Checklist | Steps to Efficiently Declutter Your Home  


When you declutter your home, you create more space, make it a bit safer, and you make room for new items that may fit your life better right now. There are plenty of things to take into consideration in the process, and every project is a bit different. However, if you want to declutter your home, this checklist will keep you on the right path moving forward.

Before You Start to Declutter

Before you get the project underway, make a list to help guide you.

  • Write down all of the areas of your home that need to be decluttered. Focus on the worst areas first – those are the areas where you are struggling the most with organization or those creating a safety risk.
  • Create a diagram of how you want this space to look when complete. What goes where? Create some type of organization now, before you get started.
  • Don’t make any more purchases of nonessentials until the decluttering is complete. That’s a promise to yourself.
  • Be prepared for the process. It’s going to take some time and you will need to make some tough decisions. It will be worth it in the long term.
  • You can completely declutter your home in 30 days in most cases. It doesn’t have to be just a day or a week. With 30 days, you’ll be able to pace yourself through the process and hopefully avoid being overwhelmed by it.

Decluttering Your Kitchen

  • Cabinet by cabinet, go through each one to get rid of items you no longer use, those with missing pieces, and those with broken components.
  • Label cabinets based on what goes into them (even if it is temporary).
  • Remove all clutter from on top of your fridge. Clean the space and avoid putting items back that are not useful.
  • Reduce the number of plastic containers, pots and pans, and dishes in your home if there are too many. The same goes for cups and glasses.
  • Place hooks on the inside of cabinet doors as a way to hang utensils, measuring cups, and even spices stored in containers.
  • Go through dry foods carefully. Pitch anything that’s expired, wipe down shelving, and make a plan for using older items first in the menu for the coming weeks.

Decluttering Bathrooms

  • Pull out everything from the vanity and drawers. Get rid of anything damaged or unusable.
  • Create spaces for each item. Think about using baskets for toilet paper and towels.
  • Place small storage containers under the sink to hold shampoos, lotions, and other small items.
  • Organize makeup and skincare products. Get rid of anything expired or items not used in the last year.
  • Place a hamper in the bathroom for dirty clothes and towels.

Decluttering Living Spaces

  • Cabinets, drawers, TV entertainment centers, and all other clutter holding spots should be emptied fully. Clean them out and then designate each space for a specific need. Get rid of anything not used in the last year.
  • Condense the number of pillows and blankets you have. Reduce the number stored in the living spaces as much as possible.
  • Declutter shelving and display areas. Put items away that are no longer representative of your current life or interests.
  • Dust – from ceiling fans to walls, and all furniture.

Decluttering the Closets

  • Create three baskets – trash, giveaway, and keep. Go through each item in the closet to get placed into each space.
  • Get rid of clothes you have not worn in the last year.
  • Items you want to keep but do not use can go into labeled totes to be stored elsewhere. Keep closets organized by not overstuffing them.
  • Use clothing and shoe organizers for items stored in your closets. Keep them on the smaller side so you don’t feel the need to buy more to fill them up.

Decluttering the Bedroom

  • Work through the bedroom with a clear plan of what items should go where. If it is not something you use in the bedroom, move it out of that space.
  • Use under-the-bed space to store items that are important, such as extra blankets, clothing that is out of season, or accessories.
  • After going through closets, make sure every piece of clothing has a home. That includes underwear and lingerie.
  • Declutter the surfaces of furniture, including dressers and stands. Keep these free from knick knacks that are old, broken, or filled with dust.
  • Place a small container on the dresser to collect change and receipts that come out of pockets.

Decluttering Toys and Kids Items

  • Set up an organization system with a container for donations, trash, and items kept. Go through all toys through this system.
  • Of those kept toys, organize them by what they are. Place building block sets and other items with individual pieces into a zipped bag or container with a lid.
  • Use a toybox, shelving, or containers to organize toys by what they are, such as pretend play, learning games, and stuffed animals.
  • Baskets in a compartment shelf work very well for managing frequently used toys. Teach the kids to put items into the proper bins each day.
  • Minimize clutter by removing toys that the kids no longer use every month or so. They won’t notice if just a few items disappear over time.

Decluttering the Home Office

  • Paper organization is a good starting point. Start by going through all paper clutter to toss out anything that you don’t need. Make a pile of items to file and those to respond to in the next week.
  • Use a file folder or storage system to organize papers you need to keep. Use tab folders to organize items such as bills, insurance paperwork, and so on.
  • Organize desk drawers by tossing out items that are broken or unusable. It’s a good idea to buy small containers to organize desk drawers with things like pens and paper clip holders.
  • Donate books and other items that you don’t need and are likely not to use in the next year.
  • Create a space on your desk for incoming papers, mail, and bills to pay. Keep them all in one place. Once you pay the bill, place it into the proper folder. Your items are less likely to get tossed out or lost this way.

What Not to Do

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break for a bit. Come back to the project the next day. There are a few things not to do:

  • Don’t pack up everything to “deal with later.” Make decisions now so that you do not have to continue to maintain and house items that are no longer really useful to you.
  • Don’t toss out items that are usable to other people. Do your part to keep the planet green by donating as much as you can – as long as it is usable in some way. It’s going to be appreciated by others.
  • Don’t forget to keep up with it. Spend a few hours every weekend organizing spaces on a consistent basis.

At Goodwill, we are here to help you. We’re always readily willing to help you with donations that other people can use. At the same time, you’ll also want to turn to us for storage items and baskets that can help you to keep your home organized.

woman packing up a box of donations

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