I’ve found that anything that moves you closer to your goals is worth doing.
Identify Storage Space
The best way to begin decluttering is to create boundaries. How much space do you have for the stuff you own? In fact, creating a dedicated storage space for your stuff is the first step to organizing your whole house. If you don’t have room to keep something, get rid of it. This is a great way to take the feelings out of decluttering too. Instead of trying to keep too much stuff, you’ll know how much you can keep.
For example, if you have space under the stairs for seasonal decorations, then don’t go beyond that. Defining the storage space will control the number of items that you keep.
Clear out your handbag or wallet
How much clutter are you carrying around every day? Probably more than you realize. Go through your handbag or your wallet and see how much lighter you feel.
Clean out baskets
Do you have bookshelves with fabric bins or baskets in the corner of your living room that have collected random magazines, toys, or junk? These little storage bins or totes are a small area that seems to fill up with a lot of random stuff. Go through one of them at a time, with some garbage bags next to you. Take small steps to get rid of the broken things, the things you don’t use, and the things that are outdated.
Then, label your storage containers so that you control what you keep inside of them. This will make is so that your hard work lasts longer next time. It will also keep your living space clutter-free for longer!
Let go of something that you’re never going to fix
Do you have an item in your home that you’ve been meaning to repair FOREVER? If so, it might be time for some tough love: commit to a date when you’re actually going to finish the job or pass it on to someone who will.
Tip: I find that Facebook marketplace and buy nothing groups are great ways of passing on free items to people who have the time and skill to repair them.
Go through your underwear drawer
I decluttered my underwear drawer and now I only keep pairs that I love (and confession—I only buy one brand, one style, and mostly all one colour). I know this is a bit random but it’s a little project that added SO much value to my life. I couldn’t help but mention it.
Declutter your hall closet
Have you ever noticed how your hall closet becomes a dump zone for all sorts of random things? This can cause a lot of stress because it makes it hard to find what you need when you’re trying to get out the door.
Let go of home decor
If you feel overwhelmed by your home, a simple way to lighten your space is to declutter home decor—things like knick knacks, picture frames, candles, etc.
Choose a corner or even one shelf, and challenge yourself to let go of a few things. Less stuff means your favourite pieces will have space to shine. You’ll also have less to dust, and who doesn’t want to spend less time cleaning?
Sort a pile of papers
Do you have a stack of papers that keeps getting moved from one spot to the next? Pick it up and take 15 minutes to deal with it. Paper clutter tends to pile up quickly on flat surfaces – like the coffee table – so it’s a great place to start.
The easiest way to do this is to grab a trash bag and sort the papers into two piles – important and trash. Throw the trash away and immediately file the important papers away. It shouldn’t take much time at all.
Get rid of old beauty supplies
Go through your makeup bag or drawer and get rid of anything that’s past its use by date. (Be sure to check what can be recycled before it all goes in the bin!)
One helpful tip—pay close attention to what’s not getting used and ask yourself why. Then use this information to make better purchasing decisions in the future.
Tackle sentimental items (one at a time)
I know that decluttering sentimental items is really hard for most people (myself included). But one thing that has really helped me is the slow and steady method.
Put all your sentimental items in one place and return to them often. Handle a few things and pay attention to your feelings. Has anything shifted? See if you can let go of just one item. Give yourself grace and repeat this process whenever you have the capacity to do so.
Clear out your pantry
It’s OK to keep food for emergencies (and it’s up to you to decide how much is reasonable) but there are also many benefits to a minimalist pantry. You’ll save time and money cooking if you can easily see what’s in stock, and you’ll probably reduce food wastage as well.
Not sure where to begin? Challenge yourself to cook using only what you already have in your pantry once or twice a week. It will help you clear the excess and might also inspire some culinary creativity! Or if you’re not much of a cook (like me) check out my minimalist approach to simple eating.
Declutter your car
Next, take your decluttering session to your car.
This is a great beginner’s project because it’s not as overwhelming as tackling your entire house. Also, a lot of the clutter in cars is actually rubbish—so there’s less emotional attachment to trip you up.
Clean out the junk drawer
The junk drawer is a small space that fills up quickly with both everyday items and excess stuff. To do this, dump the entire junk drawer out on your kitchen table. Then, throw away everything that’s broken or unusable. Next, make a pile of things you haven’t used in the last 6 months. Store those things somewhere else. Now you should have narrowed your stuff down to a manageable level.
Decluttering Ideas for Your Mind
Mental clutter can come in many forms, such as unrealistic expectations (of ourselves and others), constant worry about unfinished tasks, and information overload. We can’t see it, but it’s arguably the most debilitating type of clutter, which means it’s important to work on.
Create a personal inbox
Here’s a simple hack that will help you declutter your mind: create a personal inbox. This is one central place where you can record everything that comes to mind, such as books you want to read, calls you need to make, things you need to buy, etc. (This is separate from your email inbox.)
I recommend using a small notebook or a note-taking app on your phone, so you can easily access this file at all times. Jot down your ideas to get them out of your mind and then, set aside time once or twice a day to review, edit, and organise your list. (This follow through step is important—if you don’t create the daily habit of checking your list, your mind won’t allow you to let go.)
This tip is inspired by the book Getting Things Done by David Allen, which I highly recommend.
Edit your social media feeds
A lot of mental clutter comes from continually comparing yourself to other people, especially on social media. If you struggle to keep up with the (virtual) Joneses, declutter your feed by hitting the “unfollow” button.
Forgive yourself for making a mistake
When you’ve made a mistake, it can be hard to let go. Your mind can get stuck in an endless loop of things that you wish you’d done differently. It feels mentally draining, and it can be hard to focus on anything else.
It feels mentally draining, and it can be hard to focus on anything else. It feels mentally draining, and it can be hard to focus on anything else.
It’s not always easy, but forgiving yourself is the key to moving forward. Practice self-kindness and talk to yourself like you would a dear friend. Learn what you can from whatever happened, make amends (if it makes sense to do so) and then give yourself permission to move on with your life.
If you struggle with self-forgiveness, one of these mindful journal prompts might help.
Delete apps from your phone
Our phones are arguably one of the greatest causes of mental clutter. One simple way we can start to break the twitch is by deleting selective apps off our phones. It’s a small step towards creating healthier digital habits.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
We all have times when (despite our best efforts) the little things get under our skin and cause unnecessary stress. Here are some tips that may thelp you let go:
- 4 Ways to Stop Letting the Little Things Bother You
- 5 Steps to Letting Go of Expectations
- How to Live In The Present (4 Simple Mindfulness Tips)
And don’t forget, there’s no shame in seeking professional help if you need it.
Give your email inbox a refresh
If you feel overwhelmed by emails, why not gift yourself a fresh slate by trying this helpful hack?
Embrace imperfection as a parent/friend/sibling
So many of us feel like we’re letting our family members down. Is that you?
Do you ever beat yourself up for not being a “perfect” mum? (Or substitute any other role in your life.) If so, here is a tip that will help you release the weight of your expectations.
Get out a pen and paper, and write down three things (and only three!) that define what success looks like for you as a mum (or whatever identity you’re struggling with). Then, next time you feel like you’re not doing enough, refer back to this list and judge yourself by your own standards—and not some illusion of perfection.
Decluttering Ideas for Your Schedule
Your time is valuable so don’t waste it away on thing that don’t matter. Declutter your scheule and create space for your most important projects—or to simply put up your feet and watch the world go by.
Cancel a social commitment that you’re not looking forward to
We often put so much pressure on ourselves to show up to social events, and we worry that we’ll be letting others down by saying no. But here’s the thing: our real friends want us to show up as our best, most vibrant self. If you need time to rest or recharge, the people who love you will understand.
Or perhaps they won’t. Ultimately, we can’t control what other people expect of us but we can choose to set strong boundaries. It’s OK to put yourself first when you need it.
Ask for help
I know this isn’t possible for everyone but when you can, ask for help (either free or paid). It might take courage, but so does most things worth doing. One of the most fun ways to do this is to work together with friends or family members and agree to do a garage sale together. Then, you can help each other clean out your kitchen cabinets (or whatever needs to be cleaned) and make money together at the same time.
Create space between regular tasks
You can declutter your schedule (and make time for yourself) by extending the time between regular tasks. For example, are there any daily chores or tasks that you could do every other day instead? Experiment with doing things less often and you might be surprised by what you discover.
Stop talking about being busy
We live in a world where being busy is normal or sometimes even celebrated, and talking about it all the time only reinforces this. We are creating a reality that doesn’t reflect our desires—so be intentional about changing it.
Related Post: Doing Less + A Lesson in Self-Worth
Edit your to-do list
Be ruthless with your to-do list by asking these three questions:
- Who am I doing this for?
- What would happen if I didn’t do this?
- What will I have to give up in order to get this done?
Schedule time to rest
If you want to create space in your day for rest, then you must make it a priority in life. Block off down time in your calendar, and then honour that appointment (just like you would an appointment with someone you respect).
Decluttering Strategies To Help You
As a former shopaholic and workaholic, I know that decluttering is hard. The stuff we own and the things we do are often a reflection of our beliefs about ourselves, which means that letting go is rarely as simple as we expect it to be.
If you can relate, I encourage you to download a copy of Mindful Decluttering, my free decluttering guide and workbook. Simply enter your details below for instant access (plus you’ll also get my regular newsletter with special offers and helpful tips).
In addition, you might find the following posts helpful:
- Where to Start Decluttering Your Home (5 Quick + Easy Ideas)
- 7 Secrets For A Decluttered Home (That Might Surprise You!)
- What To Do When You’re Overwhelmed By Clutter
- How to Declutter When You Regret Spending Money
What decluttering projects have made the biggest impact in your life? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!