Start Decluttering With These 5 Simple Steps

February 6, 2012 in Minimalist Tips by Lorilee Lippincott

Photo credit

I love simple living and minimalism in the home.   I think it is the key to mommy sanity, … and if mommy isn’t happy….  (you get the point).

So a simple minimalist home is pretty important right?

Simple is important if your not a mommy too.  If you have a home, and you don’t want it to run your life, you need it to be simple!

Since simplifying our home drastically, I have talked to lots of other folks, ‘real’ and over the computer, who want to simplify.  It seems quite universal that we want simple homes, but many people just don’t know where to start.  I wanted to write up 5 ways to simplify this week that will make a big difference.  Not only will these 5 make your life simpler, they will kick the ball a bit and help get you going.


Good. Here are the 5 tips.  Try them all today, or try one per day this week.

  1. Throw out dead plants.  Super easy right?  If you are anything like me (or like me before last fall when I gave up) you have a few plants that you are trying to coax along.  They aren’t pretty and have had several close calls.  … it may be up in the air if they will pull past the last one.  It is okay not to have a green thumb.  Life is precious, but putting a plant out if it’s misery is perfectly humane.
  2. Collect all visible paper and recycle, file, or put away out of sight.  Take a walk around the house.  Paper hides everywhere.  Most often, paper is only needed for a short time, it is disposable (sad, I know, but holding onto it longer than necessary doesn’t save trees).  File the things you might need for taxes or an audit, save the most important art projects, set the most recent copy of a magazine on the book shelf.  But most papers, probably can be recycled.  Do you need the calendar on the wall, or all the papers on the fridge, or the stack of magazines in the corner?  Go through all visible paper, just because it has been on the counter/in the corner/on the desk for months, doesn’t mean it gets to stay there.  Just paper, don’t worry about anything else right now, it will get you off track.  Move through the house on a paper mission.
  3. Underwear drawer.  Because beauty comes from the inside out :)  Go through your underwear drawer and get rid of anything that isn’t beautiful.   Figure out how many garments you need to go between wash days and keep your best candidates.   Now you can be an under-cover minimalist.
  4. Pick a horizontal surface in your home.  I like the kitchen counters, but it might be a bit of an extreme start for you if you are just getting started.    Clear the space off entirely.  This shouldn’t be a cleaning…. you got to do that on your own, this isn’t a cleaning blog.  This is for all the things that ‘belong’ on the surface.  Find another home for them and get them off.   This goes for phones, candles, big kitchen mixers, flour and sugar canisters, clocks, lotion bottles, tissue boxes, and whatever else might be on the surface.  It doesn’t have to stay completely cleaned off, but how about try it for a week and then see if you want to add anything back.  Having a completely clean surface is beautiful.  Not only does it allow the eye to travel effortlessly through the room, but it makes the area look bigger and inviting.
  5. Find one thing you don’t like, one thing that is broken, and one thing you don’t use and remove it from the house.  Try and see how big your one thing can be.  Just one thing right now, this is only to get you started.  Maybe, if there is more than one of you in the house you can compete and see who can come up with the biggest thing to remove.

There you go!  Just like that you are on your way to a simple living space.  Hopefully this is just the beginning.

Any other good ‘starter’ areas that you can think of?  How have you kick-started your simplification process?