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How To Declutter Your Home: A Room-By-Room Guide

Morgan McBride6 minute read
January 29, 2019

Do you know what all of the homes in magazines and on HGTV have in common? They have zero clutter. If you find yourself looking around your home wondering why it doesn’t look great, it could be time to declutter. Decluttering and home organizing is a zero-cost way to make a room look much better – but it is a lot of work.

When a home is cluttered, managing it can be hard. Professional organizers are expensive but not necessary if you have a plan to tackle your own mess. To help you on your journey to having a tidy home, use this guide to learn how to declutter your home.

When Is Clutter A Problem In Your Home?

Clutter can be a problem in your home for several reasons. One might be if you have run out of space and are unable to store or display the things that you love. Another signal that you have too much clutter might be if you are having trouble finding things amongst all of the mess. Finally, if you own a lot of things that you don’t love or use any more, that counts as clutter, too!

If you determine that your home has too much clutter, don’t get too upset. This is actually a problem that is easy to fix. The good news is that once you deal with that clutter, your home is instantly going to look way better!

How To Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed

If you’ve let a lot of clutter accumulate in your home, it can be very overwhelming to tackle it. But you’ve got to get started somewhere. The best plan is to break your decluttering up by room. It is easier to declutter one room or space at a time before going to another. This allows you to save time by remaining focused on each space and keeps you from getting further overwhelmed while cleaning up.

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Declutter Room-By-Room Checklist

The easiest way that homeowners can declutter their home is room by room. It’s easier to declutter when it’s done in stages. Each stage may involve different purposes. This way you can focus on the storage solutions that work best for each room. Each room may have unique needs, but there are some basic rules that can be applied in any situation.

Purge Before You Organize

There’s no use in organizing things you don’t need to keep – or spending money on organizational supplies for them, for that matter. For this reason, the first thing that you should do in every room is purge. Pull everything out, and consciously choose what to put back in the room. Decide what you actually need and what’s just taking up space. Once you’ve donated, sold or thrown out the stuff you no longer find necessary, then start looking for organization solutions. This will save you time and money in the long run.

The Kitchen

Kitchens are one of the workhorse rooms of a house. But, they can easily get cluttered with pots and pans, dishes, miscellaneous appliances, and other clutter. Decluttering your kitchen will make cooking time easier and give the heart of your home a clean, refreshed look.

Go through your kitchen

Homeowners should pull out everything from their kitchen and determine whether they need it or not. Consider donating unwanted kitchen items that are still in good shape instead of throwing them away. If it’s a good appliance that you think is still valuable, consider selling it. While everything is sitting out, you can wipe down or vacuum the surfaces.

Categorize Items

Once a homeowner determines what items they’re keeping, you should categorize them. When sorting items, keep the following in mind:

  • Do I use this? If the answer is no, you don’t need it. Any item that isn’t used is purely clutter and should go away.
  • Do I have more of this item? People often overstock things they think they need. For example, do you really use all of those spatulas or baking trays? Get rid of any multiples or duplicates that aren’t really needed.
  • Would I buy this today? Impulse purchases happen, and they may seem like a good idea, but in reality, you usually don’t need them. If you no longer like it, you don’t need to keep it. Let go of the guilt of purchasing it and get rid of the item.

Create zones

Homeowners should create zones when decluttering the kitchen. This will make it easier for things to be found and put away correctly in the future. Try to store things close to where they are used – for example, pots near the stove, cookie sheets near the oven, and cups near the fridge. Once you know what each zone will be for, you can arrange your items according to their purpose. Consider putting frequently used or heavier items down low so they’re easier to reach or lift.

Buy storage containers

The final organizing step is buying containers because now you will know what storage solutions you need. Waiting until the space is organized and sorted will help to prevent you from overbuying or buying the wrong things. Clear or see-through bins are best for keeping items organized but still available at a glance. Use a mix of canisters, shelves, dividers, bins, hooks, and racks to keep everything organized perfectly.

Bedrooms

A disorganized bedroom does not make for a good night's sleep. From the closet to extra blankets and nightstand trinkets, a little bit of organizational planning can go a long way.

Organize the closet

Homeowners should go through their closets and sort their clothes when decluttering the bedroom. Decluttering your closet will make room for more bedroom storage and get rid of a huge chunk of the clutter in your home.

How should you arrange your clothing? Some people organize by color, others by type of clothing and others by how often they wear particular pieces. There is no “right” way to do this, just one that’s right for you. The important thing is that you can find your clothes when you need them. If you have seasonal or rarely used items, try tucking them away in a separate spot to avoid cluttering your everyday clothing. Then, swap them out when the season arrives.

Go through the drawers

Homeowners should go through furniture and cabinets drawer by drawer, pulling out everything as you did with the closet. Get rid of unwanted items and then sort things as you put them back in place. Consider using drawer dividers or shallow bins within your drawer to keep smaller items sorted.

Sort furniture

Homeowners should sort through their furniture when decluttering the bedroom. If there are pieces that no longer work for you, get rid of them. For storing extra bedding, like blankets, sheets and pillows, think about investing in a piece of furniture that can double as storage. Something like a trunk or a bench with built-in storage can go at the foot of your bed or under a window and look like a piece of furniture while also storing other items.

Clear off surface areas

Clutter on surfaces can be one of the most distracting types of clutter and can be the easiest thing to make your home look messy. Surface areas, like the tops of dressers or nightstands, can be arranged using storage containers or trays. Luckily, they come in plenty of shapes and styles, so they can double as décor! If you’re putting items on a tray, make sure everything has its own area, so they seem curated, not scattered.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms hold a lot of small items. Toiletries and personal items can look very cluttered on your bathroom vanity. Plus, it is easy to accumulate bathroom clutter that you no longer need.

Clear out the medicine cabinet

Medicine cabinets are quickly filled with expired medicine, nearly empty toiletries, and what basically amounts to trash. Get rid of anything expired, empty, or unwanted before you even get started organizing.

Evaluate cabinet drawers

Homeowners should remove all the items from the cabinet drawers, evaluate what you have and put back the items you are keeping, as you did with the medicine cabinet. Consider adding a peel and stick liner to your drawers. Wooden or plastic dividers or small bins can go a long way toward giving everything a proper place to be kept.

Go through the items under the bathroom sink

It is important to remove all the items from under the bathroom sink, determine what is expired and only put back the items you’re keeping. Add a caddy for cleaning supplies or pull out drawers for small toiletries. Place lesser used items in the back and keep things that you use often where they are easy to grab.

The Living Room

Living rooms can easily become dumping grounds for your home. There is nothing less inviting than a living room with no room to sit because there is too much clutter. Purge and organize your living room regularly to keep it as usable and cozy as possible.

Collect items that go in other rooms

Items that belong in different spaces can easily land in the living room, especially if you have kids. To declutter, a homeowner should collect the objects and put them in a basket or bin and return them to their rightful place. Create a system to do this regularly to avoid buildup of miscellaneous items.

Clear off all flat surfaces

It’s very important to clear off all surfaces regularly. Remove everything from the coffee table, end tables, or console tables and wipe them clean. Then, consciously decide what you want to put back. Rehome or recycle everything else.

Sort technology

Living rooms are often home to TVs, computers, and other technology. Homeowners should sort through and store that technology when decluttering the living room. Remotes, charging chords, video game controllers, and other small items should be stored in bins or baskets to help with the visual clutter while still keeping them close at hand.

Clean out drawers

If there are any drawers in your living room, empty them out. Sort the contents and only put back what you use, need, and really want in your living room.

Laundry Room

Laundry rooms quickly get cluttered with piles of laundry, cleaning supplies, and other miscellaneous small items. This room should be clean and used for cleaning, so it is important to purge it regularly.

Consolidate laundry products

Less is more when it comes to laundry products. Go through all of your supplies and get rid of anything that is damaged, duplicative, empty, or just never used. Cutting down on the products that you buy will keep the space tidier and save you money in the long run.

Create zones

Homeowners should create zones when decluttering the laundry room, as you did with the kitchen. Consider having a zone for dirty clothes and a zone for clean clothes. You may also need zones for kid clothes, dry clean-only items, delicate dance costumes, stained sports or work clothes. Keeping everything sorted will help you to deal with overwhelming laundry as well as keeping the room more organized.

Set up a storage system for each zone

You should create a separate storage system for each zone in your laundry room. Installing cabinets and shelves is a great way to pack a lot of storage in a small laundry room. Using clear containers will allow people to easily see what’s inside and organize the items by category. 

Put clothes away

The final step of decluttering the laundry room is putting clothes away in their rightful place. Leaving laundry sitting out all week makes a laundry space feel very cluttered and messy. Come up with a system for folding and putting laundry away as quickly as possible and stick to it. Help get everyone in the family on board with the entire system so everyone knows where to put things when.

The Bottom Line: Organization Is Key For Keeping A Clutter-Free Home

However you decide to get organized, remember our fundamentals: purge before you begin, and don’t expect a “perfect” solution. Finding what works best for you and your family will help you not only get organized, but stay organized in the future.

For more decluttering ideas, be sure to learn more about the KonMari decluttering method.

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Morgan McBride

Morgan McBride is a DIY-lover and home decor enthusiast living in Charleston, South Carolina. She has been blogging at CharlestonCrafted.com alongside her husband since 2012, where they empower their readers to craft their current home into their dream home through the power of DIY.