How to permanently declutter your home in four simple steps! (Plus free printable 30 day guide / checklist!)

I hate clutter, and for me living in a simple minimalist way helps me to make sure I use my time wisely too. Decluttering and organising your home will change your life for the better – transforming how you live, function and feel in your living space, whilst saving you money – yay! If you’d like to discover how to permanently declutter your home, follow my guide for four simple steps for success, combining it with my free printable 30 day cleaning and decluttering checklist if you feel a bit overwhelmed by it all.

Making permanent changes to your organisation / storage systems and routines will help you to keep on top of things easily in the future. Find out: why decluttering is important; why it’s good for your mental health; and how to get started!

Here’s everything that you need to know:

Why is decluttering important?

How will decluttering change my life?

You’ll find life in a clutter-free environment so much easier – trying to locate certain items in a cluttered house is stressful and a poor use of our time, when our lives as parents are busy enough. For instance, having a simple, tidy wardrobe will enable you to get dressed more quickly. And, knowing where your keys, purse and phone are each morning will make things less manic. Being able to find what you need easily, and get out of the door on time, will help your morning routine to run more smoothly.

And, it isn’t just the morning routine that will benefit; cooking is easier and less chaotic in a decluttered kitchen, and when the kids’ toys are organised they can find what they need without destroying their bedrooms. A clutter-free, organised home has so many benefits, and an easier life is definitely one of them!

You’ll permanently reduce the time you spend on housework too. When we overfill our homes with ‘stuff’ everything becomes a little bit harder. For instance, wiping the worktops when they are littered with belongings means we have to tidy before we can clean; and dusting when our surfaces are covered with ornaments or paperwork means we can’t get started before we’ve cleared it all.

Imagine being able to wipe your kitchen and bathroom, dust your house and hoover without having to waste time tidying first. Letting go of the things we don’t need is a great way to simplify the housework so you’ll have more time to put your feet up, play with the kids or enjoy guilt-free days out.

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Why is decluttering so good for your mental health?

Studies show that when we’re not surrounded by clutter, we’re able to rest, relax and think more clearly. I can completely get on board with this one, as I cannot settle if the house is upside down. Tidy / organised house = tidy / organised mind!

Decluttering is so therapeutic – letting go of the stuff that we don’t need makes us feel great! On top of this, having fewer things / choices can be a great way to reduce anxiety and stress levels. With fewer clothes, it’ll be easier to pick an outfit. A small, organised selection of toys will improve play and ensure that children are less likely to become overstimulated.

A clean decluttered home will feel calmer, more spacious and less chaotic – it’s even been linked to improving sleep quality. Transforming your living environment is a great way to improve the whole family’s mental health – decluttering is a great place to start.

 

Is decluttering worth it?

Not only is decluttering your home good for the soul, it can be great for your bank balance too. Once you get into the ‘less is more’ mindset, you’ll be reluctant to re-introduce clutter into your life. Once you become more mindful of what comes into your home, you’ll be wondering where you will put each purchase, how much use it will get and most likely decide not to purchase things you don’t need or love.

I think the best test is not to buy something on the spot; if you’re still thinking about it in a week’s time then you probably will value that item, but if it completely slips your mind then it was wise to walk away. Living in a more minimalist way is a sure fire way to reduce impulse shopping and unnecessary purchases.

So don’t put it off, set aside some time and begin in small, manageable steps, so you don’t get disheartened. It can feel overwhelming, but it’s definitely worth it in the end and is a great way to lessen day-to-day stress and make life a little more simple.

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Ready to transform your home? (And your life!) Here’s how to permanently declutter your home in four simple steps:

The mess generally has to get worse before it’ll get better, and it can be so exhausting, but decluttering can really make life easier in the long run – it’s absolutely worth the time, effort and chaos. If you’re feeling motivated and want to get started, check out my four steps to decluttering success, and use my 30 day checklist to make the whole process more manageable.

Step 1: Make a plan

Make a list of all the rooms and areas which will need to be tackled, and prioritise those you would like to see decluttered, cleaned and organised first. Think about when you will have time to make a start and break your list into small, manageable tasks. For instance, if you have all day then you may be able to tackle a whole room, but if you only have an hour to spare then focus on just one area, such as your wardrobe.

Make a schedule for larger jobs – for example, you might need a whole weekend to get on top of decluttering a messy garage, so look at when you will have a suitable amount of time and set a date to achieve it. If it all seems a bit overwhelming, and you don’t know where to begin, use my free, printable 30 day cleaning and decluttering guide to get organised in a month, doing a little every day.

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Step 2: Create a system

Once you’ve made a plan of action for decluttering your home, make sure that you’re armed with plenty of bags and boxes before you start. Organise your things into these categories…

To keep:

Make a pile of the things you want to keep and find each item a suitable home. I prefer to put these things back as I go, but if it needs a new home then clean it up and put it in a labelled box until you’ve sorted that room too.

 

To donate:

Lots of our unwanted belongings can have a second lease of life. When you’ve decided which things can go, dedicate a box or bag for charity shop donations, or find a worthy cause such as a local school or women’s refuge who could make use of the things that you don’t need. The Olio app is a great place to list free items too.

 

To sell:

Some of your items might be worth some money – label a box with ‘sell’ and set aside the time, when you’ve finished cleaning, to list the items on a selling website or take them to a boot fair. Decluttering and making money at the same time – that’s definitely a win, win! Why not head over to Preloved to sell you things for free?!

 

To bin:

You’re likely to need a visit (or a few!) to your local tip. Sort the items as you go to make things less stressful when you get there. Have a bag for household waste, and others for items that can be recycled such as paper, fabric or plastic.

 

To store:

Some of your items might not need to be on display, but may have sentimental value. Invest in some strong plastic storage boxes, and organise your keepsake items so that they can be put into the loft, under a bed or somewhere else that they can be stored neatly.

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Step 3: Get rid of the clutter

Once you have a plan, and you’re armed with bags/boxes, make a start decluttering – here’s some ideas and tips to get you started…

Start small:

Follow your decluttering plan and focus on different areas or rooms at a time. Day one might be simply collecting everything from the surfaces in your house and sorting through it all. Surfaces are clutter magnets so you’ll likely make quite a dent, and feel a good sense of achievement just from targeting this one aspect.

 

Forget about the price tag:

Don’t get hung up on how much you’ve spent – so often we keep things because we resent getting rid of something that has cost us a lot of money. But, try to detach yourself from thinking about it like that, keep an objective frame of mind and it will be easier to make a fresh start – either way you can’t get your money back, so think positively and move on.

 

Think about how often you use things:

If you’re wondering what you should get rid of, and you’re not sure where to start, use the 80/20 rule. We generally wear/use only 20% of our stuff, 80% of the time. Think about what you actually need in your everyday life, and be honest about what you realistically use on a regular basis.

If you haven’t used something for a month or two, ask yourself if you really need it. And, if you find yourself saying, ‘I wondered where that went!’ and you haven’t seen it for 6 months or more then you probably haven’t missed it. We tend to replace the things that we actually need so, if you didn’t buy another, it’s probably time to say goodbye!

 

Ask yourself, do you love it?

If you don’t need it or love it then don’t keep it. Just as we get hung up on costs, we sometimes keep hold of things because they were a gift or they’ve simply just become part of the furniture. Not only that but our taste changes too, as do fashions and styles, so it’s OK to have a change of heart – declutter guilt free.

 

Be objective:

If you find it difficult to let go of your things, ask a friend or family member to help. They won’t have the sentimental attachment that you have to your own things, and may help you to think more practically whilst you’re decluttering. Having someone else on board may help you to feel more motivated too, and it’ll lighten the load.

 

Set a deadline to fix it:

Quite often we will put things aside to fix, upcycle or repurpose. This is a great idea, and it’s always fantastic to save things from going to landfill, but give yourself a time limit to do so. Otherwise, it will end up gathering dust again, and you’ll still be hanging on to bits you aren’t using. Give yourself a month, and then donate it to someone who might have the spare time.

 

Clean as you go:

Deep clean each space / room as you declutter it, it’s much easier to wipe out cupboards when they’re empty and to dust surfaces when they are clean. Plus, you’ll get great satisfaction from knowing that the room is completely finished, and that it’s clean as well as tidy.

 

Keep focussing on what success will look like:

It can be really hard to sort through your possessions – not only is it time-consuming hard work but sentimental value, memories and the money spent can be constant obstacles. So keep reminding yourself of the mental health, time and financial benefits that will come with having a decluttered home.

It’ll be so transformative and life changing, so when you feel like giving up remind yourself about the positive impact that having a clean and tidy home will have on your future, your bank balance and your happiness. It’s just stuff.

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Step 4: Make it permanent

Once you’ve sorted through the clutter, follow my tips to organise what you decide to keep and change old habits, to stop your home from becoming overwhelmed with ‘stuff’ once again. That way you’ll never have to do a complete overhaul again, and your home and household routines will be so much more manageable…

Invest in new storage:

Great storage is so important, and it can really help to keep your belongings organised. When things have a place, everything is easier to find and easier to clean up when you’ve finished using it. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does need to work well for you and be practical. Baskets are brilliant ways to keep worktops and cupboards tidy and organised – making it easier to find things, and also to clean surfaces.

I keep baskets by the sinks to store washing up liquid / hand soap / toothpaste etc – a quick lift and I can easily wipe the surface underneath. I also have one under the TV unit for remote controls, and a large basket by the front door for scarves, torches, the dog lead etc to keep the porch tidy.

Labelled jars and tubs are a great way to keep the pantry cupboard organised – and it’ll be easier to see when things need topping up. I re-use large coffee jars (labelled with a sharpie) for things like pasta and rice.

A shampoo / conditioner / body wash dispenser that fixes to the wall is one of the best bathroom investments you can make – keeping the bath/shower area tidy and clutter free. Another plus is that the kids can shower independently as it’s much easier to push a button to get what they need, and it stops them using too much or squeezing shampoo everywhere!

In playrooms or children’s bedrooms, Ikea’s Kallax units work really well for storing toys – and labelling the boxes will help children to easily find what they need, and put it away in the right place afterwards too.

 

Reduce your surfaces:

If you have a lot of furniture with flat surfaces, you’ll be more likely to fill them, so it might be time to rethink what you have. For instance, in our lounge we use stacking tables, so we can pull them out if we have guests and stack them away again when they’re not needed – that way they don’t collect dust nor become a dumping ground! Have a look around your home and think about streamlining what you have to reduce the amount of places that clutter can collect.

 

Adopt a ‘less is more’ approach:

To keep on top your new organised home, make sure that you aren’t mindlessly purchasing more things that you simply don’t need. Breaking your buying pattern and changing your spending habits is so important, otherwise you’ll find yourself back at square one.

So, before making a new purchase for the house, ask yourself: “Do I need it? Do I love it? Will it enhance my life? How much use will it get?’ You’ll save money, and it’s a much more eco-friendly and sustainable way to live.

 

Rent or borrow:

Instead of purchasing everything, especially things you will only use once, borrow from friends or rent things temporarily. Books and movies are better borrowed, as are items we may only need for hosting the odd party here and there. So think wisely about how much use it’ll get – you’ll be lessening your clutter and spending less too.

 

Tidy up daily:

Each night we spend about 20 minutes making sure the house is tidy and organised for the next day. I ask the kids to walk around and put away anything that belongs to them in their bedrooms, while I pick up elsewhere and make sure things are back where they should be.

Starting the following day with a tidy house is so much easier, and doing a little every day stops it from becoming an overwhelming task. Reward the kids for their efforts, and you’ll soon have everyone helping out and doing their bit.

 

Declutter twice a year:

Keep on top of your home by decluttering several times a year – for me this is usually around Easter time and then again at Christmas when we think about where to put our new things. Once you’ve got on top of it, and with daily picking up, you’ll find that twice yearly clear-outs can be done in just a few days.

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Ready to transform your life? Check out my article:

The Ultimate Family Frugal Living Guide: 25 simple tips to save you money!

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