Friday, May 13, 2016

How to Declutter in 4 Easy Steps + FREE Printable Donations List!

While planning my spring cleaning efforts I came to an important conclusion- we have way too much stuff.  No matter how hard I work at cleaning the house or organizing cabinets and drawers it still feels messy.  Time to declutter and reorganize!

I've been reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  In the book Marie discusses her passion for cleaning and how she discovered that the secret is not in organizing, but rather getting rid of all the unnecessary things in your home.

Clutter has always been a problem for me.  My (very small) room was always a mess growing up and, looking back, I can see now that it was because I had way too much stuff.  No matter how hard I worked to keep it clean it just never happened.

The same may be true for your home.  No cleaning schedule or organizing solution is going to make your home look clean if you're buried in extra clothes, books, toys and knick-knacks.

Have you ever noticed that the homes your see in magazines, on Pinterest and on TV all have one thing in common?  There is no extra stuff lying around.  There aren't piles of clothes in laundry baskets, toys thrown everywhere or cabinets packed full of random canned goods.  They don't have 80 spatulas.  They don't hoard plastic bottles, because they're planning to make a sensory bottle with the kids at some point.

Of course, you have to be reasonable.  You can't throw everything out, but you can get rid of the excess so you have less to organize and fewer items to pickup every day.

Decluttering can be simple.  After reading Marie's book I know I've been overthinking the process.  Here are four simple steps to getting started decluttering your home and life--

1. Choose one category to focus on rather than one room.  

Pick one thing and go through it entirely before moving onto something else.  I started with clothes.  Instead of just pulling out random things to get rid of I went through every single item all in one day. This is probably one of the best pieces of advice Marie gives.  It seems simple, but I do tend to multi-task.

2. Do you really need it or love it?  

I have a bad habit of holding onto things that I maybe might possible need or want one day.  I won't.  When I went through my clothes I got rid of nearly everything.  10 garbage bags in total!  There were so many items that I really didn't like that much.

3. Get rid of it right away!  

Don't wait to throw things out or donate them.  If there are a few items you're on the fence about then set them aside for a little while, but everything else needs to go.  Having piles of garbage and donations lying around will only add to the clutter and chaos in your home.

You also don't want anyone digging through it and pulling stuff back out.  My mom used to dig things out of the trash and put them back in my room all.the.time.  "Yes, Mom... I really do need that magic dateable.  What was I thinking?!"

4. Organize after you've gone through a category completely.  

Don't start organizing during the process.  Organize your closet and dresser after you've gotten rid of all the excess.  Trying to do this in the middle will only distract you from the task at hand- getting rid of things.  Organizing will be much easier once you see what you have.

Simple!  Don't overthink the process.  Just pick one category and go through it entirely: clothing, books, CDs, toys, food, paperwork, etc.  The less clutter you have the cleaner and more organized your home will feel!  I highly recommend Marie's book.  I think it's a good way to get yourself in the mood and give you clear direction.  (This is not a sponsored post- I just really like the book and her advice.)

Donations + FREE Printable!

While you're getting rid of things don't forget to make a list and keep it as a record for your taxes!  Yes, you can write off donations on your taxes so long as they are made to approved organizations and you have a receipt.  I donated my clothing to the Salvation Army.  You'll need to have a record of the items you donated so you can calculate an approximate value.  I was actually able to schedule a curbside pickup with Salvation Army.

Use this printable to make a list and make note of the date and value of your donation along with the company you donated to.  Keep this list for your records and don't forget to take it with you when you file your taxes!

Download Your...
Letter Size - Donations List
A5 - Donations List

Do you have any tips or strategies for decluttering you'd like to share?  Comment below and let others know of ways you've managed to cut down on clutter.


  1. Really helpful tips! I’ll let my son read this blog for him to know that there are things needs to be donated just like his unused clothes, old toys and lot more. My trusted cleaning team (Austral Cleaning) gave me a tip that in cleaning the first step to do is to declutter your things. And now I read this post and it helps me a lot. I really appreciate your write up. Thank you!

  2. I just discovered your blog today and I am obsessed! Thank you for sharing all of these great ideas! I'm going to purchase your binder inserts from etsy today.

  3. Very interesting blog post, good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.
    home cleaning


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