60 Baby-Steps to De-Cluttering Your Home
The very idea of de-cluttering your home can be completely overwhelming, you look around and see so much stuff that it can seem impossible to even know where to start.
Readers of my book Positive Thinking for Beginners will know that I am a big fan of ‘Baby-Steps’.
Take it one baby-step at a time and it’s not nearly so scary or overwhelming. As you work your way through, you gain momentum and you get better at it, making it easier to make those decisions about what to keep and what to discard.
Instead of focusing on the big picture – a calm, clean, tidy, well organised home – It’s great to have this as your goal and to visualise it, but then turn your focus to just one area, one drawer, one cupboard, one room etc. at a time.
If you do little and often you still get to your goal, you just don’t exhaust yourself or get so overwhelmed that you give up before you’ve really got started.
Here are 50 baby-steps you can take one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have the home you’ve always wanted and deserved.
Things to throw away
1. Chipped cups/mugs
2. Glasses chipped or patten worn down
3. Chipped plates and bowls
4. Appliances you don’t use anymore
5. Damaged utensils
6. Utensils you don’t use anymore
7. Plastic pots that the lids are missing
8. Plastic lids that the pots are missing
9. Old dried up spices and herbs packets and jars
10. Packets past their use by date
11. Half-eaten packets of chips
12. Sauce bottles that are all but empty
13. Jars that have been open too long
14. Damaged/rusty baking trays
15. Recipes you never use
16. Cook books you no longer use
17. Any foods that are close to their use by date, put them to one side to use up.
18. Organise packets in a small basket.
19. Place like with like i.e sauce bottles, vinegars, oils, tins, spices & herbs etc.
20. Clean out under the sink, throw out any empty cleaning products.
21. Put cloths in a basket for easy access.
22. Stack saucepans and frying pans neatly.
23. Work tops – clear the clutter, find homes for the excess items stored on them.
24. Go through your junk drawer (if you have one) Do you need to keep it all? does all that stuff have to be there? Or are their better places to keep them?
25. Recycle any old magazines.
26. Donate old CD’s and DVD’s to the charity shop.
27. Check ornaments, trinkets & photo frames are they in good condition? Do you actually like them? Are they looking tired or are you tired of them? If they don’t make you smile then they probably don’t belong in your home anymore.
28. Keep your coffee table clear of more than two or three items. Remember it’s not storage, it’s there for you to have somewhere to put your drinks.
29. Make your bed.
There is nothing better than getting in a clean, tidy, well-made bed.
30. Clean out under your bed.
31. Worktop spaces, dresser, bedside cabinets – these areas need to be clear of clutter with only items that are practical i.e. lamps or things that help to make your bedroom a sanctuary such as candles, a diffuser, a book, plant, one or two ornaments, photos, pictures etc.
32. Underwear etc. throw away any items that have holes in them, are too tight or have stretched out and are worn out. Now throw out any odd socks. Now go through the good stuff and see if they make you feel good when you wear them. How you feel in your undies can not be hidden by fabulous clothes.
33. Make up – throw out any old make-up you no longer wear, clean your make-up bag and brushes. Throw out dried up mascara’s, eye and lip liner pencil stubs.
34. Nail polishes – dispose of any old, think or dried up nail polishes, and any you no longer like the colour of.
35. Jewellery – throw out odd earrings and junk jewellery you no longer wear. If you have gold or silver jewellery that no longer serves a purpose to you, sell it, pawn it. Unless it has a happy sentimental value, it has way more value by being sold than being left in a drawer storing old, sad memories.
36. Handbags / Purses – throw away any old damaged, tired looking bags and purses. Donate to charity any that still have life left in them that you don’t enjoy anymore.
37. Shoes – Start with the easy ones, any with holes or hardly any sole left, throw them out. Now go for the ones that make you feel great. Place these on a shoe rack in pairs for easy access. Try on the rest and decide if they are comfortable enough for you to wear them and if you love them enough to keep them in your clutter free home.
38. Throw out clothes that are damaged, torn, worn out and clothes with holes in them.
39. Recycle or donate clothes that don’t fit you.
40. Recycle or donate clothes that don’t make you feel good when you put them on. You can’t show the world you best self if you feel uncomfortable, frumpy, or flat.
Your clothes need to make you feel fabulous, if they don’t do that for you then make room in your wardrobe for clothes that do.
41. Organise your clothes so they are easy to find when you want them. I put all my skirts together, dresses together, shirts together etc. When I’ve chosen one item of clothing such as what trousers I’m going to wear, I can go to my shirts or tops to choose a co- ordinating item.
42. Matching hangers – this may sound a little trivial, but it really does make a difference. Hangers of different shapes, sizes and colours add to the cluttered look of the wardrobe. If you can replace, the hangers with matching ones, then stand back and see the difference. You can donate or recycle the old ones.
43. Throw out empty bottles in the shower, use up the almost empty ones first before you open another one.
44. Throw away any stained and discoloured face cloths.
45. Work top – clean and find homes for any excess items.
46. Cupboards – remove and discard any out-of-date lotions and potions including sunscreens
(Most bottles and pots have a small symbol on the back that looks like a small tub with the lid open and 6M / 12M / 18M this means that it is to be used or discarded 6 months / 12 months / 18 months after opening)
47. Organise your cupboard with small baskets and put like with like for easy access.
Other things to throw out/recycle/donate
48. Old medicines – dispose of these safely by taking them to a pharmacy.
49. Dying or dead house plants.
50. Pens that do not work.
51. Games and puzzles with bits missing.
52. Throw out or donate old hobby items you no longer use.
53. Old towels and blankets that are fraying or with holes in them (these can often be donated to animal shelters).
54. Old wires and cables for tv’s, DVD players, Playstations etc. that are long gone.
55. Stained tablecloths
56. Serving dishes/plates with chips or cracks in them.
57. Old take-out menus.
58. Books you will never read again.
59. Anything you have been saving ‘because it might come in handy one day’
Try printing this list and ticking off each small step as you go, seeing your progress not only in your home but on paper as well will show you just how well you are doing with your goal of de-cluttering your home.
When it comes to making decisions about items that have a significant emotional attachment you don’t want to be too rash with the decision making but you don’t want to be too cautious either. If you are finding it difficult to make a decision, make a box marked ‘To decide when I’m stronger’. This way you can carry on with your de-cluttering project and not get too distracted by one or two items which may make you lose the momentum.
Remember you are better than you think you are xx