Decluttering Your Home: Where to Start

If you’ve noticed the messes are piling up, you can never seem to find your keys, or you have no room on your counter or nightstand, it may be time to declutter. Here are some checklists to help you get started.

Things to Consider Before Decluttering Your Home

Decluttering can be a stressful process, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or you’re not sure where to begin. The following questions will help you find a source of motivation and a goal to focus on.

Have I set my intention?

Ask yourself why you want to declutter. Is it for peace of mind? Do you need to free up some counter space? Are you getting ready for a move? Whatever the reason, think of what decluttering means to you and why you are doing it. Setting an intention can help keep you motivated.

What is my goal?

Ask yourself what you want to accomplish by decluttering. Is it just one room that needs to be cleared out? Your entire house? A few overflowing closets? Perhaps you have an upcoming move and are preparing to downsize.

Based on that information, determine how much you want to get done, and when you want (or need) to finish. That is your goal.

Everyone’s goal for decluttering will look different depending on their intention. For example, you may be planning to do a major declutter of one room in your house every Saturday for two months because you are preparing to move. Or, you may want to do a light declutter of your kitchen and living room every other week to make housekeeping more manageable. Your decluttering routine is up to you!

Have I set aside time to declutter?

Based on the deadline outlined in your goal, do you have enough time to declutter? Are you able to set aside uninterrupted time to go through everything on your list? You may want to reach out to a friend or family member for help, especially if you are working against an inflexible date or there is a lot to do.

Do I have the emotional support I need?

Decluttering can bring up some unpleasant emotions. It’s normal to feel upset, overwhelmed, or even angry or sad when decluttering. You don’t have to handle that alone.

Ask a trusted friend or family member to help out if you’re feeling upset, or if you know you will be decluttering items that will spark emotion. It’s important to find the support you need so you accomplish your goal efficiently.

Get Started Checklist – What Do You Need Before Decluttering?

Now that you are ready to start decluttering, what are some things you need for a successful decluttering session?

  •  A few large bins to collect items as you go (you could label them “Keep,” “Donate,” “Discard,” “Sell;” or simply use one bin for “Declutter” and one for “Keep”)
  •  Comfortable outfit to wear while decluttering
  •  Uninterrupted time
  •  Optional music, audiobook, or TV show to set an ambiance
  •  Silent time if you prefer working without white noise

Declutter Checklist for Your Bedroom

Tip: For many people, getting rid of clothes is a big part of decluttering the bedroom. To help decide whether to keep an item of clothing, notice its condition, whether it’s in style, whether you’ve worn it in the last few months (or last time it was in season), whether it still fits, and why you may be holding on to it.

  •  Clothes
    •  Clothes in your dresser
    •  Clothes in your closet
    •  Clothes in storage under your bed or other places
    •  Clothes in poor condition
    •  Unmatched socks
  •  Jewelry/Accessories
    •  Tarnished or damaged jewelry
    •  Jewelry you no longer wear
    •  Belts, hats, sunglasses, watches, etc that are rarely or no longer used
  •  Bed sheets & pillows
    •  Unused or unnecessary throw pillows
    •  Tattered, ripped blankets and pillows
    •  Extra sets of sheets (if you have more than one)

Declutter Checklist for Your Living Room

Tip: To help you determine whether to keep a piece of decor, consider whether it is useful or necessary, if it brings you joy, if there is a more practical way to store it, and if it is taking up too much room.

  •  Furniture
    •  Unused or rarely used furniture
    •  Old, musty, or damaged furniture
    •  Furniture that won’t fit in the space anymore
  •  Coffee & end tables
    •  Coasters, papers, etc.
    •  Old magazines, used crossword puzzle books, etc.
    •  Card games or other unused items
  •  Pillows & blankets
    •  Worn or unused pillows and blankets
    •  Seasonal blankets that haven’t been used
  •  Mail & Entryway Items
    •  Old or unsorted mail
    •  Extra or unused seasonal items such as hats, gloves, scarves, etc.
  •  Shelves & Entertainment station
    •  DVDs you do not watch
    •  Seasonal movies
    •  Unused video games
    •  Card games and board games that are not used or in poor condition
  •  Books, Decor & Miscellaneous
    •  Books you no longer read
    •  Decor items that may be overwhelming the flat surfaces in your bedroom
    •  Photos that can be removed from frames and placed in an album
    •  Any papers causing clutter, such as tax information, receipts, grocery lists, or old bills

Declutter Checklist for Your Kitchen

Tip: If you are constantly doing dishes, it may be that you have too many. Decluttering dishes can result in a smaller pile of dishes at the end of the day, because you’ll be cleaning in smaller increments.

  •  Dishes
    •  Unused or broken mugs, glasses, plastic cups, plates or bowls
    •  Extra silverware
    •  Tarnished, unused, or extra serving dishes, serving spoons, knives, etc.
    •  Pots and pans that are unused or in poor condition
    •  Mismatched food storage (such as extra lids or containers without lids)
    •  Tupperware that is worn out or unused
  •  Towels & oven mitts
    •  Towels, cloths, oven mitts, potholders, etc. that are unused or worn out
    •  Seasonal items that you no longer use
  •  Pantry
    •  Expired or near-expired items
    •  Empty containers
    •  Unopened and unexpired canned goods, pasta, etc. that could be donated to a local food pantry
    •  More than a week’s worth of grocery bags
  •  Refrigerator & Freezer
    •  Remove old food
    •  Remove empty or almost empty containers and bags
  •  Sink area
    •  Old sponges and scrub brushes, empty soap containers, etc.
    •  Old dish towels, drying mats, etc.
  •  Appliances & tools
    •  Appliances that do not work or are damaged
    •  Unused appliances
    •  Appliances that do similar things – for example, two different sized vegetable choppers
    •  Single use implements that are rarely used such as a strawberry huller, avocado slicer, or garlic press
  •  Counter space
    •  Mail, note pads, pens, and other miscellaneous items
    •  Cutting boards
    •  Stacks of cook books or overflowing recipe boxes
  •  Cleaning supplies & miscellaneous items
    •  Empty and sort your junk drawer if you have one
    •  Old batteries, pens that are out of ink, etc.
    •  Expired cleaning products, old rags, etc.

Declutter Checklist for Your Bathroom

  •  Shower
    •  Old shampoo, body wash, shaving cream, etc.
  •  Counter
    •  Expired makeup or toiletries, empty toothpaste tubes, etc.
  •  Towels and washcloths
    •  Stained or ripped towels and washcloths
    •  Old bath mats
    •  Extra or dirty shower curtains
  •  Vanity/linen closet
    •  Hair tools and accessories
    •  Expired medications, vitamins, or medical supplies
  •  Cleaning supplies
    •  Old bathroom cleaners
    •  Duplicate or old cleaning tools such as toilet brushes, mops, and microfiber cloths

Do you need some help decluttering? We understand! It can be an overwhelming process. Our Caring Transitions team provides compassionate support and practical assistance as you work toward a clutter-free home. Sign up for a free consultation to get started.

by Stacey Himler, Owner of Caring Transitions of Southern Delaware

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