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10 Ways to Downsize Your Clutter

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Ditching clutter could cut 40 percent of your housework, according to a study published by the National Soap & Detergent Association. Can you imagine what that would be like? No matter the living space, clutter can be a very real problem. That’s why we’ve put together some great ways you can begin to downsize your clutter today.

1. Schedule when and where.

A Harvard study revealed that scheduling when and where you’ll do something makes you twice or three times as likely to finish.

For example, don’t simply pencil in “sort clutter.” Instead, try, “sort all children’s books on Tuesday morning.”

Action Step: Schedule a time on your calendar app or planner to sort at least ONE specific area of your clutter this week.


2. Stop sorting room by room.

According to the best-seller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, room by room is not the way to downsize your clutter.

Instead, Kondo recommends sorting in the following categories:

  • Clothing
  • Books
  • Papers
  • Miscellaneous
  • Keepsakes

For example, when you place all of your clothing in one collective mound, pick up each item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”

If it does, then keep it. If not, let it go. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Action Step: Test the KonMari method with something like shoes or jewelry. Make clear piles for keeping and disposing/selling/donating.

To learn more about tidying categories via Marie Kondo’s method, click here.


3. Go paperless.

Is your mailbox contributing to your clutter? Try going paperless by signing up for e-statements or automatic payments.

Ready to ditch those credit card offers? Opt out here. This step, alone, cut down 80% of our mail!

Action Step: Identify the types of paper you accumulate. Research ways to receive the information online or stop receiving it altogether.


4. Start a toy rotation.

Why not pack up some dormant toys? Audra Rogers from sorted all her sons’ toys into five bins:

  • Room
  • Attic
  • Outside
  • Donate
  • Trash

“It really helped reduce the clutter and control the hassle of cleanup at the end of the day,” says Rogers. “The kids were cooperative because they got to help choose the toys.”

See the full transformation after the Rogers family finished sorting here.

Action Step: Grab a bin and fill it with unused toys you’d like to keep in the rotation. Be sure to sift out brokens or donatable toys.


5. Establish some creative storage solutions.

If you’re tired of things sitting out, it’s time to get creative. Home Reserve excels at this with its built-in storage spaces. My ottomans double as homes for all our DVDs, fleece blankets, and board games.

See Home Reserve’s storage solutions in action:

Action Step: Create a cleaner, larger living space by creatively storing a few things this week.


6. Flip your folding.

“The key is to store things standing up rather than laid flat.” - Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

If your dressers are bursting with t-shirts, try propping them up on their side (the clothes, not the dresser). That way, you’ll have a clear view of each item without rummaging, and they’ll take up less space.

Action Step: Sort one dresser in your house using this new folding method. While you’re at it, grab anything you’ve stopped wearing or clothing that’s too small for the kids and add them to the “donate” pile.


7. Target and consolidate the “heaps.”

If I’m not careful, I’ll discover a small entourage of clutter gathering in my kitchen. There will be a heap on the counter, one on top of the microwave, or even an invasion on the dinner table.

Action Step: Consolidate the entourage into one place. Try using a tray to keep it organized or hang a simple filing system on the wall.


8. Tackle the tiny things.

When’s the last time you saw the bottom of your purse? How’d like to not have a junk drawer? How about decluttering your makeup?

Check out these 33 organizing hacks for storing small things:

Action Step: Walk through your home and note the tiny clutter areas. Pull open drawers, check in on your pantry, or spot-check your car.


9. Make some money.

We all know about garage sales and Craigslist, but here are a few more ways to sell your goods online:

Offer Up - This mobile-only service is quickly climbing the ranks in popularity. Imagine eBay at mach two. You can post or browse items locally, chat instantly, and snap photos of your product to sell.

Next Door - This is a private social network for your area. You can stay up to date with what’s going on in your region, as well as share information about items you’re selling, garage sales, and the like.

Action Step: Join one of these two membership programs and begin familiarizing yourself with the selling process.


10. Donate or junk it.

Your final step in this quest to downsize your clutter is to get stuff out the door. A great way to do that is through simply pitching or donating.

Want to know some highly rated organizations where you can drop off your stuff? Check out, a nonprofit organization that will help you find the top charities, as well as a complete list of charities in your region.

Some great examples include:

  • Books for Africa - Donate your books to a great cause!
  • Church World Service - Even an extra blanket can help a displaced refugee during a time of need.

Action Step: Search Charity Navigator or ask for donation ideas on Facebook. I recently discovered an initiative that gives free prom dresses to local teen girls who couldn’t have afforded one. It pays to ask around!

There are so many ways to downsize your clutter. What’s one of your favorites?


--Laura Harris


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