Who is ready to make 2021 the best year ever? As we are still dealing with the pandemic, I think it is essential to focus on what we can control to make 2021 a year we would like to remember. One of my priorities is to get rid of distractions, burdens, and stuff keeping me from living a happier life. So, I decided to put together this list with 52 ideas that will hopefully help you, too, declutter your life, one week at a time.
I organized this list in the following declutter your life categories:
Most of the tasks on this list take about ten minutes to complete, and I am only suggesting that you tackle one per week. We could spend an entire weekend tackling most of these, but that would defeat the purpose. Decluttering is a habit that we want to embrace. Doing it little by little will teach us to get used to purging instead of accumulating.
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Why Is It Important To Declutter Your Life?
2020 brought a new perspective to my life. I realized that I used to worry, care, or fret about many things that don’t matter. What matters is being healthy, being with our loved ones, and finding peace and joy in our environment and everyday life. When you find yourself buried in stuff, drama, or dead weight, literally or figuratively, finding joy becomes impossible.
Last year it also became evident that I needed to reduce the amount of stress in my life. As I read more about the effects of stress on our health, I learned that stress makes your immune system more vulnerable to disease. And during a pandemic, the last thing I want to have is a weak immune system!
Having to deal with stress from work, family, relationships, the pandemic, etc., I realized I needed to purge many things to find peace. And, decluttering our lives is something within our power. So, jot down some of these ideas, or even better, download the free checklist I have prepared. Get ready to declutter your life one week at a time to make room for what really matters!
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52 Ways To Declutter Your Life One Week At A Time
I have organized this list by areas of our homes or lives. Let’s get started with the stuff around our house.
Decluttering Your Home
Your master bedroom or the bedroom where you sleep should be your refuge and not look like a tornado alley. Tackle these tasks to find more peace in your room.
1.- Go through your night table, dresser, and/or TV stand and declutter.
If you have too many pictures on display, put away half. If you have clothes, old socks waiting for their mate, or a pile of old mail waiting to be filed, take care of that. Dust off all the surfaces, and you will find an instant feeling of relief.
2.- Declutter your night table drawers
I recently did this, and you won’t believe the amount of junk I had. There was old mail from like ten years ago and many things that I didn’t even remember I had and definitely didn’t need.
Pull out the drawers and dump everything on the bed. Then go through everything quickly and throw away what you don’t need. Start a donation pile, and only put back what you really need to keep.
Since I cleaned up my night table drawers, I made room to turn one of them into my journaling station. As a result, I keep less stuff on my night table, helping me keep my room looking more organized.
What kind of storage station could you create if you had an available drawer? Maybe a cellphone, self-care, or reading station? Go for it!
3.- Tackle the master closet shelves
Master closets have so much potential to collect all kinds of things. From old sweaters to dated swimming suits and everything in between, everything seems to pile up on my closet shelves.
Organize your shelves and make sure you only keep what you actually wear. Use baskets to organize small items like socks, underwear, and swimming suits.
4.- Purge your master closet
I still have pants that used to fit me five years ago that I am holding on to in the hopes that they will magically fit me again. To avoid collecting clothes, use the reverse hanger hack.
Turn all the hangers with your clothes to hook from the back of the rod. As you use the clothes, wash them, and put them back up, hang them the usual way. With this trick, it’s easy to quickly identify all those things you never use and purge them.
5.- Go through your purses
I used to love buying purses until I faced the reality that most of them would just sit in the closet to collect dust. I had the intentions but never the discipline to carry a purse that matched my outfit.
Now, I mainly use one purse for everything and until it wears out. The last one I purchased is a navy blue leather tote with plenty of room. It also goes well with any outfit. I still have a couple other purses, but nothing like I used before.
6.- Purge old makeup from your cosmetics bag
This one can be difficult to do because, if you are anything like me, we tend to buy makeup that we think we will use but ends up crowding our cosmetics bags. Toss old, cracked, or dated makeup you had great intentions to use but haven’t yet.
7.- Clean out your master bathroom cabinets
Turns out, I have a collection of dry shampoo and hair spray bottles tucked in the back of my bathroom cabinet, and I had no idea it existed. Some of them have been sitting there for over a year.
Go through all your toiletries and throw away what you don’t use. Organize the rest neatly in baskets or plastic containers.
8.- Declutter your children’s bathroom cabinet
Our kid’s bathroom doesn’t have any storage other than the cabinet under the sink, so we really need to make sure they don’t start collecting stuff then don’t need. And you know how it goes with kids, we always collect more than then need!
9.- Clean out the guest bathroom cabinet
This is another place that ends up collecting the stuff that didn’t fit somewhere else. Make sure to have some empty baskets under the sink for your guests to store their items when they visit.
10.- Organize your linen’s closet
My house does not have a lot of storage. So, our linen closet became a lot more than that. It houses medicines, cleaning supplies, and extra toiletries. That was until I got tired of not having enough room to stuff the towels that actually belong there.
So, I pulled everything out, folded the towels neatly, and organized them as follows in the tree shelving units we have:
- Pool towels and medicine items
- Shower towels and hand towels
- Dog towels and cleaning rags
Not only did I organized the closet, but I brought the family over to admire my new creation and explained to them where to find each type of towel. I did such a good job that my husband wondered if Martha Stewart had come home to help out!
11.- Go through the guest room closet
Our guestroom closet has no room for our guest’s clothes, and that sucks. I have extra comforters, pillows, and winter jackets stored there. This is one of those closets that will require more than a ten minute clean up, but I promise to tackle it!
12.- Declutter the coats closet
Would you believe me if I said that our coat closet doesn’t store any coats? There are shoes, batteries, and who knows what else in that closet. So, I promise to turn it back to its old glory and actually hang the coats in there.
13.- Purge your winter coat collection
I think we still have my kid’s winter jackets from four years ago, and you probably do too. So, this is really an easy fix. Go through your family’s winter coats, donate what you don’t need to a charity, or take them to the Goodwill.
14.- Donate or throw away old shoes
We have piles of shoes in the closets, hallways, and even in the garage! Some of them can be donated, while others definitely need to go in the trash.
15.- Declutter your laundry room cabinets
This is another space that can get really crowded if you don’t stay on top of it. From unmatched socks to a variety of detergents, avoid turning your laundry room into a storage facility!
16.- Clean your desk
I really struggle with this one a lot! I have piles of mail, workbooks, notebooks, hundreds of markers, etc., always sitting on my desk. If you are like me, try to make it a habit to put everything away and wipe your desk every night. Finding a neat desk will inspire you to be more productive and stay focus.
17.- Shred old mail
I keep a paper shredder under my desk to get rid of old mail or papers that I don’t need that have sensitive information.
18.- Recycle what you can
Recently I also got two baskets that I keep in my office. I use one for regular trash and the second for recyclable paper. Having these handy has helped me keep my desk cleaner.
19.- Toss old notebooks
I love all things paper. But, I recently reached a point in my life where I needed to let go. So, I emptied my bookshelves and put tons of paper in the recycle bin. The things I ended up keeping were mostly the journals that I keep neatly organize on one shelf.
20.- Purge old magazines
Do you subscribe to magazines? I love magazine subscriptions so much that I get five delivered to my home every month. Do I always have the time to read them? Nope. As a result, I end up collecting dozens under the coffee table, in the kitchen, in the office, etc.
Don’t be like me and recycle old magazines sooner than later! If you want to take it a step further, get in touch with the magazine companies and cancel the subscription of the ones you are less excited about.
21.- Sell or donate books
I love books, but I have many that I know I will never read again. You probably do too. Sort them and donate the ones you don’t care for anymore.
There are so many opportunities to declutter your life in the kitchen! Let’s look at some of them.
22.- Get rid of old spices
Can I just say that the other day when I was tackling this one, I found out that we had spices that had expired like five years ago! Scary, but true. This one will only take like five minutes and will surely free some needed space in the kitchen.
23.- Purge plastic containers
How many times have you gone crazy trying to find the lid for your dinner leftovers with no luck? That used to be the story of my life. But, if you regularly go through your plastic containers and make sure they have a matching lid, you will save yourself some headaches.
24.- Throw away old condiments in the fridge
Leave the science experiments for the classroom. Go through all the condiment bottles in the fridge and throw away everything past due.
25.- Clear the freezer
A few months ago, our refrigerator broke. I had to empty the thing and wait three days for the repairman to come to take a look. Luckily we have a spare refrigerator in the garage where we could put a lot of stuff. But there was a lot too in the freezer that I had to throw away because it wouldn’t fit.
Honestly, a lot of that food we threw away had been in the freezer for who knows how long! I don’t like to waste food, but had the fridge not malfunctioned, I think that food would still be there now.
26.- Organize the pantry
My pantry is dark and the size of a shoebox. But regardless of size, we tend to stuff it from top to bottom. Avoid pantry overload by keeping it organized. Knowing what you have will also prevent you from wasting food that expires on the selves.
27.- Donate half of the plastic cups in your kitchen cabinets
I don’t know about you, but it seems like when you have kids, it is the law to keep 30 plastic cups around. Recently I went through it all and decided to hold on to a handful. The rest went to the Goodwill.
28.- Activate a do not disturb schedule on your phone
I was delighted with the latest iPhone IOS update when it invited me to set a do not disturb schedule for social media and other notifications. What a fantastic idea, and one I wouldn’t have the discipline to put in place on my own.
Since then, I set up my phone to go on “sleep” mode from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am and actually forget about it. Before, even though I kept the notification sounds off most of the day, I would find myself checking my phone every time the screen lit up.
Now, I find that I don’t check my phone as often at night, which is good news!
29.- Delete old email
Can I just say that I have over 20,000 new emails in one of my inboxes? Please, don’t judge me! The truth is that I gave up on trying to keep this particular inbox empty.
I have no plans to check those old emails. However, I am trying to avoid more junk mail by hitting the unsubscribe button on incoming emails that are irrelevant.
30.- Unsubscribe from email newsletters
This brings me to this next point. One of the factors contributing to my cluttered inbox was signing up for too many email distribution lists. From grocery store coupons to blog newsletters, to news alerts, I drowned in email notifications.
The only way to prevent this problem from happening again is by unsubscribing from all those distribution lists you don’t care for anymore. Fewer emails in your inbox will definitely help to declutter your life.
31.- Cancel monthly subscriptions
Check your bank and credit card statements and make sure you are not being charged for monthly or annual subscriptions you are not aware of. And, consider canceling those that you don’t use much. Even a small monthly fee over the years can add up to a considerable amount.
32.- Delete unused apps from your phone
This is another one you can tackle within minutes. I still have apps installed on my phone that my kids used when they were little. And they are now teenagers with their own phones. So, it is time to delete the arcade from my phone!
33.- Unfollow or block people on social media
How did I end up following over 4,000 people on Twitter? Don’t even get me started on the rest of my social media accounts. So, I have been going through my social media “friends” and unfollow those whose posts are irrelevant or negative.
34.- Block scammy or fraudulent callers
I have gotten hundreds of calls from a scammy company telling me of my last chance to renew my vehicle warranty. I also get calls from alleged debt collectors telling me I am past due on my student loans, except I have never taken out a student loan. It is so annoying!
If you are getting calls like that, make sure to block the number on your phone. Although it is not a solution to the problem, it has helped decrease these unwanted calls.
You can also add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. It will reduce some of the unsolicited calls, but it has not been 100% effective in my experience.
35.- Limit the amount of news you consume
If you want to be a happier human being, reduce the amount of news you consume. Television news and online videos especially are more sensational, as they recourse to fear to keep the viewer’s attention.
Remove the drama from your news consumption by reading articles instead and watching less bad news daily.
36.- Clear out old mail
That pile of old mail that has been sitting on the kitchen countertops has to go! Toss the trash, shred anything with personal information, and file any bills you need to keep.
37.- Opt-out of unsolicited credit offers
I still get marketing mail, but the credit card offers are not showing up very often.
38.- Recycle old boxes
Are you holding on to old boxes just in case you move again? Well, that was me, and I ended up with piles of them. So, choose to declutter your garage and put them in the recycle bin next time the trash picks up.
39.- Get rid of old home decor
I know many of us to like to decorate the home according to the seasons. However, with the changing style also comes a lot of clutter. Go through your decorations and get rid of the old ones and those that have been collecting dust in the attic for the last five years. Chances are that style is not coming back again!
40.- Recycle old electronics
With the widespread use of Netflix, YouTube, and streaming content, you may never play another DVD, VHS, or CD in your life. If you have old tape videos, consider having them digitized to free up space and declutter your life.
41.- Sell or donate movies and CDs you don’t use
We have a box full of my husband’s old CDs in the garage. There must be hundreds in there because it is extremely heavy. Why do we have it? I have no idea because we subscribe to Apple Music, and whenever I want to listen to a song, I just ask Siri to play it.
42.- Sell or donate kids toys
I still have, in the box, an American doll I bought for my daughter one Christmas. She said she really, really, wanted it. However, I think she played with the rather pricey doll twice. How many toys are you holding on to that you paid a lot for and your kids rarely used? It’s time to either make some money on Facebook Marketplace or donate them to the Goodwill or a family shelter.
43.- Sweep the garage
This one is simple, and it will make a significant difference in your garage. Get the broom out, play some music, and sweep all that dust, leaves, dirt, and dog hair that has been collecting for the last few months.
44.- Wash your car
Wash your car at least once per month. Do it with more frequency in the winter when all the snow salt sticks to the bodywork! While you are at it, check the trunk and take out stuff you don’t need to carry around.
45.- Get a credit report
It is a must to stay informed on what is showing up on our credit reports with all the data breaches. If you haven’t check yours in a while, go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/. This is the only place authorized by federal law where you can get it for free.
Make sure that all the financial activity being reported is legit. If not, file a dispute to have it removed.
46.- Establish spending priorities in your budget
Declutter your finances by establishing spending priorities. Having a guideline of how much you should spend on what will help you make better financial decisions. So, next time you feel tempted to go and buy a new car, look at your priorities, and don’t give in to temptations.
47.- Set your payments on automatic draft
Anything I can do to save time and money paying bills, I am game for it! And, setting all my accounts on auto payments is a must. I don’t have to think about it or worry about sending a check in the mail. This really helps to declutter my mind.
Now, you need to have enough money in your bank account all month around for this to work. So, build a spending cushion of at least one month’s worth of income to have peace of mind that your drafts will go through, no matter when you get paid.
48.- Get a binder to file your monthly bills by categories
I know that signing up for electronic bills has become the norm for many companies. I like the idea of not getting the extra paper in the mail. However, I have noticed that I am a lot more thorough in checking my paper bills than my electronic bills.
It is much easier to tear the bill envelope open and glance at the charges than to remember to log into my account. I know that getting paper bills can be cumbersome, mainly if they contribute to your ever-growing pile of mail. So, make sure to get a two-inch plastic binder and some dividers to file them by categories and put them away.
49.- Get on a plan to get out of debt
A great way to declutter your life is to pay off your debt. See, clutter is not always physical. I believe that we get burden just as much by the stress of debt holding us back. If you haven’t yet gotten on a plan to get out of debt, check out this article I wrote on the Debt Snowball Method. It will give you a good head start!
50.- Stop hanging out with complicated people
Do I really need to explain this one? Complicated people, whether that’s family members, friends, or co-workers, can turn our lives into a calvalry. Be more selective on how you choose to spend your precious time and say no to those who drain your energy.
51.- Exit chat groups that drain your energy
Also, declutter your life by exiting chat groups that drain your energy. Are you in any Whatsapp or Facebook groups that seemed like a good idea but have turned into a nightmare? Don’t be shy to say goodbye.
52.- Say no
This one is the easiest way to declutter your life. Simply say no.
Say no to things that advance other people’s agendas, but that set yours back. Say no super-sizing that next meal. Say no to donating to a cause you don’t care about.
Instead, start saying yes to the things that genuinely make you happy and that won’t clutter your life or mind.
In Conclusion: 52 Ways To Declutter Your Life
Clutter is not always physical. It can be emotional too and it can manifest in many areas of our lives. But the good news is that there are many things within our power to declutter our lives.
I hope that you really take me on this challenge and work through this list. Keep it simple by choosing one action item per week. At the end of a year, you will not believe the effects that less stuff, drama, and clutter will have on your well-being.
Also, make sure to download your free decluttering checklist to keep it handy and track your progress.
Good luck, and let me know in the comments below how else are you planning to declutter your life.
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