31 Days to a Clutter-Free Home
A clutter-free home creates a more peaceful, relaxing space for you and your family to enjoy. Here are some easy suggestions on how to organize your home. (Content from Southern Living Editors, August 16, 2022.)
Days 1-5: The Warm Up
Lets start simple and easy to get the ball rolling.
Day 1: Fill one trash bag of junk from anywhere in the house. Then, toss or donate it.
Day 2: Pick up five to seven things that don't have a place and find a place for them. You use these things daily, but each doesn't have a home. Here's one of the best rules of an organized home: Everything should have a place.
Day 3: Pick a counter and clear off all the junk. Another big organizing tip: Every flat surface should be clear of clutter.
Day 4: Clear a shelf—any shelf. Keep five of your most display-worthy items, donate the rest, or set them aside for storage (but keep in mind that you're aiming to simplify, not purchase a storage unit).
Day 5: Take this day to strategize. We'll walk you through general ways to eliminate clutter in every room, but you've got to make a note of your home's personal clutter "hot spots." The table by the back door? Your bathroom counter? Your desk? All of the above? Make a note of the spaces you want to declutter, and set deadlines for getting organized.
Make boxes for keeping, donating, and storing—these will come in handy. If you're prone to separation anxiety, make a box called "maybe"—when you can't quite make yourself throw something away, store it here. After six months, pull it back out—if you haven't thought about the item, you should throw it out.
Days 6-8: The Bedroom
Day 6: Take everything out from your drawers. Donate if you haven't used it, worn it, or read it in a year. If it doesn't belong in the bedroom, put it in an "elsewhere" bin (and put the collected items in their rightful places when finished).
Day 7: Now that you have drawer space cleared up, focus on your bedroom surfaces (like the bedside table, TV stand, vanity, etc.). Donate the items that no longer have value and limit yourself to displaying only five things on each surface.
Day 8: Check under the bed. Getting rid of things you forgot you owned will clear up space for seasonal clothes and shoes.
Day 9-10: The Closet
Day 9: Start at the bottom. You'll free up space to spread out and sift through your sweaters. Get rid of clothes and shoes that you haven't worn in the past year, that don't fit, or are damaged. As for items with sentimental significance, you're not a bad person for throwing away your best friend's bridesmaid dress. Snap a picture, and then donate it. Remember that memories exist in your head, not in a piece of fabric.
Day 10: Put everything in its place. Now that you've cleared up space, you can ensure that all your favorite pieces are visible. Organize tops by sleeve length, pants by type, and shoes by occasion. Stow away any seasonal clothing (bathing suits, heavy coats) under your bed until it's their time.
Days 11-14: The Kitchen
Day 11: Tackle the Tupperware cabinet. Once you can open this seemingly endless cave without risking a plastic-container-waterfall raining down on your head, you can do anything! And the technique is simple. Throw away every single container that doesn't have a matching lid and every single lid that doesn't have a matching container.
Day 12: Abandon your useless appliances. If it doesn't work or if you haven't used it in over a year, throw it away or donate it. The same goes for pots and pans—keep the ones you use daily, but you don't need eight sheet pans.
Day 13: Refresh your refrigerator and your pantry. Get rid of all those random condiments you bought three years ago (they expire) and spices that have seen better days. While at it, donate the cookbooks you've never cracked open.
Day 14: Now that you have all that extra space, clean off your countertops. Again, limit yourself to five items per surface and store appliances besides the ones you use daily, like coffee makers and microwaves, in your clutter-free pantry.
Days 15-17: The Home Office
Day 15: Start with all those papers you have stacked up. You'll need a system—we like a simple "to file," "to do," and "to toss." Then, file your records in a way that makes sense for you. Be wary when throwing away sensitive personal information and important records. If you need a cut-off date for keeping semi-important documents, a good rule of thumb is seven years (the length of time lawyers are legally required to keep their records).
Day 16: Now that you can see your desk's surface, it's time to declutter it. While displaying your knick-knacks is tempting, keep it in check and limit yourself to five items. Throw away things you haven't used in over a year (you don't need a mini stapler), and put things you want to keep to the side. It's time to clear out some drawer space.
Day 17: Empty all of your drawers. Eliminate items you don't use, like last year's planner or expired coupons, group items by similarity, and the leftovers from yesterday's desk surface detox. Take stock of your supplies, and purchase drawer organizers that will fit the things you have. Never buy storage containers before you know what you have to go in them.
Days 18-19: The Bathroom(s)
Day 18: Don't be intimidated, but some experts recommend decluttering all your bathrooms at once. You can take an accurate inventory of all those long-lost soaps and lotions you forgot existed. Empty and wipe down your drawers, shower caddy, cabinets, etc. Throw away what's expired, what's nearly empty (that you don't use), and that overwhelmingly-scented coconut bath bomb your grandma gave you five years ago. The same goes for medicine and makeup.
Day 19: Put similar things together, and put them in their place. This process may involve buying new drawer storage organization, but a clean bathroom makes life happier.
Days 20-22: The Living Room
Day 20: As in any frequently used room, things tend to collect in the family room. Put back items that have wandered from their homes.
Day 21: Take a look at your living room decor. Is it cluttered and overcrowded? Too many pillows, coffee table books, or picture frames? Clear off surfaces, leaving only the decor items you've purposefully chosen.
Day 22: Many valuable items belong in the living room, so store smart. The trick is to find sophisticated storage options to keep them hidden but still handy.
Days 23-25: The Laundry Room
Day 23: Designate bins for everyday washes, delicates, darks, and whites to keep clothes from piling up on the floor.
Day 24: Clean up your cleaning supplies. Use cabinets, baskets, and wire containers to organize cleaning supplies according to how often you use them. Keep detergent and other daily-use items in clear glass containers for sophisticated storage that doesn't take up cabinet space.
Day 25: Consider throwing away mismatched items from the dreaded sock bin and starting from scratch.
Days 26-29: The Basement, Attic, and Garage
Day 26: Divide the space into sections. You'll be emptying everything so you can see what you have. These sections will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Day 27: Empty everything, one section at a time. Divide your stuff into "keep" or "give away." Get the rest of the things you've marked as storage over the past 28 days. Is there anything that you'd rather give away now? Adjust accordingly.
Day 28: Group similar things and assess your inventory. Once you see what you're working with, purchase storage containers that will fit your needs.
Day 29: Finally,sort, stack, and label your containers—you'll be amazed.
Day 30: The Mail
Day 30: This can be fun if you've created a place for everything. Rather than letting mail pile up on your clutter-free counters, sort through your piles of mail. Unsubscribe from useless catalogs, and separate the rest into bills, personal, invitations, charity, etc.
Day 31: Keeping it Clean
Day 31: On day 31, bask in your organized and simplified home. You'll never need another 31-day cleaning schedule again if you set aside 20 minutes every day for sorting mail and putting things in their place. Don't buy something just because it is on sale, and remember how good being decluttered feels.