3 Times “In the Moment Decluttering” Will Help You Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Need

published Nov 1, 2021
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Organized white kitchen with wooden shelving and decor.

Decluttering can be therapeutic. How many times have you thrown yourself into an organization project when the world (or your world) feels out of control? Making sense out of a small, physical mess not only helps you get rid of the excess that weighs you down, it also helps you internally regain a sense of calm.

However much you might get done in bursts of inspiration, though, it’s helpful to remember that routine decluttering efforts are just as important when it comes to maintaining a sense of order. That everyday commitment to decluttering can look like this: making a list of areas you want to conquer, setting aside a certain time each day or week to work on them, and methodically making your way down the list.

But there’s another, super efficient time to declutter certain categories of your belongings: right after you use them. By assessing what you really need and what you can let go of when your usage habits are fresh in your mind, you eliminate the fear of accidentally getting rid of something you might need.

“In the moment decluttering” lets you clear out your spaces confidently. Furthermore, having the mindset of decluttering as you use things can get you into a habit of decluttering routinely rather than sporadically when you get fed up with an overwhelming amount of stuff.

Here are some groups of things you can set your sights on for decluttering in the moment:

Travel gear (after a trip).

You can do this either right after you’ve packed or before you unpack for a trip. The timing is ideal because you can see what you used and, more importantly, what you didn’t use, right in front of your eyes. Of course, different trips call for different luggage, bags, etc., but while that bin of packing cubes is out, thin out the ones with broken zippers or the extras you never reach for. Donate all the toiletry bags that sit unused every time you pack. Get rid of extra toiletry travel sets. Say goodbye to the bags you no longer use. Thinning out your packing items and travel gear will make your next packing session that much smoother.

Food storage (after meal prepping or putting away leftovers).

Food storage containers — and the lids that go with them — are the bane of many kitchen organization efforts. One thing that will help keep them under control is thinning out the entire collection. But it’s hard to know just how many you might need. The perfect time to assess your food storage situation and let go of what’s unnecessary is when you’ve just put away a bunch of leftovers or completed your food prep. Take a deep breath and donate the containers and lids that aren’t in rotation. At the same time, cull your disposable food containers and recycle any that have just been taking up space.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Servingware and dishware (after a party).

It’s hard to get rid of special occasion items because most of the time there isn’t a special occasion happening and you can always imagine needing and using your supplies the next time they roll around. So next time you entertain, while all the servingware and dishware and glassware is dirty or drying, take an honest look at what you didn’t use and seriously consider whether you actually need to keep it.