Our 5 favorite ways to declutter as you go for a tidy living space

The word “declutter” is often followed by a collective groan. We get it — decluttering is a large chore. It can take hours to sift through piles of paperwork or figure out which electronics are broken and which are not. And, as effective as the Marie Kondo method can be, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to undergo a weekend-long tidying party.

Thankfully, with a few simple tricks, you won’t have to waste precious weekend hours decluttering your junk drawers! Decluttering as you go can tidy up your living space without requiring hours of organization. Keep reading to learn more about the best ways to declutter a little bit at a time, saving yourself from those tiresome and lengthy cleaning sessions.

Buy one, discard one

One of the best methods of decluttering is to discard an item each time you buy a new one of its kind. For example, if you go to the mall and buy a new shirt, opt to toss or donate a shirt from your wardrobe that no longer serves you.

Think about it like this: when you replace a broken item, do you keep the useless one in the drawer? Well, you shouldn’t. Often, our spaces are filled with items that we don’t need, don’t use, or just don’t like anymore. Therefore, as you gain a new item, try removing something similar that no longer deserves a place in the home.

Eventually, you’ll be left with only the functional items that you love. At this point, you can pause this rule, and, instead, incorporate other methods that will keep all your belongings organized.

woman saving her receipts digitally

Save receipts digitally

Receipts can pile up, but they often serve as important financial records, so you may be hesitant to throw them all out. Save yourself the headache of rifling through paper receipts and start saving them digitally. If you suspect you’ll need to return something, try snapping a picture of your receipt or scanning it to store on your computer.

Shred junk mail as you get it

Junk mail has a tendency to pile up in drawers, files, office desks, and file cabinets. Instead of allowing your mail to pile up, shred or toss any letters you don’t need as soon as you get them.

Like receipts, consider scanning important documents so you don’t need a paper copy. Further, prevent this mail from piling up in the first place by signing up for online-only bank and credit card statements. This way, you can reduce the amount of physical mail coming into your mailbox, and you can keep a comprehensive financial record on one device. Be sure to send these statements to an email address that isn’t filled with promotional spam so the statements don’t get lost.

man in plaid shirt holding broken mug

Throw out items when they break

As we briefly mentioned earlier, keeping a space neat and tidy requires you to discard broken items. It can be tempting to set them aside for repairs later or as a reminder to purchase new ones, but this only adds to your piles of clutter. If the item is repairable, place it on a workbench or other area dedicated to repairs.

Sometimes, sentimental items can break, and these are much harder to throw away. If the piece still brings you joy and good memories, keep it! Instead of leaving it in a cabinet somewhere, consider displaying it in a shadow box or keeping it in a small shoebox with other special keepsakes.

Toss items when they expire

Whether it’s food, makeup, or craft supplies, some items will inevitably expire. Keep an eye on the expiration dates and toss them as they go bad. Whether they’re jars or food or tubes of makeup, we recommend organizing your items by keeping the newest items toward the back and the older ones at the front. This encourages you to use products before they expire, and it prevents old items from piling up in the back of your cabinets.

Spending your weekends sifting through endless piles of clutter is not ideal. Thankfully, by decluttering as you go, you can reorganize your home over time with minimal stress. With a little foresight and dedication, you can ensure that your home remains tidy and clutter-free.

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