Sometimes, things are just easier with a checklist, you know? Whether you've moved into a new home and are longing to get all of those cardboard boxes decluttered and put away, or you simply want to declutter your entire home in an efficient way, a good decluttering checklist could be the key to making the job simpler.
Decluttering your home is not an impossible task. While it may seem overwhelming, the process itself is very simple. The absolute, number one, top-of-the-list thing you need to do is START decluttering. That's it. The hardest part is just starting.
Everything else is easy breezy once you set aside the time to start the process. We will break down ways to help you start your decluttering journey and provide you with a free printable declutter checklist that is filled with items to declutter in your home!
The Decluttering Process
Decluttering can be broken down into three stages – time, work, and clean up. Once your home is decluttered, you can focus on how to start organizing. When I say “organization,” I am referring to the act of making everything look appealing to your eyes and getting the most function out of an area. Decluttering is the very first thing you do, where you go through everything and put the keepers back in an orderly fashion – but not in a way that it would be on the cover of a home magazine.
The easy way to declutter is to start in one corner of your home and work your way around that space. The goal is to get to the back of all the cabinets, because the real issue isn't with the mess lying around the house, it's with the items you no longer need that are taking up valuable real estate. Those are the items you want to declutter to make room for the items you do need and use regularly.
Blocking out the time to declutter is essential. And, while I do believe that you can do a little here and a little there, that's just not how the Boot Camp Mom works. Remember: boot camps are short and intense courses of training. When we look at the act of decluttering, we want to get the most done in the shortest amount of time.
Be careful not to set your sights so small that it takes you a year to declutter. Instead, set aside time that is solely dedicated to the project. Then once you are done with that area, set aside time for the next area. Rinse and repeat until you have touched everything in your home.
It's very important to have a clear starting and stopping point on a decluttering project. Otherwise, you can bite off more than you can chew, and your decluttering becomes a giant mess that overwhelms you. Rather, know what you want to accomplish and stop when you get to that point.
During decluttering, you need to ask yourself specific questions to decide what to get rid of. Start with, “do I need this,” followed by, “do I want this,” and lastly, “can someone else use it.” We know that there are items you need to keep in the garage or attic for that one day that you might need them. However, your home should be a living place, not a storage place.
Once you've asked yourself those questions, it's time to sort similar items together. Make piles of items to save, unwanted items to trash, and items in good condition that you can sell or donate. Always make sure that you touch every item in the area that you started in.
Lastly, and this is very important, if you find an item that belongs in another area of your home – make a pile for that room. Don't take the item where it needs to go because you run the risk of getting distracted from the specific project you are trying to complete. Just make a pile, and take them during the cleaning up process.
After you finish decluttering an area, it's time to clean up. Put the items you chose to keep back where they go neatly (remember, you can organize them all later). Take any items you deem as trash out to the trash can. We aren't going to go back through them. Lastly, you will want to take any items you plan to sell or donate and put them in a staging zone until you are ready to list them/drop them off. If you have lots of good things, you can make quite a bit of money selling items locally.
Now would be the time to disperse any items that need to go to another area of your home. Don't worry about getting them put in the right place, unless they go in a room you have already decluttered.
Quick Tips to Remember
When decluttering your house, keep the following in mind:
- The initial decluttering of your home will take a long time; however, once you're done you slide right into the maintenance phase. You can implement a weekly reset and some 10-second tidies (more on that later…) and finally maintain a clutter-free home and the process will not take as much time.
- The goal is to have less clutter in the back of your cabinets and other storage areas, so you can store the items you want to keep. If you set aside the time to declutter, and then start keeping everything, the process is not working. You have got to get rid of as many things as you can!
- Have fun! I actually really enjoy decluttering. Depending on the area of your home, it can often be a walk down memory lane. And, if you do the process correctly, you can get quick wins with this process (hello, dopamine)! If you need some motivation to declutter and clean, I am more than happy to help!
- It is ok to throw things away. Don't stress yourself out trying to find a new home for every item that you have. If it is easier to just toss it, just toss it. Trust me – getting a clutter-free home is much more important.
- Please don't shop while you are decluttering your home. Take a little break from any retail therapy, obviously still purchasing any essentials, and really focus on your decluttering journey. You can check out the Stop the Shop Challenge if you need a little inspiration!
- Make sure to look for those easy to declutter items: paper, mail, clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets, etc. You know you have some of these items that you can get rid of – to make space for the items you want and need!
The Ultimate Declutter Checklist – and it's a free printable!
Alright – let's get to the printable checklist. I've broken the list down to different areas of your home and listed common items that you can get rid of or areas to check to see if you need to clean them out. Here we go!
Decluttering the Bathroom
- Makeup (old/expired, those seasonal colors that you never use, check the expiration dates)
- Paper Products (toilet paper, cotton rounds, flushable wipes, tampons/pads, kleenex)
- Medicine (old/expired, check other areas of your home too!)
- Hair Accessories (hair ties, bobby pins, stretched headbands)
- Beauty Products (lotions, cleansers, products you didn't like)
- Hair Brushes (old combs, round brushes you don't use)
- Perfumes (ones you don't like, old/expired)
- Hair Products (gel, hairspray, mouse, old/expired)
- Samples (if you're a sample hoarder, get rid of them)
- Overflow (razor blades, face wipes, shampoo, conditioner)
- Medicine Cabinet
- Rinse and Repeat for Extra Bathrooms
Decluttering the Living Room
- End Tables
- Entertainment Center
- Coffee Tables
- Decorative Pillows
- Wall Decor
- Movies (DVDs, VHS, Bluray)
- Gaming Systems (old or unused)
- Audio (CDs, Cassette Tapes, Headphones, Players)
- Pictures (Frames, to-be framed)
Decluttering the Coat Closet
- Old Coats
- Too-Small of Coats
- Items on the Shelf (the shelf in the closet, go through what's there)
- Cleaning Supplies (vacuum, rags, overflow, Swiffer)
Decluttering the Linen Closet
- Bags (backpacks, shoulder bags, etc.)
- Cleaning Supplies
- Overflow (wipes, paper goods, anything stored in there)
- Seasonal items (humidifiers and filters, space heaters, comforters)
- Extra Towels
- Excess Decor
- Rinse and Repeat for Additional Closets
Decluttering the Master Bedroom
- Night Stands (chapstick, books, medicine, misc.)
- Under the Bed
- Dog Beds/Toys/Crates
- Storage Boxes (places where you keep the change, gift cards, old devices, etc.)
Decluttering the Master Closet
- Top Shelves
- Middle Shelves
- Hutches/Storage Boxes
- Seasonal Wear (hats, gloves, scarves, swimwear, etc.)
- Storage Items (if you store medicine, medical devices, etc.)
- Formal Wear
Decluttering the Kids' Rooms/Guest Rooms
- Stuffed Animals
- Under the Bed
- Night Stands
- Closet/Shelves/Cubbies (take it all out!)
- Storage Containers
Decluttering the Home Office
- Office Supplies (stapler, stamps, hole-punch, rulers,)
- Pens/Pencils (test them all)
- Paper Clips/Rubber Bands
- Post-It Notes/Notepads/Paper Clutter
- Cables (phone chargers, HDMI, headphones, monitor)
- Photographs (albums, prints, frames)
- Files/Important Documents
- Safe/Vital Documents
- Printing Supplies (ink, toner, paper)
- Junk Mail
Decluttering the Pantry
- Bulk Items (Sam's Club/Costco products, overflow, paper products)
- Canned Goods
- Boxed Goods
- Baking Goods
- Breakfast Goods
- Plastic Cutlery/Napkins/Paper Plates
- Bakery Goods
- Seasoning Packets
- Cookbooks/Recipe Cards
- Overflow Cooking Products
- Storage Containers
- Baggies/Walmart Sacks
- Cleaning Supplies
- Under the Sink
- Kitchen Cabinets Above the Refrigerator
- Junk Drawer
- Upper Cabinets (do one section at a time – but touch everything)
- Lower Cabinets
- Free-Standing Storage
- Oven Mits
- Cooking Utensils
- Cutting Boards
- Hand Towels
- Tumblers/Water Bottles
- Baking Supplies
- Small Appliances
- Servers in Dining Room
- Decor Items
- Pots and Pans
- Baking Sheets
- Casserole Dishes
- Kids Plates/Bowls/Utensils/Cups
- Broken/Torn Toys
- Games with Missing Pieces
- Stuffed Animals
- Coloring Books/Pages
- Arts and Crafts
- Science Kits
- Track Pieces
- Toy Cubbies
- Toy Bins
- Toy Shelves
- Toy Closets
- Card Games
- PlayDoh Kits
- Toy Boxes
- Play Kitchens/Grocery Stores/Etc.
- Outside Toys
- Pool/Water Toys
Decluttering the Laundry Room or Mud Room
- Laundry Supplies
- Under the Laundry Sink
- Light Bulbs
- Seasonal Items
- Coats/Swim Accessories
- Upper Cabinets
- Lower Cabinets
- Mudroom Cubbies/Bins/Baskets
Decluttering the Garage and Attic
- Yard Supplies
- Yard Equipment
- Sports Equipment
- Outside Toys
- Automobile Supplies
- Holiday Decor
- Overflow Items
Decluttering Pet Supplies
- Nail Trimmers
- Bath Products
That's it! You can grab your free printable checklist to declutter your home by completing the form below. When you start your decluttering journey, make sure to block out the time. Just as if you were starting a new workout regiment and would add the classes to your calendar or to-do list, you can and should do the same with your decluttering routine.
Put the work in now, and reap the benefits! Let me know in our Facebook group how the decluttering checklist worked for you!