30 things to declutter

Does it feel like you will never have a clean house? Trust me, I know that feeling. The absolute number one key to keeping a clean home is decluttering, whether we like it or not. Decluttering can seem an almost impossible task when there’s limited storage space in your home. The first step in any decluttering quest is to look into sheds storage buildings where you can place any objects that you don’t want to throw out but don’t necessarily need nearby in the house. The less stuff we have to manage, the better. Here’s a real life example in my own home.

Last year my daughter and I drastically went through her room and decluttered everything. Toys, clothing, books, everything. She ended up keeping her clothing, a few stuffed animals and dolls, and her furniture. The rest got donated, moved to the playroom, put up in the closet, or trashed. She was simply drowning in too much stuff and it was impossible to keep it clean. It was an everyday battle and storage space was becoming an issue. Maybe consulting with a storage space estimator would be a good idea to better understand how much space you’d need to move your clutter too. After we rid her room of the clutter, she was so thrilled with how easy it was to keep everything nice. At night before bed it was so easy for her to quickly pick up her room. Clothing was much easier to put away. She didn’t care if unexpected guests and friends came over on a whim. She spent much less time having to actually clean.

Then this fall we started a major home remodel project. We gutted our kitchen, replaced flooring in the living room, kitchen, dining room, and hallway, and knocked out two walls. The entire contents of our kitchen was put on our porch, which is the kids’ playroom area. Everything that was in there had to go back into their bedrooms. Long story short, once the construction was over, she was begging me to get her room back to normal. She saw and experienced first hand what it was like to live in a clutter free area, and one that is filled with stuff. It was stressful and overwhelming to her.

I have experienced the same exact thing in the rest of our home and because of this realization, we have been on a mission to rid our home of the unnecessary. The results have been fantastic! Less time spent cleaning, easier to clean, fewer things to manage, less nagging and grumpy attitudes toward my family, and I feel more inspired to show hospitality. My husband even invited our neighbor in on a whim the other day, and I didn’t freak out! That is pretty big for me.

If you want to join me in our decluttering quest, here’s a list of 30 things to give the boot! It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but it will get you started. One more note, because I hate to see our landfills overflowing. Recycle what you can, donate or sell what you can, repurpose what you can, and toss what you absolutely need to. Do NOT hang on to things, just because you might need them someday though. Chances are, when someday rolls around, you will forget that item is actually even there. If this list inspires you to make some drastic changes in your home, I invite you to check out my newest book, The Art of Keeping House.


It will walk you through the decluttering process, organization, routines, getting children involved, and non-toxic cleaners to transform your house. Check it out here. Now onto the list!

30 Things to Declutter

  1. Clothes that don’t fit or don’t reflect your current style anymore.
  2. Undergarments and socks with holes in them or with no more matches.
  3. Old bridesmaids dresses or special occasion clothing you no longer need.
  4. Expired makeup & sunscreen or ones that you don’t use.
  5. Expired medicines
  6. Books (You can sell old textbooks and other books online. I made $40 just selling some of my old college books.)
  7. Old identification cards, membership cards, credit cards, gift cards, etc that are no longer useful
  8. Paper clutter (old bills, 7+ year tax info, paperwork, old schoolwork)
  9. Gifts and cards that you are keeping out of obligation
  10. Broken appliances
  11. Toys & stuffed animals (broken, outgrown, those that no longer get played with)
  12. Duplicate kitchen tools
  13. Furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose or only gets covered in junk.
  14. Kitchen appliances and utensils that you don’t use
  15. Hobby materials you are no longer interested in
  16. Workout equipment that is serving as a clothes hamper
  17. Partially used paint cans that are no longer useful
  18. Ratty towels and linens
  19. Movies you no longer enjoy
  20. CDs (scratched, no longer enjoy)
  21. Tupperware with missing lids or random lids with no match
  22. Power cords (We had a ton of random ones hanging around that had no purpose.)
  23. Old newspapers and magazines that you are finished with
  24. Boxes and manuals that came with products (most manuals can be found online now)
  25. Children’s artwork and crafts (Keep the most special, display proudly the ones they make recently and then toss)
  26. Shopping bags (Who really needs 100 of them? A few are nice to keep, but consider switching to reusable cloth bags to reduce waste and clutter.)
  27. Vases (I had at least ten of these.)
  28. knick knacks, decorative items you don’t enjoy or just collect dust, old picture frames
  29. Food in the pantry/fridge/freezer that is either expired or you will never eat
  30. Coupons (Try using coupon/rebate apps like Ibotta, Target Cartwheel, or Savings Star.


  1. Kira February 4, 2017 at 2:17 am - Reply

    Hi Tara,

    This is a great list! Thank you so much for sharing. My family also cut down on the number of plates, bowls, and cups that we have so there were less dishes to wash. Everyone has their own, and we have a couple extra for guests. I love the new websites, and really enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the good work!


    • Tara Buss February 4, 2017 at 4:56 am - Reply

      Love that, Kira! Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement.

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