20 Simple Ways to Clear Home Clutter


By: , – Valerie Rains, Family Circle
  :  45 comments   :  29,949 Views

  • Small Appliances
    Get rid of anything needing repair—that toaster that only heats one side of the bread—or impulse items you never use, like a yogurt maker.
  • Plastic Containers 
    "Don't hang on to spare lids or tubs without tops," says Andrew J. Mellen, author of Unstuff Your Life! And pare down to five or six basic pieces. For recycling information, check online at 1800recycling.com
  • Papers
    Recycle what you don't need to file long-term: expired coupons, old party invitations, out-of-date school activity calendars. 
  • Odds and Ends
    Weed out dead batteries and dried-up markers. Take empty printer cartridges to any Staples store for credit. Toss or recycle things you don't use regularly, like old notepads, stray Post-its and rubber bands. 
  • Old Magazines
    Make it a rule: When a new issue or catalog comes in, the earlier one must go. Visit catalogchoice.org to unsubscribe from more than 4,000 companies' mailings.
  • Obsolete Media
    Ditch those Indiana Jones VHS tapes and remote controls to devices you've long since replaced. Convert family videos to digital files at a site such as imemories.com.
  • Clothes
    Keep two weeks' worth of school-appropriate tops in the rotation and just a few worn-out T-shirts for sports or mowing the lawn. Discard all but one pair of grubby sneakers, and keep those in the mudroom.
  • Toys and Games
    Pass on anything your kids have outgrown—if it's in good shape—to a younger friend or donate to a thrift shop. 
Click here for more ways to keep your home clutter-free from Family Circle.
More from Family Circle: 
How do you keep your home clutter-free?

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  • 45
    I've tried getting my mom to do some of these, particularly when it comes to papers, appliances, and topless bins, but I think she feels guilty getting rid of some things. - 1/27/2014   4:32:29 PM
  • 44
    I can't imagine not doing these things. They are rote for me. If I didn't, we'd be living in a sea of trash by now. - 1/5/2014   8:53:29 PM
  • 43
    I have Mullen's "Unstuff your Life" on audio and listen to pieces of it periodically and it is great! I am in stuff maintenance mode so for the most part I can only bring something new into my home if I get rid of something. It really helps me say no when someone tries to pass an object off to me or when I'm asking myself if I really want to buy something. - 1/5/2014   2:30:27 PM
  • 42
    Clutter is like extra weight. The longer you hold on to it, the harder it is to throw away! Think I will start decluttering my house along with my weight! - 8/25/2013   1:21:48 AM
  • 41
    The biggest inspiration for me to de-clutter is to what Hoarding-Buried Alive. It gives me the desire to keep the clutter down and to give away things I am not using to someone who will make good use of it. This article was very helpful with definite ideas to help me stay on track. - 8/25/2012   9:15:22 PM
  • 40
    This is a better de-clutter article than most.
    Concrete ideas instead of buy this or buy that. - 8/25/2012   7:52:01 PM
  • 39
    I love articles like this because they're good reminders to get into your favorite "dumping spot" and get rid of things you dont need or use. Im constantly doing this with my hallway closet. Great article. - 8/25/2012   2:35:30 PM
  • 38
    Wonderful and timely topic!! Today I will get started. I also went to Flylady.net - she has wonderful ideas on decluttering - starting with 15 minutes a day and having 3 boxes with you as you're tackling the clutter - one each for "garbage", "give away" and "put away" - 8/25/2012   11:27:29 AM
  • BECKY1345
    keep these tips coming some of us need all the help we can get. - 8/24/2012   5:33:22 AM
    Woohoo ! Great tips to keep my house clean ! Thanks a lot ! - 8/23/2012   4:39:21 AM
  • 35
    the blog was good --- I did not know about imemories.com. The advice from the other readers is great. If you want to get into some fun and declutter try the
    Feng Shui spark team. - 8/22/2012   8:20:04 PM
    I am trying I am trying!! - 8/22/2012   8:16:42 PM
  • 33
    This is such a beneficial reminder...clutter is like carrying around dead weight....it does nothing but make you feel bad. Thanks for the tips!!!Going after that junk drawer...now!!! - 8/22/2012   4:15:15 PM
  • 32
    Don't underestimate the power of clutter on your quality of life! Drawers overflowing with unused items, disorganized junk, and crammed closets all weigh on your subconscious. My roommate drives me bonkers leaving empty pop bottles and shoe boxes on the floor, drawers filled with magazines from months/years ago, and clothes in piles. I had no idea how detrimental a persistent mess could be until I moved in with someone who has no conception of throwing anything away (and combined with an impulsive spending habit, this is a lethal, unhappy cocktail).

    One very important key I wish this blog article stressed is /one step at a time./ Same as SparkPeople emphasizes fitness done one small goal after another, so too must addressing home clutter. Rome wasn't toppled in a day, after all. Right now my hands are tied in most home areas, but as soon as that restriction is lifted, my aim is to start with a small goal: a closet, the bathroom drawers, my towel collection. Start weeding, sorting, and donating!

    Also, getting rid of your books and movies by donating them to a library, volunteer group, or school can be hugely beneficial for your community and leave you feeling great afterwards. Clean house *and* brownie points for doing a good thing? Sign me up! - 8/22/2012   3:20:01 PM
  • 31
    Most of these are rules that I need to use (and the blog is definitely timely for me), but I also disagree with throwing out things like the VHS tapes. I also have cassette tapes and cassette players (my truck has a radio and cassette player, no CD player) and I have CDs and a portable CD player. To go out and replace all the VHS tapes and cassette tapes (and lately CDs) with the newest BluRay and IPOD is impossible when you don't have a lot of money. - 8/22/2012   3:02:10 PM
  • 30
    Pam Young and Peggy Jones "The Slob Sisters" have great help on getting organized if you aren't a "born-organized" person. Denise Schofield's "Confessions of an Organized Housewife" has a lot of help in that book. - 8/22/2012   2:02:14 PM
  • 29
    good timing for this article. I am downsizing every month. Big Brothers comes in their truck and picks it all up.....yay. - 8/22/2012   2:00:36 PM
  • 28
    Great ideas! The key is to not let clutter start in the first place. - 8/22/2012   12:40:05 PM
  • 27
    I had to laugh because I own one of those toasters that only toast one side!!! I keep threatening to buy a new one! lol! - 8/22/2012   10:52:21 AM
  • 26
    My sister recently called me a PACK RAT and i always think of that phrase when I'm trying to hold onto something!! I'm currently "attacking" the house room by room trying to let go of the million and one things AND I have put a "NO BUYING MORE STUFF" goal from now until December 2012! Wish me luck! - 8/22/2012   10:44:43 AM
  • 25
    I'll never ditch my Indiana Jones tapes!! At least not as long as we have a working VCR--that's why we HAVE it in the first place! :) - 8/22/2012   9:36:34 AM
  • 24
    Some nice ideas, this might be the weekend to get started on some de-cluttering of the kitchen. I think I need to go room by room to not get overwelmed. Any ideas of what I basic items I might need for items as I come to them that don't belong in that certain room.... for example all the 2 junk drawers in my kitchen, I'm sure there are papers that need to be filed, ie warranties. Any suggestions would be appreciated. - 8/22/2012   8:16:40 AM
  • 23
    I love to organize and like having a home for everything. Now if I could convince the rest of my family to get on board my home would be in better shape! - 8/22/2012   6:43:31 AM
    I must declutter my craft closet. Hope it happens soon! - 8/22/2012   6:41:33 AM
  • 21
    The way other family members have been getting rid of clutter in the rest of my house is to pile the junk in my room!! The living room and kitchen areas look ok but right now my room could be used as a poster for Hoarders. I've been trying to go through small sections at at time but it seems as soon as I clear a spot, more junk is added. - 8/22/2012   5:27:25 AM
  • 20
    Article tips are great; love the suggestions by those who posted comments; those ideas represent points of view that meet specific needs. And that is what makes goal setting and reaching the goal so sweet. On with my "if you use it, put it away" maintenance routine! - 8/22/2012   3:49:51 AM
  • 19
    I like to declutter every year, but alas my husband is a hoarder. - 8/21/2012   7:28:48 PM
  • 18
    Love the inspiration I get from flylady.com. Have been using her "schedule" for years and it is amazing how much you can accomplish in just 15 minutes - have her timer and just love it. It follows me around all day - even use it when I am on the computer - 20 minutes at at time!! - 8/21/2012   3:17:20 PM
  • 17
    This was just in time for my de-cluttering thanks! - 8/21/2012   1:04:57 PM
  • 16
    Thanks so much for sharing. That iMemories site is a great find! - 8/21/2012   12:49:55 PM
  • 15
    OMG! ! ! Getting rid of clutter may be hard but I did it. I had my daughters furniture from her house (parted with her B/F), Holding stuff for a friend that was moving and needed to send for items....needless to say she never sent for them. I touched base with everybody, gave them a time limit and O boy! Vietnam Vets really loved us. It got to where they were calling personally to find out if we needed a truck out that week. Needless to say you can breathe a lot better without the clutter,especially if you have asthma.

    We've moved since then and will not buy any "extras" to lay around the house and if you come for a visit, you leave with whatever you came with. I'm not taking in anything for friends or family. - 8/21/2012   12:18:53 PM
  • 14
    Thanks for sharing. - 8/21/2012   12:17:16 PM
  • 13
    Nothing like moving that motivates you to declutter. Moving in a couple of weeks after 23 years at current home. Haven't forgotten how much I hated moving when we were a young family and moved every year or so. I think I would rather give birth to a cow than move. LOL - 8/21/2012   12:00:37 PM
  • 12
    I try to declutter, the interesting thing is, people want my stuff. I have an old bike, and a basketball hoop, but they never come to get them. Then i'm the jerk for bugging them about it. - 8/21/2012   11:21:03 AM
  • 11
    I try to declutter ....lol. It is really hard sometimes.
    I will have something for years and then
    I give it away and about a week later I need it.
    - 8/21/2012   11:10:00 AM
  • 10
    I spent some time this summer with my 92-year old mother. She lives alone in a 14 ft. wide mobile home. She complained that she just didn't have enough storage space. I thought, "You've got to be kidding...." The problem isn't the storage; it's hanging onto the stuff. I found 5(!) coffeemakers in her home. I tested them and they all worked. I sneaked four of them out of the house and sent them to Goodwill. Now, someone needs to come into my own home and have the same objectivity to throw out and recycle all my stuff. - 8/21/2012   11:07:44 AM
  • 9
    I found a good rule of thumb is if you haven't used it in a year then it's time to donate or toss it. I managed to clear out so much space in our closets with that rule. - 8/21/2012   10:47:27 AM
  • 8
    Thanks - this has been high on my list lately. I'm hating the clutter! - 8/21/2012   10:17:33 AM
    Don't forget to get RID of your "fat" clothes. You DON'T need them anymore. - 8/21/2012   9:36:24 AM
    I've been on a serious cleaning out kick. anything i come across that i dont use, i give to a friend or toss. i have a coworker with young kids and she doesnt buy herself clothes. ive been going through things and giving her clothes i had bought and never or hardly worn. I try to wear clothes im always iffy about and see how i feel in them.. space has become my favorite element. - 8/21/2012   9:23:34 AM
  • 5
    I've lived in spaces ranging from 4000 + square feet (plus attics and garage and outbuildings) to a 38 foot deisel pusher RV -- and different "rules" are needed for these spaces, as RAVEN_X13 noted. General tips are useful, but most of these tips are more appropriate for smaller homes with fewer occupants than for larger homes with more occupants. And none of them are stringent enough for full-time RV living! -- Maryjean - 8/21/2012   8:54:49 AM
  • 4
    Great tips! - 8/21/2012   8:15:07 AM
  • 3
    This is quite a good list, but I have to disagree with a few points. Unlike most people, I don't feel the need to rebuild my movie collection every time they introduce some new form of media. Quite a chunk of the movies I own are on VHS, and the only time I will "ditch" them is if they don't play anymore (I also still have some beta movies, which I love, and do not own a single BluRay). Also, some houses -do- need three rakes. When I lived with my father, we had three. One for me, one for my brother, and one for my father. We would do the raking together to get it done quicker as we had a big lot and lots of trees, so three rakes were necessary. We can't be the only family around that has done this. - 8/21/2012   8:08:12 AM
    not all coupons are disposable, Bed Bad and Beyond coupons still valid no matter if it has expired date. - 8/21/2012   8:01:05 AM
  • 1
    Since I began decluttering the basement Saturday, this is motivation to look around the whole house and see what needs to go! Thank you. - 8/21/2012   6:15:06 AM

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