By now you know, a neat house is the name of my game – clutter gives me the crazies! Today, I’m sharing actionable tips on how to declutter your home.
Decluttering is one of my favorite pastimes. While I want to be a professional organizer in another life, I will settle for episodes of the Home Edit for now(Yes I was one of those kids who enjoyed cleaning her friends’ rooms!) But I love to write about it!
Whether it’s organized kitchen cabinets, taming the kids’ toys in bins, or managing the paper trail that comes in daily, keeping the KERF home clutter-free is a must-do for my sanity.
While I appreciate sentimental items and treasure Mazen’s first drawings, I’ve nailed down a system for each family member that keeps our spaces clean and clear of clutter.
What is clutter?
A collection of things lying about in an untidy mass. Anything your eye rests on and isn’t happy with!
Clutter doesn’t have to mean “things not where they belong” but your actual decor could be considered cluttered too. Having a calming color palette can help your eye feel more calm too.
Benefits Of Decluttering Your Home
Aside from not tripping over Legos?!
Seeing as though I work from home and the whole family has been spending much more time at home overall in 2020, maintaining a clutter-free living space is crucial for reducing my stress and creating a sense of ease and peace. I know we could all use a little more of that this year!
Also, as a work from home mom, having a workspace that’s busy or messy is quite distracting for me. I need a clear, clean workspace in order to write posts like these. I can’t seem to start my workday if the kitchen is messy. My brain literally can’t focus.
The less you own, the less you have to tidy, so the first step is always to minimize.
Systems are key to maintaining a sense of order
Once you have system in place, it’s easier to maintain and contain for the long term. Systems are everything!!! Ask yourself HOW and WHY things are where they are and then solve the problem with a solution. Sometimes you do have to think outside of the box!
My home gets “cluttered” throughout the day, but by evening it takes me 10-20 minutes to put everything back where it belongs.
Clutter problems occur when you don’t have a spot to put something.
I am often brainstorming better, smarter systems in which to organize everyday items like shoes, dog gear, Mazen’s toys, kitchen items, your medicine cabinet, and more.
How To Declutter Your Home
1. Manage The Paper Trail
One of the most critical things to do to decrease clutter in your home is to mitigate what comes through the front door. Between daily mail, packages, kids’ school projects, etc. we receive quite a lot of paper goods on the regular.
My paper system takes care of this. A few minutes per day “triaging” piles of paper can eliminate those daunting (and ugly) stacks of paper and missing bills. Don’t even let it through your door!
Check out this blog post with tips for paper sorting and management.
2. 10-Minute Pick-Ups
Carve out 10 minutes each morning and each evening to picking up a room in your house. Whether that’s tidying up your home office before bed or the kids playroom before they wake up, dedicating a few minutes in your daily routine is really all you need to keep things under control.
3. Less Is More
If you’re thinking “I don’t know where to begin” or “…but my living space is small”, trust me – less is more. While I wouldn’t say I have a super minimalist style (our home is quite cozy!), too many items will always feel cluttered.
If doing it all in one day is too overwhelming, I challenge you to get rid of one item per day for an entire month.
Whether that’s a random kitchen tool you never use, an old sweater you haven’t worn in two years, or a stack of magazines that’s collecting dust on your coffee table – let it go!
4. Clean Sweep The Kids’ Areas
I get it, as a mom of two young boys, it seems as though our home is 60% toys. From the living room to the laundry room, basement and dining room table, toy trucks and puzzles pop up everywhere. It’s never 100% clutter free. BUT, making sure every toy has a storage bin and the kids know where those are has kept our entire house from turning into a toy zone. Having dedicated play zones can minimize toys from taking over the house.
Check out this post all about our favorite playroom storage bins.
5. Keep, Trash, Store, Donate Method
Tackle messy closets in an hour or less with the four box method. Grab four cardboard boxes or trash bags and label them: KEEP, TRASH, STORE, DONATE. This can work for any room in your home, but I know storage space is often a clutter magnet.
Take EVERYTHING out of your closets/drawers/spaces and put back only what you want to keep instead of just pulling random items out to remove. If you are a little nervous to donate or trash things, store them in a temporary spot for a few weeks and see if you miss them. Then give them away.
6. Organization Essentials
Baskets, bins, boxes, drawer organizers, shelves.
I don’t believe in buying anything that doesn’t have a spot already in your home EXCEPT storage containers! You can never have too many. I also love to move them around and repurpose, like using my old Birchboxes for kids’ markers or drawer dividers.
Here are some good ones if you’re looking to purchase some smart solutions:
Woven basket | Clear plastic bin | White stackable bins | Shelf risers | Drawer dividers | Woven Rope Baskets | Cube Organizers | Wire Baskets |
Louise RD says
Great post. You’ve inspired me to get going on my closets. As always, thanks for the great tips!
Kelly A Haag says
Glad I’m not the only person who had fun reorganizing her friends’ rooms as a kid!
Kath Younger says
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says
Thanks for the guide! You’ve inspired me to clean up my home a little! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I LOVE de-cluttering! Paradoxically, the mantra of “Abundance” has helped me really let go of things and pare down. I’m a member of my local Buy Nothing group and being able to gift/donate/lend things directly to my neighbors who are excited to have them has been a total game changer! And when we need something, like the next size up for my son’s clothes, chances are one of my neighbors has that gift for us too. We live in such an abundant and rich country, there is simply no reason to keep things “just in case.” They will be nearby if the need arises in the future and in the meantime, I can enjoy my clean and de-cluttered home 🙂
Kath Younger says
1,000% agree with you! I love being able to brighten someone’s day with something that just doesn’t fit right or that I have replaced.
Alycia Marchant says
I love love love my local but nothing group! Such a game changer!
Kath-would you mind sharing where your dinner wear is from? Those salad bowls look exactly like what I’ve been looking for!
Kath Younger says
The shallower bowls are the are the Classic Coupe bowl from Pottery Barn. The ones on the bottom right are these. (Mine are like 15 years old so they might be slightly different!)
Alycia Marchant says
Thank you!! The coupe bowls are perfect!
Hillary Gras says
Have you ever listed to the podcast “a slob comeos clean”? It’s by Dana K White and she talks all about “the five minute pickup” and the “container method.” Great tips
Kath Younger says
I haven’t!! Sounds like something I’d love though 🙂
Cheryl Lemily says
I don’t like messy rooms, so I clean my house every day, but it is very time-consuming for working women like me. So thank you so much for sharing this great content. It is very useful to me. Keep sharing more!
Great ideas, Kath and I love all the storage solutions!