Skip to main content

How to get rid of unwanted clutter in your home

Having a lot of clutter isn’t uncommon, especially for busy families. At the moment, it might seem easier and less stressful to throw items in a junk drawer or into an overflowing cabinet. However, all this clutter can actually increase your stress levels by making it more difficult to find important items and necessitating a time-consuming deep clean.

Control clutter in your house before it piles up with a few simple and easy organization hacks. Once all of your items have a dedicated home, maintaining cleanliness will be a breeze.

Create separate piles for items

Before you begin, grab a few transparent bins or bags to separate your items. As you work through your belongings, divide them into categories according to what you intend to toss, donate, or keep. Be sure to label each bin or bag so you don’t lose track of what belongs where.

keep and discard pile for decluttering
faithie / Shutterstock

Know what to toss

Once you have your bins ready, it’s time to begin sifting through the clutter!

Knowing what to toss is one of the most critical steps in decluttering. Items that don’t function properly or no longer serve you should be the first to go. It can be hard to part with our things, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.

Here is a helpful list of things you should almost always toss:

  • Expired items (food, makeup, art supplies, medication, etc.)
  • Old documentation including receipts, mail, etc. Be sure to shred confidential documentation and digitize anything important.
  • Broken items (toys, electronics, games, jewelry, etc.)
  • Torn or overly worn clothing
  • Empty boxes or containers (recycle them if possible)

Donate what you don’t need

Once you’ve determined what needs to be tossed, it’s time to consider what to donate. Donations should be the items you don’t need or want but are still in good condition. You can then take these to charities and thrift stores or gift them to a friend or relative

What to donate:

  • Used books in good condition
  • Movies, video games, board games, or puzzles with no missing pieces
  • Functional electronics
  • Artwork or picture frames
  • Clothing without rips, tears, stains, or holes
  • Empty notebooks or unused craft supplies
woman decluttering the clothing in her closet
tartanparty / Shutterstock

Determine what to keep

As silly as it may sound, determining what to keep can be the most challenging part of the decluttering process. It can feel impossible to tell at times whether you’ll miss the item when it’s gone or if it’s truly repairable. While it’s important to keep sentimental items, it’s a slippery slope to keeping too many things and failing to reduce the clutter at all.

To guide your tidying-up journey, ask yourself the following questions:

Is it functional?

Keep or donate any items in good working condition.

Do you use it often?

There’s no sense in throwing out something that you use daily, weekly, or even monthly. Seasonal items, decorative pieces, and tools are all good items to keep on hand. However, if you have duplicates of any of these items, consider paring down your collection and keeping one, maybe two of kind. For example, you may only need one power drill, but it never hurts to have a couple of pairs of scissors around.

Do you need it?

Is the item essential? Would it be more challenging if you didn’t have it? If getting rid of the item means you have to change your routine, you can keep it! Decluttering isn’t about only keeping the items you can’t live without. Rather, it’s about focusing on what you need, use, and enjoy.

Do you like it?

If an item has sentimental value, there’s no need to throw it away or donate it, even if it’s no longer functional. It’s important to collect these keepsakes that are full of memories, so don’t feel the need to throw away old journal entries, photographs, or rarely-worn jewelry. However, to keep your space clean, put these sentimental items somewhere safe apart from your more functional items.

Getting rid of clutter in your home is certainly a chore, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Be honest with yourself as you sift through your belongings and ask yourself the tough questions as you decide what to throw away, donate, or keep. All of your hard work will be worth it when the junk drawer is a thing of the past.

Editors' Recommendations

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
Make the most of your living room/dining room combo with these stellar tips
Watch your living room/dining room combo shine with these tips
Gray monochrome living and dining room

Many contemporary homes have open-concept living, meaning fewer walls and shared space between rooms. It's a great idea for those who entertain or want minimal disruption between spaces. It's also good when you have small children and want to keep an eye on them while you're cooking, folding laundry, or watching TV. If you have one large area for your living room and dining room, there are some things you can do to get the most out of each room.

Of course, there's a lot to consider when it comes to which colors to choose, how to arrange furniture in a living room/dining room combo, and what wall and other decor can be used to blend the spaces together. Here's how to find the right mix that works in one collective space.

Read more
The best green paint colors for a soothing, sophisticated home
Recommendations for warm and cool green tones to add to your space
Green wall color with plant nearby

Green is a color we’re seeing everywhere in home design. Named Color of the Year for 2022 by many of the most prominent names in the paint industry, green is a trendy hue that you can expect to see in many interior designs in the foreseeable future. Green has an incredible way of adding a sense of vibrance and authenticity to your space. So, if you’re a homeowner in need of a soothing and sophisticated shade, then green might be just what you’ve been looking for.

This color can help you invite a renewed sense of vitality and energy to a space, making it perfect for homeowners looking to change up their existing palette. While green was trending in home design as 2022's "it" color, it has become a popular staple even as we venture into the coming years. So, it's safe to assume that this wonderful shade will likely add a timeless and natural look to any space. If you're eager to incorporate green into your design scheme, here are some of the best green paint colors to inspire your next renovation.

Read more
6 easy ways to update your home for under $500
Update your home with these inexpensive, easy projects
Couple painting white walls

When most homeowners think of renovations, they think of time-consuming projects that always run over budget. And often, they’re right. But updating your home doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Tearing down cabinets and installing brand-new hardwood floors aren’t the only ways to up your home design game.

With a bit of planning and elbow grease, you can refresh your space with inexpensive home remodeling projects that will have a considerable impact. Here are six DIY home projects that you can easily complete for less than $500.

Read more