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How to declutter your home: A comprehensive room by room guide

Mother and child dancing in a clean kitchen

It’s easy for our homes to get cluttered in the blink of an eye. One day the mess seems manageable, then the next you’re overwhelmed by it and don’t know where to start. Keep reading for ways to mentally prepare yourself to purge your space and actionable ways you can easily clean each room in your home! 

Preparing to reclaim your space

Everyone wants to have an organized, clutter-free home, but it can be hard knowing where to start, especially if a lot of unwanted items have accumulated. Not only can purging your house be time consuming, but it can also be quite daunting. For some, not knowing where to start, causes them to feel extremely overwhelmed. If you are wondering “why can’t I get rid of things?” it could be due to decluttering paralysis, where you’re so overwhelmed by the mess you almost feel paralyzed by it. 

The first step in conquering decluttering paralysis is understanding where it originates from. Here are three common reasons you might struggle with getting rid of your unwanted items and how you can overcome them so you can begin to clear the clutter in your home.

1. Guilt

Many times we cling onto an item because we feel guilty throwing it away. This could be because it was a gift or it cost a lot; either way you don’t want to see it end up in the trash. One way to get past this guilt is by donating it. You’ll save the item from the landfill and give it a new life where it actually gets used instead of just collecting dust and taking up space!

2. Sentimental

Sentimental items are always hard to part with since their value goes beyond their practical purpose. Whether the items were given to you by a loved one, are attached to a memory, or were belongings of a loved one who passed, it can be very hard to say goodbye. If you know the item doesn’t hold any use to you other than sentimental value, consider taking a picture of it! This way you can remember the item without sacrificing your space. For a more detailed step-by-step process, check out these 5 steps to get rid of sentimental clutter.

3. Future use

If you’ve been hanging on to items because you think you’ll use them in the future, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Maybe it's the food processor you got as a wedding gift that’s still in its box or the pair of jeans that are a size too small. If you haven't used it in the past year, it shouldn’t be taking up space in your home. A good rule of thumb: if you’ve forgotten the item exists until you’ve rediscovered it in your cleaning process, it’s time to let it go. 

Once you’ve gotten past those mental roadblocks and you’re in the right mindset to declutter, you can then start to clear the clutter and reclaim your space!

Declutter your home one area at a time

After you’ve mentally prepared yourself to start the decluttering process, a great first step is to begin with a smaller space, like a closet in an entryway. By focusing on this one smaller space, it will help you get into the groove of sorting through all your things and will make the task seem much more manageable. Just focus on one area at a time and slowly work your way through the rest of your home. 

1. How to declutter your hallway or entryway 

To get started, pull out everything from your closets, shelves, hooks, and cubbies. Sort through everything, one item at a time. Create separate piles for things you want to keep and things you plan to get rid of. The next step is to put back only the items you’re holding onto.

The key to keeping these small spaces neat and tidy is to make sure there’s a place for everything. This means finding a designated spot for everything in your home, no matter how small! While it might be a little difficult for most people to stick to this, you should definitely try to practice it for the items you use the most. It can be as simple as getting baskets with labels for your things. (i.e. hats and gloves in one, umbrellas in another.) This can help make organization much easier in small areas such as bathrooms and entryways. 

Clean entryway with mirror and coat rack

2. How to declutter your closet

Whether your closet is in your bedroom or it’s overflowing into storage space, sorting through your clothes is a must. So how do you go about cleaning out your closet? To get started, pull everything out all at once and put it in piles. As you go through each pile, hold up each item and think about whether you truly need it or not. Create a separate pile for everything you plan to get rid of. Once you’ve gone through everything, you can put all the items you’re keeping back into your closet.

You might be wondering how often you should declutter your wardrobe. It’s a good idea to go through your wardrobe every season to reevaluate what you’ve got. This helps prevent clutter from building up too much in your closet in the future. As you sort through all your items, carefully consider how often you actually wear them. Ask yourself this important question: If you haven’t worn it in months, is it really worth hanging onto? You should only keep pieces that truly bring you joy—you should feel good when you wear things, and therefore let go of anything that doesn’t make you feel great when you wear it. 

Organized woman's closet

3. How to declutter your bathroom

Bathrooms are notorious spots for clutter to build up since they often house a lot of smaller items and sometimes don’t have a ton of storage space. It’s easy to let things pile up—it’s likely you’ll find expired medication, old unused bandages, cosmetics and grooming products that never got used up and have been sitting there for ages. 

Start by tackling your vanity. Pull everything out from your medicine cabinet, under the sink, and empty out the drawers. As you sort, group like items together: keep all the hair stuff together, all the makeup in another pile, etc. When you’re done, go through each group and toss anything that has expired or that you know is really old. If you haven’t used it in a year, you probably don’t need to hang onto it. Once you’ve decided what to keep, put all those items away with like items grouped together. If you have space, use baskets in cupboards, drawers, and shelves to keep things organized and easy to find. For more ways you can optimize your bathroom, check out these four bathroom organization tips.

Clean bathroom with grey tiles and a white tub

4. How to declutter your bedroom

The most prominent part of your bedroom is the bed, so you should make sure it’s clean! Be sure to wash the sheets and make the bed, then your room will already feel a bit more tidy. Next move on to any surfaces such as dressers, bedside tables, or shelves, and get rid of the items you no longer need. There shouldn't be any clutter on the floor; if your clothes have overflowed, be sure to sort them. If you can’t put the items away in a proper home, they probably don’t belong.

Clean bedroom with a white and blue striped duvet

5. How to declutter your home office

When it’s time to declutter your home office, there’s one easy place to start: all those piles of paper! People often end up hanging onto papers for much longer than they need to, simply because they’re not sure what to do with them. You should only hold onto the truly important items—clear out receipts after you’re sure you won’t need to return items and consider scanning any paper items you want to hang onto. Once you sort through old paperwork and decide what to throw away, make sure you sign up for digital copies of all your bills and receipts where possible - this will help prevent the buildup of paperwork in the future. 

Organized home office with a computer and shelving

6. How to declutter your kitchen

The kitchen is one of the busiest areas of your home, so it's understandable that clutter and grime can easily accumulate. When you start cleaning your kitchen you should first remove all non-kitchen related items, that way you can get a better idea of what actually needs to be stored there. Next take an inventory of all your appliances, dishware, cutlery, dish towels, etc. and see if you have any duplicates or extras you can get rid of. You should also clear out any item you don’t use or is broken. Even if you have the intention of using it or fixing it, you need to be realistic if you actually will.

Clean open concept kitchen with blue back splash

7. How to declutter your garage

If you find that you don’t actually have room in your garage to park your car, it’s probably time to clean out your garage! Since it’s typically not a space where people hang out, your garage can quickly become a place where you store all the random things you don’t know what to do with. 

To tackle this task, start by pulling everything out and grouping like items together. Then, sort through each pile and decide what to keep and what to get rid of, setting aside all the items you’re not keeping. If you have trouble deciding what to get rid of, here are a couple of things to consider. First, it’s probably safe to get rid of anything that’s damaged or has rust on it, and only keep things you actually need. Second, if you can’t envision yourself using it in the next year, it might be time to let it go. When it’s time to put everything back in, consider installing some sturdy garage shelving to help keep everything organized. For more organizational ideas, check out these three garage storage tips.

Clean and organized garage

What to do with your unwanted items

Once you’re ready to get rid of all the things you no longer need it’s time to get rid of it! If you happen to have a truck, you can try to do this yourself. Anything that’s still in usable condition may be able to be donated to local charities, but it’s likely you’ll need to transport items there on your own. For any unusable items, you will probably need to take it to the dump yourself, as many areas don’t offer pickup services for larger items. For these reasons,  it’s worth considering hiring a junk removal company to handle it for you. 

At 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, we’re experts in decluttering and can get all that unwanted junk out of your way in no time with our No Contact Junk Removal. We’ll do all the heavy lifting—all you have to do is point. 

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