Did you know that clutter can cause anxiety? If you’ve been feeling extra stressed lately, your messy home isn’t helping.
Decluttering is stressful too, however. It seems like a gargantuan task if you don’t know how to declutter your home. How do you even get started?
We’re here to offer some quick advice that can help you get the ball rolling. Whether you’re decluttering for yourself or you’re getting ready to sell your home, read on for our “how do you declutter” checklist.
“Declutter Your Home” Checklist Supplies
- Gather supplies first
- Use multiple large labeled containers
- Use what you have at home
- Consider a timer
The decluttering process is going to start with gathering supplies. The last thing you want is to be halfway through decluttering a room just to realize that you don’t have something you need. This will make you lose focus and thus, make the process take even longer.
Your specific supplies will vary depending on how large your space is, how many items you have at home and the resources that you have available to you.
You don’t have to go out of your way to buy new boxes or bags. Use what you have.
You’re going to need several containers. Because you’re going to declutter room-by-room, you can just keep one set if you’re able to empty the containers between rooms, but it might be best to have a set for every room if you’re able to do so.
Large boxes or bags work best for this. Bags are best for items that are going to go into the trash or are going to be donated. Boxes are good for items that you plan on keeping, but you can use either boxes or bags for any items.
You’re going to label your containers with:
- Throw away
- Repair or repurpose
- Wrong room
If you know that you have things that may fit into a unique category, feel free to add another container.
We also recommend using a timer, especially if you have a hard time staying focused. This will allow you to take breaks and give yourself challenges that can keep you motivated.
Basic Decluttering Tips
- Break it into chunks
- Smaller is better
- Don’t leave your designated decluttering area
- Gamify the decluttering process
- Enlist help
Decluttering is overwhelming, but if you break it down into chunks and stay committed to the process, you’ll be able to make quick work of even the messiest space.
First, we recommend targeting a specific area to declutter. If your rooms are quite small, you could do an entire room. With this in mind, it’s better to focus on an even smaller space, such as a closet or even a messy shelf.
This way, you don’t lose focus or motivation. When you try to go room-by-room or cover the entire home all at once, it’s difficult to see progress. When you combat a small area, you’ll see the results, and you should feel better about continuing the project.
This is why the “wrong room” container is so important. When you find something that belongs somewhere else, don’t waste time by placing it elsewhere. Put it in the “wrong room” box so you can keep decluttering distraction-free.
Alternatively, you can declutter by category. Start with books, for example.
Try to turn decluttering into a game. Set the timer for a set amount of time and challenge yourself to declutter a specific area before the timer goes off. Give yourself a reward if you beat the timer (but make sure it isn’t too distracting).
If possible, enlist help. It will be more fun to work with other people, and it will prevent you from wasting too much time or energy on sentimental items. Other people will be able to be objective.
Finally, consider using the Marie Kondo Konmari method. If it isn’t useful and it doesn’t bring you joy, it’s time to let it go. It seems simplistic, but this method was popularized for a reason.
Bathroom Declutter Checklist
- Throw out empty or expired toiletries and products
- Wipe down the counters and drawers once they’re decluttered
- Use labels to create designated spaces to prevent mess
- Try DIY bathroom storage solutions
You can start decluttering anywhere, but for the purpose of this article, we’re starting in the bathroom. It’s often the simplest room to declutter, and it’s easy to get it out of the way and feel like you’ve made serious progress.
Start with anything that absolutely does not belong. Consider bringing in a hamper for things like dirty clothes or towels that are taking up space. You want to get them out of the way as soon as possible.
The counter likely looks overwhelming, especially if you have plenty of beauty products. Go through all of them and throw out anything that you either don’t use, that’s empty, or that’s past its expiration date. Do the same for the products in your bath or shower.
Open up your drawers, cabinets, and medicine cabinets. Get rid of any medications or ointments that are no longer usable. Look for empty bottles.
Wipe down the counters, drawers, and cabinets with a microfiber cloth.
We recommend allocating specific spaces for all of your bathroom items (consider using labels if you have a hard time keeping a tidy space). Put everything back in its designated space.
Bonus tip: This is a great time to try some DIY bathroom storage solutions, so your area doesn’t get cluttered as quickly in the future.
Kitchen Declutter Checklist
- Split it into sections (don’t worry, we did it for you!)
- Remove everything from the refrigerator and pantry first
- Clean your refrigerator and pantry before replacing items
- Get rid of anything out-of-date
- Donate your unused non-perishables
- Label leftovers for easy future decluttering
- Try a “one in, one out” policy
Decluttering the kitchen is more in-depth. Many people find cleaning the kitchen scary, but you can’t avoid it forever. As long as you stick with it and avoid distractions, it should go by quickly.
The best thing about decluttering the kitchen is that it quickly clarifies what items you should and should not keep. There are very few “sentimental” items that you’ll need to declutter in there.
Let’s break it down into sections for this kitchen portion of your “declutter home checklist.”
Decluttering the Fridge
While this article isn’t about cleaning, keep in mind that you should take the opportunity to clean your refrigerator after you take out everything inside of it. This doesn’t happen often, so take advantage of it.
We recommend turning off the refrigerator while you do this, but if you work quickly, that won’t be necessary.
Remove everything from your fridge and freezer. Everything that’s past its use-by date or that doesn’t pass the smell test should go right into the “throw-away” bag.
If there are leftovers that you don’t remember, we recommend tossing them.
Check all condiment containers to make sure that they’re still full. If you have multiples of certain condiments, either throw one away or combine the containers. If you choose to keep both, make sure that you make the older one more visible in the fridge when you put everything back, so you’re more likely to use it.
Wipe down the walls and shelves before you put all of the items back in the fridge.
Bonus tip: start labeling your leftovers, so you always know when something is too old to eat. This will save you time in the future.
Decluttering the Pantry
When you declutter the pantry, you’re going to start off the same as you did when you were decluttering the refrigerator and freezer. You’re going to remove everything and place it on the counter.
The pantry gives you the opportunity to donate certain foods instead of just throwing them away. While you should still throw away everything that’s out-of-date, shelf-stable nonperishables that you don’t plan on using should go into the “donation” container to take to local food banks or put into local food pantries.
When you’ve rid yourself of the things you no longer need, start organizing. This will make it less likely that you end up with more overwhelming clutter in the future (and it will make your pantry look nicer and make it easier for you to find your food).
Before you put things back into the pantry, wipe down the shelves and walls.
Decluttering Kitchen Essentials
This is where things get tricky. While food is easy to declutter (either it’s edible or it isn’t), other kitchen essentials pose more problems.
Remove all of your utensils, pots and pans, storage containers, small appliances, and everything else that’s in your kitchen that isn’t either edible or a fixed appliance.
Bring out your trusty containers. You’re going to need them.
Look for items that are broken and get rid of those first. Those pans you never use because the non-stick coating has worn off? That’s right, it’s time for them to go into the “throw-away” container.
Then, look for items that you have unnecessary duplicates of or that you’d like to get new versions of. For example, if you have a perfectly good can opener but you’re ready for a new one, get rid of the one you have and donate it.
This is a good time to implement a “one in, one out” policy for yourself. When you want to buy a new plate or mug, get rid of one you already own to avoid getting more clutter in your home.
Closet Decluttering Checklist
- Track your clothing
- Avoid getting sentimental. If it doesn’t fit, it goes
- Consider repairing or repurposing old clothing
- Donate sentimental items like prom dresses and baby clothes
For the most part, this is going to refer to standard bedroom or coat closets that mostly contain clothing and personal belongings. Using the same general principles, you can expand this to include children’s closets that include toys.
Before you start decluttering, we recommend trying to make a habit of tracking the clothes that you (or your family member) wear. Try placing hangers in the closet backward after putting recently-worn outfits on them. This way, you’ll be able to identify clothes that you no longer need.
When it comes time to declutter, go through every item in the closet and have an honest talk with yourself about whether or not you’re actually going to wear it again. If it’s too small or too large, it’s best to donate it rather than waiting to be that size again.
Items with tears or stains can go either into the “trash” or “repair and repurpose” containers. If you’re someone who likes to sew or turn old clothes into rags, you may be better off recycling.
Items in good condition that you no longer need should go into the “donate” container.
If you find yourself getting too sentimental about the clothing you know that you’ll never wear again, try to imagine how much good it can do for someone else. For example, if you have an old prom dress, find a local group that donates prom dresses to teenagers who can’t afford them.
Bedroom Declutter Checklist
- Invest in under-the-bed storage methods
- Keep a hamper in every bedroom
- Throw away old school or work assignments (and keep up with it)
- Invest in new storage solutions
The closet is the biggest part of your bedroom decluttering session, so once that’s out of the way, the rest is easy.
We recommend investing in some storage containers that fit under your bed. Use them to house some of the items that are cluttering up your space but that you can’t get rid of (such as linens or favorite sentimental belongings).
Put a hamper in the bedroom if there isn’t one already. Keep all blankets and clothes off of the floor and put them in the hamper when they’re ready to be washed.
Take a look through your desks and drawers. Look for old things that you no longer need, like old school and work assignments. Throw them away or donate things that other people may want.
Take this time to invest in shelves and other storage solutions. Again, you want to make sure that everything has a place. When something no longer has a place, you know that it’s time to get rid of it.
Living Space Declutter Checklist
- Alternative storage solutions are your friend
- Put cords in a central location
- Have a designated “stuff bin” for toys, blankets, and other living space items
So what about the rest of your living space? This will include your living room, your home office, or any other room that doesn’t fit into one of the previous categories.
Make sure that you have plenty of storage solutions. You should never give yourself the opportunity to stack things in piles. If you have places for things to go, you won’t end up with clutter.
Gather all of the cords for electronics and place them in an easy-to-find container. It’s best to keep this near your home’s entertainment center.
Put items that belong in the living room but often get messy into a designated bin. We recommend multi-use ottomans that open up into helpful storage containers. They can store toys and linens with ease.
That’s How to Declutter Your Home
Decluttering is a lot of work, but once you know how to declutter your home, it goes by quicker than you’d think. This “declutter house” checklist can be finished in a single weekend if you’re diligent (especially if you ask your friends for help).
Tidy up your space and send all of that clutter packing.
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