Decluttering Cure

20 Things in Your Living Room You Can Declutter in 20 Minutes

published Sep 10, 2020
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Apartment Therapy’s Decluttering Cure is a free 20-day decluttering program, guaranteed to leave you with a lighter, leaner home. You can sign up here to get all 20 lessons delivered to your inbox.

When you’re decluttering, clutter is your enemy. And you have to understand your enemy to defeat it. So here’s a quick 101 lesson on two types of clutter.

In some storage areas of your home, closets and under the bed for example, you’re harboring “long-term” clutter: stockpiles and collections of things you may or may not need to hang on to. But there’s also “everyday” clutter—those scattered personal effects that end up crowding your open surfaces if left unchecked for too long. We’re going to address both types during the Decluttering Cure.

Decluttering Tip: The best way to handle “everyday” clutter is to make tidying up a part of your routine. Schedule a quick pick-up every week, or more often if needed.

→ Create Your Own Decluttering Workbook

To get you into the habit of picking up everyday clutter, we’re going to take on six different decluttering sweeps of rooms and areas at home in the course of this 20-day challenge. They’re timed—the goal for each day isn’t a spotless space, it’s cleaning up as much as you can in 20 minutes, to build a habit you can keep up year ’round.

Today we’ll start in the living room…

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Day 3: Do a timed 20-minute declutter in your living room.

Here’s how it works: Set a timer for 20 minutes, and head into your living room with a laundry basket (or something else to collect clutter with). While the timer is counting down, venture around and collect as much clutter as you can into your basket.

You’re looking for anything that’s out of place, including stuff that needs to be trashed (or maybe just needs to find a new home). Remember the five decluttering rules from yesterday—if you wouldn’t buy it again or take it with you when you move, it might be time to let it go.

Where to Look:

  • on the coffee table
  • under and around the sofa
  • consoles and sofa tables
  • side tables
  • cubbies/drawers
  • bookcases
  • shelves
  • entertainment center
  • the floor

What to look for:

  1. Drinking glasses and mugs
  2. Broken or unused toys
  3. Books and magazines
  4. Paper clutter
  5. Old receipts
  6. Food and straw wrappers or other trash
  7. Instruction manuals
  8. CDs, DVDs, or vinyl records you don’t listen to or watch
  9. Video games
  10. Extra gaming accessories you don’t use
  11. Board games or puzzles
  12. Broken, outdated, or unused electronics
  13. Chargers and cords
  14. Shoes, handbags and accessories where they don’t belong
  15. Nail clippers, lotion, or other personal care items that don’t belong
  16. Blankets and throw pillows from other rooms
  17. In-progress work, hobbies or projects
  18. Art supplies, like markers or crayons
  19. Exercise equipment you’re not using
  20. Random objects and decor you don’t want to keep any more

Gather it all up in your basket. When the timer stops, you can stop too. Empty your laundry basket by returning things to their rightful place, or by discarding anything you don’t want into your “sell” and “donate” boxes from day one.

More Ways to Participate in the Decluttering Cure:

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