The Saturday Question: How Do You De-Clutter Your Home?

Beyond dusting and scrubbing, spring cleaning also means getting rid of the junk that accumulates while we’re coping with the rigors of raising a family.  How do you manage to purge the extra stuff from your home?  How have you dealt with extra baby gear, maternity clothes, or toys?   Do you tackle the whole house at once or have you created a nifty system for handling one area at a time?  Please share your tips!


  1. Oh, boy. This is something I’m trying to combat: clutter. So far, my method has been to put everything in the basement. Now my basement is clutter central. I’m going through the process of trying to really thoroughly clean one room of the house at a time, and throw away or recycle as much as possible. But, until I either develop a better system or develop some self-control in the packratting department, everything I can’t figure out what to do with is still going in the basement.

  2. We live in a small apartment so this is a constant concern. The small space also works for us because we simply can not stuff it all somewhere and forget it. You have to be ruthless. All garbage thrown out asap, that means junk mail never gets put down, but strait to the recycle after opening. With non-garbage, I frequently go through an area and ask if I am using it or it is worth storing (and moving cross country). Set aside time and just start. If not, it goes. I find using freecycle (I always have a box going of things to freecycle) and something like Big Brothers who will pick up, makes it easier to get rid of things. It’s All To Much and Throw Out Fifty Things are great books to help.

  3. Oh… I like the idea of throwing out (giving away) fifty things (from the above commentor) — maybe I’ll have to do that.

  4. tncastro says

    When we moved from Chicago to California, we had an excellent opportunity to get rid of a lot of things. We got rid of almost everything that we did not use for one year. We decided that if we did not use them for one year, we can do without them. That was two year ago, since then we try buying only necessities. My in-laws love to talk about “bargains” they got but we don’t even go into stores even they have the biggest signs of “75% off” if we don’t NEED anything. So right now, we really don’t have much to get rid of. I think that the key to less clutter is NOT BUY before/after GETTING RID OF things.

  5. I think it is a shift in mindset – learning to love the space and ease of finding things over the things. I read somewhere that throwing stuff away increases self-esteem and I get that. When you get rid of something, you are in control and you are recognizing that it’s only a thing and not an important part of you or your family. That is true of EVERYTHING inside your house. So if it’s taking up space or time that you don’t have to spare, it goes. I am not THERE yet because I tend to sit and stare at piles of things imagining how I’m going to sort and organize and deal with them as opposed to actually dealing with them! BUT, I do feel like I’ve separated my ego from the stuff and I have no qualms about getting rid of anything that is, for instance, making it take too long for me to get the vacuum out of the hall closet or find a measuring cup in the kitchen drawer. If I am tripping over toys, there are too many toys! I purge regularly, just because I’m always trying to improve the space situation in our 3 bedroom apartment that has no garage or storage unit. My kids never cry about the toys that go missing because they love being able to easily find the ones they really love. Usually I do a closet or a bookshelf or a drawer, or a dresser at a time and I just pull everything off and only put back what fits, is loved, used, etc. I love clearing out a closet and having EMPTY space with nothing! This is actually something I never grew up with and the idea of not then filling that space is fairly new to me.

    What’s hard for me is the recycling stuff! I hold onto jars and containers and things that I imagine have a use somewhere else and they pile up. But since I”ve done such a good job purging in my kitchen, I have one entire cupboard (almost a fourth of the storage in my small kitchen) that is almost completely filled with recycling stuff and I actually DO use these things all the time. It’s just that you never know which will come in handy when… that is my conundrum.

  6. I gave away several boxes of outgrown kid items to a fundraising sale. And it felt great! Not only for giving it away to a good cause. But the minute it was loaded in the car, I felt so much freer to have that space back in my home!

  7. After living in (and moving in and out of) about 10 different apartments during college and my late twenties, I have a good sense of what I really use and what I don’t. Now that we live in a house with a yard, basement and garage we do accumulate more stuff. When decluttering, I still just tackle one drawer, one cupboard, one desk space or one shelf at a time. The stuff that I know I won’t use goes into the Goodwill box. The stuff that I hesitate about or think I *might* use goes into another box. I save the Maybe Box for 6 months. If I never missed any of the items out of it, it goes directly to Goodwill without even opening it. This system has always worked for me. Now that I’m pregnant and making room in our lives and our home for a baby, I’m a little more ruthless than before 🙂

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