Tips for decluttering and downsizing your home

Reader Diane so kindly emailed me and shared her tips on how she has been challenging herself to declutter, to be ready when the time comes to downsize her home. I love her system, it makes the daunting task of decluttering fun!

“I am a 64-year-old woman, long retired, which means I have lots of time on my hands to clean and organise, I do love The Organised Housewife so very much. I love her tips. I have a book I write the daily tasks in each day, and I get them done, but this year I have gone a step further, I have my own book I write in.”

Tips for decluttering and downsizing your home

“I have each room in the house and parts of the basement written on tags.  I keep these tags in a small bowl then:

  • Make cleaning easier: Each month I pick out tags for each day of the month, go to the room and see what I can do extra to clean the room, I call it my 15-30 minute challenge. Plus I also do Kat’s daily task. Makes things a whole lot easier.
  • Make decluttering easier: I also pick the room tag once a week, and I have another little bowl with numbers in from 1-5. When I pick those, that means it is in that room and that number that I have to get rid of things. So for instance if I pick the bedroom, and I pick the number 3. I go to that room and throw out or donate 3 items.

This system makes cleaning and downsizing a whole lot easier for me.

My friends ask what happens when I have gotten rid of all that I have to…..well I am not sure as that has not happened yet. The things to get rid of can be small, so not to feel your getting rid of your whole life. So I said this works for me.

I know a lot of young Mum’s read your tips Kat, but for us older gals, who are thinking of downsizing at some point in the future, I found this a good way. Not too overwhelming. Works great, so thank you for all your wonderful tips, love each and everything.”


Do you set yourself challenges to help you clean and declutter your home?


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15 comments

Xstitch87 May 19, 2016 - 6:30 AM

Thanks Diane!
I have just downsized from a 3br house to a 1br unit and i still have too much stuff!
Im going to incorporate your tips into my daly routine to help reduice what seams like an insurmountable task.
Xstitch87

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Yvonne May 19, 2016 - 9:44 AM

That sounds like a good idea, it is quite overwhelming as we accumulate so many things over the years. We are not at this stage yet, my nightmare would be my craft room/scrapbooking, and sewing stuff. My kitchen I can’t really start on as I still use surplus items in entertaining. I just build more cupboards lol. But I might start in the bedroom, my sizes start from 8, 10, 12, and some 14. So I dare say I will never be an 8 again.

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Beverley Lange November 29, 2018 - 8:24 AM

Hi when we moved I decided to set myself to 3 crafts and to store only things for that craft. Also our 2 spare bedrooms are left just for visitors and not to store surplus “stuff” in those wardrobes. Decluttering is immensely satisfying.

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Christine May 19, 2016 - 3:00 PM

Hmn – I am so overwhelmed – I have 45 years of so many things – we are looking at downsizing ? I have started to cull my clothes ? I still have so too many – my husband said that every time I bring a new item in I have to throw out one item ?

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Ros May 20, 2016 - 11:27 AM

What a good idea your husband suggested, Christine, that every time you bring a new item in, you have to throw out one item. We have downsized too, from a 5 bedroom house to a small 3 bedroom house. I have so much stuff and certainly don’t want to add to it. I’m going to follow your husband’s idea! ?

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Yvonne May 20, 2016 - 5:30 PM

Good idea Christine….A friend of mine once decluttered and she felt soooo much better after doing so, then she came across the idea that if she bought a top she had to throw a top out, if she bought trousers she had to throw a pair of trousers out…you get the idea? She said when she was out shopping and was tempted to buy something she thought about what she would have to get rid of and she said she did a ‘double-take’ and came home empty handed. We downsized middle of last year and I am still culling, horrible task!

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Jenny May 20, 2016 - 8:32 PM

I’m really struggling to rid myself of my excess…and while i don’t love clothes shopping I still seem to have too many!! ..and as for shoes thats even worse cause I struggle to throw out any shoes!! Even ones I know I’ll never wear again or that are falling apart… so last year I set myself a rule…for every pair of shoes that go into my house 3 need to leave it! I don’t buy shoes often so its not making a massive difference but I’m hoping over time it will 🙂 Maybe I need to follow Diane’s tips so I can cut back on all my clutter and not just my shoes!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife May 23, 2016 - 11:47 AM

I think that’s a fabulous way of trying to reduce your collection Jenny. Can I set a task for you… go through your shoes and purge any that are broken and falling apart. You don’t need to hold onto these, you don’t need to continue to think about these 🙂

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diane desbiens May 20, 2016 - 10:20 PM

Thank you so very much for printing my tips, it was amazing to see it here. This spring I have gone a tiny bit further and made a book for the outside. I use the same system, tags, but with outside sections for my yard, (I have 6 acres, and about a quarter of that has to be cleaned and raked in the spring), so again I do the tags, as in north-east garden, or back-right side of house, really helped me this year. I so love the tips you give Kat, your book of tips is always open in my work room. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day everyone.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife May 23, 2016 - 11:42 AM

Love it Diane, whatever helps you get through your tasks 🙂 x

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Joan May 24, 2016 - 2:19 PM

Thanks for the tips.

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Joan May 24, 2016 - 2:20 PM

Looking forward to more tips.

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Lyn Nash January 11, 2018 - 7:25 PM

I have enjoyed reading your blog, unfortunately my computer had a seizure and I lost all of my email, I therefore had to make a new email address. Looking forward to your inspiration again

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Gwendalyn Long August 17, 2018 - 3:28 PM

I was keeping many things for my children to inherit, but my daughter told me that none of them wants them. She chose several little things she would share as keepsakes and then told me to get rid of the rest. I was dismayed but soon realized that each thing of mine is valued only by me and when I leave this earth, everything will be gone. Also, I went on a holiday to a self contained unit on the Gold Coast and everything was there that I needed, just the necessities. I have found that this is all I really need so the decluttering has begun, with your tips on where to start and what to keep, so thank you so much

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife August 20, 2018 - 10:45 AM

oooh thats so good to hear Gwendalyn, staying at a small simple place really does help you realise the necessities! Best of luck on your decluttering journey 🙂

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