Image Credit: Sarah Crowley


The 11 Greatest Decluttering Tips of All Time

Image Credit: Sarah Crowley

“Keep what you need and what makes you happy” is enough of a north star for some people. But many of us need a little extra guidance to help decide what’s worth keeping. These 11 time-tested decluttering tips can help.

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Realize that what you keep costs you a lot.

You may be tempted to hang on to things because you feel like it’s a waste of money to buy them again. But there’s a cost to keeping something. You need to think about where to store it and actually remember to use it. 

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Touch it once.

For example, standing by the recycling bin with your handful of mail as you sort it and signing those permission slips as soon as they come. This cuts down drastically on paper clutter, take-it-upstairs clutter, and more.

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Ask yourself if it’s “the best, the favorite, or necessary.”

This decluttering mantra coined by Emily Ley helps you narrow down your possessions to the cream of the crop. 

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The important part of a gift is the act of giving and receiving.

It’s so hard to get rid of gifts. But if the gift itself is something you don’t need or enjoy, it’s okay to let it go, guilt-free. The transaction of love and care—what makes the gift meaningful—has been taken to heart.

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Keep a box in your closet.

This super simple trick is disproportionately powerful. Every time you put something on and don’t feel good in it, you toss it in the box. It’s an in-the-moment, painless way to declutter your wardrobe.

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Use washi tape to declutter your kitchen.

To decide what’s worth keeping in the kitchen, set a designated length of time, such as six months or a year, to give you a chance to see what tools you actually use. Use washi tape to help you keep track. 

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Declutter by area.

Looking at one freshly cleaned-out space might inspire you to declutter the rest of your home, too. So keep the momentum going by decluttering deeply in small areas, instead of decluttering a little at a time all across your home.

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Go on a decluttering binge.

If the idea of filling an empty donation box with things you no longer need inspires you, get to work. Don’t forget to put it in your car to get it completely out of your house.

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Ask yourself if you’d buy it now.

Asking yourself, “If I were shopping now, would I buy this?” is so useful. It will help you cull your collection of things down to only what’s serving you in your present life. 

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Try the hanger trick.

This decluttering hack is similar to the washi tape one, only this time you’re turning hangers around in your closet. Commit to a specific period of time, say three months, and get rid of anything you haven’t reached for and worn within that time span. 

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Pretend you’re moving.

Use this mental framework to scan your closets and storage spaces—if you see an item that you wouldn’t go to all that effort to keep, get rid of it right now.