12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life


I love to declutter. In fact, I love it so much that I seldom have a chance to accumulate enough for proper decluttering. In my mind, a really deep declutter is more than just about cleaning. It's an opportunity to change our lives and reorganize our world. If you need to change things up in your own life, consider a deep declutter. It can help you in lots of unexpected ways. (See also: 25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today)

1. Move on From the Past

Decluttering our homes can help us move on from the past — processing previous relationships, old jobs, and ideas that didn't work. While there's certainly nothing wrong with a bit of sentimentality, holding on to everything can sometimes hold us back.

2. Gain Good Karma

Most of our homes are filled with very useful things that we have no use for ourselves. Free up space by freeing up objects. Donate clothes, cookware, tools, and toys to charities for a tax write-off and good karma points.

3. Clear Some Mental Space

It's difficult to feel at peace in a disordered environment. Too much stuff clutters our homes and muddies our minds. If you're in need of a mental or emotional reset, try a bit of declutter therapy.

4. Reorganize

Decluttering is the first step to getting organized. A deep declutter can set the stage for redefining spaces, establishing new habits, getting control of bill paying or budgeting, or setting up a home office.

5. Find What You Already Have

Do you know what's hiding in the back of your closets or the darkest recesses of your basement? Maybe there's a few things back there you could actually use. Avoid buying duplicates or triplicates by rediscovering what you already own.

6. Make Space to Pursue Hobbies

Decluttering our homes can create new space to pursue those hobbies we've put off for so long. Clear out an area in the garage for a woodworking shop, turn the attic into a craft studio, or remake a bedroom into a home office.

7. Make Some Extra Cash

Decluttering can be a cash cow if you're willing to sell on eBay, to a consignment shop, or at a well-planned yard sale. Somehow, cleaning closets doesn't seem so daunting when there's a few bucks to be made.

8. Save Money on Storage

Last August, I wrote about why self-storage is a really bad idea. A big part of the losing equation on storage is the cost. Emptying and eliminating the storage spaces that have become satellite homes for our stuff frees up money. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a stuffed wallet than a stuffed storage locker.

9. Reignite Old Interests

Sometimes life gets in the way of our passions and hobbies. The process of decluttering can unearth interests we've tabled and projects we've long forgotten. Declutter with a sense of discovery and stay open to reenergizing those old pursuits.

10. Share Memories

Decluttering can uncover treasures to be passed on and shared with family. A couple of years ago my mom stumbled upon some old photos and silverware that belonged to a late relative. We sent these heirlooms to the relative's granddaughter who loved receiving them and will cherish them more than we ever could.

11. Reduce Your Footprint

When we know exactly what we have, we can skip unnecessary purchases. Likewise, owning less means there's less to store, less to clean, and less to maintain. Decluttering can help reduce our footprints (carbon and otherwise) and help us to live greener lives.

12. Turn a Bad Mood Good

To put it in not-quite-clinical terms, clutter is a downer. Although it may take us awhile to work up the motivation, cleaning and purging our homes of clutter can recalibrate our mood and improve our outlook. Our personal spaces are important and taking the time to spruce things up is a wonderful way to honor ourselves.

In a world where sometimes it feels like we have to beat back clutter with a stick, ridding our lives of unnecessary objects is practically therapeutic. The results can be wonderful and the high can be habit-forming. Now grab some boxes from the grocery store and start emptying the attic!

What's the most surprising or valuable thing you've discovered while decluttering? What's your decluttering schedule or strategy?

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Guest's picture

I have a goal to sell one item a week (kids toy, personal item, etc.)

This helps to constantly get rid of all of the junk that we accumulate throughout our lives!

Guest's picture

I have been on a major decluttering kick lately and I absolutely adore how productive and calming it makes me feel at the same time. I recently moved into a new apartment (okay, okay--it was at the beginning of May) but I still have stuff at boxes because I have not found proper storage spaces for everything--I couldn't set up my shoe stand because I had boxes in the way which led to my boxes of shoes to still be unpacked, I have a bunch of Wii stuff I can't unpack because I can't find the perfect TV stand, ect. Recently I've decided to start going box by box and emptying them, throwing out what ever I don't foresee myself needing. It feels great.

Guest's picture

Kentin fabulous ideas I really like it. I also love to declutter as it provide a new and fresh look to home. I think we do it in routine then it helps a lot in reducing a cutter. You have shared inspirational and useful ideas for complete this task in an effective way. As all the tips are useful and helpful but mostly I liked #6 & #8 points in this post. Thanks for making this post informative.

Kentin Waits's picture

Thanks Lauren -- I appreciate it. Good point too (about decluttering to freshen the look of a home). Nothing makes a room look better than clearing a bit a space!

Guest's picture

Hi Kentin,
I agree it is good to declutter at times, i've always tended to collect all kinds of things and had them sitting around.

One interesting thing is i've found at times is when i've decluttered mentally, such as made changes in beliefs, programming, emotions I was holding onto that I suddenly go on a cleaning spree. I'm not exactly the cleanest person still, but I am cleaner than I used to be and seem to get cleaner each time this happens.

Ebay has also been good for decluttering my items. :)


Guest's picture

#6 "Make Space to Pursue Hobbies" made me laugh because I live in a 1 bedroom apartment so the only space for my DIY workshop is the bedroom. The workshop takes up more space than the bed. it works for me but I will admit my bedroom is not very girlie as the first thing you see when you walk in is a bunch of tools. At least I keep my chopsaw out of sight.

My keep clutter under control rule is that anything that comes into my apartment must have value.

Guest's picture

I declutter as part of the regular housekeeping cycle. When I pack away clothes at the end of the season, I pull the ones that didn't get used. About once a month I go through part or all of my craft supplies to stay ahead of the game, and I pay close attention to what I bring into my house.

Guest's picture
Mike Johnson

I have lived pretty frugally for a long time, and tend to convince myself that if I throw something away, it might be worth something, or I’ll have to pay to replace it. I had a TV cabinet in my living room for 2 months because I was convinced that I could sell it for something. I only threw it away when a neighbor mentioned he was going to the dump and wondered if I needed to get rid of something. I also got rid of some carpet I pulled up like 3 years ago. I feel so great when I get rid of stuff, but the tendency to drop things in the trash that aren’t being use feels so FINAL.