When we declutter, we feel more organized and in control of our lives. We clear out old, stagnant energy and create space – physically and emotionally. It feels good to go through your things and make a pile of what you no longer need.
Minimalism, with its foundation rooted in living with only what we need, has it right in this sense – by cleansing our space of the inevitable clutter that builds up over time, we cleanse our mental, emotional, and psychological space too.
Last night, something came over me and at 9pm, I started cleaning everything. Cleaning led to organizing, and organizing led to big piles of throw away, give away, donate, and keep. By midnight, my closet and drawers felt more open, my bathroom had new shelf space I never knew possible, and my kitchen looked a whole new level of clean.
Cleaning led to organizing, and organizing led to big piles of throw away, give away, donate, and keep.
I went to bed late, but feeling so satisfied with the work I’d done. I woke up early the next morning feeling energized, renewed, and motivated to take on the day. What a difference a few hours of organizing and getting rid of things can make!
How to Start the Decluttering Process and Take Control of Your Life
Decluttering the junk we don’t need creates space for what we do need, and we could always use a little more of that level of clarity. But where do you start?
When we declutter, we feel more organized and in control of our lives.
Start by thinking about a few key areas of your house that could use a little purging. Often times these are your closet, your dresser, your bathroom, and your kitchen. I love to use the ‘golden rule’ of if I haven’t used it in the past year, it needs to go.
Some people even use the six month rule, but if that’s too extreme for you, don’t do it! The key to decluttering your space is doing it on your terms. You’ve got to be strict with yourself (how many times have I saved something because “I might need it,” only to get rid of it the next time I declutter because it never moved from its shelf) but within reason.
If you’ve forgotten about it, odds are you won’t miss it when it’s gone either!
After all, this process of decluttering should be satisfying and rewarding, not stressful and overwhelming.
Here Are 25 Things You Can Get Rid of to Declutter Your Life:
With all this talk of decluttering, it’s time to take action! Since the theme is organization, let’s organize this list by category: bathroom, bedroom, closet, kitchen, living area.
Declutter Your Bathroom
- Old makeup (most makeup expires in six months – and if you haven’t used it in that long anyway, then you can probably let it go)
- Expired medicine (prescriptions, cold medicine, aspirin, etc)
- Torn, stained, or mismatched towels, washcloths, etc
- Old cleaning supplies
- Beauty products you no longer use (that half-empty bottle of shampoo collecting dust, or the deodorant you don’t really like)
Declutter Your Bedroom
This can sometimes be the most challenging part of your house to declutter because it involves getting rid of clothes that you may love (or love the idea of) but don’t actually wear. Stick to your guns! Be strong and honest with yourself! Only keep what you’ll actually wear and get use out of.
- Any ratty clothing or socks etc with holes, stains, or unwanted tears
- Any clothing that doesn’t fit you or that you haven’t worn in the past year
- Accessories (jewelry, belts, etc) that you haven’t worn in the past year
- What’s under your bed? Most anything that you’ve forgotten about under there is a great declutter candidate
- What about your night stand? Any knickknacks that don’t have any sentimentality or books you’ll never read / already did?
Declutter Your Closet
This can be another daunting area to declutter, so a pro tip is to remove every piece of clothing from your closet to start. Then assess what you love and put it back. Anything remaining you can probably get rid of. Be honest!
- Any shoes that you don’t wear or that are too worn out or out of style
- Any purses that are out of date or that you haven’t used in the past year
- Jackets – how many do you actually need? Are there a few you can do without? Consider the idea of quality (one nice winter jacket) over quantity (five cheap jackets that will fall apart)
- Hats – ask yourself the same question of how many you need and quality vs. quantity
- Out of season items (if it’s winter and your closet is full of your summer gear, consider moving it to your basement or storage unit until you need it again)
Declutter Your Kitchen
While you may assume your kitchen is a clutter-safe zone, just think of all the areas your clutter has to hide – from the refrigerator to the highest, most hard-to-reach cabinet . . .
- Clean out that fridge! Throw out anything expired or that hasn’t been touched in several weeks
- Take that same approach to your pantry – anything expired or that you won’t use can go (bonus points for donating any food you won’t use that’s still good to a local food drive!)
- Stained, chipped, or mismatched dishes, mugs, or china – bye bye!
- Do you have any old dusty serving dishes, crockpots, or blenders that you’ve forgotten about in those hard-to-reach cabinets? If you’ve forgotten about it, odds are you won’t miss it when it’s gone either!
- Final step – the drawers. Any old grocery bags, random scraps of tin foil, mismatched silverware, old takeout menus, expired coupons, or that third wine bottle opener
Declutter Your Living Area
- Junk mail, old instruction manuals, used or outdated magazines/notebooks/planners . . . time to let go!
- Attack that junk drawer! Dried out pens, paper scraps, cords that don’t belong to anything, your sixth phone charger
- Anything related to broken or outdated devices (CDs or DVDs, maybe even a few ancient VHS, old model phones/phone chargers, etc)
- Books you’ve already read or never will
- Consider feng shui – any extra pieces of furniture you don’t use / don’t love that’s needlessly taking up space?
A Few Final Tips to Declutter Your Space and Your Life Effectively
First off, don’t get overwhelmed! There’s no “right way” to go about this, other than the way that makes you feel set up for success.
If you’re the type to push through until it’s done, then get started! If you work better with small steps, tackle one part each day (bedroom today, bathroom tomorrow). Or even smaller – tackle shoes today and clothing tomorrow.
Also, if you’re having a hard time with the project as a whole, organize yourself by a specific goal. For example, decide to remove five things from each category above, or aim for getting rid of three pairs of shoes, three shirts, and three pairs of pants, etc.
By cleansing our space of the inevitable clutter that builds up over time, we cleanse our mental, emotional, and psychological space too.
The motivation of donating or giving away also helps stoke the declutter fire. As humans, we gain satisfaction from giving. Adding to the donate and give away piles will make the declutter process more enjoyable and more rewarding.
If you’re motivated by money, many consignment stores will pay you a small percentage for what they take, and most donation centers offer a tax deduction form.
Clearing your space is a great way to get organized, create space, and set your life on the right track. Cheers to your declutter journey!
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