11 Amazing Decluttering Tips! Get Started Today!

You want to declutter your life once and for all and you don’t know where to start. This is a common refrain I hear from folks like you drowning in clutter. If you are ready to begin your decluttering process I am handing you the keys to success with my tried and true tips.

You will learn how to get rid of stuff that no longer serves you. I will show you a stress free way to get to your dream vision. You will get organized and learn how to easily maintain your living environment. Let’s get started!

If you are feeling overwhelmed consider the term overwhelmed to be just another form of procrastination. I have tossed the words ‘overwhelmed and can’t’ from my vocabulary.

the 80/20 rule is spelled out in dark brown on a lighter brown backgroun

The 80/20

The 80/20 rule know as The Pareto principle, developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1896, states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the actions.

When applied to physical stuff, the Pareto principle, shows that we only use about 20% of our material possessions 80% of the time.

Image of a funny looking loud mouthed animal and texting spelling out Fahgettaboudit


What you paid for the item yesterday does not matter today. 

That was the past. You wanted the item then, you bought and paid for it. You do not want the item today. Get rid of it! 

If this thing is in good condition and gently used you can donate it and someone else will enjoy using it. You once enjoyed this and today you do not. Pass it on.

If you want to make a few bucks, sell the object. Facebook Marketplace and local Facebook yard sale groups make selling easy today. Take a picture, write a brief description of item and post the listing. Broadcast the listing to neighboring communities, arrange for buyer to pick up the item and enjoy the extra cash!

If this item has missing pieces and is otherwise not in working order there is no good reason to keep this. Toss it.

If you just went through your entire home, and put aside the unwanted items you would make a lot of progress on your decluttering task. In the bathroom alone, you may find old towels, old toothbrushes, and old makeup. Bring a trash bag with you because you will find a lot of stuff to toss.

very cute apricot poodle sleeping on the human's big bed

Sleep on it

Stop impulse buying! This is key to living a decluttered life. Have you noticed the checkout aisles at stores like TJ Maxx lately? Approaching check out the layout of the store is designed to wind us through a long aisle flanked on either side with stuff none of us need and never even thought of buying.

This is called brilliant marketing and the team that came up with this idea has probably been promoted to CEO. Impulsive buying is such a great idea for retailers and such a genuinely bad idea for people wanting to declutter their lives. Think of the last item you picked up in this aisle and bought. 

If you had to go home and sleep on the decision to purchase the thing in the impulse buying aisle would you drive back the next day and buy it? I rest my case.


When was the last time you used your fondue pot? Right? I can’t believe we used to sit around eating buckets of warm cheese! I got rid of my fondue pot 150 years ago, and the long-handled utensil with the pointy end we used to spear whatever food item we were going to slather with cheese.

colorful spreadsheets

Track which items You use

An elaborate spreadsheet tracking system would not be necessary for me to know the melon baller tool in my utensil drawer has not been used since sometime in the nineties.

Buying a melon ball tool is something I am pretty sure I would never have bought, and begs the question ‘how did this even get in my drawer’? Or more importantly why is it still here!

I keep this melon baller for one reason, this is an insurance policy. See, I am sure the day after I toss it a friend will call and ask me to make a bowl of balled melon, and I just do not want to have to do this task, so the tool remains!

The moral of this example is to do as I say, not as I do, and get rid of your melon ballers!

Check out our new free Shift Into Action course I made for you!

Is it functional or beautiful?

If your things are not functional or beautiful, why do you have it? Seriously, nothing gets into my home that is not functional or beautiful. I don’t go in for decorations and all the walls in my home are bare. I much prefer the look of a clean space than stuff.

Except for a melon baller and my old bag phone, remember those! I detest clutter. By carefully curating what comes into my home I do not have to worry about the build-up of products.

Replace an item with another

When I do decide to make a substantial purchase it is usually because I am replacing something. I make a plan for how I will toss the item I am replacing- before I buy the object. The two things go hand in hand.

a finger stacking 4 blocks spelling out 'start small, think big' - on a blue background

Start small!

Your kitchen junk drawer is a great place to start decluttering. Dump out the contents of this drawer and toss all the junk, elastics, and pieces of string you have stashed in there. Toss the stuff you have been throwing in this drawer for years.

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empty, almost, butcher block counter top

Clean flat surfaces

For a quick win empty your kitchen counter or bathroom sink top. Put the stuff you don’t use daily away. You will be amazed at how this one thing makes your entire room look better.

Get organized

A place for everything and everything in its place. Organization is key to an efficient and clutter-free space. There is no excuse not to be organized today. There are so many storage organizational systems available. Some organizing set ups are inexpensive and some are more costly. 

glass rods sorted by colors in pieces of gutter stock to cut to the size I want.

Be creative! I spend almost nothing on keeping myself organized, and stay perfectly organized with recycled cardboard boxes and other things I have on hand. Old clean gutter pieces easily cut to the length I want work great in my glass studio! I have found no system I would prefer for the items I organize in this manner.

Except – I did a small kitchen renovation recently and there was a space in my kitchen just calling out for a pull-out spice drawer, so even though I do not cook much I just had to have it! This spice organizer is both beautiful to me and functional! The pull out drawer was pretty inexpensive, under 100 bucks, and well made too.

Way cool pull out spice rack that is only about 7 inches wide.

One touch rule

You will be amazed at how much time you save when you adopt the one-touch rule. This is simple! Whenever you are finished using something put it away. Immediately. 

Unwanted & unnecessary items

By going through your entire home and putting aside the unwanted items you accumulated you would make a big dent in your decluttering journey. Just in the bathroom alone, you may find old towels, old toothbrushes, and old makeup.

Remember to bring a trash bag with you because you will find a lot of stuff in your bathroom to discard. I use the heavy duty contractors bags because they do not tear. Why keep beauty products you bought that did not quite work out the way you expected?

Look through the medicine cabinet and check the expiration dates on your medications. When was the last time you opened that bottle of old perfume? Get rid of it and all the empty bottles or containers with just a smidge left.

2 white puzzle pieces with the word win on each

Quick wins! 

Move on to the linen closet, laundry room, or coat closet. There are easy things in these spaces to declutter like old bedding.

Dumping ground

​Where in your living space is your dumping ground for things like batteries and little pieces of this and that that you cannot bear to throw away. Are some of the items here broken?

Are there batteries in this space or batteries you don’t know are good or bad? Dead batteries and light bulbs are never going to recharge themselves. I’m talking to you!

You will never learn if the batteries are good or bad unless you have a battery tester. You probably don’t want to risk putting dead batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon dioxide alarms, I sure do not. Get rid of them and start fresh. Dead batteries in the future go into your trash bin. Apply the one-touch rule!

Where is your dumping ground for old computers, old electronics, and old board games? By the time your things are relegated to this area you are done with them. You know this is true! Get rid of them. Find an organization to donate used electronics to in my free Resource Guide.

If your goal is to have a clutter-free environment introduce these tips to your daily life, use storage solutions, and get rid of duplicate items. 

Children’s toys

Do you have little kids at home? If you do, sorting through the kid’s toys with your children can be a teachable moment as well as freeing up space.

bright kid's toys including a big teddy bear and legos

You can teach your children how lucky they are to have so many toys and since they are not using a, b, and c a less fortunate child can enjoy playing with a special toy you no longer play with. Walk the kiddos through the process of donating to charity shops. This is a very valuable lesson.

Declutter one object at a time

Listen, it took a while for all the things you have to pile up, years probably. Take your time decluttering, if all you manage to do is 10 minutes a day or one object a day this is okay. You will see improvements quickly and this will motivate you to declutter more. 

By putting the object immediately back in its proper place you will not have to touch the item twice. Try this!

Adopt the habit of only owning beautiful or functional objects you will have won the battle against clutter. If you pick only item a day and declutter this one piece, after one year you will be 365 items lighter!

Keep the things you love and let go of the rest. There is no perfect time to begin your decluttering journey. I have given you a great start to begin reaping the benefits of decluttering! 

Have fun with your decluttering! Include some fun in everyday!

author pic

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

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