10 Tiny Tasks to Declutter Your Home

10 Tiny Tasks to Declutter Your Home from bemorewithless.com

Decluttering an entire home sounds completely overwhelming. If I had approached my clutter with a do or die, let’s get this done overnight attitude, I am sure I’d still be surrounded by stuff.

And if I was still surrounded by stuff, I’d be …

  • Going shopping to make sure my stuff wasn’t lonely
  • In debt
  • Cleaning and taking care of stuff
  • Wasting time thinking about stuff
  • Frustrated that my home was cluttered
  • Working a job that I didn’t enjoy
  • Worried that I’d never change

I’m not surrounded by stuff anymore because I spent a few years getting rid of it. It didn’t happen overnight, or even close. Instead it was inch by inch, step by step, and trinket by book by scarf. Finally it was mostly gone. I had more space than stuff and I was free. If you want to be free too, but are worried that there is too much to accomplish, use these …

10 Tiny Tasks to Declutter Your Home 

1. Sticker your stuff
If letting go of your stuff seems impossible, use colorful labels to mark your stuff for it’s next destination. Start in one room and use red stickers for every thing you love and want to keep and green for everything else. Ask a friend or family member to help you box up the green stickered stuff for sale or donation.

2. Flip your hangers
If you aren’t ready for Project 333, at least get a good look at what you never wear. Arrange your hangers so they are facing the same direction. Each time you wear something, flip the hanger when you put it away. At the end of a few weeks, anything you haven’t flipped can be eliminated.

3. Expire the expired
Set your timer for 15 minutes and check all of the items in your bathroom and kitchen that have expiration dates. Dump the expired along with anything else that you aren’t using. (properly dispose of medications and donate unopened food)

4. Make a junk box
Collect items from your junk drawer, and from other areas around your house. These are items that you never use, don’t know how to use, or can’t identify. Box them up and set the box aside for 30 days. If you don’t miss any of it, say goodbye.

5. Send 5 care packages
Choose 5 books from your collection for 5 people you love. Write a nice note in the book and give the recipient permission to pass it on when they finish. Sign, seal, deliver. You’ll make a little room on your book shelf and make 5 friends smile.

6. Clean up your digital desktop
The stuff on your digital desktop might not be cluttering up your home, but it’s doing a number to your brain. Clean it up and jettison some of that mental clutter. If you want to take it a step further check out this little guide to digital decluttering.

7. Challenge the kids
I still have visions of Polly Pocket’s pals and American Girl Doll shoes and accessories dancing in my daughter’s room and out into the hall, and down the stairs, onto the kitchen counters. Instead of shaming your kids into cleaning, make it fun. Announce a prize for every 25 things they can collect for donation. The prize can be a fun family activity or your child’s favorite meal. If you have more than one child, offer a bonus if everyone hits their goal to encourage them to work together.

8. Create one little clutter-free space
Identify one countertop or corner of a room to be your clutter-free sanctuary. Ask everyone in the family to commit to keeping that one space clutter free as inspiration for the next clutter-free space.

9. Move the furniture
If you have 5 people in your family and 8 dining chairs, put 3 in the garage. If you gave away your books, move your bookshelf. If your kitchen table sees more mail than meals, move it out. Experiment to see what furniture is functional and what’s just in the way.

10. Inspire yourself
Simplifying your life and decluttering requires inspiration. You know the how to, but when you really identify and understand the why to, it’s so much easier to let go. Use these images I made for you, and read books and blogs about simplicity.

Check out these clutter articles. Take before and after pictures or keep count of the stuff you release. Share your story by writing about your experience. Be inspired and then be inspiring.

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Try these tasks once a month, in addition to your other decluttering efforts. You don’t have to do all of them, but choose a few that resonate with you to be part of your adventure in discovering a simpler, clutter-free life.

 

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Comments

    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks Sandra. I think we sometimes hold onto stuff because we want it to go to a good home. Now it can. ;)

  1. says

    Re #7 – Kids. Although I have never pushed my teenaged daughter to get rid of her own things, she has watched me do it with mine. She now regularly asks if I have a donation box out as she makes a pass through her closet, and also sold her American Girl doll stash a few Christmases ago. Just setting the example has done wonders.

  2. says

    #8 is a good one. I do this with counters and tables–every day I do a 10 minute sweep of certain areas and make sure that at least those places are kept clean.

  3. says

    I love this list! Such a great reminder that there are a million little ways we can declutter and simplify our lives. I just shared my first post on simple living on my blog today. It is a journey and I have a long way to go, but I know it is the little things, the small habits implemented, that can make all the difference, and can build into the life that you want.

  4. Marla says

    Thanks for the push, Courtney. My favorite bike, my vintage cruiser, was stolen. I’d been on vacation and bought a nice wire basket for it. Fast forward 25 years and I still had the basket just in case my bike returned (?!). It did not fit my new bike. So today I walked it to a nearby thrift shop. May that basket find a biker who will use it.

    P.S. My husband released a couple panniers from his earlier roadbiking days which also made the trip into the shop today. Wearing a backpack is enough for our urban bike trips.

  5. says

    i’m about to tackle the garage which is full of stuff i haven’t even used in 4 years – books, clothes, furniture – big SALE coming soon to declutter and move forward – thanks for your tips.

  6. Gail says

    I don’t know why I thought that decluttering my home would only take a short while (a few months?). Now that I’ve been decluttering for a couple of years, and reading these blogs, I am better informed and I realize that I’m probably right on track. As encouragement to others, I want to say that even after a couple of years of STEADILY getting rid of stuff, I still can’t look around the house and see empty spaces. I CAN see a difference in my closet, though. I don’t do 333 yet, but every 3 months for the past 15 months I have taken some of my clothes to a consignment shop in town. Last month I took 23 items out of my closet. In all, I’ve probably sold about 75 pieces of clothing or accessories. Yay! So, hang in there and keep at it. Eventually, you WILL see progress.

  7. Gail says

    I am unclear why one would sticker what you love and plan to keep, at this point in time.
    For me, it is easier to go around the room, remove immediately the toss/give/donate stuff, and take time to sticker only items I was pondering. The visual of only 1 color sticker would help me clearly see % of what I want to keep vs possible removable. Then I’d ask myself the question, “is this reasonable?” Secondly after a period of a few days looking at the stickered “maybes” I think the keep/removable answers will automatically reveal themselves. This is how my mind works. Gail

  8. emma says

    BTW Loving your writing!!!! Your posts have helped me get focused on my goals.One step I have been making is with letting go of my crystals. I used to have a whole heap of beautiful palm sized crystals. For the past while when ever I go for a walk I take one with me and leave it on a bench for someone to pick up. I dont need them gathering dust and I thought it make make someones day instead. It gives me a smile to think of someone coming across it. Like a wee love note from the universe!!!

  9. Cari says

    Greetings from Scotland! I’m finding simplifying my life by getting rid of the ‘stuff’ I was drowning in so liberating – thank you!
    But there’s one little thing at the back of my mind as I’m doing this, which I’d welcome your thoughts on…
    I have a friend who lost her mum to Alzheimers, and when her mum began to lose her short-term memory, she was still able to conjure up happy memories and talk about things from ‘further back’, because my friend still had loads of ‘memorabilia’ – old trinkets, souvenirs, birthday cards – you name it!
    But this is all the kind of ‘stuff’ I’m throwing out. Telling myself “I don’t need that souvenir – I’ve got all the happy memories of the holiday, and they mean far more.”
    Call me weird, but I’m just picturing myself as a little old lady, losing her memory, with no ‘triggers’ to call it back!
    Any suggestions (other than “get a grip, woman!” :) )
    Thanks again for all you’re doing

    • says

      Cari, what if you take photos of the lovely memories, even of your trinkets before letting them free to bless someone else? Just an idea! Browsing through my photos makes me happy – nostalgic.

      • Cari says

        That’s a great idea! For our last holiday, instead of buying ‘trinkets’ that would just clutter up the house, my husband and I took loads of photos and got them printed into a photobook when we got back. And using photos to ‘save’ other memories, like you suggested, is an extension of that theme – why didn’t I think of that! :)
        Thanks!

  10. Christine says

    Courtney, I just wanted to comment on how much I love your writing. This post made my day. Each of these suggestions is so well thought out. I really enjoy how you have divided up something that can seem so insurmountable into smaller attainable mini-victories. Since I began my journey toward minimalism, I have been working to keep my living room (at the very least) clutter-free. I make sure every night that the kids’ little toys are on their way back to their rooms, and that every surface is tidy. The feeling I get walking through the door each day and seeing this room is liberating. Thank you for your inspiration!

  11. lynn briggman says

    We’re doing something that might be helpful for others like it has been for our family. This summer after reading some about the topic I decided to make this a summer goal. In a jar I put 50 chores for the kids and on a different color, 50 for me. We have uncluttered small areas or cleaned a little each day, have 4 bins of stuff to donate, and are feeling accomplished, but not overwhelmed. I thought after the summer chore jar we’d do the 1 month challenge of getting rid of 1 item on the 1st day, 2 items the 2nd day, etc. Since I’m just starting this I’m very interested in feedback.

  12. lynn briggman says

    A question about 333….I’m thinking it would be a hassle to have to rearrange my closet every 3mos. Would a variation be to have 132 items in the closet all year?

  13. says

    Hello. I just wanted to let you know that you have inspired me. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder several years a go, and I’ve been working on my heart since then. I’ll never be “better,” but I have improved and I work on tiny successes every day. I have recently realized that I am drowning in stuff. I told my friend today that perhaps I was being stuffocated. ;) I read your “How to Live in the Land of Enough Space” article last week and was instantly convicted of my crimes. My counters are laden with junk. I can’t let people drop by because I’m embarrassed. I feel stressed. My eating habits have been horrible – I don’t want to go in my kitchen and rummage around through my things to do anything in there! I have several closets that scare me – I open the door and then shut it again rapidly – argh! Board games, ignored toys, you name it.

    Today I will take steps to start the long road (a week? two weeks? a month?) towards freedom from the tyranny of my STUFF. I’m so tired of it. I long to be free. I’m making some to-do lists, I’m thinking about what’s really important to me and what I like to do in my house and outside of it, and what I can do to make those activities easier.

    Thank you for the inspiration; I’ll continue to read and hopefully one day I’ll even be on your path!

    • Elle says

      You might enjoy the Fly Lady blog. She is great at offering moral support and little bite-size chunks for each day. Good luck–you can do it!

  14. Reb says

    I have heard that one should not turn the hangers around. If a fire starts, one of the first places that fireman check is the closet and they want to remove the clothes quickly. Hangers turned around would hinder this.

  15. says

    I like the idea of the junk box very much. It says that if you hide an item and don’t realize you miss it after some time, it can’t be that important. This is more apparent when you take a peek inside after a while and are surprised at what’s inside. Another unmentioned tactic you can use is to snap a photo of all your items and then lay those pictures on the ground so you have a bird’s eye view. When you begin sorting them by any criteria you like, items that you don’t need will stand out like a sore eye.