8 Ways To Reduce Clutter

Unless you’re a compulsive neat freak, clutter will inevitably take hold of your living area in some way, shape or form.  If you’re not careful, clutter can overtake your home.  Having clutter around is also a ‘spiral out of control’ situation, as clutter builds quickly once you allow it to take hold.

If you have too much clutter, follow these eight steps to get a handle on your clutter, and re-claim your space!

  1. Make a list – Before you even tackle a de-cluttering project, go around and make a list of areas that have too much clutter.  Rank your top five ‘most cluttered’ spots and be specific (don’t just say ‘basement’ but put ‘basement shelves’)
  2. Tackle any item except the first one – Don’t start with your most cluttered spot.  Start with #3 or #4 on your list instead.  This will help reduce the chance of being overwhelmed.
  3. Clear out everything from your cluttered spot – If your spot is a closet, remove everything.  If it’s a shelf, take everything off.  If it’s a drawer, empty it out.  Starting with a clean slate will work much more effectively than trying to re-organize within an already cluttered spot.
  4. Divide into two piles: Keep.  Don’t Keep.
  5. Re-sort your ‘Keep’ items  – Put items that go back in the previous spot away in an organized fashion.  Move anything that should go somewhere else, putting it in it’s rightful spot.
  6. Deal with the ‘No Keep’ items immediately –  Throw junk away.  Recycle what you can.  If you are keeping anything for a donation or garage sale, put it in the spot for these items right away.  Whatever you do, don’t leave a pile of stuff to be dealt with later, otherwise you’ve accomplished nothing.
  7. Take a mental snapshot of what the newly cleaned spot looks like –  In the future, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to keep that area free of clutter. Spend a few minutes looking at it to take pride in what you’ve just done and so that your mental image is a clutter free spot.
  8. Go back and tackle another item on your list – Now that you’ve got the process down and have seen results, you can tackle an even more cluttered spot.  Eventually the clutter will disappear and you can take back areas that you’ve lost.

Don’t wait until tomorrow.  Get started on your de-cluttering today.  It will help in so many ways!

11 thoughts on “8 Ways To Reduce Clutter”

  1. great suggestions but i must add #9 to your list–get rid of all the people in your house who will thwart your decluttering efforts during the time you are decluttering. if that is not possible, practice saying "you have not used that in 3 years. why must we keep it?" as much as possible!

  2. I just forwarded this article to my girlfriend. We went to her storage unit last night and she as decades worth of old cassette tapes and cds. Half the bands she dosent even like anymore. We coulda cleared out that whole unit and brought the few items of value back to her place and save her that extra bill each month. She just refuses to let go sometimes

  3. I've been decluttering like crazy this summer and I feel so much lighter!! It's a necessary task once in a while.

  4. @jana – Getting rid of the clutterers in a household, that's harsh! And let's face it, we'd all probably be getting rid of ourselves as I know I'm guilty at times.

    @Max – Let me know how it turns out.

    @Ashley – I find it an ongoing process, it never ends!

  5. Great list! I can finally say I'm decluttered and it's such an incredible feeling! Life really is better with less. 🙂


  6. We constantly declutter. We have moved 5 times in the last 5 years, and every time we move, we reduce our level of "stuff". I used to feel that I would miss more "things" bout now I just feel peaceful when I look at my house!

  7. I find that decluttering is always a worthwhile effort in our house. the less stuff we have the faster it is to clean the place and find what you actually need. Plus, with less stuff you can move into a smaller place and save big time on housing costs 😉

  8. I decluttered my bedroom closets a month or so ago. I love seeing how neat and organized they are now.

  9. The piece of advice that took this post beyond every other uncluttering post I've read is the one about handling the … well, #6. Deal with the 'no keep' items immediately.

    That feels like something fresh. When I don't handle those items right away, I end up with a room full of "stuff I eventually plan to deal with, even though it's already been sorted through in other uncluttering efforts."

  10. Great advice. Will use this list to tackle my clutter. Thanks! A surprise way to get you to clean for apartment dwellers, the annual fire alarm exam. Unless you don't care looking like a pig in front of the building staff, you better get cracking!

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