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How to De-clutter Your Life? {Simple 10 Steps}

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Do you want to start a new year with a fresh start? Start with our step-by-step guide on how to declutter your life for the new year. Follow these simple 10 steps and see the transformation yourself.

How to De-clutter your life in simple 10 steps?


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Well simply because clutter is equal to chaos. And who needs more chaos now in 2021? None of us. Right?

Besides chaos, clutter costs us

  • More stress
  • More delays
  • More missed opportunities
  • More missed appointments and bill payments
  • More heartache
  • More headache
  • More anxiety and inability to decide the best option

In the US, a lot of folks know about spring cleaning. But, who says we can not clear the clutter in our home in January? or in Winter (or whichever season you have wherever you are reading this blog)?

As you all know, we downsized our home from a two-story 5000 sq ft to under 800 sq ft a few years ago. This was a smart move in our journey to get financially independent by 2030.
In this transition, we sold a lot of our possessions and managed to fit everything we need now and in near future in our small apartment. We also do not have a separate storage unit anywhere. Why pay for more clutter that we ask someone to store and pay for it but never need to use it?


But, sometimes this small house can feel cramped. We both can use some more de-cluttering, especially the paper clutter, books clutter, and our kitchen items. Just last night, I actually had a dream about how much stuff we still have in this tiny apartment. My granny who is a neat freak came into my dream and gave me a good lecture on how to keep the house clean. Well, no one should come into my precious dreams and threaten me with what I already know about my homemaking skills. Not even your nana!

Does this ever happen to you? I hope not. But if you are as worried about this as I am and do not like to clear this problem out here is your chance. I must do something about the increasing pile of books and paper mountain quickly. I’m sharing my plan in this article.

De-clutter your life Tip: Make decluttering an annual resolution

So, in 2021 I intend to de-clutter at least 365 things.

That is one thing a day.

Yes. Throw away or get rid of one thing a day every day- rain or shine or snow.

Originally I had planned to sell these things if I can but it is just a very long process. I agree things do get sold on shopping platforms like Mercari, Posh-mark, FB marketplace, and Offer-up, but sometimes it takes a long time. I mean I still have a lot of stuff pending for sale since 2020.

If I do not get rid of them, I fear I will continue finding a space for them in our home. And space is what I do not have! So, this year, I am keeping a window of just 2 weeks for selling good items. During that 2-week time frame, I will promote it heavily on all platforms. If it does not get sold in 2 weeks, it is going to get donated.

10 Steps to De-clutter Your Life in 2021

Keep the kitchen clean every day

10 steps to de-clutter

One goal for 2021 is to keep the kitchen sink clutter-free. With this goal, everything else will get organized. The dishes will be cleaned on time, the counter will be wiped out after every meal and finally, I will get my kitchen to look presentable to ourselves and the company when they visit us.

We have an open kitchen layout which is next to the living room. In between the kitchen and living room, we have a catch-all entryway closet and laundry area. So, on laundry day, this area has a laundry basket, drying rack, washing detergent, etc. This area can quickly get filled up and looks really cluttered from the kitchen and living room. So, I am introducing some cleaning routines.

Tip- Instead of having a separate laundry hamper, I plan to use the dryer for storing the dirty laundry to be washed the next day. Since most days, we use the laundry drying rack, our dryer is empty.

For the kitchen, I still need to de-clutter a lot of items. I’ll get them sorted out in the coming weeks. I would like to go back to the same amount of utensils and appliances I had when we were living in a tiny apartment years before moving into a single-family home. I used to love that home and the big beautiful kitchen with a separate pantry room. But now, this apartment can barely fit my appliances, kitchen tools and there is no separate pantry.

The kitchen cabinets are used for storage of both utensils, small appliances, and extra dry foods. Our refrigerator is the biggest food storage. So it needs to work harder for us. This year, I plan to spend more time cleaning out the fridge every week before heading out to the grocery stores. Since this year, we want to re-start shopping only once a month, I need to keep the fridge working to its optimum capacity.

10-minute de-clutter every day

This year, we will continue doing quick pick up of high-traffic areas of our living room and kitchen. The kitchen counter has two drawers dedicated to hubby’s stuff and our junk drawer. That leaves 2 drawers for my most used tools and spices. I want to clean out the junk drawer this year and use it for the recipe holder and medicine first-aid kit.

In the living room, the center table gets filled up quite a lot with library books, study books, magazines, and office files. So, I want to keep just 2 baskets under this center table. One for library books and the other for study books. Everything else needs to move into the home-office area which is the very end corner of our living-dining area.

Toss out one thing a day.

Like I mentioned earlier, both I and hubby will throw away one thing a day in the home, the car, and the home office. I will keep posting about it weekly on this blog.

Paper clutter

We already have some kind of system to manage the paper clutter in our home. But since we broke our paper shredder last year, the paper seems to accumulate more than ever. So every day, we will spend 5 minutes taking the following actions-

  • Unsubscribe from unnecessary marketing materials
  • Do not bring any promotional materials from the mailbox to home. Throw away marketing materials in the trash-bin of the building
  • Pay the bills- once paid write that it’s paid on the utility statement, take a picture of it and shred it immediately.
  • Mail out the forms or anything that needs to mailed out quickly.
  • Organize most important papers in long term storage- and also scan them
  • Everything else gets tossed out.

With these tips, we think we can reduce paper clutter. But we will continue revisiting these steps if they do not work for us in the next 2 months and tweak them for better management.

Organize long-term food storage for emergencies

This year we want to be better prepared for any kind of emergency. We rarely keep long-term food storage in our home except, for a year’s worth of oils, spices, some lentils, rice, and a few dry goods. But, these food supplies get used up throughout the year. We rarely replenish them for the purpose of any emergencies.

Since we do not have any dedicated pantry space, I will have to be creative about how and where to store long-term food storage. I do not want to spend a crazy amount of money and space for this purpose. So I plan to first de-clutter our kitchen cabinets, a few shelves of laundry cabinets, a few shelves of clothing wardrobes, and an entryway closet for this purpose.

Each time we go grocery shopping, we will keep some percentage of our food budget for buying dry foods and some can foods, even though both of us are not very fond of them. Then we will keep a running list of foods we have in storage in order to keep a close check on how much money we are spending on food.

Dust and vacuum one room a day.

We only have 3 rooms in this apartment. So it is not much of a task to vacuum but if I do dusting one room a day, our home will look much better than it is now. Hubby helps me with deep cleaning the living room once a month. He also cleans up the vacuum cleaner, throws the trash out, and repairs anything that needs repairing. By the end of the day, he gets exhausted from doing everything in one day.

So I want to do a 10-minute dusting in the living room, bedroom and kitchen. After that, I will do vacuum clean 3 rooms on alternate days. So that will leave our weekends free to just relax and do minor home cleaning.

De-clutter extra commitments and volunteer opportunities.

I tend to say yes to a lot of projects and volunteer opportunities. Sometimes, that makes my days very busy and our home takes a hit. If I commit to any project, everything else takes a back seat. And that is not good for me and my family. So this year, I plan to focus on doing one volunteer project each quarter, not taking more than 2 hours per week. This year, I plan to make self-care a priority.

seasonal clothing de-clutter

Do seasonal clothing detox

Toss/ repair/give away or sell clothes that do not fit or work for us anymore. Luckily hubby is already a minimalist but he tends to forget the clothes that no longer fit him. He has some really good high-quality clothes he does not want to get rid of. But he does not mind selling them. So he will open his own Mercari shop and I will help him sell his clothes there.

I need to toss out our cloth napkins as I’ve been using them for more than 2 years now. I still love our kitchen towels bought years ago at Costco (maybe in the first year of our marriage). Wow, they are still doing great, except for a few that are rifling on the edges. I will de-clutter some of them and use up the rest for 2021.

Our winter clothing can use some detox this year. I will write a separate article on how I plan to do it soon. Stay tuned!

Do monthly home- office clean up.

Clear paper, office supplies, files and install a good organization system. For years, we have been using this wired paper organizer in our entryway. It keeps our incoming paper, to-process paper and outgoing papers neatly tucked on the wall. so we will continue using it.

But my office desk can use some love. I have just de-cluttered a lot of old notebooks, and pens, and donated a huge box of school supplies to a donation center. But still, this one big drawer gets filled up too quickly. For years, I have re-purposed old containers for organizing it.

I can’t find anything that I like and will work for our home office area. We use two monitors and one laptop for my web-designing projects and hubby’s software development projects. So this one looks perfect. I like something like this but I do not spend more than $20 on it.

De-clutter your to-do lists and your daily, weekly, monthly projects and tasks.

I have used many planners in the last 10 years. All of them were great but they just don’t get used more often. So, I finally decided to make one for our family’s needs. It is one planner that helps in managing home, finances, business, and other volunteering opportunities I take up.

I will post about it in another article. But here is how it is organized.

Get My FREE home inventory sheet and De-clutter to Dollars printable

As a part of our 2021 Home Goals or Resolutions, we are updating our home inventory sheet. We have sold quite a lot of items in the last 2 years and also donated some stuff. This is the time to update our home inventory. Sign up below the template we use for that. It is a good place to start while de-cluttering your home.


De-clutter to Dollars is the simple worksheet we keep for tracking the amount of stuff that gets sold or donated throughout the year. Come tax season, this worksheet comes in handy. Plus I get a license to go out and get more books since I let so much clutter go away and made some money on that. Shh..don’t tell my man about it. when you sign-up

Don’t forget the bundle will be available from 1/11- until 1/15. So check back to this blog to get reminders about it or follow us on social to get reminders about it. This week, I will also get the chance to review the contents of the bundle, I will review them with you here on this blog. So, stay tuned!

In conclusion,

When you follow these simple 10 steps to declutter your life, it is much easier to maintain a good balance between your personal and work life. De-clutter to dollar printable will motivate you to organize your home, office, homeschool, etc. When you see the monetary and other non-monetary benefits of decluttering, follow this exercise every year.

de-cluttering tips

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    • Love Em
    • May 28, 2021

    I am very excited to redo my home and declutter it. Since moving in 18 years ago, nothing has changed and it’s starting to get too much. Thanks for reminding me to make a change! Em x

      • Dee
      • May 28, 2021

      Oh, thank you, Em. I am glad you got motivated to declutter your home. I miss being in one home for that long. Constant moving every few years takes a toll on me. Let me know how it goes.

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