Simple Decluttering


Clearing your home of clutter doesn’t have to be complicated.

Too often I think I need to set aside a chunk of time, like an afternoon or an entire day, to declutter. And, I’m guessing, you also think decluttering is complicated and takes time devoted specifically to the task.

Last week, I decided to do a little experiment with simple decluttering, taking on a ‘declutter as you go’ mindset. Starting on Monday, I designated a space on a table to put things I came across that day that we don’t need while I was cleaning, tidying and looking through closets and cabinets.

With little time devoted specifically to decluttering, I was able to find things we didn’t need and by the end of the week had around 50 items that were leaving our home.

The results of the week:

Day 1Day 1 – Around 25 items including  2 old cell phones to donate, a throw and pillow, a pitcher without a lid, a few random items, a stack of DVDs to return to my aunt and exercise tapes that are on VHS (and we don’t own a VCR!)

Day 2

Day 2- During the boys rest time, I looked through the closet containing craft supplies. In the 10 minutes or so that I browsed that closet I found 9 items including 2 pillow forms, 2 paintbrushes, an old t-shirt (I saved to upcycle but I haven’t done anything with it in over a year so it’s time to go), 2 old coloring books and scrapbook paper.

Day 3

Day 3 – I was gone all morning and early afternoon on this day so there wasn’t much time at home for decluttering. While I was putting away the boys clothes, I found 6 things to go – 4 burp clothes, a pair of outgrown pajamas and a shirt that has never been worn.

Day 4

Day 4 – I looked through the bathroom cabinets while cleaning the bathroom and found 2 lotions that we don’t use and a bug repellent containing DEET that will not be used. I also went through my drawers while putting away laundry and found a shirt, a hair ribbon, an old watch and earrings that I never wear. The total of this day was 7 items.

Day 5Day 5 – While packing to go out of town for the weekend, I found a swimsuit cover and t-shirt of mine I no longer needed and a hoodie that Weston has outgrown. I also found another container to put Paxton’s trains and train tracks in, eliminating the need for the basket they were stored in that the boys had torn apart! And, while rearranging a few dishes in the kitchen to make room for our dutch oven, I pulled out 2 cake pans that I’ve used maybe once in the past 7 years! Bringing the total of stuff for day 5 to 6 items.

Totaling the number of items for the week was surprising, 50 items gone with very little effort! I am definitely going to adopt the ‘declutter as you go’ mindset which should reduce, if not eliminate, the need for setting aside large chunks of time just to declutter.

Simple ways to declutter:

  • Challenge yourself like I did for the next 5 to 7 days and see what you can get rid of each day. 
  • Put a box in a designated spot and challenge yourself to fill it up over the next few days with unneeded stuff.
  • Decide to find one thing a day for the next 30 days. This is a simple challenge that results in 30 things leaving your home (and often more because some days you’ll find more than 1 thing that can go!)
  • Adopt the ‘declutter as you go’ mindset. As you come across things and you think ‘I never use that’ just pull it out and put it in a donate box instead of waiting for the next big clean out.

Clearing your home of clutter really is not complicated. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to find things that are no longer useful to you.

How do you declutter? Do you think you have to wait for those big clean-outs or do you take the ‘as you go’ approach? 

responses to “Simple Decluttering” 6

  1. I do a little of both – it depends on my mood from month to month! Lately I have been feeling "claustrophobic" again in our little apartment and I have been doing some heavy decluttering again. I have several bags already in the van awaiting drop-off as well as a few in the house still!

    I find it easier to do big declutters as I find time/energy so I can get rid of it all in one big trip. Often times the smaller piles (always in boxes mind you!) tend to nag at me. That also can work to my advantage though – I will be motivated to find enough to warrant a drop-off!

    I think I do my big declutters and then keep a box for daily stuff I run into and then I do another big declutter and so on. It's a cycle around here but I always feel so good after I take a big load to donate!

    1. I typically do a 'big' declutter once every month or two. Like you, I know it's time when I'm feeling claustrophobic! Once I clear the house of a box or two of stuff, I feel like I can breathe in my home again! And, it does always feel good after donating.

  2. I love this post! I keep a box in my upstairs hallway that I add to whenever I find something to get rid of. My problem is hanging onto pregnancy/larger clothes and baby gear/clothes knowing we will have another baby in the future. I feel like every nook and crany is packed with stuff that we are saving. I have reduced clothing to one box per year of age but having a girl and a boy already means I have a lot of boxes!

    1. That's a great idea – having an ongoing box of stuff you no longer want/need. The maternity/baby clothes and accessories is a hard one. If Paxton's outgrown clothes are stained or were worn infrequently, they go. With Weston's clothing (since he's our current baby and we don't know if/when we'll have another and if we do, it may not be another boy) I'm pretty ruthless, only keeping my absolute favorites. I currently have a large-ish tote containing newborn to 12 month clothing, 2 pair of soft soled shoes, my Baby K'Tan carrier and a few other odd and end baby things. One thing to help cut down with the gear clutter is to loan it out. Currently friends are borrowing my Baby K'Tan Breeze carrier, a bouncy/rocker and our Bumbo. I'm not having to store them and they're getting used by people who didn't have to spend the money purchasing their own! We've tried to loan out our infant car seat but so far everybody we've offered it to wants to own their own (even though it's a nice Chicco seat that looks brand new and still has 2 years before it expires!) We're holding on to it because we're hoping to have another baby before it expires but after that it's going and if we happen to have a 4th, we'll be asking to borrow an infant car seat or just skipping it all together and starting with a convertible!

  3. Rachel, do you prefer to donate your items or have a yard sale? Sometimes where we live(not in a subdivision) it is not worth having a yard sale.

  4. Amazing post!!! De-cluttering is an essential for house to give a clean and fresh look to your house. I think summer is the best time to do this task. You have shared inspirational and useful ideas for complete this task in an effective way. I like day 1 and day 2 planning and simple ways which are useful for de-cluttering process. Thanks for making this post useful and informative.

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