Starting to declutter can be the hardest part.
It gets easy to be overwhelmed by the size of the project, not know where to start, and make excuses.
These easy decluttering tips can be applied in 5 minutes or less. You no longer have any excuses.
If you’re having trouble finding something to get started, pick a number from 1 to 100. Then go to that tip and do it.
Seriously, just do it.
1. Make your bed.
It makes a bigger difference than you think. I used to hate making my bed, and now I do it every day. And I mean I hated it.
2. Throw away 5 things.
It can even be trash. If you can’t find at least one thing in 60 seconds, this list may not be for you. Just bask in the pride knowing you’re better than everyone else here. Now go away.
3. Clean off one surface.
Move everything off the dining room table, bedside table, coffee table, or your desk. Then only put things back that belong. Everything else has to find itself a home or get thrown out.
4. Wipe down the refrigerator.
You would be shocked (or maybe not) at how filthy that thing gets. Especially the handle. If you have magnets on the front, move them to the side or throw them out.
5. Wash the dishes.
If I could make a ‘decluttering tips’ list that was only this one tip, I would. It seriously relieves so much stress.
6. Go through the pantry and throw out old food.
You’ll probably know within a few seconds which items are bad and which are okay to keep. You haven’t used the brown sugar in 6 months and it’s now hard as a rock? Toss it.
7. Go through the refrigerator & freezer and throw out old food.
Probably even grosser than the pantry, stuff will be furry in here. Throw out the furry.
8. Start a donation box.
Find an old box and set it up near the front door, or in your room, or wherever you want. Now whenever you find something that you no longer need, but you don’t want to throw away, put in the donation box. When it’s full, go and donate it.
9. Put 5 books in the donation box.
You don’t read them all, and before you think “someday…” just place it in the box. Don’t take it back out, either.
10. Schedule an errand trip.
You have things to go out and do. Grocery shopping, post office, cleaning the car, or getting the oil changed. Don’t worry about doing those things right now, but schedule out some time that you will go and do them. The more you can get done when you’re out, the better you’ll feel!
11. Pick a drawer in the kitchen and organize it.
Then repeat this one until all the drawers are clean. Here’s what you do: Take everything out of the drawer. EVERYTHING. Then only put things back that belong, and organize the items as you do. Throw away the trash, put the stuff to donate in your donation box, and smile at your newly organized kitchen drawer.
12. Get rid of just one item of clothing.
There’s always something in your closet that’s worn the least (if ever). Put it in the donation box.
13. Put 5 things where they belong.
You can apply this declutter tip in every room of your house. Find 5 things that are out of place and put them in their place.
14. Declutter the medicine cabinet.
Pull everything out and only put back things that you need. Expired medicine can be thrown out.
15. Move your CDs and DVDs to a storage wallet.
Those cases take up way too much space, and they’re not useful at all. Get a storage wallet that takes up way less space. If you have a rack that you were holding those things on, use it instead to keep tupperware lids separate.
16. Clean out your spices.
Take all your spices out of the cabinet/holder/thingy. Then check them all to see if they’re expired or if you have duplicates. Combine the duplicates and throw out the expired ones.
17. Store sheets between the mattress and box spring.
It saves closet space and when it’s time to change the sheets, you can find them easily. If there isn’t space, store the sheets inside the matching pillowcase and put in the linen closet.
18. Take a picture of 5 things that your kids have made.
Then get rid of/deconstruct the items. This applies mostly to those bulky creations the kids have made. Marshmallow and toothpick sculptures, playdough creations, or lego houses. The picture will be a better memory and takes up less space.
19. Ditch the cookbooks.
Take a picture of your favorite recipes and throw out the bulky book. You can even pin those recipes to your Pinterest board! The internet has more (and maybe even better) recipes than what’s in that book. And the internet doesn’t take up any space.
20. Sort your tupperware.
Only keep tupperware that has a lid, or lids that have a tupperware. Throw the rest away. Take it a step further, and get rid of all tupperware that doesn’t neatly stack together!
21. Cancel one subscription.
Sure, someday you might use it. But when that someday comes, just re-subscribe. Don’t throw money away.
22. Clean out your nightstand.
The nightstand is the resting place for things that haven’t found a home by bedtime. Clean it out/off and put things back where they belong. Keep a flashlight and a book (or three).
23. Buy a closet organizer.
You keep seeing those pictures on Pinterest and you want one. Just buy one.
24. Find a home for 5 things that don’t belong.
Not everything has a home. Spend 5 minutes to find a home for things that just seem to not belong. Maybe the TV remote has a habit of sitting on the couch. Move it to the coffee table and make that its “home”.
25. Empty your car’s glove compartment.
The main things you should have in there are registration, proof of insurance, owner’s manual, wipes (or restaurant napkins), and a roll of quarters (for tolls). Or free up more space and put the owner’s manual in the passenger seat back pocket.
26. Throw away your phone book.
If you still have one, that is. What is this, the dark ages? Your smart phone has access to more up-to-date information, faster, and you can call right from the same device.
27. Get rid of all your credit cards except one.
You can ask to raise the limit on your credit card, and if you’ve been good with paying, most likely they’ll raise it for you. Having more than one credit card is like playing with fire. Not safe.
28. Unsubscribe from email newsletters you don’t read.
Instead of hitting “delete,” just hit “unsubscribe”. Then don’t worry about it showing up in your inbox again!
29. Get a Phillips and flathead screwdriver.
Put them in a kitchen drawer. These come in handy so often, it doesn’t make sense having to walk out to the garage and digging through the toolbox.
30. Put all car wash products in a 5-gallon bucket.
Keeping those things in one place makes it easy next time you have to wash the car. Or if you always find yourself driving to get your car washed, throw those things away.
31. Sign up for the Dollar Shave Club.
Yes, even women can use this. Just purchase the 2nd-tier option and worry about one less thing.
32. Delete unused icons from your desktop.
Each time you sit down at your computer and see the mess of icons, it can cause stress. Move oft-used icons to the taskbar (or dock). Do the same with your smartphone!
33. Throw out 3 duplicates.
Do you have two whisks? Throw one away (or put it in the donation box). Having duplicates “just in case” only clutters up your life. If your whisk breaks, buy another.
34. Store cleaning supplies in a movable tote.
This frees up space under the kitchen sink and makes it easier when it’s time to clean. Just tote the tote around to each room.
35. Keep only the 3 most recent magazine issues.
Even if you haven’t read them yet, throw the old ones out. If you haven’t read it in 3 months, you probably won’t ever. Better yet, unsubscribe from magazines you haven’t read at all in 3 months. If you find yourself missing it, just re-subscribe!
36. Take everything off the closet door hook.
Only put tomorrow’s outfit there. Everything else needs to find a home or get donated.
37. Gather all the pens in the entire house.
Try them all, see which ones work. Throw out the ones that don’t. Then put the ones that do work into strategic places like the kitchen drawer, nightstand, desk, and your purse.
38. Buy shower hooks.
Hang the hooks on a clothes hanger, and store things like hats, scarves and necklaces on them.
39. Clean a shelf of the linen closet.
Remove everything from the shelf. Throw away stained sheets or pillowcases. Consider donating old pillows that never get used.
40. Sort mail over the trash can.
If you find any junk or something you don’t want, just drop it right into the garbage.
41. Throw away catalogs and cancel them.
The purpose is to get rid of stuff, not find more stuff. If you do want something, there’s a whole internet full of ideas.
42. Buy vacuum-sealed storage bags.
Get the value pack. Then put things in them for deep storage. Sweaters and blankets in the summer, tank tops and shorts in the winter. They save SO much space.
43. Ditch old makeup.
Especially those trays with 6 colors of eye shadow. You only bought it because you like one. And you haven’t used that one in 6 months. Make space for the makeup you enjoy using.
44. Trash user manuals.
Minus a couple exceptions (like your car), most manuals are online for free if you need them. Literally all they do is take up valuable space.
45. Simplify the sock drawer.
Get rid of any socks that are stretched, stained, have holes, or don’t have a partner.
46. Slim the mug collection.
Get rid of any mugs that you no longer find worthy of use. Repurpose or trash mugs that are cracked or chipped.
47. Declutter cooking utensils.
This ties in with the “no duplicates” tip. Get rid of any extra spatulas and ladles you may have. If you haven’t used that meat tenderizer in 4 months, put it in the donation box.
48. The monster under the bed.
Yes, it’s scary. Remove everything, and consider vacuuming under there while you’re at it. Use those vacuum seal bags you got earlier to create more space.
49. Clean the laundry room.
Socks that don’t have a partner? Ditch them. Empty detergent bottles? Why are they there?
50. Untangle the computer cords.
No doubt, as you’ve used your computer, the mess of cords behind has grown to epic proportions. Simplify one cord at a time. Unplug it, detangle it, plug it back in, and roll up any extra cable into a twist tie or rubber band.
51. Put away 5 things on the garage floor.
Put them up on a shelf, in a bin, or throw them away. Keeping a clean garage floor makes the entire garage seem more spacious. Consider getting some shelving to store things on!
52. Change a lightbulb.
Having more light in a space can make it feel a lot cleaner than if it was dark. Replace that lightbulb that’s been out for a while and throw out the old one.
53. Start a load of laundry.
If you’ve already got a load that’s been sitting in the dryer for a few hours, start it again for 5 minutes (to remove wrinkles) and then fold it and put it away. It really doesn’t take that long.
54. Wipe the inside of your windshield.
Get some glass cleaner and a few paper towels. Wipe it down really good. Wipe off the dash while you’re at it. See how much cleaner that is?
55. Say ‘no’ to something.
It’s not just our stuff that can get cluttered, but our schedules too. Don’t feel the need to say ‘yes’ to everything. Free up at least one evening a week for yourself where you aren’t committed to anything.
56. Start a ’30-day’ list.
Before making any new purchases, put the item on a list with a date. After 30 days have been up, do you still want the item? If so, get it. If not, you saved yourself from some clutter.
57. Lighten the purse.
Take everything out of your purse (or wallet, if you’re a guy). Only put back things that you know you’ll need. Throw away trash. Keep the heavy things (like books) out of the purse. Having heavy things in your purse can cause neck and back problems (study).
Sometimes, the source of clutter can be too many decorative things. Consider getting rid of a couple decorative items and donating them.
59. Re-situate furniture.
If you moved the couch to that wall instead of this one, would it open up the room a little more? What about moving the coffee table from the living room to the family room?
60. Simplify the entryway closet.
If your entryway closet has become the final destination for things that don’t have a home when you walk out the door, it’s time to find a home for those things. Keep only the vacuum, coats, and shoes in there and let it be spacious enough to hang up guest’s coats.
61. Free up the shed.
If you don’t have a shed, apply this to your garage. Get rid of duplicate tools you don’t need, and hang up some utility hooks to free up floor space.
62. Declutter kid’s toys.
If you have kids, do this project with them. Find one toy per child that they can donate.
63. Trash gift wrapping.
Go through your gift wrapping. If there isn’t enough paper left to wrap a present, throw it away. Have a sword fight with the cardboard tubes first.
64. Go paperless with bills.
Find some paper bills lying around, then go online and see if you can get those bills emailed to you instead.
65. Clean the inside of the microwave.
Fill a bowl with 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Microwave it for 5 minutes, then wipe it down with a paper towel.
66. Slim your keychain.
That key to your friend’s house that you put on there when you were dog sitting? Yeah, you don’t need it on there.
67. Clean off the couch and prop up pillows.
Having a clean couch makes the entire room feel cozier and more welcoming.
68. Clean up your Facebook feed.
Hate seeing those useless updates? Hit “Hide all stories” and don’t worry about it again.
69. Buy some command hooks.
Seriously, the things you can do with these. Get some velcro ones and use them to hold cords to the underside of your desk.
70. Fold your plastic bags.
You can make them into tiny little triangles, which makes it easy to grab one if you need it, and makes storing them a cinch.
71. Put photos in a photo album.
Get a photo album and put all your loose pictures in it. This makes them much more pleasant to look at than the pile in a box you had before.
72. Label things.
Get some masking tape and a sharpie. When you go through a box and decide you’re going to keep stuff, put a strip of masking tape on it and label it.
73. Get in line with reality.
Have all that camping gear, but haven’t gone camping in 5 years? Yes, this year may be the year, but let’s be real. Sell the stuff and treat yourself to something you’ll actually do.
74. Get rid of your vases.
Keep 2 at the most. Although you aspire to put fresh flowers in them, instead of letting them take up space, just donate them.
75. Throw away old tech.
Those 4 computer mice you have sitting in a box on the floor in the closet? You don’t need 4 mice. Even if the one you have does break, you’ll probably buy another one instead of digging through the box to find one that works.
76. Ditch the calendar.
Especially if it’s from last year. Move digital and make it easier to keep up with your schedule. It saves space, too!
You’ll never read them. And you can’t sell them, because new editions have come out. Yes, you paid hundreds of dollars for it, but that doesn’t justify the space it takes up now.
78. Throw away your dish sponge.
It gets nasty, and they’re cheap to replace. It feels good to have a brand new sponge in your hand instead of the old torn one, too.
79. Chuck the toothbrush.
Unless you’ve gotten a new one in the last 3-4 months, throw it away and get another. Or use it as a cleaning tool for those hard-to-reach places.
80. Dump old paint.
Especially if it was the paint you used in the bathroom at your old house and there’s less than a cup left. If it’s oil-based, you’ll need to dispose of it properly. Latex paint can be thrown in the trash though.
81. Throw away old clothes.
Not the stuff that you don’t wear, there’s another tip for that. But the stuff that you would only wear if you had to. Especially undergarments.
82. Crumple wire clothes hangers.
83. Abandon abandoned DIY projects.
Either finish the project this week, or the DIY needs to DIE.
84. Throw away leftover change.
I had a cupholder in my car dedicated to old change. I noticed it was mostly pennies and nickels. You know what you can do with pennies and nickles nowadays? Nothing.
85. Relocate hotel soap & lotion.
To the trash. Yeah, I know. It was free. Either use it or toss it, but right now it’s just taking up space.
86. Trash free restaurant handouts.
Those crushed red peppers from the pizza place? When you go back, you can get more. The same goes for those packets of soy sauce you got with takeout.
87. Toss extra buttons with clothing.
Luckily, I have some pants that have this button sewn onto the tag. If it comes in a little plastic baggy, just throw it away. How often have you ever used those?
88. Throw out old invitations.
Especially to weddings that have already happened. A few on the fridge is fine, but it gets to a point of clutter. Take a picture of it and throw it out.
89. Fold up empty boxes.
Boxes are so good at holding stuff, so when you get some you might use, it makes sense to keep them ‘just in case’. Keep a few, but fold them down flat. Throw the rest away.
90. Dump unused towels and linens.
Keep one extra set of linens and one extra towel. That’s all you need. If you have guests, keep one set of linens for the guest bed and one or two extra set of towels.
91. Move mostly empty notebooks online.
Get something like Evernote to keep notes in, and get rid of those notebooks. If you find yourself in dire need of one, they’re less than a dollar at just about every store.
92. Check old sunscreen.
Yes, it has an expiration date and that date does matter. If it’s expired, trash it! It’s not like it would work if you used it anyway.
93. Toss old burned out candles.
The ones that you swear you can still smell? They’ve lived their full lives. If you loved the smell, get another, but toss the old one.
94. Put puzzles into plastic baggies.
The box takes up a lot of space. Cut out the picture from the lid and store it in the baggie, or take a picture of it and put the picture in the baggie.
95. Consider cancelling cable.
Not for everyone, but unless you watch sports all the time, subscribe to a service like Hulu or Netflix to watch the shows you really enjoy. Save a ton of money in the process.
96. Simplify gift cards.
I always make it a point to use my gift cards first, but it doesn’t always happen. If you have a smartphone, utilize something like GoWallet to easily keep track of what you have.
97. Digitize your collection of business cards.
Connect with those people on LinkedIn and throw the cards out. I apologize, this may take longer than 5 minutes. If you get toward the end of your time and haven’t finished, just throw the rest away.
98. Chuck promotional freebies.
The crummy baseball cap with your old company’s logo on it doesn’t need to take up your precious space.
99. Toss unused remote controls.
Yes, it’s hard to get a replacement, but if you never use it, is it worth taking up room?
100. Throw away broken things.
The hairdryer? The blender? The strand of old Christmas lights? If it’s broken, and you don’t have the time (or knowledge) to fix it, just throw it away. If you really need a new one, buy it, but the broken thing is just weighing you down.