4 Essential Items For Efficient Decluttering

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Because of 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home, I am now becoming more efficient at decluttering–thanks to knowing what items to grab before I even begin.

4 essential items for efficient decluttering

If you too are working on decluttering I suggest you get the items below together and place them in a closet or a place in your home where you can grab them quickly before each decluttering session to maximize your efficiency.

4 Essential Items For Efficient Decluttering

1. 3 Bins Or Boxes

I always make sure I have 3 boxes handy for my decluttering sessions. One for recycling, one for donations, and one for items that I want to keep but belong in a different area than where I am currently working.

Some experts say to have a 4th box for items you are not sure you want to keep or not, but in general I am pretty decisive in my keep, toss, and donate choices and I rarely have any “not sure” items. If you do, grab one more box and be sure to date it. If the items stay in that box for more than 6 months to a year, toss it!

One further rule I would add is to clear the “belongs somewhere else” box each and every time you declutter. Yes, it is hard to do, but force yourself to go the extra mile. Trust me–letting the box fill up to capacity before emptying it is overwhelming.

I personally use banana boxes that I get when I go grocery shopping at  ALDI since they are free, the same size, and stack great. If you want something more sturdy you could purchase clear Rubbermaid totes that easily stack inside one another which means they won’t take up as much room when stored between decluttering sessions. Having clear totes is also handy as it forces you to look at what is inside and deal with it once you are done decluttering your area.

2. Trash Bags

If the area is going to have a minimal amount of trash, I simply use empty plastic grocery bags as trash bags since I am thrifty and these are free. However, if I am facing an area that has more trash or is larger, then I like kitchen trash bags.

For areas with really big trash items like basements where–let’s face it–we shove the broken stuff we feel guilty about throwing in the trash until we can admit that is really where it needs to go, I like using heavy duty contractor grade trash bags.

I keep a few of each type of trash bags with my decluttering supplies at all times so I have what I need close to where I am decluttering.

3. Ziplock Bags

This isn’t a suggestion I have seen mentioned in any decluttering books I have read but I find having pint sized and gallon sized ziplock bags nearby when I declutter very handy.

I use them to bag up similar small items. I also find them useful for storing various charging cords I find. Since my husband is handy I am always finding small tools he has left in areas where he has been working as well as screws, nails, and other little items, so I bag them up and place them in a box that is marked “stuff the hubby needs to sort out”.

Often I also find papers that I am not sure I should keep or shred so I pop those in a bag and put them in my husband’s box so he can make the final decision.

I will use a black sharpie to write on these bags stuff like “cord to the…” or “found this in…” or “this seems to be a paper for….do we need it?”

4. Basic Cleaners

Before returning the items I want to keep back to the area I just decluttered I like to give the area a quick cleaning. Usually this can be done with a few sprays of our family’s favorite all purpose cleaner and then wiping it up with either a rag or a paper towel. If the area I am decluttering is a piece of furniture, however, I like giving it a wipe down with wood cleaner and a micro fiber cloth.

A Few Nonessential But Useful Items To Have For Decluttering

Something to keep hair out of your eyes and face

When I declutter things tend to get dusty and I tend to get sweaty. This combo does not make for great hair. To keep my hair out of my way while I work, I like to wear a wide headband while I am decluttering.

The style of headbands I like are very similar to these ones.

A good podcast and portable speaker

I love listening to podcasts as I declutter; it makes the time go so much faster. I tend to listen to ones on blogging, but there are podcasts on pretty much any topic that you might want to learn more about.

If you are like me you might find the volume on your smartphone or iPod to be just a bit too low to hear as you move around the room. If so, I highly recommend a portable blue tooth speaker like this little one that I have. (I love it because it also fits in the cup holder in my car so I can listen to podcasts while I drive).

Motivational books to keep you going

You won’t be using these while you declutter, but instead to get you motivated and keep you motivated.

Here is one of my all time favorite books on decluttering–Clutter’s Last Stand: It’s Time To De-Junk Your Life

Here is a book on clutter I am currently reading and really liking the advice given in it–Smart Organizing: Simple Strategies for Bringing Order To Your Home.

What have you found helpful for your decluttering sessions?

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)










Grab the plan and join along as we declutter our homes one inch at a time.

You can also join The Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group where you will find  the support you need to keep decluttering one inch at time.

 epantry 100 happinessNothing is more frustrating than actually having the time and desire to clean only to discover you are out of cleaner.  Which is why I really like ePantry, they bring natural cleaners at competitive prices to your doorstep. New members get $10 off their first order when they use my referral link!


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  1. Oh how I need to do some cleaning out! We have way too much stuff!

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