Junk Drawer, Beware! Declutter Your Home With These Simple Tips & Tricks
Kiss that clutter goodbye and get organized!
You’ve got to be living under a (hopefully tidy) rock if you haven’t yet heard of organizing guru Marie Kondo. With her increasingly popular book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and her new Netflix series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, just about everyone has caught the decluttering bug.
No matter the time of year (spring cleaning or not), it’s always a good idea to declutter your home. We’ve got simple tips and tricks to get you started and stay organized so your home can spark joy!
1. Start with a checklist of things to organize.
If you don’t know how to get yourself started, print out our checklist to help you begin your decluttering journey. It breaks down the process by category rather than by room as per the KonMari method. This focus makes attacking your clutter much more approachable so you’re not overwhelmed by an entire room’s worth of work.
When organizing your wardrobe, Lina wrote about how to fold your clothes using a technique inspired by Marie Kondo. You’ll start by fully cleaning out dressers and use a special space-saving folding trick that allows you to see ALL of your clothes.
“I’m purging like crazy right now and find it’s easier to start with kid’s clothing that doesn’t fit or is too worn. I also go through their books and toys they don’t use without them being there. 😂 I’ve been trying to focus on one small space, closet, or drawer a day so it’s not overwhelming. And if I haven’t worn something or used it lately, it’s out! I’m not an expert organizer at all and I struggle like everyone else, but I feel better when stuff isn’t cluttered.” — Lina
“When my kids go camping or my husband goes out of town, I go on big de-clutter sprees and throw a ton of their stuff out — they have never noticed thus far. We also get a community dumpster ($40) every few months to get rid of anything big. I can’t keep up with cleaning when there is so much stuff, like McDonald’s toys will be the death of me. 😳 ” — Michelle
2. Or organize by room.
For some people, it’s easier to organize with a grand scheme in front of you. If you follow the organizing method from A Simplified Life by Emily Ley, you tackle the task by going room to room only focusing on that space until you’re finished. Once complete, you can move on to the next.
“I like to focus on one area at a time by taking that one area and emptying it out completely. Then, I bring back what I absolutely cannot live without. So when decluttering a junk drawer (I currently have 3 🙈), I empty it out completely, put back what I need, and ditch the rest! ” — Erica
“I do a week-long decluttering purge two times a year, usually Fall and Spring, where I go through one room a day and clear out clutter by keeping only the best, the necessities, and my favorites. Everything else gets pitched, sold, or donated. Keeping up with this just twice a year makes me feel less stressed throughout the year. I was not always in this mindset but I seriously realized that having more stuff really does lead to mental clutter, too.” — Amber
3. Donate, sell, or toss anything that doesn’t make the cut to stay.
You’re probably going to end up with quite a bit stuff that needs a new home, whether it’s with another person or in the trash can. If it’s stuff from your kiddos, this is a great opportunity to teach them the importance of giving back. Some of our favorite options for selling and donating are:
- [Selling] Marketplace websites and apps – Get the most for your finds on sites like eBay, Poshmark, Tradesy, Swap, and ThredUp.
- [Selling] Facebook — Know all the tips and tricks for selling and buying in “Swip-Swap” groups on Facebook.
- [Donating] Amazon GiveBackBox — Fill your old Amazon boxes with all the items to be donated and ship it off. Charitable donations allow for small tax deductions* when you file your taxes.
- [Donating] Freecycle – Freecycle is the perfect way to keep things out of the landfill. You just list your item and set up a time for the recipient to come and score their new find.
*Keep in mind since the standard deduction has gone up under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, you may have less opportunity to claim charitable contributions.
“Old blankets, old towels, etc. = Animal Shelter… I had NO idea until I picked up the phone to verify it was true. Now those random old towels, blankets, etc. that I’ve been holding on to for no reason will have a good home.” — Emily
“I have my kids pick out 5 toys every few months or so so that they don’t play with anymore that we donate. It cleans out my house and allows them to donate something of their own.” — Alana
“I loathe clutter. I used to save everything but I have 4 bins, one for each kid, and throw stuff in their bin if I think they may want to save it. I keep their school work for about a week so that I don’t get in trouble for throwing it out and in case they still need it.” — Michelle
4. Find fun ways to keep the memory.
Some items are easy to toss. Others, not so much… like your kid’s artwork or greeting cards. For the kiddos, try setting up an organizer that can house their memories from each school year, like photos, drawings, or A+ work. It’s easy to store away so it doesn’t take up space around the house and you can revisit the memories when they’re older.
You could also make a rotating art gallery where your little Picasso decides which piece is worthy of the spotlight. Any old artwork can either be filed away or tossed when it’s replaced with something new. Too many masterpieces to choose just one? Try creating a galley with these artwork display wall ideas or create a photo memory book to keep all of the art forever!
“I do seasonal purges of kid’s clothes and my clothes. If it hasn’t been worn or won’t fit them by this time next year, it goes. We go through their rooms before birthdays and holidays and get rid of toys they no longer play with. Some that they are hesitant to get rid of go to great grandma’s house which she likes because it gives her a constant rotation of toys at her house for the 18 great-grandkids. She donates the old ones when we bring new ones. And they get excited when they get to revisit those toys.
Kids crafts/drawings are posted on the fridge for about a week then tossed. If it’s one they are particularly proud of, we take a photo.” – Stacy
5. Avoid buying poor quality home goods.
We love IKEA, but sometimes those cheap home goods aren’t meant to last forever. While you save a ton of money upfront on inexpensive items for your home, you’ll likely be replacing them after a few years which will cost you your time and money having to toss them and re-purchase. Instead, figure out which pieces you can buy that will last you a lifetime, such as a well-made cooking vessel, as opposed to a single-use kitchen gadget.
These investment pieces can also be passed down between generations, so you’ll be buying for now AND for the future. Love that!
“I am definitely a minimalist except when it comes to my kitchen. I am a dessert connoisseur and baking is my passion, so my kitchen reflects that in the most minimalist way. When it comes to decor, furniture, toys, clothes and everything else, I always ask myself, ‘Does it have a purpose and function, and, if so, will it stand the test of time?’ If something will be outdated in 3 years or is made cheaply, I don’t buy it. I stick to quality items that serve a purpose beyond instant gratification or decorative nature that can stand the test of time.” — Jami
“I religiously follow that book “A Simplified Life” and it’s all about keeping life simple with less clutter so there is more room for the intentional things in life. STUFF creates mental clutter. I personally used to buy stuff to just have it but I have learned over the years that I end up throwing it away or getting rid of it — then I’m mad about how much money was wasted. For me, it’s better to focus on higher quality (for most things) and only buy things that you truly like and enjoy.” — Amber
6. Create habits to stop clutter from forming.
One of the simplest ways to fight clutter is to prevent it from ever happening! With our cleaning schedule printable, you can get ahead of the mess by doing small tasks every day so the daunting decluttering project isn’t as overwhelming.
You can also equip your space with organizational products to keep your home tidy to encourage the practice of keeping everything in its place.
“Before I walk in the house with my mail, I go straight to the garbage can outside and drop the junk mail in there so it’s not even in my house. All bills are auto-pay and statements are via email.” — Michelle
“My house is small so I lean toward minimalism. One thing out of place and the whole room seems cluttered (which makes my skin crawl), so I toss everything that isn’t useful or makes me happy to look at. My kids, on the other hand, hoard all the things. I do clean out my youngest’s room every season and donate the things she’s outgrown and any toys she no longer plays with.” — Cass
“I like to keep bins from the Dollar Store everywhere so everything can be placed in something (I think it makes “stuff” look a little more organized or “neat”). I learned to just not get attached to anything, HOWEVER, I fail big time with my daughter’s art projects — I have boxes and boxes of those in the basement.” — Jessica