How to Declutter Your Life

Three Methods:Decluttering Your TimeDecluttering Your SpaceKeeping Life Uncluttered

Clutter can be a major cause of stress. If you are feeling stressed, then it may be time to reconsider the way that you arrange your time, your space, and your energy. Take a deep breath, and schedule time for yourself to systematically declutter your life. Determine what you do and do not need in your life. Simplify and let go.

Method 1
Decluttering Your Time

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    Make time to clean. Schedule in the time to declutter your home on a regular basis. It is unrealistic to expect yourself to do it all in one go. Allocate a set period of cleaning or "decluttering" time each day or each week.
    • Try setting an alarm clock. Designate a cleaning chunk of, say, twenty minutes each day or two hours each week. Set the alarm for the appropriate time so that you can throw all of your attention into the act of cleaning. If you are thinking about what you need to do afterward, then you may not get as much cleaning done in this moment.
    • Try playing music while you declutter your space. Make it a cleaning party! This can make the job much more manageable!
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    Clear up your schedule. Make a list of all of the things that are on your mind at this moment: plans, projects, chores, and commitments. A cluttered physical space can certainly have an impact on your mental peace, but the case may also be that you have too much on your plate. Go through your list and identify the things that are weighing most heavily on your mind. Decide which obligations, if any, you can let go to ease the stress.
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    Prioritize. Order your to-do list from most urgent to least urgent. Give yourself time to clean up your life, but make sure that it fits with everything else that you need to do. Make sure that at any given moment, you are performing the task that feels the most important.
    • The most important task in a given moment may be cleaning, or it may be your job, or it may be taking time for yourself. Remember that you must sometimes put small things in order so that you can clear the way for big things.
    • Do not forget to maintain perspective. Remind yourself that irrelevant things can feel very pressing when you are swept up in the moment. Keep your priorities straight.

Method 2
Decluttering Your Space

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    Tidy up your workspace. The arrangement of a space can directly influence the clarity of your thoughts. Make your work area a comfortable and productive place. Start now! Clean what is dirty, sort what is messy, and let go of what is nonessential.[1]
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    Purge. Identify what you need to keep and what you do not need to keep. If you don't need to keep something, then find a way to release it from your life. There are a number of ways to donate, sell, or otherwise pass items along without a lot of effort on your part.[2]
    • Give things to your community. Speak to your friends, or post photos of items on social media. Put things out on the curb. Consider having a garage sale.
    • Post online. Sell used goods on eBay, Craigslist, and other online marketplaces. Give things away using sites like or the "free stuff" section of Craiglist.
    • Donate. Arrange a pickup from your local donation center, or bring boxes of things in to a local thrift store. Find a Goodwill store in your area: these centers will usually sift through large amounts of unsolicited used goods.[3]
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    Be ruthless and realistic. The more space and tidiness you can create, the more relaxing your home will become. It is also important during this process to have a very clear mental image of how you want each room to look. This vision can be a very strong motivational image to spur you forward.[4]
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    Rethink your storage. Even after the purge, you may wind up with items that you want to keep but don’t really have the space to keep. Try to find an alternate storage solution that does not directly clutter your life. If you are emotionally attached to a thing, but you rarely use it, then it may be worth relegating it to a less visible corner of your life. For easy reference, make sure to keep a master list of everything that you store away.[5]
    • Pay for extra storage elsewhere. This can be a solid solution if you're keeping furniture or other large objects that you may need in the future. Weigh the cost of the storage unit against the benefits of keeping the item.[6]
    • Store the items in attics, basements, and other out-of-the-way places. Sort things into labeled boxes: e.g. "Christmas decorations" or "Family photos." Make sure that you can easily reach thing that you'll need to access with any regularity.
    • Create cheap storage solutions within your rooms using cardboard boxes and wrapping paper for decoration. Decorate the boxes in any way you want, to match the décor of your rooms. With a little creativity and flair, you can even add to a room's overall look and feel. Store a decorative box beneath a bed, couch, chair, or table.[7]

Method 3
Keeping Life Uncluttered

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    Be a conscious consumer. Control the temptation to hoard things. Each time that an object comes into your sphere of possession, consider whether you truly need to keep this thing. If you do not need this thing, then let it go. Move on.[8]
    • Resist the urge to buy things you don't need. Catch yourself when you are buying things on impulse rather than for a practical use. Think: "Will I be glad that I bought this thing in a week? A month? A year?"
    • Learn to let go. Practice turning away from opportunities that aren't relevant to you right now.
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    Put things away. Be more mindful of where you leave things. When you are holding something in your hands, make sure that you put it away in its right place before you move on to a new task or a new object. It is easy to let your space become cluttered when you are constantly flitting from scene to scene, leaving a trail of forgotten objects in your wake. Try to build a mindfulness practice around reducing clutter.
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    Try not to over-commit. It can be easy to say "yes" to too many things and lose sight of what you really need to be doing. Find your focus. Do not limit yourself, but try to keep an even keep. Be careful not to let your life become so cluttered that you cannot keep track of where you're going.
    • Tell yourself that you cannot flake out of any plans that you make. Teach yourself to be more intentional about choices and commitments in your everyday life.


  • Deciding what needs to be kept and what does not can seem rather daunting at first. Be rational. Ask yourself these questions to clarify the situation:
    • Do I use this item?
    • Do I have another item that does the same thing?
    • What purpose does this item have and does it add anything to my home?
    • Does this item need to be in this room?
    • Does this have any sentimental attachment?

Article Info

Categories: Clutter Busting