An easy mental shift that has me deluttering like crazy!

When I was a kid I used to have a lot of collections. A sticker collection, a collection of those cheap little plastic charms for my charm bracelet, and even a candy collection.

I know crazy right? I was the kid who would save my candy in the bottom drawer of my desk. Not sure what I was saving it for but it was out of hand.

Now in my adult life I realized that I still have this saving mentality and I’m not sure it’s a good thing. So I changed the way I think about what I’m keeping and it has me on a purging spree!

The kind that even had me creating a checklist of places to clean out that I’m sharing with you can download too!

an easy mental shift that has me decluttering like crazy

We recently opened a nice bottle of wine that we had been “saving for a special occasion.” Problem is, when the special occasion finally came and we remembered to open the dang thing, it had turned. Ain’t nothing special about that!

I hit my breaking point when I was recently going through all of the boxes of “stuff” that had been stored in our office for years.

Boxes of stuff that had moved with us over 3 times, but had never left the box.

Instead these things just sat in a box in an empty room until those rooms had to become bedrooms for our kiddos and finally ended up in the office, which as you know had become a crap dumping ground and I’m in the middle of overhauling.

I know I’m not the only one with this problem. I go on a lot of walks through my neighborhood and almost no one parks their car in their garage cause it is so filled with stuff that it’s impossible! I’m one of those people!

And frankly I’m sick of it!

My home means so much to me. I put a lot of time and energy into making it a really nice place to be and yet I have these dumping grounds that secretly drive me nuts! Sometimes they are big (like my office or the garage) and sometimes they are small, like the closet in the guest bedroom, but they are cluttered up with often unnecessary things that are also cluttering my mind!

So I’ve changed the way I think about these things and it has allowed me to purge like I’ve never purged before!

And the result is amazing!

My old mentality of holding onto something cause I might need it someday is so bogus! How can I expect the things that I really do love or that are useful or important to shine (or be found in a timely manner) if they are hidden by a bunch of crap?

And why were we so concerned with price per square foot when we were buying our home if we were just going to fill some of those square feet with junk that we don’t need or use?

I know I’m a bit fired up, but seriously people, my new way of going through things is life changing and if you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have, follow these same steps one little space at a time.

First ask yourself…

Is it beautiful? Is it useful? Or is it sentimental?

Now here’s where the key mental shift comes in…

If you hold onto everything (or too many things) because everything is special in some way, then really nothing is very special. 

Think about that for a minute.

In order for the things that truly hold meaning or that are your best of the best to really shine and be appreciated, they can’t be crowded by the less important.

With that thought in mind I went through my things and limited what I kept down to the most beautiful, most useful, or the most meaningful things and let go of the rest.

So…

By beautiful I mean if you saw it today in a store would you fall in love with it and have to have it in your home? If the answer is yes, then by all means, keep it!

By useful, I mean it actually gets used regularly or it makes your life easier in some way.

A perfect example of this is leftover project supplies. If it is something that can be used on many different projects, by all means keep it. But if it was leftover from a very unique project and will most likely never be used again, get rid of it!

For something to be sentimental it’s got to tell your story in some way.

Now I know that this is the hardest category and if you are anything like me you are going to sit and ponder certain items so you may have to go through a space more than once so that you are left with the best of the best.

There is no freedom in holding on to every single thing, memory, or story. So pick your favorites and let the rest go!

I know it ain’t easy. Just yesterday I had to be firm with myself when I was going through my fabric (and you know I love me some fabric.)

I told myself that from now on I was going to store my fabric in the bottom drawer of my new built in. What that meant is that I had to get rid of a lot of fabric because I had way more than would fit in the drawer.

I had to be real with myself. Yes I love to sew, but do I really need enough fabric on hand to be able to create more projects than I even have planned? Nope.

And do I really need to keep small scraps of fabric, just because I love the print, and I might come up with a way to use them one day? Nope.

After making some tuff decisions, I ended up with a drawer full of fabric that I absolutely love and have plans for. The rest went to a local program for at risk teen girls and I love the idea that they are going to be able to use it for crafts and sewing projects.

I want you to try this.

Pick a spot in your home and ask yourself the 3 questions above for each item.

Start somewhere small and easy (without a lot of sentimental things.)

Like maybe under your bathroom sink. Lord knows you have hair and makeup products under there that you want to use or want to like, but the truth is you don’t. And they would be of better use at a women’s shelter.

And can you imagine the next time you have somewhere special to go, not having to dig through all of that crap to find the product that actually does work.

Donate or throw away what you are not keeping right away.

Ready?

Pick 2 small spots in your home that could use a good decrapifying session over the next week and tell me what they are in the comments below.

Your home and your mind will be all the better for it, and it’s going to pave the way for you to really showcase your home decor style!

And speaking of creating a cohesive home decor style, I’ve been busy behind the scenes creating a brand new course for all of you that I can’t wait to tell you more about!

Ok. Time to go get your decluttering on! Grab your checklist and get ready to hit all of the tuff spots in your house!

And if you found this helpful, of course I’d love for you to share it with your friends on Facebook using the buttons below!

blog post signature

 

I need to start thinking about what I'm keeping in a more intentional way and these 3 questions are so good!

About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don’t consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

104 thoughts on “An easy mental shift that has me deluttering like crazy!

  1. Melody says:

    I’ve been cleaning out for the past 5 years like I’m moving!!

    I go through EVERYTHING we own at least once a year!! I touch every item that is in the house & stored in the building!! I take everything out of its box, hold each item & make a decision. All that stays gets compacted w/other boxes & the box’s contents relabeled!!

    It was hard the first spring, then fall was a little easier to let go. By the next spring more left our house!! Every round gets easier & easier!! I donate to Women’s Shelter, trash & yard sale my treasures!!

    We are positive that if we did move that we could fit everything into a 18 ft moving truck!!!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Woot! Awesome system, Melody! I’m happy for your success and thanks for sharing it!

  2. Deana says:

    Here is my problem….I love to keep things! Clothes are the biggest thing I keep. I almost have every piece of clothing my children ever wore! The funny thing is that I will donate things that are not name brand or I didn’t love! I have an unfinished basement and have no problem “storing” it in nice bins labelled my size and gender! Unfortunately toys and school work/ mometos that I “might scrapbook someday” are also nicely stored in the basement! I am at a point where I am overwhelmed and know I should get rid of it but how??? Where do I start and the feelings of guilt that I feel when I do purge things makes me quit before I donate it! I wish it wasn’t so difficult to let go!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Deana, I so get what you mean. I’ve had the mental tug-of-war before too. I remember thinking “I spent good money on that!” I started by finding a charity that I really believed in and actually spent time volunteering there at an event. It was one for teen moms that were NOT dropping out of high school and were taking parenting and finance classes along with their high school classes. As a former high school teacher these teens were amazing to me because I know how hard it is to juggle having small kids, but at least I’m doing it later in life when I’m more equipped with resources. Anyway, I now donate my stuff there knowing that it is making a huge difference in someone’s life. Way beyond what it would do if it was sitting in a bin in my garage. And that I have photos of my kids in their cute outfits to remember them. And that those outfits are going to be making memories and cuteness with someone new. It’s tough at first. But start small. One bin at a time. It gets easier, I promise. And as the overwhelm goes down it actually becomes fun and feels like you’re serving your community in a way that feels really good.
      As for the scrapbooking part. I’ve started scanning my kids art and stuff and including it in a shutterfly book for them. They also each have one hanging file folder bin in their closet and a folder for each year of life/school. They put stuff in their throughout the year and at the end of the year they go through it and keep just their favorites.
      Hope that helps! You can do it!

    2. Suzi Edwards says:

      Sort ea ch bin into “ok I can let go”, “want to keep” and “I would grab this if the house was on fire”. Then Use a digital camera to photograph “want to keep ” items. Get rid of the first and second categories and store the rest.After a while repeat the process until you only have a few items…….go and spend some time with the Salvation army or other organisation that helps kids ewith nothing…..often that makes it easier to give them to someone who you know really needs them

    3. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks Suzi – such thoughtful and important tips!

  3. Ange Harvey says:

    Hi Corey, I’ve read your de-cluttering worksheet – and every other de-cluttering thing I’ve ever come across. I used to be an awful collector but over the years I have become much better. We bought a display/tv cabinet to hold precious family keepsakes and a few things we’d collected over our 27 years together – and got rid of everything that didn’t fit in it. I regularly clean out the bathroom cabinet and wardrobes. We even got rid of most of the kids old toys and clothes. So believe me when I tell you, compared to how we used to be, we almost have a clutter free house. I still have though, two major areas where I struggle.
    The first is the girls old schoolbooks and school projects, they are 10, 15 and 21, so there is a LOT of stuff there. What would you recommend, do I keep, sort, or discard? My second issue is cards, mostly stuff from and for the girls, birthday cards, Christmas cards, all sorts of cards. I’ve kept these, should I?
    Sorry for the novel but these are my two worst areas that never seem to get directly addressed. 🙂

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Ange, My kids are little and I can already see that this is going to be an issue so I’ve started being a bit proactive about it. I got each of them a plastic file bin and they have a hanging folder in there for each year. My daughter tends to want to save everything so she keeps what she wants in the folder as the year goes but about 2x a year we go through the folder and she picks her favorites and we get rid of the rest. I’m trying to teach her the concept of “if everything is sooooo special, then really nothing is.” I also have started scanning some of their best art and including it in their printed album that I print out on Shutterfly about once a year (although I’ll admit I’m really behind.) They really like having their art in there among the photos. As far as cards go, I do keep some, but not all of them. They have to have a special message written in them or something for me to keep them. These can be scanned too! -Hope that helps.

    2. Deb Prettyman says:

      Hi,
      I thought about this early in life. So instead of souvenirs I collected charms for a bracelet. I have them by decades, by my sons in scouts, and one special one that has charms given to my mother by my dad with a few added from my kids or to represent special times. They take a small space and people ask to see my memories. I keep one item from my parents, now all deceased. My step dad’s hat on the wall tree in my foyer (it was in his bedroom). A necklace from my mother, her ‘statement piece’, etc. Cards I take a picture of and create an album…these help in recovery from strokes, brain bleeds etc.
      Deb

    3. Corey Willis says:

      What an amazing and thoughtful idea, Deb! Thanks for that valuable tip!

  4. Amy says:

    Love the post, the two things I have been staring at for the last 2 years every time I go thru my house is my fabric and under bathroom sink. So it’s crazy those are the two examples you used. I don’t think I would be able to begin this project without reading this post first, now it makes sense to me that it’s ok to. So for that Thank You I now know what I will be doing on this very hot Arizona Sunday to beat the heat..

    1. Corey Willis says:

      You’re very welcome Amy! Stay cool in that heat!

  5. My living room is also my dining area and office. We live in a Tony space. I need more vertical storage to help with crafty/biz camouflage and mental un-wined-ing! ✌🏻💜🍷😜

  6. Terri says:

    Love ❤️ this article – especially your term “decrapifying” lol. I definitely have a problem with craft supplies and material – I have sooooooo many ideas but realistically not the time to do them. You have motivated me to “get on it”! One hint I have tried to do for years is when I buy a piece of clothing, I get rid of two pieces that I have. This has helped me to rotate and clear room in my closet at the same time.😊

    1. Deb Prettyman says:

      I go through and take pieces to my favorite consignment store that pays fairly generously. When I go in I say ‘Hi Sue! How much money do I have to shop with?’ It’s reduced the amount of clothes I have..my goal..and cut my clothing expense to almost zero!
      Deb

  7. Christy says:

    Decrapifying!!!!! I love that you put it that way.

  8. P. says:

    i never normally comment on blog posts but i have to say thank you so incredibly much! I have read so many de-cluttering posts but this is definitely the best! It has created a ‘mental shift’ and now I’m so excited about decluttering! I love everything to be neat and tidy yet i hoard everything… i seem to have a sentimental attachment everything ! My neatness obsession and conflicting hoarding drives me crazy!! I want to Print this entire post! Is there any chance you could make this post a printable ( a smaller version just highlighting the key points and questions to ask ourselves etc)?
    Again, Thank you so much!!!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Yay, you! So happy you’re on the right path to a calmer, happier home. A printable is a great idea for the future, and I will work on that. In the meantime if you want something quickly, simply select the article, copy, paste into Word and then edit so that it fits your needs. Good luck!!

    2. Ninamarie says:

      If you print it, wouldn’t the paper become another item to organize/put away? How about saving it on Pinterest in a folder labeled “Favorites” or another title you choose.

  9. JenB says:

    I have a big drawer in my closet that I use for discards, i.e. If I put on a piece of clothing and it doesn’t fit or I don’t like the way it looks anymore, into the drawer it goes, NOT back up in the closet. Same thing with jewelry and decorative items. I’m a very instinctual person when it comes to things I don’t need. My gut says “no more” and into the drawer it goes. And when the drawer is full I put it all into a bag and drop it off at Goodwill on my way to work. That way, it’s also a manageable amount to take in and not several giant boxes of stuff, although its probably a trip every other month. I’ve been working with this system for years and have managed to keep things under control!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      What a great method, Jen! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    2. angie says:

      JenB, I have been doing this for about 3 years too. My difficulty is I have been using a really large basket so it has enough room to fill up a 13 gal garbage bag. Because of the available space, I have kept it in my dining room. I have never liked keeping it there but didn’t have any other ideas. Since my first of the year purge, I have empty dresser drawers. THANKS TO you, I can now get rid of the basket. My empty dresser drawers can house a) clothing, b) household and c) miscellaneous until I have enough built up to warrant a trip to drop off locations. Thanks so much for the better idea!!!!

    3. Rita Barnes says:

      You could also use a clothes hamper to put things to get rid of.

    4. Sarah H says:

      That is a very helpful tip. I will do this once the cluttering has been tidied

    5. Deb Prettyman says:

      I’m a tax accountant. If you keep a written list, value the clothing/items at thrift shop sales prices, (which are higher than garage sale!!) & take pictures of the items BEFORE BAGGING them up…you will most likely help yourself to an increase in your tax refund of approximately 1/3 of the value! Attach the receipt from the charity to your list and few pictures Andrew you are ready for tax time!
      Another incentive to decrapify!

    6. Corey Willis says:

      Anything that lowers taxes, I’m all in! Thanks Deb for adding to the discussion.

  10. Chris says:

    I have been thinking about this for a while and made a New Year’s resolution that I was going to “let go”. I have purchases of kitchen gadgets (my obsession) and scrapping/card making supplies (another obsession) that I just had to have for “some day”. I AM de-cluttering! and your article was very helpful. I will be asking myself three simple questions for everything I have. Looking forward to my “haves” becoming smaller!! 🙂

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Good for you, Chris! I’d love for you to stop back by and let me know your progress!

  11. Kathryn K Durrant says:

    I went through a bin that held odds and ends of first aid supplies, soaps, hair products. Next I’m going to go through the same type items I have in my bathroom. I already have little clutter as I got into this mode several years ago after visiting India. I realized, I just don’t need all this stuff. I often take a picture of something so I can remember it. Then I give it away or donate it.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Nothing like visiting a foreign country to make us realize we have too much stuff!

    2. Marilyn H. says:

      Kathryn, Taking a photo of things has worked well for me, especially for sentimental items. We don’t always want or need the “stuff” – just the memories. 🙂

    3. Patricia says:

      Great idea to take a picture and then get rid of the item.

  12. You’ve motivated and given me permission to let go of things “I might need someday!” 🙂

    1. Corey Willis says:

      So glad it gave you the inspiration you needed, Margo!

  13. Diane says:

    We moved two big bookcases to a different wall in my living room. That meant removing all the items from the shelves and sorting through them before returning them to the shelves in the new location. They had both been full to overflowing and now had some empty spaces. I have put some decorative items in some of those spaces and am loving the totally new look. After rearranging the rest of the room, we moved down to our game closet. We pulled everything out and sorted and got rid of half of what was in there. I moved on to the bookshelves in two other rooms and made a lot of progress on getting rid of items from there too. My family room is still a bit of a wreck, but is almost done. I have rearranged the furniture there too after dejunking shelves, etc. I lost my momentum for the moment, but hope to get back at it this afternoon.
    We have made 3 or 4 runs to the thrift store with things and one to a discount bookstore that paid us for the items we took to them. There are several more items in a pile in my family room waiting to be loaded up and hauled away. It feels so freeing to be getting out from under all the “stuff”.
    Thank you for the added encouragement and inspiration.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I’m so glad you found my tips helpful, Diane. Isn’t it amazing how much calmer we feel without the clutter?

  14. This is amazing! I always say I want to declutter and live smaller, more minimal but I am a collector of things. We have many boxes that have moved with us multiple times. I feel guilty getting rid of anything that has been given to me or is sentimental. I am going to try and work on this. Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Glad to help, Leah, and thanks for being part of the Hey There Home family!

  15. Stephanie says:

    My latest foray was during Christmas decorating. After hauling the seven tubs down from the attic I had to admit that a lot of my decorations represented a: different house, different color scheme, different time in my life, different tastes, and different energy level. Not to mention all those holiday projects I INTENDED to do and never did. So six bags and boxes are ready to head to the thrift store! My attic and my back are already thankful!

  16. Teri says:

    This is the simplest and most logical way to declutter that I have read in a long time! I also appreciate the additional comment from one of your readers who said mentions the question, “Will my children want this?” Anyone can declutter their spaces with this mindset. Thank you!

  17. Kelly says:

    I loved this post. It helped me see what my real issue has been in starting to get decluttered. And I have to say, calling it DECRAPIFYING is genius. Not only did you have me laughing and nodding along, but I realized-OMG, so much of my clutter IS just…crap. Of no use at all, yet I hold on. I think I felt something snapping, something becoming UNSTUCK as I read this. Thanks! I’ve got some deCRAPifying to do!

    1. Hey Kelly! So happy it hit home with you and you got a little laugh in too. I so agree with you that we give things value way too often when really having things pile up all around us doesn’t add value to our overall happiness. I’d love for you to let me know how it goes. Remember, baby steps!

  18. I agree! We have way too much stuff. Time to get real with ourselves and get rid of it. I have been on a clean out kick all summer. Thanks for writing this piece.

  19. aj lovins says:

    very good blog !
    i too am ready to get it all out so my family wont need too. great advice!!!

  20. Ingrid schnore says:

    Thank you for your guidance! Yes, I have many piles- but mostly paper is dufficult for me to sift through/ I have 2 small kids ( lotsa art projects) and am a teacher…

  21. Liz says:

    Thank you for you for sound direction. Much advice in this area is harsh. You allow for some beauty & sentiment. It will take some time but I don’t want the burden of excessive stuff. I also would not want my children, in the future, to have to sift through it.

  22. Sherry says:

    I’m to the point in my life I have to ask myself “Will my children want this?” If not, and it’s not something I use regularly, out it goes. I don’t want my kids going through my stuff and thinking “why did she keep this??!!”

    1. Ha! So ironic Sherry because we just moved my mother-in-law and my husband and I kept wondering why she had kept so much stuff. Glad she now has a clean slate to start from.

  23. I tried to sign into your site but it would not exceptthe whole of my Canadian area code. What do I do to sign in? PLEASE let me know. Your site seams like I need that to get me on the right track

    THANK YOU
    Judy

    1. Hi Judy. You should use your email address to sign up, not your phone number. Once you sign up you’ll get access to the printable. Email me directly at corey@heytherehome.com if you need help and I can walk you through it. 🙂

  24. Ingrid says:

    We’re moving and I made TOUGH decisions and just started purging. I refused to haul 15 years worth of “stuff” to the new house. Instead of keeping my childhood stuff like old report cards and books I scanned the stuff that was important to me and purged it. I took photos of old dolls and got rid of them. I donated, I had a yard sale and I made ruthless decisions. I even tossed out my yearbooks, (highschool wasnt that amazing anyway). It can be done but like you said you have to shift your mindset. I asked myself if I loved it, if it was very useful or if I thought it was beautiful. If not…bye bye!

  25. Kate says:

    We are in the process of buying my mother-in-laws 3100 sq. ft home. I am a thrower/donator/recycler, she is a keeper/boarder line hoarder. For her, everything has sentimental value (e.g. Thirty yr old ski boots, every picture she’s ever framed- 100s). She lost her husband to a heart attack 20 years ago, her son in a car crash 8 yrs ago, and I feel for her and how going through her things is a grieving experience. However, there is not a single closet/bedroom/storage space that can accommodate any of our family’s items. How can I take your beautiful/useful/sentimental philosophy and move towards helping her home accommodate our family? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Oh Kate. That is so hard because you definitely come from a place of love and not disrespect to her memories but need to clear out in order to live nicely and make room for new memories. I don’t pretend to know your specific situation, because I think it is unique and has to do with her grieving, but I think keeping her focused on her favorites or her best memories is going to be key. Is she going to be living there with you?

    2. Jean says:

      As Ingrid mentioned take pictures or scan items for her. We moved my mother to a small apartment and took pictures of her Santa Claus collection and put them in a scrapbook. Scan her pictures and put them in one of those frames that run a slide show. Hope this helps.

  26. Ida says:

    Oh, yeah, that helps.

  27. Penelope says:

    Perfect timing for your article. I’ve finally committed to clearing out anything that’s not important.

  28. Camille says:

    May God Bless you and keep you.

  29. Sandi says:

    We started decrapifying and general spring cleaning before went to take care of our son in Texas in February. We are updating each room of our home. Some rooms in big ways, some in small ways. As we update we are getting rid of, donating or giving to our children. We are in our 60’s and do not want to leave our children with the mess and clutter our parents (Moms, God Bless their souls) left us to take care of. Daughter is coming over Thursday to collect decor for every season. My sweetie put a new sink in the kitchen & back splash, (love them) so under the sink has a new appearance. Thank You for helping me declutter with a mental shift to fit our new face lift! Blessings~~~

  30. Ellen gilmore says:

    Going 2 tackle my bathroom cupboard tomorrow u have inspired me lets hope I can get rid of the stuff I don’t use

  31. Aubrey says:

    my husband needs to read this article! i tease him all the time that he’s a borderline hoarder (you should see his closet- clothes from high school are still lurking in there.). To him, everything is sentimental; to me, very little is.
    That having been said, my bathroom cabinet is seriously out of control. Ive been stuffing odds and ends in there for God knows how long and otherwise avoiding it so i don’t have to deal with the guilt. 🙂
    SO. That cabinet and my laundry room shelves are what’s getting an overhaul this week! thanks for the tips and inspiration!
    (maybe next weeks project can be my husband’s closet 😉

    1. Kate says:

      You’ve just summarized my husband and I. We’re doing his closet this weekend…any hints for how you convinced yr hubby to part with his 40 hooded sweatshirts?

    2. This is a tuff one, but when I don’t like something that he is wearing, I remind him how handsome he is and that I really like when he wears ____ (fill in the blank here)

  32. Naomi says:

    Thank you, you have me feeling motivated!!! I have recently taken everything out of my Bedroom/office to redo it including all new furniture, carpet and decoration, everything is new. I now have to put everything back in and I’m dreading it as I want to get rid of the crap and your post is what I have been wanting to do but have not felt strong enough!!! eek! so thank you!!!

  33. Rebecca says:

    I work as a leave of absence employee and have four months off. My goal is to de-clutter the entire house one spot at a time, I now have a way to do it!

  34. Heather says:

    This mental shift is what I need! Otherwise I am on a constant treadmill of rotating problem areas, it makes me dizzy!!! I love house decore stuff, and crafts, etc. so very hard for me too separate from things, but more space will let me feel more free and see more clearly. I’m drawing my line in the sand right now! Thank you for the inspiration… Heather

  35. Wow. This article really resonates with me. My mom liked to keep everything when I was growing up which lead to a really cluttered and crowded home. I ask myself the same questions when I’m cleaning. I ask… Is this item adding to my life or taking away. It’s great how just declittering can make clean up so much easier! There’s just less to clean up and the kids can play with the stuff they really like. I also have a blog. Check it out sometime. It’s happymomblog.com

  36. Valerie Owens says:

    Great article!

    One thing I am going to do for sentimental items that have been packed away is take a picture or video of it with my phone. We didn’t have that capability as easy as we do now 10 years or more ago. Then I think I can let go of the item at that point. That’s all I wanted to share to help with sentimental items.

  37. Rachel says:

    Great article! I just recently decluttered my sink but I sat to the side while my husband did the sorting. It really helped to add him in the process as a conscience. I was shocked at the amount of products I had hoarded only to have them expire. It is good to have someone you trust to be a conscience to help with this project. 🙂 my under sink area looks great now and I know what I have!

  38. Donna Stigler says:

    Wonderful article! Just what I needed to give myself a deadline and get started. One thing I want to share. Since my husband’s retirement, he volunteers at a church shelter/ thrift store doing intake and pricing. He and the other volunteers have orders to throw away any product that is not brand new (wrapped, sealed, etc.). It’s a good idea to call ahead to find out about their policy.

    Some community theater groups (non-profits) welcome donations. Our local group is always looking for props, costumes, make-up and hairspray. Got an outdated floral arrangement, shoes, clothes, paint, anything outdated, for that matter? They can probably use it!

  39. Samantha says:

    I am going to work on this in my main bathroom and hall “shoe” closet tonight and tomorrow. I have shoes the kids have grown out of and clearance makeup that I have used once or twice and probably never will again.

  40. Donna G. says:

    Have a small cottage with big clutter because of downsizing from 10.5 Victorian home to 2 bedroom townhouse to 1 bedroom cottage. Disaster doesn’t even begin to describe it. Thanks and am doing this today!

  41. Christi says:

    You know I have read books and books on this topic! Everything you said was great and all mostly things I had heard before, but…….. The wow moment for me was if “I keep so many special things does that really make them special?!” Huge! I needed this! Because I struggle with the sentimental ones and that was what I needed to hear! So thank you!

  42. Aubrey says:

    I just have to say that your candy comment stopped me in my tracks, because I literally had my candy collection in the bottom drawer of my desk as a kid. Haha! Is that a thing? ‘Cause you said ‘I was the kid who would,’ but I’ve never known of anyone else doing this. I remember having a birthday slumber party at age 11 in March and sharing Halloween candy with my friends… Perhaps that is what I was saving it for?… I do and did like candy, by the way. Anyway, as a person who considers herself “some degree hoarder,” I appreciated your thoughts on the topic. Thank you!

  43. Wendy Tunnard says:

    I have travel souvenirs that I hate to part with because I probably will never return to that country again. Any ideas for mounting them in a frame or curio cabinet to remind me of those special places, but not include every cork from every bottle?

  44. Alicia says:

    Strangely I just started going into dressers and then boxes of things…you just confirmed my plan! Thank you!

  45. Jen says:

    You had me at “decrapifying”. ♡

  46. Sharon Clough says:

    Love your down-to-earth, basic easy-to-follow ideas. Can’t wait to get started.

    1. Thank you so much Sharon!

  47. Dawn Brooks says:

    I can’t get the checklist to load. Can someone email it to me?

    1. Hi Dawn. To access the printable checklist and all of my other printable resources you will need to enter your email address on this page. Then you’ll get an email with a link to where you will find all of it.

  48. These tips are so helpful, thank you! We have a yard sale every year (!!!) and somehow still manage to have enough for a sale the following year. Ugh. But this year we are being super strict and realistic, we even EMPTIED our closet which was just full of clothes that no longer fit and lots of unused crap. I’ve been doing a bedroom makeover and initially thought we would need to buy a wardrobe, now it turns out we can just use the closet! SUCH a good feeling!

    1. Oh my goodness Marlene I love this! It is so true. Such a good feeling. I was just putting our master bedroom closet on the calendar cause it is a huge pain for me and I think that starting by taking everything out is going to be a must (especially on my husband’s side 🙂 So glad to hear you are feeling lighter! Can’t wait to see your bedroom redo!

  49. Kathy Hoffer says:

    YOU ROCK!!! This is exactly what I needed to read to get me moving on our house! I plan to start, as you suggested, in the bathroom cupboards. My husband got so many shampoos and hair products from work a few years back and since it was free, I hoarded them. We still, 2 years, later have over ten bottles of products that haven’t been touched. I intern at a homeless shelter for youth and I know where I’m taking those bottles this weekend! =] Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Kathy! I hear ya! Why do we feel the need to keep things when they are free when really we are paying a mental price to have them cluttering up our space! Love that you know exactly what to do with them and I bet there are going to be some people so happy to have those products to use! Hooray!

  50. Janet says:

    Thoughtful and interesting ideas…I hope to try some of these myself when doing SPRING cleaning….thank you

  51. Hi Corey. Your post resonated so much with me, as I was doing this collection thing too. I thought our home was pretty much decluttered, until I realized a while ago how many of these “good bottles of wine” I am saving for that “very special moment”… Presently I am very focused on using my collections of pens, spices, shoes, cards and what not. It’s a challenge, but an interesting mental adventure.

    1. Definitely Katrin! It takes practice, but each little box or bag that goes out of my house or each time I treat today like a special occasion and open the nice bottle it just feels so good! Thanks for stopping by and keep up the good work!

  52. Amen!! I went through a huge purge in January, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Love your thoughts and tips on this, Corey.

  53. This is so so true! What’s the point in buying a bigger house just so we can fill it with more stuff? It seems we always fill the space we live in, so when my husband and I were house hunting, we chose a smaller house so that we wouldn’t be able to accumulate so much stuff. It’s really very freeing when you clear the clutter from your home and life!

  54. Marie says:

    Awesome! Love the checklist. My home needs this… and my mind.

  55. Melanie says:

    This is a great post! I went through this about 3 years ago. I don’t know how it started but I got on a roll and went through everything. My stuff was organized but there was so much. I had cabinets in closets full of just stuff. Without planning, I went through everything (kitchen cabinets, coat closet, cabinets in closets, bathroom cabinets, and even the junk drawer that really had nothing but junk). It was so liberating to get rid of it all! I had 3 piles – keep, donate, and trash. The keepers were neatly stored, trash and donations taken out immediately. If you find yourself in an area where you’re struggling, set a timer for 20 minutes. If at the end of 20 minutes you want to stop, then do, you accomplished that goal. If you want to keep working, then proceed. It is amazing how much the excess stuff wears us down and how liberating it is to get rid of it! Happy decluttering!

    1. I love the idea of a timer when you are feeling overwhelmed Melanie. And I agree that getting rid of stuff is so totally liberating! It is pure freedom!

  56. Maggie Lyall says:

    Hi Corey. Good timing 🙂 I’ve been hanging on to fabric for over 10 years thinking I would use it one day – and obviously I haven’t! We have been full time living and travelling around Australia in a RV for all that time and the fabric is taking up valuable real estate in my wardrobe and gets in the way of my hanging clothes, so I need to get my act together and donate or toss what I have so I don’t cart it with me when we move into our new house in July. Thanks for the kick up the butt!

  57. Maureen says:

    Thanks Corey!

  58. PB says:

    Hi Corey,
    Oh mannnnn………. you really got me with your fired up stuff. I have a lot of stuff. I don’t even remember saving it, LOL. So yeah, I am going to do it. Yeah, I am. It may take a while, but it will be so worth it. how does that Frozen song go, ‘let it go…’
    On the serious side, thank you for the tips and how to think about those questions about beautiful, useful, and sentimental. It will help.
    PB

  59. Victoria Wigton says:

    I’m having the same issue. I received the password that links to the list, but when I click on the download icon, nothing downloads and it links me back to the article.

    1. Hi Victoria. I’m so sorry about that. I had a space in the URL link and just fixed it. My bad. Thanks for letting me know. It works now and you can find it on this page.

  60. Lorey says:

    Hi, Corey — love the article, but I, too, am getting looped back to the article page when I click on the download icon on the members’ freebie page. I am on a Kindle — would that make the difference? Do I have to be on a PC?

    Thanks very much.
    Lorey

    1. Hey Lorey. Thanks for the heads up. My mistake (I had a extra space in the link) but I fixed it so you can find it on this page.

  61. Maureen says:

    Hi Corey, I’d really love to print the Spring Clean Out checklist but the link in your printables loops me back to this page 😳

    Thanks Maureen

    1. Hi Maureen! When you click the image for the free printable Spring Clean Out sheet there should be a pop up where you put your name and email. Once you do that you’ll receive an email with access where you can print it plus my other free resources for decorating and staying organized. Of course let me know if you are still having trouble.

    2. Hey Maureen. I now realized that I had an error in the link and that is why it was acting up. So sorry about that. It’s fixed now and you can find it on this page.

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