Inside: 100 things to declutter right now to help you get your home clearer
Deciding to start your decluttering journey will be the best decision you ever make. Honestly. Being surrounded by mess all of the time has serious effects on your mental health and with the added dust that gathers in amongst it all, it is always a good idea to ditch the stuff!
It isn’t easy, with finding the time to dedicate to the cause and sentimentality pulling at your heartstrings to make you keep things, you need to stay focused and determined.
Why should you declutter your home?
We are constantly growing as people, finding new hobbies, new styles of clothes, new tastes in decor. We are terrible for holding onto material goods ‘just in case’ or simply because we can’t bear to part with them.
When you factor in children, the amount of ‘stuff’ you accumulate seems to increase tenfold. Constantly growing out of clothes, shoes, toys – it all adds up and needs somewhere to go.
Of course, even as you try and get rid of things you have people gifting you more and more for birthdays and Christmas. And the more children you have the worse it gets. TV ads constantly telling us we need the latest thing – it is hard not to get sucked into it all.
Effects on mental health
Clutter can affect your anxiety levels, sleep patterns, and ability to focus on everyday tasks. It can also make you less productive, making you turn to avoidance strategies such as snacking and watching tv.
We are all guilty of it, aren’t we? We have a long list of things to do but we go to the kitchen and fetch a snack before sitting down and binge-watching our favourite series instead. And yet we al complain of never having enough time to get things done.
Imagine this, if you had less stuff then you’d have less to tidy and therefore more time to do the things you really want to do.
Your house should be a haven, a place that makes you happy and calm, somewhere to relax and enjoy with the people you love.
What does clutter mean?
cover or fill (something) with an untidy collection of things.
“the room was cluttered with his bric-a-brac”
a collection of things lying about in an untidy state.
“the attic is full of clutter”
In other words, it is the collection of stuff that you surround yourself with to create an untidy state.
“Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor – it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living”– Peter Walsh
The process of decluttering is deciding what items are unnecessary in your home, that make the house untidy and add to the overwhelm that you feel when you walk into a room.
What is the best way to start decluttering?
Making the decision to get started is the hardest part. And the sooner you start the better – research says that the longer you wait to declutter the harder it becomes to get rid of the things you own. Over 50’s are much more likely to struggle with getting rid of their possessions and will also be more likely to feel dissatisfied with their lives.
The thing to do is to choose an area to start with and not move on until you are completely satisfied with the results.
Good practices for decluttering
The best way to get rid of stuff is to look at each object individually. When you pick up an object, you need to really look at it objectively and ask yourself whether you love it or whether you’ve used it in the past year.
More often than not, the answer will be no for each and that is why it has been at the bottom of that pile of junk. I’ve created an easy to use flow chart to help you with this process. To help you decide whether to keep, discard or donate each item.
Only keep items you love or that are useful. Discard anything that would be of no use to anyone and donate the rest. There are so many ways of giving things away these days – from selling sites, to charity shops to local swap groups.
How to declutter sentimental things
It is really hard to get rid of things that you’ve held onto for reasons personal to you. Whether they are clothes you wore in happier days, gifts that were given by loved ones or anything else that invokes a happy feeling.
But unless those items are being used or enjoyed regularly they are actually just added to the pile of ‘stuff’ that you accumulate over the years.
You have to be honest with yourself and remind yourself of this:
“Sometimes freeing the object and creating space will give you more joy than holding onto the object itself”
The memories created by the object can’t be taken away from you, so let someone else have the joy of owning it rather than hoarding it in a cupboard for nobody to enjoy at all.
And I can tell you thing, once you start letting go of items the process becomes so much easier and you feel liberated. You also come to realise that things aren’t what matter, the memories and people are the most important thing of all.
100 things to declutter right now
Not sure where to start? I’ve compiled a handy decluttering checklist of things to get rid of right now.
1. Old electronic cables and chargers
2. Old mobile phones
3. DVDs that nobody watches anymore
4. CDs that nobody listens to anymore
5. Puzzles / games that nobody plays
6. Excess recipe books
7. Takeout menus you never use
8. Old bills – time to go paperless!
9. Kids’ artwork – take a photo instead and only keep the favourites.
10. Broken / unused makeup
11. Dried up or unwanted nail varnish
12. Old perfume / unwanted perfume
13. Excess toiletries you will never use
14. Mouldy bath toys
15. Old sunscreens
16. Old medicines that have expired
17. Cleaning products you will never use
18. Gift wrap you will never use
19. Excess stationery
20. Used up gift cards and unwanted loyalty cards
21. Excess reusable bags
22. Unwanted handbags
23. Uncomfortable shoes and shoes you’ve not worn in the past year.
24. Socks and tights with holes in them
25. Underwear that has seen better days
26. Ill-fitting bras
27. Clothes that don’t make you feel good
28. Best clothes that realistically you won’t wear again
29. Hats, gloves and scarves you no longer wear
30. Coats and jackets you don’t wear anymore
31. Swimming costumes you won’t wear again.
32. Excess sunglasses
33. Glasses that no longer fit your prescription
34. Broken jewellery / single earrings
35. Costume jewellery you no longer wear
36. Mismatched/ broken hangers
37. Outgrown kids clothes
38. Pjs you never wear or that don’t fit well
39. Excess hair bobbles and clips
40. Broken toys
41. Finished / unwanted colouring books
42. Dried up pens / glue
43. Excess colouring pencils
44. Damaged books
45. Toys that are no longer used
46. Fake plants that look tired
47. Broken crockery
48. Excess plates and bowls
49. Excess water bottles
50. Unused utensils
51. Scratched pots and pans
52. Expired food
53. Old cushions
54. Birthday and Christmas cards that mean nothing. And be ruthless with those that do.
55. Excess mugs and glasswear
56. Excess Tupperware
57. Excess teatowels
58. Unused kitchen appliances
59. Blunt knives
60. Serving dishes that never get used
61. Old placemats, napkins and tablecloths
62. Fridge magnets
63. Books you won’t read again
65. Old textbooks
66. Decor that adds nothing to the space
67. Holiday decor that doesn’t get used
68. Christmas decorations
69. Old rugs that you won’t use again
70. Old towels
71. Hobby supplies you no longer use
72. Candles that have burned down
73. Unwanted gifts you won’t repurpose
74. Exercise equipment you won’t use again
75. Chewed dog toys
76. Unused tools and hardware
77. Old paint you won’t use again.
78. Bedding that is never used
79. Sheets that are worn or discoloured
80. Lumpy pillows
81. Old receipts
82. Old keys
84. Spare buttons
85. Anything you just don’t like anymore
86. Boxes from items you’ve bought
87. Memorabilia that isn’t lovingly displayed
88. Email subscriptions you no longer want (unsubscribe at the bottom)
89. TV shows / movies you’ve recorded on your tv box
90. Files you no longer need on your computer
91. Photos you are hoarding on your hardrive – delete the excesses
92. Old contacts on your phone
93. Dead plants
94. Garden furniture / decor that is broken or unwanted
95. Rusted garden tools
96. Old plastic plant pots
97. Children’s play equipment that they don’t use anymore
98. Anything waiting to leave the house
99. Anything you just don’t want anymore
100. Anything in the car that isn’t vital
All of these things are relatively easy to go to right now and start to sort through. You just need to dedicate the time to get the work done.
It is not an easy task to start and at times can become overwhelming, but it is such a worthwhile job and will get easier as you go along. Just keep reminding yourself of the end goal – to have a clear and stress-free environment in which to live in.
Katy is the founder of What Katy Said and the Decluttering Motherhood Community. More than 50 thousand women follow her on social media and she has been listed in the top 5 parenting bloggers in the UK.
Read more about Katy