How Often Do You Declutter?


Photo by Krikit ♥

Good grief, do I need to declutter again?

I’m looking at my stuff, thinking to myself…

Didn’t I just do this?

It couldn’t have been too long ago that I took all those bags to the donation center.

Yet here I am again feeling like the stuff just barely fits, and it’s getting hard to put things away.

It seems like I need to declutter my stuff really often to maintain it at a peaceful level.

Does anyone else feel like this? Let’s take a poll.  

This weekend Doug and I set aside a few things that we weren’t using to sell on Craigslist and eBay. I realized that I need to sort through our clothes again since the weather has changed.

I usually declutter gradually, and in my closet is a paper grocery bag where I can put things to donate as I find them.

I wonder if I need to make a focused effort and get more done at once? How much do you declutter: a little at a time, or one big sweep?

P.S. — We have a great collection of winter soup recipes, thank you for sharing them! Also, tomorrow is the last day to enter the Lisa Leonard jewelry giveaway.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I de-clutter weekly/monthly. I’m like you Rachel, I can’t understand where all the stuff comes from, as I hardly buy anything.
    Over the next 4 weeks I’m going to write down everything that comes into our house daily and see what the cause is. It’s a similar process to keeping a spending diary when you first tackle a budget.

    Laura @ Move To Portugal’s last blog post..Frugal breakfast date

  2. I was just thinking this the other day! A couple of weeks ago it felt like everything in our home was in good order and there wasn’t too much “stuff”. Now all of a sudden I feel there are too many things and I need to pare down again… Definitely a good idea to keep an eye on how much we are bringing into the home each week. It’s probably more than I think!

    Emma’s last blog post..Busy.

  3. Weekly. I take bags/boxes to Goodwill about once a month, sometimes more often. Not always a lot of things, but we rotate through toys and kid clothes faster than I can believe.

    I am astounded at how quickly things that are of no use to us anymore pile up!

    Emily’s last blog post..Link Love: Pumpkins Galore!

  4. Lately, it seems that every day I find something that needs to go in the “donate” pile! I feel the same way as everyone— where does this stuff come from?!? My donation are in my basement was just cleared, and now it’s overflowing again!

    I think this probably feels this way to us because we’re so conscious of de-cluttering in the first place. I imagine households that don’t have it set as a priority don’t feel the oppressiveness of stuff the way we do. :)

  5. I’ve been trying to declutter a room/area a month so I can keep up with it. I as time goes by, I’m getting better at decluttering too. I hope to find a better system of dealing with school papers in the next go around. At least I have a system this time.

    Avlor’s last blog post..Iron Man – I think everyone in the world saw it before me…

  6. I too am careful about what I buy/bring in the house but living in a 1,100 sq foot house with four people means that a little bit of “extra” can suffocate us quickly. I actually dread the holidays because of this very issue. It never occurs to DH to declutter (not that’s he’s a hoarder, it just doesn’t bother him) so I’m the one who makes the executive decisions in getting rid of stuff. Now that the seasons have changes and my kids (2 yo and 5 yo) have hit another growth spurt I can see that I need to go through their stuff yet again. My closet pretty much always looks the same and rarely needs weeding but I do need to update what I own. I love reading how other people deal with their “stuff”–it helps me to deal with my own! :)

  7. There’s something really freeing about decluttering…it’s like therapy for me. My treat for each weekend is choosing an area and “purging”. This weekend it was my daughter’s activity materials- pens, markers, pencils, paint, etc. SO nice to throw away all those dry markers and tiny bits of paper, Barbie shoes and old paintbrushes. I rarely have time for a “big sweep”, so a little at a time works best for me.

    Evenshine’s last blog post..Comedy of errors in your local Catholic church

  8. I totally do it weekly … little bits at a time … kind of Fly Lady style …. I have designated rooms for every day … and then when I have 15-20 minutes, I just do a bit …

    Totally makes it easier …

    Naomi’s last blog post..Cooking Cheats!

  9. I generally de-cutter one room per month. So everything gets done at least 2-3 times a year. Living in Wisconsin makes this easy because we rotate our clothes anyhow with the change of the seasons.

    I do, however, need to do my kitchen!

    Dana @ Letters to Elijah’s last blog post..Off to the Windy City

  10. smallnotebook says:

    I can see I’m in good company, I was starting to wonder how we had so much more extra stuff!

  11. I try to declutter as I go…setting aside things I know aren’t used or that are unwanted as I run across them. The harder thing for me is digging deeper into things that we don’t use that I know I should part with (at least some of them) but that I like.

    Should be interesting in the upcoming weeks as I work to clean out our current guest bedroom to turn it into a nursery for baby-girl-on-the-way…only 3 months to go and still so much to do!

    jodi @ bpr’s last blog post..Christmas Planning – 9 Weeks and Counting

  12. Jennifer in TX says:

    I’m sure it’s weekly or so that I have to handle “declutter duty” but it seems like I’m doing it daily!! Makes NO sense as I am beyond stringent with what we buy/bring into our home, so I’m as confused as the rest of you. On the plus side, where we live the donation trucks come through about once a month, so I don’t even have to take the stuff anywhere – they drop a bag on our door, I fill it up and put it back out there for them and they pick it up and leave me a tax receipt.

  13. I always have a place to put items we no longer use. For me it works best to always work on it here and there. I don’t want to spend an entire day going through stuff.

    We don’t clean out our garage during the summer because it is too hot. This past weekend was cool enough for us to start tackling it. We worked for a few hours on Friday and plan to continue our project once a week for a few hours until we are done. We don’t want to set aside a full day for this type of work, so we are doing it in increments. This works really well for us.

    Monica’s last blog post..Creating a Rocket

  14. If you take a look at my blog, you’ll see that the answer is “Not often enough”. Gosh, my home is scary right now.

  15. I feel like I am decluttering all the time. I too have the paper bags out all the time for stuff to go to goodwill. It seems like there is always something that we are done with. We live in a small house (about 800 square feet) with 2 adults and 2 kids and only 2 very small closets. It seems that it is always an ongoing process.
    I have several areas that I tend to put a lot of stuff and then every week I have to go through and clean it out.

  16. I probably hit every shelf and drawer once a month. The things is, when you do it so often, it only takes a minute to do a drawer or shelf. I go through the kids’ clothes and toys probably four times a year plus before and after gift-givings holidays. I hate extra stuff. Someone mentioned it is like therapy; I feel that way, also.

    rena’s last blog post..Last Sunday at Church

  17. I don’t really need anything new. I have everything I need in life to function. So my non clutter way is to only buy stuff to replace other stuff. There is no accumulation. I know this is harder for families as kids grow, break things and want toys (okay even the grown ups want toys too)! But even if you can shift your thinking from accumulating to replacing, you will notice your clutter decreasing.

  18. Daily..:) I have kids and the ongoing onslaught of paper is ridiculous. Plus I’m also finally getting honest about what my kids will and won’t play with now that they are bigger and the daycare I work for is the recipient of a ton of stuff from toys to tapes to books.

    But I agree – -it seems like it is ongoing.

    I am trying to make sure that when I de-clutter I organize too, so everything I want to keep has a place. Otherwise, things get moved around indefinetly and just create more cluttered spaces.

  19. I agree that settling on “places” for things makes it less likely that whatever you’ve decluttered will instantly reclutter. Especially since others in my family aren’t always so aware of the level of clutter, having a labeled home for X or Y makes it really obvious when Y wound up in X’s spot–and thus eliminates the excuse of “I didn’t know where it belonged.”

    The hardest thing right now is decluttering the kid stuff. Everytime I pull a box of toys out because they’re not getting enough attention, if I don’t take it to Sal Val immediately, the fact that it was discovered in a pile in the basement seems to suddenly increase its value and appeal–and back it comes to the toy box, only to be abandoned a day later. Any tips on how to get the kiddos to buy into the idea of decluttering??

    And… Just in case anyone is decluttering their bookshelves, I wanted to mention a site I discovered this weekend: You can list books that you no longer want and earn points for listing and mailing out titles that you can in turn use to “mooch” books from other people’s bookshelves. Not quite as immediate as taking a box of books to Sal Val, but at least you know that the books you once cherished enough to purchase and bring into your home will in turn be cherished anew, rather than gathering dust and getting musty on the Sal Val shelves.

  20. I declutter little by little. It’s less overwhelming when it’s in small steps.

    Interesting that you mention this, as last night I was going through my box of files, getting rid of really old and irrelevant paperwork, and cleaning up my personal space. It gets a little addictive to keep cleaning up as much as possible. But it’s always very rewarding to see the place cleaner after each run.

    I’d have to say that, although I was on top of keeping things clean at home, this blog has continued to inspire me to keep at it :)

    For instance, I went through my box of files and I took out just a few folders with records from more than two or three years ago. I used a photocopier at work to scan a batch of stuff to PDF for example. Fighting the clutter little by little :)

    James’s last blog post..For Humans Only (Comic Con)

  21. Unfortunately, it seems the declutter project simply never ends. My mother wants us to have a garage sale. We should have had it this summer and it didn’t happen. So I have stacks of boxes in all the rooms that will (hopefully) stay in their basement for the winter but in the meantime, it’s hard to declutter when there’s no room for more boxes.

    I hate garage sales.

  22. I de-clutter gradually. I have been wishing I could send the kids for a weekend at grandma’s and do one bid sweep, but they’re a little young for that. So I just put things in the Goodwill or Freecycle box as I find them and ocassionally (finally) get them out of the house.
    I wish I had the stomach for craigslist, just can’t bring myself to post my stuff and have people come around.

  23. I just announced a major, major decluttering project on my other blog One Bag Nation. It’s going to be a two-week effort, with the grand finale – a dump run!!

    Upstairs, I declutter all the time. Seems like that goes with the territory of having young children at home.

    Vintage Mommy’s last blog post..Another Lap, Another Milestone

  24. We declutter some weekly. Seems with four children we amass junk faster than anything else. Well, except for fat around Mommy’s middle. Lol.

  25. it’s a work in progress for me, not so much because of clutter creep but because the goal posts for what is considered clutter keep moving. For example, I have been pleased to reach a point that my home remains ever tidy because there is little to make a mess with, but about a week ago I realised i would be much happier with just the cd’s I listen to rather than the couple of thousand that I have.

    Caroline’s last blog post..87/365 October 19 Is it wrong…

  26. Last year I spent 6 months undertaking the Seven Things Spring/ Summer challenge (where each week you aim to get rid of 7 more non consumable things than you bring into the house) and 6 weeks doing a Fiscal Fast (where you spend as little money as possible which guarantees not much new stuff coming in.

    The year I did a month long Fiscal Fast in June:

    and am on week 8 of this year’s Seven Things Challenge:

    I’m always looking for people to join in the “fun”!

    (I have a friend who has been doing Seven Things for over a year straight. Now that’s dedication…)

    The Shopping Sherpa’s last blog post..For anyone who was traumatised by Wing

  27. In the past, I’ve usually decluttered about every other month. But in the last few months, I’ve made a commitment to get way decluttered before the end of the year, so I made a (big) list of all the little (all in 1 shot manageable) spots in the house that could use some decluttering, such as: 1) spice cabinet; 2) laundry cupboard; 3) sports equipment closet; 4) blue bookshelf; 5) medicine cabinet etc. And I’m happy to say that I’ve been steadily crossing stuff off that list every week :)

  28. I’m looking at that line you have in bold at the top of the post:

    Didn’t I just do this?

    Good golly, Miss Molly. That is like the theme of practically everything I do everyday.

    I think I’m gonna stencil it above the kitchen sink.

  29. Decluttering is the new shopping for me! I give away things weekly. I’ve never had so little clothes and yet I seem to have too many anyway. How much stuff did I buy before becoming frugal?! :-)

  30. I’ve finally decided to toss any and every piece of clothing that doesn’t fit perfectly, is damaged or I haven’t worn in more than a year. It’s weird how you can justify keeping things; I’ve discovered pants I’ve had since middle school– pants whose zipper only stays up if I safety pin it. (Let’s not even get started on the “Ghostbusters” T-shirt.)

    I apparently de-clutter only once every 10 years. I have a pile of clothes four feet wide and three feet tall— this is the “toss” pile!

    I feel proud of it, though. I’m 24 and am still defining my “personal style.” By keeping only the things I really want, I now have a wardrobe that looks more “me.” Even though it sounds cheesy, I think that ridding my life of all the superfluous clothes will eventually help me let go of everything– tangible and emotional– that is taking up space and cluttering my life. Next to go: that sad collection of mismatched plastic containers.

  31. No, Allison, please don’t tell me you tossed away the Ghostbusters T-shirt! :-)
    (I’m 33 but I needed to have one since I’m a fanatic of the movie, so I bought it on eBay – lol)

  32. Right now I’m nesting, so the decluttering is going full force. Normally, though, I’m not very good at it. I did manage to beat my “get rid of 100 items this month” goal by two- or three-fold last month, which will put me way ahead for spring. I also think I’m going to remove most or all of the tchotchkes from various surfaces since Certain People seem to take great joy in breaking and/or hiding them. So pretty bare surfaces AND less destruction to deal with. Bonus!

    Husband has already started his Dumpster Pile, as well. We get a smallish one every spring to get rid of various things that have been destroyed by winter, the snowplow, or the like, and it makes the end of winter a lot more pleasant as we contemplate having Less Crap about the place. In another year or two, we probably won’t need to do it anymore. Woot!

    Northwoods Baby’s last blog post..Holy crap, I’m in

  33. If you could see my desk and my dining room table right NOW… actually if ONLY I could see either of them right NOW… UGH and I have a house full of kids coming over tomorrow… time to get off the computer and CLEAN and declutter… UGH… I’d sooooo raher PLAY!
    ENJOY your day! Thanks for reminding me… ugh

    Fifi Flowers’s last blog post..A Fan of Marie Antoinette…

  34. I declutter my kitchen counter once an hour! :)

  35. At least one thing each day, a la our 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge–because decluttering doesn’t end. We all consume. We all buy. And we all have the potential of letting clutter in the door or keeping it here when we get more stuff.

    I also do seasonal declutter jobs when I change out the kids’ and my clothes. And monthly I ask the kids to decide if there is some toy of theirs that they don’t want or like anymore to share with children who don’t have as many toys. They usually always come up with at least 3 things.

    Suzanne’s last blog post..Focus Challenge – Month 7

  36. I am by no means a hoarder, but when I read this I looked up and noticed “stuff”…it had just accumulated! Thanks for the inspiring blog – I have started a great spring clean (it is spring down under) and look forward to starting summer with less stuff and more of everything else!

    angelvalerie’s last blog post..Choices

  37. Luckily, I try to keep things pretty organized most of the time. When the storage shelves in the garage get a bit unwieldy, that’s my signal. This usually happens about once a year. Previously, I’d done the craigslist/ebay thing, but now have a college aged daughter that magically seems to take a LOT of things off my hands. :)

    Pete@Game Economy’s last blog post..Stand and be counted Soldier: Nexon’s free-to-play Combat Arms tops 1 million users