Top 10 Ways To Effectively Clear Clutter

Top 10 Ways To Effectively Clear Clutter

Spring cleaning projects often start off with good intentions, but get derailed before they’re completed. Stay on the clutter-clearing track with these tried and tested tips.

Picture by puyo

10. Try a “maybe box”

Found a bunch of stuff you’re pretty sure you won’t need, but can’t quite bring yourself to ditch it? Set up a maybe box, fill it with those goods, seal it, and put it away for six months. Chances are that when you return to it, you’ll realise you didn’t need any of it and you can chuck the whole lot out.

9. Get creative with your storage

Putting stuff away and keeping it neat is less of a chore if your storage is more inspiring that just empty shelves and plastic containers. Our top 10 list of creative storage ideas will help reduce junk across your house. [imgclear]

8. Give away functioning stuff you don’t need

Can’t bear to just throw something out because it’s still working, but don’t want the hassle of selling it via eBay or the like? Sites like OzRecycle and Freecycle make it easy to give stuff away to other people in your area, and you don’t even have the hassle of delivery. Getting rid of that gear also gives you more space for the stuff you do decide is worth keeping.

7. Tame your wardrobe with hangers

Chances are your wardrobe is filled with clothes you never actually wear. A simple strategy to track what you do wear is to reverse the hanger whenever you actually wear an item of clothing. At the end of a year, you’ll know exactly what deserves to get straight to your favourite charity shop. Picture by Brymo

6. Adopt the thing a day approach

It can be hard to set aside the time for a proper clean-up. It can be even harder to get rid of items that have sentimental value. Planning to get rid of just one item a day can make a surprising difference to your clutter profile, without forcing you to endlessly make difficult decisions.

5. Use a camera for a fresh perspective

It’s easy to become desensitised to the clutter that occupies your house every day. Videoing your house and then watching the recording can give you a new perspective on where stuff is accumulating That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to ditch everything — if you can find what you need when you need it, a clutter-bust might not help — but it’s a helpful way to start. Picture by jekert[imgclear]

4. Be ruthless when categorising

Spring cleaning always involves sorting stuff into categories (whether that’s functions they perform or the rooms they’ll go to). It’s often tempting to invoke a miscellaneous category, but that way lies madness. If you can’t clearly define where something belongs, that’s a potential argument that it serves no real purpose in your life.

3. Enjoy throwing things out

Spring cleaning often gets viewed as a chore, but take it from me: the feeling of getting rid of unwanted stuff en masse can be very satisfying. If you’re feeling overwhelmed mid-clutter, grab those garbage bags and heft them all the way to the bin. It’ll give you a boost and set you up for the next round.

2. Match the plan to the room

While the basic principles of clearing clutter apply no matter where in the house you’re working, the way you approach a kitchen will be different to an office, and both will vary from the garage. Our in-depth guide to cleaning clutter in your office will help you tackle the top pain point for Lifehacker readers.

1. Have an overall strategy

Just saying “I’m going to do some spring-cleaning this week” isn’t ever going to cut it; you’ll fall aside at the first distraction. Having an overall goal and a detailed plan makes it much more likely that you’ll finish the job. We’re big fans of Julie Morgenstern’s SPACE method, which not only gives you a strategy for getting organised, but also gives you a way of keeping that clutter under control after the main clean-up is done.[imgclear]

How do you keep your own clutter-busting projects on track? Give us the good efficiency oil in the comments.


  • You start these posts JUST after I clean out my room! But I’m a pretty ruthless cleaner so I suppose its alright. Still, I’ll keep some of these in mind when doing the study…

  • Hi Angus! I’ve just finished reading Corinne Grant’s book on decluttering her life, and picked up a great tip. Got something utterly useless that fills you with nostalgia so you can’t bear to part with it (eg bridal bouquet caught nine years ago that now looks like a bundle of old sticks)? Take a photo of it and store the .jpg somewhere for later reference instead.

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