How to Downsize Your Clutter

By Danni White on September 26, 2017

Image via Pixabay

We all have things that we do not need anymore or cannot use anymore, but keep in our house because we’re too lazy to get rid of it or too busy to declutter the house. So, in short, this article is about getting rid of the clutter. Downsizing your clutter is pretty much a brief but fancy title for clearing out the good mess that we know we should.

If you haven’t been hiding under a rock as of late, you know that many people are transitioning into a minimalistic way of life. This is partly because it is simpler to live this way and partly because we humans want to escape all the major and massively irritating responsibilities that come with owning or renting a home or leasing an apartment. It can be fun, but sometimes, it can be a real pain.

Whichever way you look at it, if you have a ton of stuff already, it can be difficult to downsize. Less clutter means a cleaner environment which also means a clearer head and more energy to do the things that matter in life. Who couldn’t use a little less clutter and a little more space to do the important things? Downsizing can be hard work, but with the right mindset and the right resources, it can be one of the best decisions you ever made.

Here are some tips.


Before you begin tearing up closets and overturning dresser drawers, take a few moments to decide how, when, where, and with whom you will accomplish the goal. Choose how you will clear the house (room by room, section by section, etc.). Then choose the best time to do it (early morning, late evening, during the summer, on holiday, etc.). Next, decide which room you will start with and who can or should help you with the project. Without proper planning ahead of time, clearing out unnecessary belongings can be more of a chore than a freeing opportunity.


If you have a small room with three closets full of clothes that you no longer wear or want, decide how many boxes you need approximately and how much money or time it will take to get them. If you have a big room like a living room, mostly filled with furniture, take time to measure the furniture, decide if it needs boxes or plastic wrap to protect it, and then choose how it will be moved from your place to storage or to a donation facility.

Do you need a U-Haul truck or does a friend have a truck you can borrow? Are you capable of moving the furniture yourself or will you need help?


Take a few minutes to write down all the things you absolutely cannot live without. It doesn’t matter whether you just love the item (but feel you will die if you do not have it) or if you need or use the item on a daily or weekly basis; make sure these things get put in a place in your home where they do not get moved. Perhaps you could put them in a temporary storage bin for safe keeping.


Create a list of items that are still in good condition that you wish to give away to a charity. Local charities such as Goodwill and national charities such as Red Cross often allow people to give their things away so that they can be used by other people. If you can’t make a decision, ask a friend to help. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you have not used it in the past six months and it is still working or in good condition, give it away so someone else can use it.


Create a trash list. If you’re like some of my family members, you probably tend to think that nothing is trash and that everything is some treasure. That’s not the case. If you haven’t used it or looked at in the past year, it most likely is trash and is just taking up space in your house. Throw it away. In fact, you may not even have to create a trash list. Just get some heavy-duty trash bags, open them up, and start putting stuff in it.


These tips are supposed to help you downsize in a simple manner, but you’re likely to come across several things that you just don’t know what to do with. If that is the case, don’t worry about it. Place it in a storage unit until a later date. For now, though, out of sight, out of mind. Downsizing, or cleaning up the clutter, doesn’t have to be so difficult, even though it may sound like it. Parting with things you love doesn’t have to be an emotional experience either. Just think about the life, time, money, and resources you will get in return for all the extra crap you’re getting rid of. Cleaning up the clutter is motivation for a better life — one that you can enjoy.

Danni White is a developmental psychology graduate student at Liberty University. She works in the digital publishing, media, and technology industries. After this degree, she will go on to work on a PhD in social psychology in which she hopes to do research on perception and social cognition’s impact on human behavior. She hopes to apply this research in corporate HR departments and community-based organizations. In her otherwise limited spare time, she blogs, writes and reads. She loves coffee, sports, music, cooking, meeting new people, and binge watching Netflix.

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