How to declutter your home when you only have a few minutes
One of the most difficult things about decluttering and adopting a clutter-free lifestyle is that it can be overwhelming. If you’re starting from scratch, the idea of a whole house – or even a whole room – without clutter can feel almost impossible. You might know how to declutter your home, but don’t have the time to tackle it all at once.
Today’s post is designed to encourage you to start your decluttering in a slow, practical way. Here are 12 small things you can declutter right now. All at once… or one per day! 💛
12 things to declutter right now
1. Old socks
In this house we buy socks, they disappear for a while, and then somehow we end up with 5x more than we had in the first place. How does that even happen?!
Our sock gremlins (or rather, the fact that they end up at the bottom of the washing pile) means that we really do have more pairs of socks than we need. If you do too, it’s time to throw some away. Start with your oldest pairs – the ones which are a little tight, a bit too fuzzy, or you just don’t need or want them any more. For kids the choice is even easier – if they’re too small, away they go.
Sometimes it’s useful to keep receipts, especially if they’re linked to some sort of guarantee or are for a big purchase. Your receipts from last week’s grocery shop though? Those are safe to say goodbye to.
If you’re anything like me, your purse, wallet, or kitchen junk drawer ends up cluttered with these things. We don’t need them. They’re not serving a purpose, and they’re not making our lives better, so if you aren’t going to make use of the receipt (by returning something or making use of a guarantee) – throw them away.
3. Birthday cards
I almost didn’t want to put this on the list. Birthday cards are one of those things that I do keep hold of for a while, especially for kids birthdays or Mother’s Day/Father’s Day. They’re a reminder of that sweet moment where you (or they) open a card and smile at the message inside.
There comes a point though where it’s a good idea to say goodbye to even sentimental things like birthday cards. Keep them for a while, but when you’re ready they can be added to the list of things to recycle.
4. Makeup and skincare
Do you have makeup sitting in your drawer that’s been there for forever? I’m definitely guilty of this. I don’t spend a lot of money on makeup, and I want to get the most value from it when I do. This also means I hold onto it for longer than I should.
If you have old mascaras which are drying up, lipsticks that you never wear, or skincare products that you just don’t get on with maybe it’s time to recycle or dispose of them. For bath products and shampoos that you’ve nearly finished, try finishing those next time you shower so you can recycle the bottles and free up some extra space in your bathroom.
5. Junk drawer
Out of all the things on this list, this one’s my least favourite to tackle. The good old kitchen junk drawer. It’s a place for lost objects, small toys which have been taken away in punishment, batteries that may or may not be dead, and a random assortment of things.
While I’m pro having a junk drawer and being relaxed about it, it’s a good idea to tidy it up every now and again. Return some of those lost objects to their homes, and see if you can get rid of a few things while you’re at it.
Are you even an adult if you don’t have way more mugs than you could possibly ever need?! We have over 12 and there’s only two adults in this house, one of which very rarely drinks hot drinks. There’s no way we need 12 mugs. And yet I’m always tempted to buy more…
If your kitchen cupboards are bursting at the seams with mugs and glasses too, now might be the time to have a cull. If it’s broken, the handle’s not your favourite kind, it’s too big/too small – it can go.
7. Post and incoming paperwork
Life’s so busy that letters and paperwork can easily end up in a pile somewhere and forgotten about. Despite buying this letter tray and installing it in our kitchen, our incoming paperwork/to-do pile hasn’t really improved – it’s just moved to a different place.
It’s time to tackle the paperwork head on. Make a master pile of all your incoming post and letters, and separate it into piles based on urgent things to do now, papers to file away, and papers to recycle. Start backwards and recycle, then file papers, and finally work your way through the ‘to do’ pile when you have a moment.
There’s something about jewellery isn’t there? Even if you don’t need it, a shiny pair of earrings can easily make their way into your basket. Guilty!
Go through your jewellery box or drawer and sort items into either a “keep” and “pass on” pile. When you’re happy with them, organise your pieces at the same time so you can easily see what you already have and avoid impulse buys when shopping.
A lot of my jewellery is inexpensive and in the £5-10 range. If yours is more expensive, you might want to skip this step or consider passing on unwanted items to friends and family.
9. Old magazines
With so much amazing content available online now, most of us read fewer magazines than we used to. Still, that doesn’t stop them hanging around our house for months after we’re finished with them.
Collect up all your old magazines into a stack, and decide whether you want to keep them or not. If there are some you don’t want to part with, find somewhere to keep them organised – I love this magazine rack*.
10. Cables and chargers
If you’re loyal to one brand over another, or have a lot of tech, chances are you have some extra cables than you could get rid of. Almost every new device comes with a USB cable of some kind, and lots of them are compatible.
Scout around your house for all your cables, chargers, and other tech accessories. It’s important to research which cables and devices are compatible, but if you end up with lots left over maybe it’s time to dispose of them carefully. This also works for things like extension cables and travel sockets.
Why is it that when you need some painkillers you can never find any? It’s always the way in our house because they’re all over the place.
Time to get organised! Make a pile of all your medicines – painkillers, cough medicine, plasters and so on. Check what you have against this home first aid kit list from the NHS, and work out what you do and don’t have. Make a list of things you need to buy, and start sorting through your medicines and medical supplies. For medicines past their use by dates or that have been open a while, put them aside ready to be disposed of carefully. Organise what’s left, and store it somewhere safe out of reach of little hands. You’ll have a practical, tidy home first aid kit in no time.
12. Seasonal clutter
I’ve saved this for last, because it’s one area where I personally struggle to part with things. While we’re not the biggest at celebrating holidays like Easter, Halloween, Christmas or New Year, we still seem to end up with the inevitable clutter that goes with them. While I strive for a minimal home, I do believe that we should all feel free to keep things that hold memories for us – even if that means storing an extra box up in the loft.
If you’re on a big decluttering journey, you might want to bring those boxes down and have a good look through them. There’s probably a decoration that’s worn and no longer useful, or a card holder that’s seen better days. If that’s not for you, how about looking at your seasonal craft supplies and editing them down instead.
Ready to start decluttering your home?
Which item on this list are you tempted to declutter right now? Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!
How to declutter your home
Photo by Danielle MacInnes