We live in a small home with our 5 kids. We homeschool. We are on a tight budget. I don’t have the time or the resources to do a major overhaul on our home by purchasing overpriced solutions at the Container Store. Just by strategically getting rid of things, our home functions so much better for our family. Decluttering isn’t just about tidying up; it’s a transformative process that can significantly enhance your quality of life. Let’s look at some actionable steps I took to achieve a well-organized living space.
Benefits of Decluttering
Without a massive budget, we simply can’t add more space to our homes.
Usually, decluttering and organizing are the only tools we have to help our homes function better for our families.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you look around and every single flat surface is covered in clutter and nothing seems to have a place.
How are you supposed to clean your home when lots of your possessions don’t have a place where they belong AND you have kids that don’t understand why cleaning up is necessary for your mental health?
The only solution here is to purge.
Get rid of everything you don’t actually need or use.
Store the things you may need in your garage, basement, attic space, or even a closet out of the way.
Maximizing Storage Solutions
Storage solutions play a pivotal role in maintaining an organized home.
Instead of going blindly to the store and buying a ton of bins, baskets, and under-bed storage, shop your home first.
What do you already own that would work?
Old Dollar Tree bins, empty diaper boxes, and totes left over after decluttering are great for organizing.
After you find an organizing system that works for your family, THEN you can spend the money on the pretty organizers.
Until then, we’re just taking this for a test run and trying it on for size.
Getting Started: Room by Room
Decluttering can be overwhelming if you try to tackle your entire living space at once.
Instead, break it down into manageable tasks by prioritizing rooms.
Start with high-traffic areas or spaces that contribute most to daily stress.
If you take the emotion out of declutteirng and simply follow the list I’m about to give you, your home will be a solid 50% better without much effort.
Checklist for Decluttering Room by Room
Assess and declutter shelves and entertainment units.
Tidy up media storage (DVDs, CDs, etc.) and consider digital alternatives.
Any important paper clutter should go in one place after quickly going through it.
This is how I handle paper clutter in our house and it’s been life-changing.
Same with instruction manuals. Be honest with yourself about whether you need them.
Most instruction manuals are available online for free.
Clear countertops of non-essential items.
This includes the air fryer or the slow cooker you hardly use.
Those kinds of things can go to the garage, or whatever storage space you have available.
Unless you use it literally every single day, take it off your counter.
Declutter cabinets by donating or discarding unused kitchenware.
Organize pantry shelves and check for expired items.
Streamline utensils and cooking tools, keeping only the essentials.
Do you actually need 5 spatulas and 3 slotted spoons?
Declutter bedside tables, removing unnecessary items.
Throw away water bottles and take any miscellaneous dishes to the kitchen.
Assess clothing and donate or discard items you no longer wear.
Don’t keep things to wear to an event that may happen one day.
Unless you’re regularly invited to weddings and wear the same thing to each one, donate anything you don’t wear on a regular basis.
Consider under-bed storage for items like shoes or seasonal clothes.
Safely discard expired toiletries and medications.
Organize cabinets and drawers, keeping daily essentials easily accessible.
Keep only one towel per family member plus one or two extras for guests.
Evaluate the need for storage solutions like baskets or shelves but remember our previous talk. DON’T buy anything until you quadruple check you don’t have a storage solution that will work.
We don’t buy our way out of clutter.
5. Home Office/Desk:
Declutter the desk by removing unnecessary papers and items.
Consider whether you even need a desk.
If you work from a laptop like I do, your desk probably just collects paper and clutter.
I work from my couch 99% of the time.
Streamline office supplies, keeping only what’s essential.
Store the rest.
Consider cable organizers like these to tidy up electronic cords.
6. Kids’ Room:
Involve the kids in decluttering toys, donating or discarding unused ones.
This is how we minimized our kids toys.
Organize clothing and donate items they’ve outgrown.
Consider storage bins or baskets for easy toy organization.
Establish a designated spot for shoes, coats, and bags.
For us, this is a small closet just inside our front door.
Declutter items that tend to accumulate near the entrance.
Consider a shoe rack or storage bench for added organization.
We don’t have room for one of these, so I use an oversized basket I thrifted.
Keep a designated space for keys and other essentials.
8. Miscellaneous Spaces:
Evaluate hallways for any unnecessary items.
Consider multi-functional furniture for smaller spaces.
Regularly assess and declutter these spaces to prevent accumulation.
Throughout the decluttering process, create a system to prevent future clutter. Designate specific places for items and make it a habit to return things to their rightful place.
While decluttering can be stressful, it’s also incredibly rewarding. I like to take before pictures so I can see how far a space has come. When you get overwhelmed, remember that every single thing you get rid of is one less thing you have to manage. Get rid of enough things and suddenly your home functions better, you suddenly have slightly less stress when you get home, and you realize you get to focus on what really matters. Just keep going, I promise, the end result is worth it!