Clutter in our home adds up quickly and is something I am constantly working on. On a daily basis, we are bringing stuff into our home and taking other things out. And sometimes we get lazy and just throw the mail on the counter and before we know it, the whole kitchen looks like a bomb went off. It happens. For me, physical clutter becomes mental clutter and I reach a breaking point. But, I have a few tips I use to cut the clutter in our home and I hope you’re inspired to do the same. (post contains affiliate links, see disclosure)
1. designated zones
Everything must have a place. Batteries, scissors, tape, stamps, light bulbs etc. all have designated areas so that they can be found easily and efficiently. In our home, we no longer have to search for anything or ask the person who used the scissors last where they put them. Everything has a place. The same also applies to keys, sunglasses and wallets. In our home we have a tray in the entryway that holds all of those things we need on our way out the door.
2. eliminate the junk drawer
Get rid of that drawer or space in your home that continues to collect clutter. In our home, it wasn’t a drawer but instead my desk just off of the kitchen. Mail, checkbooks, papers, grocery bags, tools and anything else we don’t feel like putting away get dropped off here. But if everything has a designated zone, it’s easier to put things back where they go.
3. get rid of the paper
Designate a spot for the paper you do need like school papers, mortgage documents, etc and go paperless on the rest. Most billing and banking companies offer paperless options. I did this years ago but cut my paper in half again when I signed up for digital magazines instead of the traditional print version. The same also goes for books, I usually listen to audiobooks on Audible or read the Kindle version. However, I still love my design books and will keep those forever.
4. constantly evaluate
You should not have anything in your home that is not beautiful or functional. I had lots of items that I had no idea why I even had them! I had apparently bought it on my many Target trips, put it on a shelf and completely forgot about it. So I am constantly evaluating and taking inventory on things in my home. Why do I have this? What is it used for? Do I need it?
5. Make room for what you use
This definitely applied to our kitchen. Early last year, during my 10 day organizing challenge, I discovered I had multiple kitchen utensils – tons of measuring cups, potato peelers, and pizza cutters. I kept one of each and was able to empty a whole drawer full of unused items. Because of this, I was able to have a drawer designated to dish towels that made it more organized and accessible.
6. donate regularly
When I first started getting rid of the clutter, I had a keep, donate, and trash pile. As time has gone on I still do that, just not as drastically. I’m still finding things to donate. If I didn’t use it in the last six months or have no plans of using it in the immediate future, it is donated.
7. sell items
For larger items or furniture, I usually try to sell it and make a little money before I donate it. Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle or energy but if I can make a little cash, it’s a win-win! I still can’t believe all the decor and shelving I used to have in our dining room. They served no purpose except for collecting dust. Selling all of it was one of my best decisions and was how I really started my journey.
8. rotation method
One reason I’m still finding items to donate is that I use a rotation method. Yes, I still shop occasionally and buy new furniture or decor. However, I also make the decision to rotate out an existing item. If I really really want something new, then I’ve got to let something else go. Most of the time, it’s not worth it to me and I’ve saved the money and space.
9. using what you have
Before getting overzealous about organizing and tackling that storage area, do not go out and buy all new storage bins and super cute organizers. After tossing and donating a lot of unused items, you’ll probably find that you didn’t need any of those fancy organizers at all. Existing baskets, bins, and trays are perfect for organizing. However, if you do need more storage containers, invest in decorative storage and not cheap plastic. You won’t have to hide them and they can be displayed beautifully in your home, while also having a function.
10. change your shopping habits
If you are honest with yourself, the majority of purchases are not necessary. You may catch yourself shopping for leisure, the desire to upgrade to the latest and greatest thing, or just having to have something because it is such a good deal or on sale. I was sooooo guilty of this. If I was bored, I went shopping. If I needed a little “pick me up”, I went shopping. I walked down every aisle in Target buying whatever I wanted and for no reason. Now I ask myself why and I resist the impulse to buy. After reading The Year of Less, I’m challenging myself even more now and attempting my no spending sprees for longer periods of time.
When I began my minimalist journey, I read a few books that really helped me along the way. I also have watched the documentary Minimalism and recently started watching Tidying Up on Netflix. I’m also very excited about The Home Edit new book!
What helped me
Our home is definitely a work in progress and I am always decluttering and evaluating. I hear a lot of our family and friends say that our house is “so clean”. In terms of dirt and dust, I would say our house isn’t that clean at all. It just appears clean because it is not cluttered.