Decluttering Your Home Room By Room

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Decluttering your home is an important part of reducing the stress in your life and it can save you money, too! These easy tips will help you get started!
Decluttering Your Home Room By Room


Decluttering Your Home Room By Room – A Time to Cast Away

“To every thing there is a season… a time to keep and a time to cast away.” –Ecclesiastes 3:6

How many of you didn’t know there was a Bible verse about decluttering your home? 😉 Yes, even in the Bible there is a verse that says there is a time to get our acts together and get rid of things.

Our emotions are so wrapped up in our stuff that decluttering your home can be a stressful task. One might think we’re being asked to throw out a child instead of just tossing a book, blanket, can of paint or some old spices. I say this halfway joking but decluttering your home really can be serious for some people – no, for most people. We come up with all kinds of excuses and explanations about why we need to keep these things:

Grandma gave it to me.

If it isn’t an important family heirloom or you don’t use it or like it then toss it. It isn’t as if you are tossing out grandma or that you don’t love her. Stop dealing with these things emotionally and be practical. Don’t you think grandma loves you enough that she would rather you get rid of something that is simply cluttering your life than be miserable having to store, clean and continually rearrange something you don’t use? Trust me, grandma is wiser and she would toss the things she didn’t use or like in a heartbeat.

I paid good money for it.

We hate to throw things away because we paid so much money for them and we feel like we are wasting money. Please! We don’t give a second thought to buying another drink from that convenience store, having our hair done, going to a movie, playing golf, paying unreal amounts of money for a smart phone to play and text with and on and on. We waste a lot of money on things we really don’t need without batting an eye but when it comes to tossing something we never use or that is worn out, we suddenly become so noble and frugal that we refuse to toss it. Decluttering your home often involves letting go of past mistakes.

I might need it some day.

Really? You are 60 years old and you’re saving the bikini you wore at 20? What about those jeans you wore pre-baby 10 years ago? If you ever get into them again they will be too outdated to wear. What about that coffee pot you got for your wedding? No one in your family drinks coffee, and you don’t know how to make coffee so exactly why do you think you will need it some day? I once knew a woman who had gotten a coffee maker 10 years earlier at her wedding and kept it sitting in a box on the counter of her very small kitchen. This may seem like irrational behavior but look around you. Most of us do this all the time with our own “coffee pot” things.

I could go on and on. We keep mounds of clutter– books we never read, 15 of baby’s first stuffed animals that won’t mean anything to him when he grows up, sacks of silk flowers we might use some day and 10 sets of dishes when we can’t even keep the ones we are using washed. The list is unending but let’s be brave, clear our heads, take the bull by the horns and start clearing and decluttering your home and life one room at a time.

Here’s a list to help you get started decluttering your home room by room. Either toss or give away things but get them out of the house. Start with one shelf, closet or room at a time and just do it. It will be hard but once it is decluttered it will feel so much better. I have never heard one person who decluttered tell me they wish they hadn’t done it and their life is so much worse with the clutter gone. It is always the opposite and they usually say “Why didn’t I do it sooner?”

Things to Get Rid Of When Decluttering Your Home:

Decluttering the Kitchen



  • Extra dishes you never use. I kept 25 Christmas glasses thinking I would use them one day. I have good crystal I could use if I needed it and for the past 10 years we have either used Christmas paper cups or not had Christmas at my house. Why am I saving them?
  • Casserole dishes and plasticware. How many 1 1/2 quart dishes have you ever used at one time? 4-5 tops? Maybe you could get rid of the other 5. Get the plasticware under control. You really don’t need 10 containers of one size for an average family.
  • Junk drawer. Most of us can get rid of half of what lives in the junk drawer and we don’t usually use the half we can use because we can’t find it in the mess.
  • Cleaning supplies. Toss anything old. If you have 5 cans of furniture polish, each of which has only been slightly used, quickly use them or get rid of them. Consolidate containers of things and boxes of things when you can.
  • Sort through your kitchen linens. We are so fussy about not wearing ratty or torn undies which, more often than not, nobody sees but we don’t hesitate to have dingy, torn dish towels and dish rags on display in our kitchens. I really hesitate to eat off of some people’s dishes when I see the nasty dish rags they have used to wash their dishes.
  • Get rid of anything that is broken, chipped or doesn’t work.

Decluttering Family Rooms and Living Rooms

  • Get rid of old magazines and newspapers. Not only do they clutter your home, they are a fire hazard!
  • Knick knacks and odds and ends that don’t add to the beauty or use of the room but only clutter it.
  • Kids’ games- board or electronic ones. If games are missing pieces or don’t work, toss them.
  • Get rid of DVDs, video tapes, CDs and other collections you rarely use or don’t work. If you listen to it once every 5 years, toss it. You can download it or borrow it from somewhere if you really need to see or listen to it later. These are some of the hardest things to toss because we have spent so much money on them. Many of us felt a little guilty when we bought them knowing they weren’t something we needed. Now, 5 years later, we feel even worse because they have become so unimportant we forgot we even had them but we still want to keep them. Learn from your mistake, move on and think twice (ten times?) before you buy the next time.

Decluttering Bedrooms

  • Be ruthless with your clothes. Toss anything that is old, torn (and you aren’t going to mend), you don’t wear, is outdated or too small. (Here’s a cute way to reuse old sweaters and pillows)
  • Do the same with accessories like jewelry, purses, shoes, scarfs and ties. Be ruthless. So many of these things are outdated or just not “you” anymore. Move on. Many of them don’t fit my lifestyle anymore so I need to face that fact and toss them.
  • Get rid of anything in your bedroom that you don’t use for sleeping and dressing. Don’t use your bedroom as a spare room or catch all room. Your bedroom is especially important when decluttering your home.

Decluttering Linen Closets

  • Toss old bedding, pillows and towels. Get things down to a minimum. You don’t need 6 towels per person or 5 blankets for each bed unless you live in Alaska or only do laundry once a year. Why are you saving that comforter you used in your bedroom 15 years ago? Even if it wasn’t so outdated, it doesn’t fit any of your beds now. (By the way, if you want to know how to fold a fitted sheet to make them look neater and fit into the closet check out our video on How to Fold A Fitted Sheet.)

Decluttering Bathrooms

  • Toss outdated medicines. This could be dangerous if you don’t. You don’t need 6 half full boxes of band-aids. Put them in one box or container together. Try to put all like items together in the same area or container: first aid items, stomach medications, pain medications, etc.
  • Toiletries. Be realistic. Do you have 25 bars of soap when you might use one a year? Get rid of a few. Once again, consolidate partially full bottles of things. To make life easier, start using shampoos and soaps the whole family can use when possible.
  • Make up. Oh boy, this is a fun one. We pay so much for makeup and when we don’t use it, we feel so much guilt about tossing it. Toss outdated things and things that look awful on you. Do you really need 20 different tubes of lipstick? Do you know how much simpler you life would be if you looked in your drawer each morning and only had to make the choice between 5 lipsticks, rather than digging through the clutter of 20 tubes all mixed together to find the right one?

Decluttering the Garage, Basement And Attic

  • Toss excess tools or tools you don’t use. This is hard for most men to do but when was the last time you used 5 of the same kind of pliers at the same time? Half the time you can’t find your tools because you have so many tools you don’t really need cluttering your space. Make a small tool bag for the car, one for the junk drawer in the house and then carefully weed out things to keep on your work bench.
  • Toss old paint, cans of oil, containers, newspapers and boxes. Out town has a place that accepts donations of paint, oil and chemicals that they check and then give away to someone else who might actually use them. Keep only a small number of boxes and newspapers if you use them for projects or packing. Once that area or shelf is full, don’t keep more than your allotted amount.
  • Sell that old exercise equipment. If you haven’t used it by now, you won’t use it. Just go for a walk. That will help you get some exercise and give you a nicer looking basement that isn’t cluttered with unused equipment.
  • Go through those boxes of memories. Sure, those old tintype pictures from the 1800’s look cool but if you don’t have a clue who those people are get rid of them. (These might be good items to sell on eBay.) Do you really need the ticket stub from the first play you went to see in the 5th grade? It must not mean that much to you because you have kept it stored in a box for 30 years and have forgotten all about it.

I hate to sound ruthless but you really need to start thinking about how to make your life easier. You’ll be surprised how much decluttering your home will improve your life!


Oops! I just saw the time! I really must go and start practicing what I preach. : ) I hope the sun is shining where you are and the spring cleaning bug has hit you, too!


For more helpful tips to make decluttering your home, organizing, cleaning and laundry easier, take a look at our Keeping It Clean e-books.


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  1. Maggie says

    I have a wonderful blouse that I bought about 10 years ago when I was 30 lbs heavier. It is soft and feels good when on and it has a nice drape but I haven’t worn it in a while because it has short sleeves and it’s winter here. But this morning, I wanted a comfortable outfit for the office so grabbed that shirt. Well, it was so saggy and baggy on me, I just couldn’t wear it. It must have fit better when I weighed more but today, it just looked awful It is still a nice shirt but I immediately put it in my donation box. Someone will love it like I have, just not me anymore. It was hard to get rid of it but I am trying to not put back in the closet anything that is stained (I seem to spill drops in the middle of all my shirts :) ), or too big or too small. I’ve decided to make a list of the things I will need after this decluttering and only buy to replace them. Not just shopping to be shopping. I am making progress. A little at a time!

  2. says

    Thanks for making me laugh out loud today! I loved this, “Really? You are 60 years old and you’re saving the bikini you wore at 20?” I’ll be turning 60 on May 1 and this really hit my funny bone today. Thank you for all your good tips.

  3. Dawn E. says

    Instead of tossing away clothes, broken appliances, makeup, etc., find organizations who can recycle or reuse them! Many towns, and I’m from a very small town of 11,000, have organizations who can use those items to help those less fortunate. One business in my town will take clothing, toys, shoes, kitchenware, etc., no matter the condition. They resell the best of it and donate what they can’t sell to mothers and children who have to flee from domestic violence situations with nothing but the clothes on their back. And many of these organizations can fix what is broken and resell or give away. Another organization takes your old bathroom fixtures and furniture and appliances, broken or not, and they save them from going into the landfill and resell them! So, please, when you encourage people to “toss”, encourage them to “donate” instead. There are so many people in need, you will be glad you helped.

    • says

      Dawn if you read most of our organizing tips you will find what we mean by toss is to give it away if it is usable or fixable and to trash things that are only really bad. We just don’t have the time or the space to repeat it here and because we have it in so many other articles plus most of our readers understand that is what we mean when we say toss. If we think they should put it in the garbage we usually say trash it. Hope that helps.

  4. Dawn E. says

    When tossing outdated or unused medication, please do not flush down the toilet where it ends up in sanitary sewer facilities or drain fields. It is harmful to people who get their drinking water out of wells and it is harmful to the environment and to our rivers. Bring your medicine to your location police station. Many police stations will take medicine and dispose of it properly.

  5. Sally says

    (First of all, I’d rather not have my last name mentioned. Thanks!)

    Another Bible verse that can be very helpful: Genesis 1:26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over … every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Can’t this be applied to the “creeping clutter”?

  6. Veronica Tidd says

    Please everyone when you are donating don’t give things that are broken. Put a note on it explaining the problem then someone can make up their own mind about fixing it. Otherwise put it in the garbage where it belongs.
    From the other side if you are a thrift store shopper avoid small apliances that everyone uses such as irons or toasters there is often something wrong with them. Less usual items are usually OK because they were brought on a whim and only used once. You can usually find new instruction books on the manufacturers web site. failing that post a want on “Freecycle”tm asking for instructions. Someone will often reply and tell you what you need to know.
    Freecycle is also a good way to get rid of large useable objects, such as furniture, washers and fridges. These days people will haul away large metal appliances that are not working for free because they can get money from the recycle center. They will even take old cars or tractors, doesn’t matter how rusty it’s all done by weight.
    Good luck with the spring cleaning Tawra I’ve given up on that!!!

  7. Joyce says

    Instead of tossing, things that are still usable, they can go into boxes or containers…When enough, have a garage/yard sale…If you do not have a good bit, ask friends or neighbors.
    Once a friend’s mother organized a block sale…Anyone on the block could get in on the sale for a Saturday..Each having their own hours, prices..A great way to get rid of things, pick up a few items yourself, and meet folks, (neighbors, or potential buyers).
    You need not be this elaborate, but a suggestion.

    Our ladies church group had one, annually, in the fall. Our members got used to the idea, and cleaned out, saved stuff, and made contributions at the next sale.We bought needed things for the church or the new kitchen as needed. One year, we made enough $ to buy a large refrigerator.
    Linens and such not usable, can be cut up for nice rags for cleaning… I am a depression kid, so we either learned to make do, or did without,…saved all kinds of things…
    You can also donate usable things to various charities…sort, but think before you toss…can someone get more good out of this? Clothing/shoes, books, furniture, etc.
    I pass on my magazines when finished.

    • says

      Like I said before in most of the articles I have written when I say toss things I am not talking about throwing things in the trash but to get them out of your home whether that is giving it away or putting it in the trash – which ever is suitable. I didn’t have room to go into detail about this in this article the way I have done in other organizing articles where I have explained many times to make your boxes or piles up for storage, give away or trash. We have covered it so much in other places that I assumed most of our readers already know about giving things away or how to reuse things. If I had meant for things to go in the trash I usually say to put in the trash and when I talk about tossing I mean either giving away to putting in trash. Sorry that wasn’t clear for some of you.

      • Elizabeth says

        If you had to explain TWICE what you meant by “toss” with a paragraph, it might just be easier to use the word “donate” in your original articles. Besides, people hate to “waste” things, so donating feels more like recycling. -E

        • says

          Toss and donate are two different words Elizabeth. Toss means you can throw it in the trash or toss in a box to put someplace else. Donate means to give to someone else. Plus I usually explain toss and other things more then once because human nature being what it is people don’t read it the first time, don’t understand what I am saying or miss the whole point of what I am saying. I do the same thing all the time too and need to be told more then once.

          • Tree says

            Sounds like some of these readers need their own blog, as they keep correcting you on something they should have understood in the first place.

  8. Dilys Miehm says

    One of your comments about decluttering mentioned about medicines being stored in the bathroom. Storage of medicines in the bathroom is really not a good idea as bathrooms have fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Our family has stored all medicines in a kitchen cupboard, away from the fridge and stove (and out of reach of little ones). Not only is the temperature more stable, but it keeps them away from not only children but from prying eyes of guests, etc.

    • T says

      Yup, yup, yup! We keep our meds in a basket in the linen closet right next to the basket full of first aid items. No worries about heat or humidity affecting them and they are always “hidden” from visitors. They are easy for us to get to when needed and we don’t have to worry about the little ones getting at ’em.

  9. says

    Our church also has a once a year garage sale. I keep up to two boxes of my nicer things that I donate for that sale. That way when we are asked to find stuff to contribute I already have my two boxes ready to go.

    I find that keeping a continuous box or bags for the goodwill is the only way I keep ahead of stuff to get rid of…I make a stop to the thrift store about every two months. That keeps me on task! I will put things (I think I can’t part with) in the box and I notice that as usual, I never miss them so I know they need to be out of my house!

  10. Comet says

    For linens that might not be “good” enough to be donated ask if your local Animal Shelter can use them. They can be used for bedding or cleaning. They might also take old newspapers–just ask! They also sometimes take old furs for fostering small or injured animals that need the warmth and comfort of a faux mom.

    I was kinda shocked when we took some donated food to a food “pantry” collection and they rejected what I thought was perfectly fine items–the expiry date had passed altho they were fairly current (out of date for a few days on some canned stuff). So check and see if this is going to be a problem–no need to be embarrassed at this if you know in advance. HOw many of us have used canned or packaged stuff past it’s “sell by” (which is a suggestion not a law!) and it was fine–and we never even noticed!

    We have book deposit stations at some of our libraries and at least one large free standing book donation bin in a nearby town. Don’t remember where they go but supports some charity. A lot of thrift stores won’t take books due to storage limits and some are too damp for books.

    Any thoughts on used mattress? I know–don’t judge! But we happened to find a great deal on new and we now need to get rid of–and the sales place does NOT offer take away service! Can the metal people re-use the springs? Not something I have had to think about much you can see! We don’t have an easy way to get these to our dump and I don’t live where there is town trash pick up.

    • says

      Mattresses are a hard one. The metal springs can go to a metal place. I am very lucky when I have had anything like a mattress or something I set it out by the curb with a sign that says free on it and with in an hour or two things are always gone no matter what it is. Tawra couldn’t do the same at her house and they had a mattress that was ruined really bad and they were going to take a saws all (an electric saw) and cut it into chunks to put out with the trash.

      • Melody says

        I had to reply because my mom and dad had a couch that was ruined by their dog…Their trash hauler would not take it away without a tag they had to purchase extra and the cost was ridiculous! So, my dad took his saw and cut it into chunks that he put into the trash here and there…And, it was gone for free :)

  11. Ang says

    Thank you for your website!! I have just discovered it tonight while trying again to get a handle on my cluttered, dirty home!! Ha. We have 6 in our house. Including a 5 month old and 3 other children under 6. I am lost some days in how fast things get crazy. I can only sweep up dog hair again under my table one more time before 8 go bonkers some days I feel like. I pray your many tips help me, i like your too the point ideas. Thanks again!!

    • says

      Ang hang in there. You do have your hands full. You are probably in survival mode at this point in your life so don’t be too hard on yourself if you have many days like that for awhile. If you get a chance to read my other organizing articles I usually tell moms with young kids, that are sick or have special circumstances to not panic if your house doesn’t look like Martha Stewarts. Just do the best you can to keep the chaos under control and the house clean enough to keep the health department away :) and don’t panic. My favorite saying is “This too shall pass” and soon the kids will be old enough to help out and things will start getting easier.

      Pick and choose what you can from the tips that will help you but don’t try to do them all and you will do fine. Holler if you have any specific questions.

  12. Magdalen says

    Thank you for the humorous and sensible advice.
    I did feel sad and guilty about throwing out what had been a rather lovely ruby glass vase. We had to clear the house after mum died. My late father had painstakingly glued it back together for her . It was very fragile and I didn’t have space for it. You’re right though, he’d have told me to get rid of it.

  13. Jan C says

    Thanks again for a wonderful article. I am trying to dispose of a lot because I am hoping to move soon. Unlike most people that you talk about here, I love the memories that I have reading over the greeting cards and thank you cards that I have received over the years. I also saved the wedding invitations that I received. Just to know that I will never talk to some of these people ever again gives me joy that I had known them. I know when I have more time, I am planning to put these all in a book so I can access them readily when I want to.

    • says

      Yes Jan you do fall into a different category. Anything you use or enjoy then there is no reason not to keep it especially if you have room for it and keep it in order. The memories I was mostly talking about was Great uncle Henry’s piece of drift wood that he picked up at the ocean on his vacation, you aren’t even sure who he is, which side of the family he is on or if he is even a family member and you have his driftwood packed away in a box that you never look at and move from place to place. : )

      I think putting things in scrap books are great but like you said you are unique in that most people rarely look that their stuff or even remember what it is from.

  14. Sue Harvey says

    I’m in the middle of it! Just tossed ancient spices today. Thanks for the hints and laughs. More to go tomorrow….

  15. candice says

    I am newish to housekeeping having only been married 3 years and as I read through the lists I was astonished to think of how much excess I have accumulated. wow. I am really good with being creative and thought I knew how to declutter… but I always looked for big items… now, thank you I made a long list of things I can nix. I love your horse sense, living on a dime is the only newsletter I actually read in my email. thats saying a lot. thank you for helping me with the spring cleaning! now I have a ton of garage sale items and donate items. I also feel a whole lot better about parting with some of the silly cheapo junk I dont like and keep just because someone gave it to me.

  16. Barbara says

    Thank you, my mother was a pack rat, and thus i am! Now I have guide lines to curtain and clean up things. The other day I cleaned off the bedroom dress or we couldn’t even see! My husband said, Honey that really looks sparkling clear!

  17. GrandmaKana says

    When attempting to get things cleaned out, I had a problem with starting if I did not feel I would finish before being interrupted. A friend advised I try to “purge” on a regular basis. So now I decide how much time I have free and go by a list of things I want done. I can “purge” a file from the filing cabinet or pull out a kitchen or dresser drawer, sit with it in front of me, watch TV and still get it done. It has worked wonders for me.

  18. Tracy says

    Jill, I am thinking three of my 7 kids might be launching in the next few years, I am having trouble letting go of some stuff because I am thinking that we will use a lot of it going from 1 household to one and three apts/dorms. Any advice for how long to save?

    • says

      It depends on how long before they leave. If they are leaving in a year or two I would hang on to the stuff and pack it up in a box for them. If it’s more than a couple of years then you could probably just find the stuff at the thrift store for pretty cheap.

      I was able to put my entire house together for the first time for less than $200 and that was 20 years ago before they had good stuff at yard sales and thrift stores. Back then it was a lot of junk and cast off’s but now you can get pretty much anything you need for a house and nice stuff too!

  19. getforfree says

    Some things don’t go bad, like soap. I still have some soap from 10 years ago and using it now, it’s still good.

    We almost never use any meds and I throw out more than half because it expires. I buy and keep only one smallest package of each, cold med, headache med, Neosporin cream and itch cream.

    Question. If I use my make up only once every 2-3 months for special occasions, how long can I keep the open packages? I would hate to buy new one to just use it 1 or 2 times.

    • Christy Gentle says

      When I was trained as a make up and skin care consultant in 2013, the general rule was that products that have been opened should be discarded after 12 months. This would mainly apply to liquids such as foundation, cleanser, toner and crèmes. Powders, pencils & lipsticks can be used for as long as you like, they don’t go off. Mascara is a bit different though, because bacteria from the eyes is carried back into the container on the applicator. They recommended mascara be discarded every 3 months! You might want to invest in some pressed powder foundation which will last longer than liquid. Pressed powder foundation is good for people with oily skin. If you have dry skin…hmm, go with the liquid anyway. And since you don’t wear make up very often, you might want to not bother with mascara. Eyeliner is sometimes enough definition around the eye anyway. Hope my training has helped answer your question.

      • says

        Yes they do teach that and you do have to be careful with mascara and liquid foundation but you can go a bit longer usually then what they recommend. Remember the cosmetic companies want you to buy more. It is like the date they put on food my honey has a date to use by on in and so does my rice but these items can be stored forever.
        I do like you suggestion of using the pressed powder.
        I use mine until I notice a slight break out on my face although I have used my stuff for 3 years before and have never had that happen. When I was a skin care consultant in all my years doing it I only had on gal who had a problem. Her face broke out slightly and as soon as we got her new foundation it went away. Her make up though was 7 years old. Listen to your own skin and if you aren’t breaking out you are probably ok.

        With mascara I use it for at least a year and then will get new. Always replace your eye make up no matter how old if you have had an eye infection. One way you can tell your eye make up needs to be replaced is if it starts smelling or clumps really bad. Time to get new. With eye pencils you can use a pencil sharpener on them to refresh them and like Christy said they are ok to use a long time.
        Good tips Christy.

  20. karina says

    thank you to help me to remember i have to let it go everything i don’t use Thank you living on a dime.

  21. Muntaha says

    Thank you. I’ve decluttered my entire house but can’t seem to part with the things that I put aside to sell because I had purchased them for good money. Thank you for giving me enough courage to just give it away without trying to earn back some of the money I spent on the useless items. I still spend tons of money on other activities without thinking twice like you said so why should I hold on to a box of items just because they have the potential to sell for a few bucks, better to get rid of it all and be done with it! Thanks again!

  22. DeeDee says

    To use up the lipstick you don’t like, put some on every night as you go to bed. It will help keep your lips soft, especially during the winter months.

    • says

      You know DeeDee I just figured this out myself about a month ago after all of these years and it softens better then when I use things that are especially made for that so thanks for letting everyone know about this great idea.

        • says

          It may depend on the type of lipstick, how dark the shade and how much you put on. I don’t put it on at night myself what I was talking about is when I go to Colorado I have to carry something with me to moisturize my lips all the time. I was buying some type of chapstick or gloss when it dawned on me I had extra lipstick that why not carry that and use it in place of the gloss or chapstick. That way I was able to use up my extra lipstick and certain brands actually made my lips softer.

  23. Marcia says

    I just got through throwing out a bunch of papers in our computer room/home office because I checked out this particular file ha ha I had papers in there for car repairs on cars that we didn’t even own anymore. I shredded up tons of papers on a
    fund that were years old and I mentioned it to Hubby and he looked at me funny and said, “I cashed out that fund a long time ago!” So I was saving papers on cars that we don’t even own now and a fund we don’t have. No wonder I feel like we’re drowning in papers sometimes! By the time I shredded everything that needed shredding I had three trash bags full. Am I ever glad they’re gone!!

  24. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Yeah, but I know that if I fit into that 37 year old bikini, John C is sure to notice me. (Not really. He work in Vegas and dates show girls. I guess that I never had a chance!)

  25. Mary Jane says

    If Jill has said it once, she has said it very often…”toss” means stop simply storing something, (since you are not using it anyway) and move it along, to someone or somewhere else where it will be used or trashed, more appropriately. I personally save old t-shirts to cut up for cleaning rags, or to be cut up into strips to be crocheted into rugs. But, (and it is a big but) I do NOT store or collect these t-shirts in my t-shirt drawer. At least twice a year, I go through them, and old ones are trashed, or moved to the sewing room, where they will be cut up for another purpose within a week. I do not have a stash of t-shirts waiting to be cut, I do them as they show up. To do otherwise would be to start even more clutter. When Jill says “toss”, she means move it along. If it can be repurposed, repurpose it, but get on it. If someone else can use it, give it to them. If it is real garbage, then throw it out. Just make a decision, and act on it. Love the bottom line about clutter, though….be careful about what you buy or cart home in the future. You are not clearing out space, just to fill it all up again. I personally love the feeling that I get when I clean things out. It is kind of like taking inventory, and I always feel so blessed and yes, even rich, when I am done, no matter how little I have in any area. Where there is a gap, I am then alerted to it, and will have my eyes opened to spot the items I need on sale or at yard sales.

  26. tess says

    I did laugh out loud at most of this, but when getting rid of clothes… I make rags, or cut into strips & make a rug :)

  27. Lynn says

    My husband and I are planning a yardsale in the coming month or two. We plan to go through each room/closet and get rid of anything we are sick of looking at, haven’t/won’t use, or just have too many of. Then we’ll hit things in storage in the basement. These items, we’ll sell. We are then going to put out a big table with all of the old magazines we’ve kept over the years (hundreds!), and some other items we just wouldn’t have the nerve to try to sell, these we’ll label on the “FREE” table. I’d rather give things away that we were just going to toss, someone may find them useful. Then, we’ve got a few non-perfect items I can think of that someone may enjoy tinkering around with. These will be on a separate table which we’ll label, “FREE BUT NEED FIXING.” Whatever doesn’t sell gets donated, or tossed.

  28. Miriam says

    I love this article. I was having trouble getting rid of all of my old stuff from College, (I finished college in 1981) because I have so many good memories from there. I decided to just keep one thing and one thing only. I have such a hard time getting rid of things that I think I may use again.

    There are so many emotions surrounding stuff. I actually know a couple of people who are hoarders and every time I return from their houses, I just feel like throwing everything in my garage away.

  29. says

    Thanks for this article. I ma the classic pack rat! I can’t throw anything out, for the exact reasons you listed. Now that we are retiring and moving from a 4 bed-2 story to an apt. or small house, I HAVE to sort and toss, I have not excuses any more. Besides….. all my “good” things I have, I can pass on to someone else, and hopefully they will enjoy them as much as I once did. We are both blessed! =)

    • says

      You have got the right attitude Debra and that is half the battle. It will be work but once you get started it will feel so good it is easy to keep going. Would like to hear how it went when you are done.

  30. Dee says

    To encourage people. My dearest friend died unexpectedly. The house normally looks lovely … If you didn’t go into to utility area or upstairs. I was the only person who had been in the bedroom previously. Eight sacks of clothes went to the charity/thrift shop before we could get to the cupboards and dressing table.
    She would have been mortified that her hoarding was seen. Many many of the clothes were beautiful, and still had their labels on because she had bought them to fit into when she lost weight… Dozens and dozens of toiletries given as gifts but never used. So much paperwork too, some years out of use. The loft was filled to the roof … Full. Then we found keys and paperwork for a lockup which was costing $80 a month….

    Hopefully I won’t leave that clutter for my children.

    • says

      I know exactly what you mean Dee. I have been looking at my closets, shelves and every room in my house thinking how much work would this be for my kids if something should happen to me and have been giving things to them or getting rid of what they don’t want. I am even trying to get rid of as many knick knacks especially those that don’t add to the decor or mean much to me. I have even been trying to keep my bedroom and kitchen in great order thinking “What would people see if something happened to me.” It is a little incentive to keep on top of things.: )

  31. Shirley Anbderson says

    I told my sister she needs this to declutter her house. There is real good info here, wish I could use it.

  32. MeLisa Sutton says

    Thank you for this, I have read a lot of decluttering advice and even though they helped others I just seemed to be able to have an excuse for every advice give…until now. I loved how you put me in my place before I can even make a comment on your advice with decluttering every part of area in the house…I just shook my head thinking this woman gets it…she gets me, so thank you Jill. Now it is time to make this work at my house :)

    • says

      Thank you Melisa. I have found over the years that our emotions are tied up with everything in our lives and have a strong connection with the the things we do (or don’t do). So many times I would be given a list of 10 things to do and would do them but I found I would be more likely to do (or not do) them when I understood the whys and reasoning behind it all. That is a good thing because it means you are not a robot just following a list someone else gives you but you think and feel things through.

  33. Lori says

    One thing I’ve read about decluttering was in relation to emergency evacuations. If you only had 2 minutes (or 5, 10, 15) what would you pack up? Could I get to the things I think are irreplacable due to the clutter of the other junk? Then why do I have all this stuff?
    On the other hand, as a teacher it’s difficult because we often have to change grade levels and I can’t afford to get rid of and then rebuy stuff needed. For example I have about 20 tubs of chapter book sets in my garage from when I taught 3rd grade. Then I taught 1st grade. A year later they needed me in 4th so out came the books again. I’ve been in 2nd for 3 years but worry about future changes.
    Any ideas from teachers? (These are not items you usually find used. Example: An alphabet chart..had to buy a print one for 1st and 2nd but a cursive for 3rd and 4th)

  34. says

    Of all your mentioned reasons, I think “I paid good money for it” is a major obstacle. Part of the reason, is that you have to look at the object YOU bought earlier and admit that you were wrong. Many people would rather avoid thinking about this. It’s hard but one way to sidestep this issue altogether is to change the conversation by asking yourself: Does this fit my current style? By asking this, you can frame everything as an issue of taste instead of a mistake.

    • says

      Yes it is very hard now a day for people to step up to the plate and admit they made a mistake and take responsibility for it. One thing that helped me too was when I realized how I was only making another mistake on top of the first by keeping something packed away not using it when I could give it to someone else who needed it badly.

  35. Betty B. says

    what do I do with the stuff my son brings to my house to store? He said his wife hides things and can find it. I can’t stand having their things at my home. But I’m afraid of hurting his feelings.

    • says

      This one of those questions that is a little hard to answer because what it boils down to is do I as a parent make my child’s life easier at the expensive of making my own uncomfortable. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer because you know the circumstances better then any one else. For example is he saving truly treasured heirloom items or is it things like birthday cards from old girlfriends, year books that will probably be of no importance to him in the years to come. Are you willing to store things like that?
      You can maybe do a little compromise. If you have the room find a corner or section of shelves and say you can fill up this space and then that is it. If you need to put more here then something has to go or you need to find some place else to store it.
      Also if she is hiding things and he is having to store things over at your place you need to encourage them to work things out in their marriage where they can compromise and work with each other better because your daughter in law will start being angry at you for “fixing” things for your son all the time especially if it is things they should be dealing with and finding a solution together as a couple.

  36. Missy says

    Thank you for this article! I’m such a hoarder. I have every Time magazine that’s ever been delivered to my home. Oh, the books. I love to read and I have enough books stashed around here to give BN a run for their money! Thank God that my iPad and the Kindle app have curbed the tide! I started trying to purge in my kitchen and just ended up organizing my stuff. I moved on to my closets and talked myself into color coding instead of tossing. I’ve really tried, and I just can’t seem to break free! I sat and cried yesterday in my closet because I have 37 black tops. They all look almost exactly the same! I need help!

  37. Flora, Dallas, TX says

    I never laughed so hard, but you’re right, I’m always complaining about not having enough space so I’m going to go home and start tossing out old stuff so I can have room in my cabinets and closets. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  38. Liz Matzke says

    For books, CDs, and DVDs that you no longer use, Books for Soldiers is a great website. You can check military personnel’s requests (once you’re approved to be an official volunteer) and send those off to them. Helps their morale and are much appreciated!

  39. Lynn says

    You really got me on that excuse of “I might need it some day.” I am still laughing at myself because that is the ONE EXCUSE that keeps me clutter free. Lately I have begun to gain a bit of a backbone when it comes to throwing out things but I still have a long way to go. Thanks so much for the nudge! :)

  40. Joanne Rogers says

    I take “empty” bottles of lotion and heat them in a pan of water, not quite simmering, or 30 seconds on the microwave, then pour the liquefied lotion into a container or together into one lotion bottle. Some of the pump bottles can have 4 ounces to 6 ounces of lotion stuck inside when they’re “empty”.

  41. says

    In reading the decluttering your home, instead of throwing away perfectly good “stuff,” there are lots of ways to get it out of the house via donating them, putting them on freecycle (website that you can list items to give away versus throwing away), etc. We need to stop putting stuff in our landfills. Not a sermon, just a thought . . .

    • says

      When we say get rid of it we don’t care how you do it just make it go away. For some people who are so overwhelmed to have to have to the thrift is too much for them and they just need to dump it. For some like, it’s not that bad and you can make trip to the thrift store each month with stuff, but whatever you do just make it go away. :-)

  42. Nana Dixie says

    Perfect timing to offer such good encouragement. Will try to follow through with my
    enthusiasm. Keep up the great work. Nana

  43. says

    And don’t forget to consign anything of value. I work at a high-end consignment shop and you wouldn’t believe how much money you can get back for items you thought were useless. It’s such a win-win situation: you make money, you de-clutter your home, you help someone else who wants to save money on nice things, you keep the landfills from filling up, and you help support your local economy. I don’t understand why more people don’t do this.

  44. Susan says

    If you have old pictures that you don’t want anymore offer them to relatives before you try to sell them on ebay. They might know who is pictured and would appreciate getting them. Family pictures should be kept in the family. I am big into family history so this is an important subject to me.

    • Dianne says

      Yes,please do not throw away old family photos.Ask other family members if they want them, someone in your family maybe into genealogy,could be a distant cousin or someone you do not know. It makes me sad to see family photos for sale at estate sales.


    My girlfriend & I take turns helping each other de-clutter our homes. The visitor has a more objective outlook & isn’t held up by emotional flashbacks. We also set the timer & do say 60-90 minutes worth & then break for a cup of tea & a chance to see how far we’ve gotten through the piles. Then the visitor takes the donation boxes away in her vehicle & drops them off during the next week.
    Mission accomplished when it’s out of the house, never to return!!

    • Lori says

      I love this! Especially the part about the visitor taking the box to donate – no chickening out after a good purge!

  46. Mary Jane says

    We did some renovations on our house last summer, and we ended up with a fair amount of waste wood (wall boards and flooring) to dispose of. We live in the country and have a perfectly good wood burning area on our property. However, we also had some gyp rock (plaster) wall board as well, so we took the whole big load of the waste up to the local dump, where you pay for your waste by the pound, and you have to sort the materials, once you are inside the dumping area. We could have burned the wood at home, but there is a real push on here to sort any wood that cannot be recycled, into the land fill, rather than burning it, for the sake of the environment. I guess we always assumed they chipped it up. Anyway, we paid our dumping fees, separated our waste (it took about an hour unloading and sorting our trailer full) and were paying our fee, when we noticed that something was happening at the wood waste site. A large piece of equipment was hauling away wood to another site close by, where the scrap wood was being burned in the open!! Boy, was my husband ever mad! We had hauled the wood 15 miles, sorted and separated it , then paid to have the people at the land fill do what we could have done at home for free. There is still a stigma (though not yet a law) against burning wood on your own property, even in a safe location.

  47. Bev says

    Does anyone know what to do with an Infant Pack-N-Play that is no longer up to safety codes? I won’t use it and nobody else should either.

    • says

      I would sell it or see if someone can use it because there may be parts of you that could be used for something or could be fixed so that it is safe.

  48. says

    I’m moving soon and my next step is decluttering. Your tips are great and helpful and I hope I’ll handle with all the stuff at home and will avoid the ‘disaster’ moment. Thank you for sharing your ideas!


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