11 Ideas for a Clutter Free Home

  • 01 of 12

    Ideas for a Clutter Free Home

    Clutter Free Home Ideas
    A clutter free home. Getty

    So you want a clutter-free home? I do too!  And the good news is that a clutter free home can be yours, with a little elbow grease, the right attitude, and some tools (like a list of good places to donate your stuff)

    If you’re used to an environment where piles of clutter are everywhere, changing that pattern can seem impossible. But once you’ve gotten used to living clutter-free, the little choices you make to stay that way don’t feel like chores; they simply become a part of daily life.

    Here are ideas to get your started on the road to a clutter free home, that also keep in mind how to maintain a clutter-free home over the long-term.

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  • 02 of 12

    Don’t let the clutter in.

    Why decluttering is a waste of time
    Why decluttering is a waste of time. Death to the Stock Photo

    Stopping something before it begins is the easiest way to make sure “it” never happens. This applies to clutter, and to hoarding clutter.

    Once clutter comes in – and most clutter does not announce upfront that it’s destined to become clutter – it’s much harder to get it out again. So just say no to impulse purchases, free gifts, good deals on products you wouldn’t buy otherwise, furniture rescued from the sidewalk that you don’t actually need, and anything that you don’t need or absolutely love. There are many types of clutter, keep an eye out to make sure you're not just ushering it into your home.

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  • 03 of 12

    Stay on top of your mail.

    Pile of Brochures
    Juli Townsend

    You can take steps to reduce paper clutter, but you can never entirely eliminate it. To prevent papers from piling up, deal with them as soon as you can. The most important thing is to create a system that works for you and puts you in control of the endless flow of paper, not the other way around.

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  • 04 of 12

    Make donation a constant way of life.

    Mittens, gloves, hats and scarves
    Live the Fancy Life

    Most people gather up a bunch of old clothes or unused items to donate on occasion –when moving, perhaps, or when a particular charity asks for help. To remind yourself that you can always give away what you don’t need, even when there’s no special occasion, keep a shopping bag in your closet at all times and whenever you spot something you don’t use or wear, place it in the bag. If you’re indecisive, wait three or four months before taking the bag to your charity of choice. If you haven’t gone back to retrieve an item, it won’t be missed.

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  • 05 of 12

    Learn to love smaller keepsakes.

    Declutter Every Day
    Declutter Every Day. Pexels

    A clutter-free home does not mean a home devoid of decorations or comfort. The way to keep - and continue to add - items you love is to go for what’s either small (e.g. a souvenir ornament, not a souvenir armoire) or useful (e.g. a cuddly blanket, not a collection of cuddly decorative stuffed animals.) Thinking small and mindfully will help.  

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  • 06 of 12

    Buy for your needs.

    Minimalist food storage.
    Minimalist food storage. Gray Accents

    Though I never shopped recklessly, I used to buy housewares as if I cooked for ten people and clothing as if I went to fancy parties every week. In reality, when I socialized with more than three people at once we’d meet at a restaurant, and I hated fancy parties. I cut out a lot of clutter when I began to shop for my actual needs. If you do regularly serve dinner for twenty or party like it’s your job, you can still maintain a clutter-free or even minimalist home, as long as you’re very clear in your own mind about what’s needed and what’s just for show or “just in case.”

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  • 07 of 12

    One in, one out.

    socka. Parade

    This idea isn’t about owning a certain number of possessions but keeping that number roughly stable over time. You can always add items you truly need ​but don’t buy anything you don’t need unless you love it enough to donate something you already own to make room for it.

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  • 08 of 12

    Don’t buy every organizing product.

    Organize bins under the bathroom sink from Mom Clarity
    Photo / Mom Clarity

    Here’s a paradox: people who love the idea of organizing are usually drawn to every type of box, container, and shelving unit that promises to get your life in order. Yet those very items, especially if bought without forethought or in large quantities, can create even more disorganization and clutter. Before you buy any organizing product, make sure you’ve decluttered as much as possible and organized using what you already have. If that’s not sufficient, research the right type of organizer before you buy.

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  • 09 of 12

    Allow clutter in a few “zones.”

    Organized junk drawer from Learnvest
    Photo / Learnvest

    You don’t have to banish every miscellaneous item from your home, just make sure you restrict these objects to an organized junk drawer or similarly small area, like your launch pad. When you have more clutter than will fit in your junk drawer, junk box, or junk shelf, that’s when you need to start culling.

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  • 10 of 12

    Store like with like.

    7 ways to store your boots
    7 ways to store your boots. Photo / getty

    Sometimes what looks like clutter is just the sight of necessary items scattered around a room in a disorganized way. To keep a space looking neat, keep all your shoes, books, plates, and so on in one or two particular places, and always return them there if they end up elsewhere. This especially goes for smaller items that tend to get cluttered such as remote controls, makeup, toiletries, batteries, pens and pencils. Containerize them so they are always stored in the same spot.

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  • 11 of 12

    Define your style.

    Clothes storage behind the bed
    Clothes storage behind the bed. Photo / Decor Blog

    Knowing what you like helps you to limit the number of things you take home. Sometimes, the difference between a minimalist and a clutter-accumulator is simply the ability to say “I like that, but it’s not really ‘me,’ so I’ll just leave it here.”

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  • 12 of 12

    Don't waste your time decluttering.

    Organizing the bedroom
    Organizing the bedroom. Getty

    There I said it: sometimes decluttering is just a waste of time. Why? Mostly because you're doing it wrong. Either you're just moving stuff around instead of dealing with it, or you're decluttering without a plan. Decluttering means making a decision about an item or object. You can either keep it and store it in its proper place, or, you can get rid of it through donation, recycling or consignment. Simply moving trash you are not willing to throw out from one place to another isn't decluttering. If you're just going to move stuff around, then don't waste your time with decluttering. Maybe what you really need to be doing is organizing your home instead.