Declutter Checklist: Ultimate Guide to Decluttering Your Home

This checklist will help you declutter your home. Includes decluttering tips on what to throw away, what to donate, and how to get your home neat once again.

Cluttered room with boxes

Benefits of Decluttering and Organizing your Space

Decluttering your home has many benefits that go beyond just cleaning up your space. It makes your living space feel more peaceful.

There’s a sense of freedom that comes with taking out the clutter and being organized. It can even reduce anxiety. Knowing where everything is and not needing to spend time hunting for items can be such a stress-reducer. 

Why You Need a Decluttering Checklist

Decluttering doesn’t need to feel overwhelming, but it often does. That sense of not knowing where to start can keep you from getting started. 

That’s where this decluttering list comes in. Using a decluttering checklist gives you an automatic place to start, and breaks everything down into manageable steps. 

Whether you’re a decluttering beginner or someone looking for a structured approach to tackle every nook and cranny, this checklist helps. From room-by-room decluttering to tackling common challenges, you’ll benefit from having a checklist to help you to make informed decisions, let go of the unnecessary, and create a space that inspires peace and productivity. 

There are so many good reasons to declutter!

Gather your decluttering supplies

Once you’re ready to declutter your home, one of the first things you should do is make sure you have the right supplies to make decluttering easy. Here are the must-have supplies you’ll need to begin decluttering your home:

1. Bins or Storage Containers: you’ll need a set of sturdy bins or containers to help categorize and organize your belongings. You might want to choose clear to easily identify the contents inside. If you don’t want to buy bins right now, save some delivery boxes from online orders and use those.

2. Trash Bags: Keep a good supply of durable trash bags on hand. These will be your go-to for trashing or recycling items that are no longer usable, broken, or simply no longer serve a purpose in your life.

3. Labeling Supplies: Labels are invaluable when it comes to keeping your decluttered space organized. Use sticky notes, adhesive labels, or a label maker to clearly mark the contents of boxes, bins, or storage areas. This will help you quickly locate items when needed.

4. Sorting Boxes: It’s helpful to have a few empty boxes or crates to sort your belongings into different categories, such as “Keep,” “Donate,” “Sell,” or “Trash.” This allows you to efficiently make decisions about each item and keep the process organized.

5. Protective Gear: Depending on the nature of your decluttering tasks, it can be helpful to have protective gear. This may include gloves to protect your hands, a mask to guard against dust or allergens, and safety goggles if you’re working with potentially hazardous materials.

Decluttering Basics: Getting Started

Keep these basics in mind as you start formulating your plans to organize your home.

1. Start with a small area: Begin decluttering by focusing on one small area, such as a drawer or a single shelf. This helps prevent overwhelm and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

2. Set a clear goal: Determine the purpose or outcome you want to achieve with your decluttering. For example, you might aim to create a more organized living room or a clutter-free workspace.

3. Sort items into categories: Create categories such as “Keep,” “Donate/Sell,” and “Trash.” Sort through your belongings and place each item into the appropriate category based on its value and usefulness.

4. Be ruthless with decision-making: Ask yourself if an item is truly necessary or brings you joy. If not, consider letting it go. Avoid holding onto items out of guilt or the fear of needing them in the future.

5. Take it step by step: Decluttering can be a time-consuming process, so break it down into manageable tasks. Dedicate specific time slots each day or week to focus on decluttering.

6. Organize as you go: Once you’ve sorted through a category, immediately organize the items you choose to keep. Use storage solutions like bins, baskets, or drawer dividers to create designated spaces for each item.

7. Donate or sell unwanted items: Make arrangements to donate or sell the items you don’t need anymore. Consider local charities, thrift stores, or online platforms for selling items in good condition.

8. Dispose of trash responsibly: Properly dispose of any broken or unusable items that cannot be donated or sold. Recycle or dispose of them following the guidelines in your local area.

9. Maintain your progress: After decluttering, develop a habit of regularly evaluating your belongings. Avoid bringing in unnecessary items and find a designated place for each new item that enters your space.

10. Enjoy the benefits: Embrace the sense of calm and clarity that comes with decluttering. Appreciate the enhanced functionality and aesthetic appeal of your organized space.

Deciding what to keep, donate, sell, or discard

When decluttering, use the following guidelines to decide what to keep, donate, sell, or discard. 

Keep:

Items you frequently use and need.

Clothing that fits well and is in good condition.

Sentimental items that hold significant meaning or memories.

Functional tools or equipment in good working order.

Donate:

Items that are still functional but no longer serve your needs. Remember the six month clutter rule!

Clothing that is in good condition but does not fit or suits your style anymore.

Books, toys, and other items in good condition that you no longer use.

Household items (kitchenware, linens) that are in decent shape but have been replaced with newer versions.

Sell:

Valuable items in good condition that you no longer need (electronics, collectibles).

High-quality clothing, accessories, or shoes that could be sold through consignment shops or online platforms.

Furniture pieces in decent shape but not needed anymore.

Rarely used sporting equipment or hobby-related items.

Discard:

Items that are broken beyond repair or have missing parts.

Clothing with irreparable damage (stains, rips) or excessive wear.

Expired products such as food, beauty products, medications.

Items with mold or other hazardous materials contamination.

Things to Get Rid of Immediately

There are some items we should always be getting rid of, but we forget about them or end up hanging onto them from some vague sense that they might have a use again someday. But honestly, these things are just taking up space. 

When you get ready to declutter, start with the easiest things to declutter – the stuff you should have thrown away a while ago. You can very quickly make your living space more tidy if you force yourself to start decluttering these items without thinking about it too much. 

And once they’re not taking up valuable space in your home, you’ll find you have more room for the items you’ll be keeping. And it inspires you to forge ahead with the rest of the decluttering process.

When you begin decluttering, here’s a list of things to get rid of immediately if they meet any of the following criteria:

1. Expired items: Check your pantry, fridge, and medicine cabinet for expired food, beverages, medications, and cosmetics. 

2. Broken or damaged items: If you come across items that don’t work, are damaged beyond repair, or are missing crucial parts, it’s best to discard them. This includes appliances, electronics, furniture, or any other items that cannot be salvaged.

3. Worn-out or unusable clothing: Sort through your wardrobe and identify clothes that are torn, stained, or no longer fit you properly. Consider donating items in good condition, but discard those that are beyond repair or use.

4. Single socks or worn-out socks: Gather all the single socks you have and check if their pair has been lost. If you’ve been holding onto single socks for a while with no hope of finding their match, it’s time to let them go. Additionally, throw out any socks that are excessively worn or damaged.

5. Outdated paperwork: Shred or recycle old documents that are no longer relevant, such as expired warranties, bills, receipts, or outdated financial records. 

6. Dried-up or unusable pens and markers: Take a quick inventory of your stationery supplies. Discard pens, markers, or highlighters that no longer work or have dried up.

7. Unused or broken kitchen utensils: Check your kitchen drawers and cabinets for utensils you rarely use or those that are damaged. If you have duplicates of certain items, consider donating the extras or discarding them.

8. Empty or near-empty containers: Look for containers, bottles, or jars that are empty or nearly empty. If they serve no purpose and cannot be repurposed, it’s best to toss them.

9. Outdated or unreadable magazines and newspapers: Recycle or donate old magazines or newspapers that you no longer read or that have become outdated.

10. Outgrown or damaged children’s toys: Assess your children’s toys and remove any that are broken, missing parts, or no longer age-appropriate. Consider donating toys that are in good condition.

Remember, the decision to throw out an item ultimately depends on its condition, usefulness, and your personal preferences. Be mindful of your local recycling and waste disposal guidelines to ensure responsible disposal of items.

Room by Room Ultimate Declutter Checklist

Living Room

  • Old magazines and newspapers
  • DVDs, CDs, and Blu-rays that are no longer used
  • Remote controls for devices you no longer own
  • Worn-out or outdated decorative items (cushions, artwork)
  • Excess or unused furniture (side tables, chairs)
  • Unwanted or unused electronics (game consoles, speakers)
  • Clutter on coffee tables and side tables
  • Unused cables and chargers
  • Children’s toys that have been outgrown or are broken
  • Excess blankets and throw pillows

Bedroom

  • Clothes that no longer fit or are worn-out
  • Shoes that are damaged or not frequently worn
  • Accessories (jewelry, belts, scarves) that are rarely used
  • Unnecessary bedding (extra sheets, pillows, blankets)
  • Old or expired beauty and skincare products
  • Clutter on nightstands and dressers
  • Unused or broken electronics (alarm clocks, chargers)
  • Books that have been read or won’t be read
  • Excess furniture (chairs, storage units) taking up space
  • Memory items that no longer serve a purpose (old cards, souvenirs).

Kitchen

  • Expired food in the pantry, fridge, and freezer
  • Duplicates or excess kitchen utensils and gadgets
  • Mismatched or chipped dishware (plates, bowls, cups)
  • Unused or broken small appliances (toasters, blenders)
  • Excess cookware (pots, pans) that is rarely used
  • Damaged or worn-out cutting boards and knives
  • Old or stained dish towels and sponges
  • Unnecessary storage containers (Tupperware, jars)
  • Clutter on countertops and dining tables
  • Ingredients and spices that are no longer needed or used

Bathroom

  • Expired medications and supplements
  • Empty or half-used toiletries (shampoo, body wash, etc.)
  • Old makeup and beauty products
  • Worn-out toothbrushes and razors
  • Frayed towels, bath mats, or washcloths
  • Broken or unused hair styling tools (curling irons, hairdryers)
  • Excess storage containers (bins, baskets)
  • Duplicate items (extra loofahs, toothpaste tubes)
  • Unused cleaning supplies 

Home Office

  • Paperwork and mail
  • Old receipts and bills
  • Outdated documents and files
  • Unnecessary office supplies (pens, paperclips, etc.)
  • Electronic cables and chargers
  • Unused or broken electronics (printers, phones, etc.)
  • Books and magazines that are no longer relevant
  • Desk clutter (knick-knacks, decorations)
  • Excess furniture or storage units
  • Old business cards and promotional materials

Closets

  • Clothing items that are stained, ripped, or worn-out
  • Outdated or ill-fitting clothes and shoes
  • Duplicate or excessive accessories (belts, scarves, bags)
  • Seasonal items not currently in use (winter coats, summer hats) – keep these, but store them away or in shrinky bags
  • Unused hangers or storage solutions
  • Unworn or uncomfortable footwear
  • Linens that are frayed, stained, or no longer needed
  • Old electronics and chargers stored in closets
  • Sentimental items that are no longer meaningful 10.Miscellaneous items unrelated to the closet’s purpose (random clutter).

Garage/Storage

  • Broken or unused tools and equipment
  • Old paint cans and chemicals (there are serious local guidelines about how to do this, so beware)
  • Duplicate or excessive gardening supplies (pots, shovels)
  • Automotive items that are no longer needed (fluids, accessories)
  • Outgrown or damaged sports equipment
  • Unused or broken toys and bicycles
  • Building materials from past projects (wood scraps, nails, screws)
  • Holiday decorations that are no longer used or in bad shape
  • Unnecessary storage containers and shelving units
  • Miscellaneous clutter that has accumulated over time.

Attic, Basement, Miscellaneous   

  • Damaged or unused furniture
  • Expired canned goods and pantry items
  • Outgrown children’s toys and games
  • Old bedding, linens, and towels
  • Seasonal decorations no longer in use
  • Unused exercise equipment and sports gear
  • Collections of magazines, newspapers, or old books
  • VHS tapes, cassette tapes, and CDs/DVDs without cases
  • Old luggage, bags, and backpacks
  • Unfinished or abandoned DIY projects
  • Duplicates of tools or home improvement supplies
  • Incomplete board games or puzzles
  • Holiday and greeting cards from past years
  • Broken or empty picture frames 

Start Decluttering!

Now you’ve reached the end, and you have a strategy to transform your living space into a clutter-free haven. Remember, decluttering is a journey, and it’s important to be patient with yourself throughout the process.

Celebrate your progress as you go, and be sure to notice the benefits of a more organized, peaceful, and inspiring environment. Here’s to a clutter-free and rejuvenated living space that sparks joy and enhances your well-being!

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Last Updated:

December 20, 2023