Because there’s nothing like throwing a bunch of things away to release stress and send you into that zen state you crave when chaos is swirling around you. For whatever reason, all your cares seem to float away as soon as all that stuff hits the trash or donation bin.
So roll up your sleeves and get ready: You’re about to feel 10 pounds lighter! (How’s that for a miracle diet?)
Table of contents:
What Prevents People from Decluttering?
Wait—if decluttering is so great, what stops so many people from doing it? The first hurdle is time and energy. No matter how you spin it, decluttering a whole house requires you to spend at least a day or two dedicated to the task. And even if you do have the time, gathering up the motivation can be a challenge. Why waste the mental energy when Netflix is always there for you?
Another hurdle is knowing how to declutter in the first place. A nest of pens and paperwork here, a drawer crammed full of socks and sundry mysteries there. Where to begin? What do you do with everything once you’ve decluttered? How do you ensure it doesn’t get re-cluttered 24 hours from now?
How to Declutter
Fortunately, a decluttering checklist and a few pro tips are all you need to get the job done right. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction:
Don’t leave a room until you’re finished decluttering.
Designate three bins: one bin for putting the items you’re throwing away, one bin for the items you want to donate, and one bin for items that need to be fixed.
Label items to ensure they stay put in the correct spot.
Buy storage containers to corral your belongings.
Store items upward (think shelves, hooks, and hanging bins). If you’re short on square footage, there’s nothing like vertical storage to maximize the space you have.
Put seasonal items out of sight when you’re not using them.
Regularly clear out drawers and countertops to keep the clutter from piling up again.
Decluttering is all the rage these days, as professional organizers rise to stardom with book deals and Netflix series. So which method will you choose? Here are a few popular options:
KonMari: Marie Kondo is the modern pioneer of the decluttering movement, detailing her unique style in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Her decluttering technique involves saving only what brings you joy—and getting rid of the rest
Minimalist Game: Self-declared minimalists Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn popularized this fun method, in which the number of things you declutter depends on the date. You’ll get rid of one thing on the first of the month, two things on the second day of the month, 15 things on the 15th of the month, etc.
Four Boxes: This is one of our favorite methods because of its simplicity: Get boxes for donating, selling, throwing out, or moving to another area. Then go around the house and put items in one of the four categories.
20-Minute Method: Overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering? If you can spare 20 minutes, you have the time. Break the task into 20-minute segments and see how long it takes to tackle the job.
You’ve got the tips and you’ve got the different methods, so it’s time to get to it. Check out our decluttering-your-home checklist to clear your space, exhale, and enjoy that “ah” feeling for months to come.
The Ultimate Decluttering-Your-Home Checklist
All right—there’s no time to waste when decluttering is on the brain, so let’s get this show on the road. Whether you tackle the job all in one weekend or spend several months making it happen, it’s best to take on one room at a time.
We’ve broken down our guide into a decluttering room-by-room checklist, ensuring no useless spatula or broken remote is left behind.
Living Room/Family Room
The living room is your space for entertaining, so it’s a tricky spot to maintain. How do you make the room livable, comfortable, and presentable for guests?
Head to the bookcases, console, or side tables to start your journey to serenity. Basically, any surface is going to collect junk and dust bunnies eventually, so clearing off these spots will send you in the right direction.
Move onto drawers next, relocating items to their proper homes.
Put remotes and devices all together in one bin.
Store toys in a decorative basket.
Figure out a system for organizing books and magazines.
Your kitchen is the heart of the home, meaning just about everything goes down in this room. Here’s how to manage it all.
Get the kitchen organized by creating zones for every purpose your kitchen serves.
If the kids do homework at the kitchen table, create a school supply zone for easy accessibility.
If you often host guests for dinner, add a shelf for your finest dinnerware.
If you’re a master chef, you’ll obviously want a great storage system for all of your cooking gear. Also, if you see that Gordon Ramsay, we’d love an invite to dinner.
Move clutter off of countertops and only leave what you’ll be using on an everyday basis. Find a new home for other items so they don’t take up unnecessary space.
Create a “junk drawer” for any items that don’t have a home. Throw random items in this drawer when you’re cleaning throughout the week, then commit to cleaning it out every weekend.
The bathroom often goes neglected when it comes to decluttering. But tackling an organization project in the bathroom will lower the stress in your life whenever you’re getting ready for the day, reaching for medicine, or searching for cleaning supplies.
Organize the medicine cabinet, throwing out expired products and moving out anything you don’t use regularly.
Store the most used items at eye level so they’re easy to reach.
Take everything out of drawers and toss out anything you don’t want to keep. Use a liner to protect the bottom of the drawer, then place acrylic storage containers inside to corral toiletries, skincare, and hair products.
If you don’t already have one, get a shower caddy to organize soaps and shampoos.
Your bedroom is also the spot you unwind and get your precious ZZZs—so treat it right! Take it slow and steady and soon your bedroom will be the oasis it’s meant to be.
Make your bed and move the clutter off the floor before you take any more steps—it’s best to start with a clean space!
Take everything out of your nightstand and get rid of anything that shouldn’t be there. As a rule, you should only store items you use at night in this area (like face creams and your nighttime reading). Anything else should find a new home.
Reorganize dressers. Use drawer compartments to better organize socks, underwear, and smaller items.
Donate clothes you don’t wear anymore. (Come on, be realistic. Are you really going to find a reason to wear your prom dress again?)
Organize your closet using a color-coded, seasonal system. Clothes and accessories that are out of season can be stored under the bed or in the garage.
Desperate to fall in love with doing laundry? We might not go that far, but we do have some tips to make the experience a whole lot more enjoyable.
Consolidate your detergents, fabric softeners, etc. How many do you really need?
Clear out cupboards and create a space for all necessary laundry supplies.
Designate a space for dirty laundry, clean laundry, and folded laundry.
Add shelving or over-the-door storage as needed.
Closets may be intimidating when it comes to Operation: Declutter. But we all know the garage is the REAL beast. Here’s how to get the job done with minimal distress.
Commit to a full day for this project—expectations are everything!
Set up sorting piles for things you want to keep, give away, sell, or throw out.
Start with shelving units and go to town. Be merciless! If you haven’t used it in a year or more, you won’t miss it.
Organize items according to category and frequency of use. For example, items you don’t use much can be stored in hard-to-reach places, while frequently used items should be easily accessible.
Set up wall storage, cubes, hooks—anything to make it easier to maintain your newly organized garage.
Well aren’t you fancy? Not every homeowner is lucky enough to have a storage room, but the ones who are get the luxury of decluttering this space.
Start with the areas that will have the biggest effect on your everyday life. That far-away corner of holiday decor? Don’t worry about that when you’re starting out.
As with the garage, you’ll want to organize storage items into piles of things to keep, give away, or throw out.
Skip any boxes that are already organized—the kind where you know you want to keep everything inside.
Evaluate your storage solution needs, then buy the right supplies to finish the job.
Whether you’re using this area as an office, guest room, or game room, a little decluttering can go a long way to make the space more useful.
Decide on the main purpose for the room. This will guide your efforts throughout the decluttering process.
Tackle the cabinets first. Get rid of anything you don’t use.
Consider tossing out game boxes and storing the contents in reusable bags or folders instead.
Get office supply storage to organize pens, staplers, paper, etc.
Tackle the mess of cords using gear ties, cable stations, or a discreet wooden box.
Admit it—your coat closet is a little scary. Out of sight, out of mind. But when you’re in the decluttering mindset, you too can face the darkness of your coat closet. Soon it will be a space you can actually use, not just avoid.
Decide how you want to use your coat closet. After all, if you live in a warm climate, you may not have many coats to store.
Keep only the items that serve the purpose you’ve decided on. Remember, your coat closet can serve multiple purposes, e.g., a storage spot for blankets and a place to store extra cleaning supplies or board games.
Make sure you have enough hangers for all coats. Organize by color and by family member.
Put any unwanted coats and belongings into the donate pile.
Be sure to vacuum out the bottom of the closet before you put everything back.
If there’s any room that’s truly a feat to declutter, it’s the attic. But take a deep breath, because this. is. happening. Imagine the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when all is said and done!
Start by sorting. Your bins for trash, donation, and mending will come in super handy here.
Toss out the junk—you’ll be glad to have less stuff taking up space before you start the organization process.
Consider taking some items to a storage unit, or give away collectibles and heirlooms to someone who might appreciate them more—or at least someone who won’t just shove them in an attic.
Use bins and shelving to organize items by category, such as Christmas decorations, memorabilia, out-of-season clothing, etc.
Now Get to Work!
We’ve trained you well, soldier. It’s your time to shine. Use our decluttering checklist to get to work, and you’ll be thanking yourself for months to come. Flow Wall has all the goods you need to declutter with ease.
Check out our starter kit, deluxe Flow Wall kit, or jumbo kit to transform your garage, storage room, or any other area into the most organized spot in the house. We’re here for you! Shop our storage products today.