Ten years ago, the world met Marie Kondo and her decluttering method. Since then, decluttering is on every household’s to-do list but it can be overwhelming to look at their house and decide what to get rid of. Today, I’ll share with you my checklist to declutter more easily.
What clutter is and how it impacts your everyday life
According to Collins dictionary, clutter is “a lot of things in an untidy state, especially things that are not useful or necessary”. That’s a good starting point but don’t forget that clutter is different for each person. For example, what are decorative objects for one can be clutter for another. If you organize your home regularly, you may think that you don’t have clutter, but even if it’s nicely tidied in coordinated boxes with calligraphed labels, clutter still clutters your home.
OK, but is it such a big deal? Short answer, yes! Here are some consequences of it:
- it makes your house looks dirty when it’s not
- it takes money as you rebuy things you can’t find or rent a storage space
- it takes time as you search for things or clean around all of your stuff
- it takes focus, attention, and peace as you have to be careful when navigating in your house
The secrets of a clutter-free house
The secret to a tidy home is that you don’t have more than you can handle. Some people can have cabinets packed with organized boxes and everything stays clean. For me, this is a recipe for disaster as quickly everything would be mixed. Knowing that, I keep less stuff.
Each of your belonging needs to have a place to be put away. To be able to tidy something, you need to know where to put it away, don’t you?
You may not like the third secret but I’ll still tell it: decluttering must be done regularly. Even if you are intentional with what comes into your house, clutter always finds a way to enter and some decluttering sessions will help you beat it. But don’t discourage yourself, getting rid of the clutter becomes easier as you do it more often.
So you're overwhelmed by all you have to clean in your house?
It happens even to the best.
Instead of wondering where to begin, keep your motivation to actually clean. Grab my schedule and easily know what need some scrubbing and what can wait.
Before the checklist, my tips for taming clutter
My first tip is to think about your goal. What do you want your house to look like? Imagine each room less cluttered as you would describe them to a friend. These mental pictures will help you if you get tired of decluttering.
Secondly, start small. Don’t aim to declutter your whole house in a weekend. Instead, depending on the state of your home, start with a corner of a room or even a drawer.
Then, build a habit of decluttering. Spend a small amount of time each day but do it every day. You can also put a timer to challenge you to do as much as you can.
Marie Kondo tells us to declutter by categories but I prefer to declutter by zone, at least for the first one. You’ll already have a lot to do. Don’t expect to be able to move all and everything from one side of your house to the other on top of that.
Then, ask yourself if you have more than you need and be critical about how much you have of each category of items. Do you really need as many of them as you have?
While you declutter, look at what you’ve already decluttered, you might find things to let go of as you become more ruthless the more you declutter.
Don’t spend time cleaning and organizing before decluttering. Instead, clean once you’ve removed everything to sort it and only organize what you keep. It will be easier and you’ll tidy your stuff only once.
Some questions to ask yourself while decluttering
- Does it still work well?
- Do I have something else I could use instead of it?
- Is it guild that makes me keep it?
- If I saw it in a store today, would I repurchase it?
- Have you used it in the last 6 months? (You can go for one year for seasonal clothes)
- Is it worn out?
- Does it fit?
- Do I really love it?
- Is it still in style?
- Do I still want to handle this item?
- Is it worth the space it takes?
Checklist to declutter the living room
- Magazines nobody will read
- Old newspapers
- Books that don’t pass my checklist
- Movies you won’t watch again
- Papers to recycle, shred or file
- Decorative stuff you don’t like anymore
- Excess thrown blanket
- Photos and artworks that no longer suit you
- Collections that don’t matter anymore
- Video games and systems you don’t use anymore
- Board games and puzzles you don’t play
Decluttering in the kitchen
- Expired food
- Food you don’t like
- Expired spices
- Excess take-out items
- Excess mugs
- Backing accessories you don’t use
- Extra cooking tools and glassware
- Excess pots, pans, and baking sheets
- Appliances you never use
- Unused kitchen gadgets
- Lids without their box (You can keep some boxes without their tops to organize your fridge or drawers)
- Old and dirty dish towels
- Excess paper goods
- Fridge magnets
- Cookbooks you don’t like or use
- Excess sponges
Declutter checklist for your bathroom
- Beauty products you don’t use or like
- Old/expired makeup
- Makeup you never use
- Unused perfumes
- Sunscreen from last year (they won’t protect you this year)
- Expired meds
- Dried nail polishes
- Worn out hair ties
- Excess brushes and tools
- Worn out or extra towels
- Samples (use them or toss them!)
Let's declutter the bedroom
- Paper clutter
- Clutter under the bed
- Too big To Be Read pile
- Clothes you no longer like
- Clothes that don’t fit
- Clothes that you don’t know when you’ll wear
- Worn clothes and underwear
- Socks without their mate or with holes
- Excess accessories
- Jewelry you don’t wear
- Shoes you don’t wear
- Uncomfortable shoes
Declutter checklist for the home office
- Old bills
- Old calendars
- Receipts once needed for tax purposes older than 7 years
- Out-of-date warranties
- Instruction manuals for appliances you no longer own
- Chargers without their device
- Old cellphones and accessories
- Orphaned cables and cords
- Expired coupons
- Writing tools that don’t work anymore
- Unused stationery
List to declutter your kids' stuff
- Outgrown toys
- Broken toys
- Toys they don’t like
- Dried playdoh
- Book they’ve already read
- Used coloring books
- Stuffed animals they don’t like
- Clothes and shoes too small for them
Let’s declutter the storage space
- Broken items (will you really fix them all?)
- Items from another life phase
- Holiday decors you don’t use
- Excess flower pots
- Old paint
- Old rollers and brushes
- Hobby equipment you don’t use
- Fitness equipment you don’t use
- Excess shopping bags
- Dull scissors
- Dead plants
- Cleaning products you don’t use
- Excess rags
- Dead batteries
This is your choice
Even with this declutter checklist, I can’t tell you exactly what to get rid of but sometimes, going a little outside of your comfort zone will give you a massive result. I think decluttering is one of these moments. You’ve already googled to come here. Now it’s time to take action and gain back your space! Why not start with something that’s really bothering you? It’ll give your brain a boost of motivation once it’s done to keep going.