10 Simple Decluttering Habits You Need To Develop To Become Clutter Free

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What if your house could shift from constantly cluttered to clutter free without complicated routines to get it and keep it that way? Well, it can–if you are willing to develop decluttering habits to replace your current clutter habits.

Develop these decluttering habits and blast clutter out of your home for good!

A Bit Of Background On The Power Of Habits

Habits are powerful tools allowing you to do routine tasks with little thought–tasks like tossing clutter on a continual basis.

In this article, which reviews the book The Power Of Habits: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business, the “habit loop” is explained. Basically to form a habit you need a cue, a routine, and a reward. For instance, let’s say you want to start taking vitamins regularly. To set a cue, you leave them out on the kitchen counter where you can see them (physical cue) you then start taking them each morning after breakfast (routine), soon you start feeling more energetic throughout the day (reward). The reward of more energy then strengthens your desire to keep your routine until it becomes a habit so ingrained you don’t even need to keep the vitamins on the kitchen counter anymore, you now just automatically think of taking them the moment you finish breakfast.

So how long does it take to create a habit loop?  In The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results the author shares a study by the University College of London that states that it takes on average 66 days to form a new habit. Since that is an “average” my snail pacing self-says, “Give yourself 90 days to form a new habit.” Why 90? First, it seems like an easier number to remember than 66. Secondly, 90 days is essentially three calendar months, give or take a day or two, so you can set goals to form a new habit every three months–allowing you to aim for four new habits a year.

Want less clutter in your home? Read the list of 10 decluttering habits below and pick one to develop over the next three months. When you are done with that one choose and create a habit loop for another. Repeat until you have developed enough clutter tossing habits to keep your home organized.

10 Decluttering Habits You Need To Develop To Become Clutter Free

1. One In One Out

Buy a new shirt, give one away–right away. Buy new jeans, donate a pair–before you even get a chance to wear the new ones.  This goes for replacing broken items too; throw the broken ones away before you even purchase the new ones. Admit it: how many times have you bought a new item to replace a broken one and then never gotten around to tossing the unusable item away?

I know our family has. One example that comes to mind is when our washing machine broke down. We bought and hauled a new one down to our basement, but were too tired that evening to haul the old broken one out. That broken machine sat in our basement for six months before we finally made it a priority to get rid of it.

2. Attack Clutter 15 Minutes A Day, 6 Days A Week

Clutter grows because we don’t prioritize attacking it on a regular basis. An excellent way to keep your clutter away for good is to schedule 15 minutes a day to attack it. Perhaps right after your morning coffee or the first 15 minutes you get home after work.

For most homes, this will keep clutter from growing and it might even shrink a pile or two over time–depending on how much clutter you have and how large your home is.

10 Simple Decluttering Habits You Need To Develop To Become Clutter Free

3. Toss A Certain Number Of Items A Day, 6 Days A Week

This is a very simple habit to create and can be used to either rid your home of clutter or keep it clutter free. All you need to do is pick a number. Now toss that number of items each day, six days a week (you get a day off for good behavior 🙂 ).

The more clutter you have the higher number you should pick.  Make sure to have a box ready to collect items that are in donation worthy condition.

4. Every Weekend Attack One Clutter Pile Until it is Gone

I made a huge dent in my grief clutter when I sat down and wrote out a plan to attack one area of our home each week for 52 weeks–you can too! Just grab a pen and some paper and walk around your home writing down cluttered areas you think you could attack in one afternoon. For me that was a bookshelf or a bathroom cupboard.

Keep the areas small so you can get that feeling of reward every time. If you have more time and you feel like it, then by all means keep tossing that clutter. However, if you don’t feel like tossing clutter that weekend, do your agreed upon area anyway–no excuses. Trust me, developing grit will pay off.

10 Simple Decluttering Habits You Need To Develop To Become Clutter Free

5. Every Weekend Attack The Clutter In One Room For 90 Minutes

Perhaps you brain just doesn’t work in areas like mine does–all you can see is a huge room of clutter. If that is you, then try the timer method for weekend decluttering sessions. Make yourself stick to decluttering for 90 minutes at the same time every weekend. Pick a room to begin in and then go at it weekend after weekend, 90 minutes at a time until it is done.

And again if your timer goes off after 90 minutes and you feel like you want to work longer, then go for it! But always do at least 90 minutes.

Housekeeping tip: There is just something about watching an old fashioned kitchen timer, instead of the one on your phone, count down to motivate you to work faster; you might want to consider investing in one.

6. After Dinner Tidy Up For 15 Minutes Before Hitting The Couch

A lot of clutter is essentially paper and items that never got put away correctly. To keep these two types of clutter from growing out of control, a daily tidy up is essential.

A perfect time for this is right after dinner. If you can get all the members of the household involved in the tidy session. Assign each person an area, and then set the timer for 15 minutes and put as many items as possible back in their proper homes and stack the miscellaneous  papers up in a basket to deal with later (more on paper handling in a minute).

10 Simple Decluttering Habits You Need To Develop To Become Clutter Free

7. Never Leave A Room Empty Handed

This habit right here is a HUGE game changer for those who are not great at putting things away the moment they are done with them–please tell me this isn’t just me. When I follow this rule, messy, every day clutter is kept to a minimum. Dirty socks are picked up on the way from the TV room to the bathroom and put in the laundry bin found there. School books found on the dining room table are transferred to backpacks found in the kids’ rooms on the way to my bedroom. Random garbage is regularly taken out of my car and placed in the kitchen trash because this habit applies to vehicles too.

8. Put Stuff Back The Moment You Are Finished Using It

For me, putting stuff back the moment you are finished using it is a habit I still need to form. I am better with rule seven, which makes me put stuff back as I move from room to room. However, after observing my tidy friends I noticed that this rule is a major game changer in the clutter department. Following this rule right here appears to be how they keep their homes tidy 24/7 with minimal effort.

There is some ground work to do before you can create this habit; you have to assign everything a place. To assign everything a place you first have to decide if you need it in your home in the first place. So this habit is for maintaining areas you have already decluttered.

Housekeeping tip: Tired of hearing the excuse “I didn’t put it away because I didn’t know where it went”? Buy a label maker (our family has one made by this brand) and label homes for everything–it will kill this excuse.

Oh, and if you are like me and you like having all you need for a current project at hand, here is my adaptation of this rule for projects. I create an ongoing project box, basket, or bin depending what the supplies for my current project fit best in. The container holds all I need to complete my project and sits in the room where I am working on it until I am done.

When I have time to work, I can grab my project bin and get to work. When I am done with work for the day, I make myself put all the tools and supplies back in the project bin. The bin is my project pile tamer. Best part: when we are cleaning up for guests, I just have to pick up the container and move it to my room temporarily. Easy-peasy.

10 Simple Decluttering Habits You Need To Develop To Become Clutter Free

9. Set A Regular Donation Goal And Pickup Or Drop Off Date

Sometimes we have the best of intentions. We box up stuff to give away and then those boxes themselves become hallway clutter as they sit there month after month waiting for us to finally put them in our vehicles and drive to the donation site.

You can avoid this clutter by setting a regular day each month that you drop off at least one box to your local thrift store. Here is the bonus of creating this habit: you now have a goal of tossing at least one box a month of items you no longer need.

If you live in a larger area, you may be able to automate this goal by calling thrift stores in your area and seeing if one offers free pick up of donations, some even allow you to set a recurring pick up day.

10. Handle All Physical Mail, School Papers, And Other Paperwork ASAP

When you gather the mail walk right to the recycling bin and toss junk mail in it. Place a paper shredder (our family has this one and have been happy with it) near your recycle bin so you can shred unnecessary paper with personal information at the same time. Finish off you mail sorting by putting papers you need to keep in a basket. Don’t let that basket grow too high! Once a week at least deal with those papers–file, mail, pay, etc.

Make a habit of also doing this with the papers you kids bring home from school.

This should reduce the amount of paper found around your home during your after dinner tidy (number six), however, paper does seem to reproduce all on its own. Don’t allow that basket to hit the brim. When it is getting close, use the next daily 15 minute decluttering session to tame it.

Got another simple decluttering habit people can develop? Share it in the comments below.

Need decluttering support? Join the Snail Pace Clutter Removers Facebook Group where women cheer each other on in their decluttering journey.

More helpful decluttering tips found in these posts:







How One Word Can Motivate You To Toss That Clutter Until It Is All Gone

(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)

Have you tried to declutter your home once and for all only to get about halfway and lose steam? I have a tip to share with you today that just might help you finally toss that clutter until it is all gone.

Toss all that household clutter with the power of one word. Declutter until it is gone this time.


I am sure by now you have seen “one word” quotes or perhaps you have heard of people who have picked “one word” to inspire them throughout the coming year. One word can carry so much meaning for a person that they are willing to tattoo it on their bodies permanently.

Don’t worry–I am not going to ask you to get a tattoo, but I am asking you to pick a word.

How One Word Can Motivate You To Toss That Clutter Until It Is All Gone

Decluttering can take a long time and when goals take a long time, we sometimes get lost. We are not even sure where the finish line is. A single word is an easy way to remember what the finish line will feel like for you.

Take a few minutes to visualize what your home will look like when it is clutter free. Now imagine how it will feel to be standing in your clutter free home. What one word best describes that feeling? That vision is your finish line and that word is your vision prompter.

Yes, it might sound a bit cheesy, but it works. Here is a quote from Live Simply: Declutter Your Environment, Unload Your Mind And Simplify Your Life As Much As You Want that backs this theory up.

” Instead of brewing and stewing over all the clutter you currently have, start visualizing your house as clutter free… This particular rule may take some getting used to. But I have tried it — and it works. After a while you have an image of your house, as it should be, clean and without useless stuff strewn around. And the next thing you know, you’re taking steps –sometimes just baby steps –towards your vision.”

With a word tied to your vision, you have a simple reminder that will help you make tossing clutter a part of your everyday routine.

How One Word Can Motivate You To Toss That Clutter Until It Is All Gone

 A Few Examples Of One Word Quotes That Motivate

A while back I asked my Snail Pacing Clutter Removers Facebook Group to describe in one word how they thought a clutter free home would make them feel. These are the words they shared: open, content, calm, peaceful, free, ecstatic, relieved, liberated, happy,  proud, relaxed, lighter. And then there was the comment that made me laugh–Confused. I would think someone had robbed me and cleaned up. Lol!

How One Word Can Motivate You To Toss That Clutter Until It Is All Gone

Make Your Word Highly Visible

Okay so you don’t have to write your one word quote everywhere, but I do want you to keep it visible in the places you tend to escape to the most when you don’t feel motivated. Perhaps that is the couch in front of the TV? The car that takes you out so you can avoid dealing with the mess? The bedroom where you cuddle up with a good book? The kitchen where you look for snacks to pass the time? Only you know your favorite spots–make your word extremely visible in those areas.

How One Word Can Motivate You To Toss That Clutter Until It Is All Gone

A Few Ideas For How To Display Your Word

The simplest way to post your word is to grab a stack of sticky notes and a pen and write the word you choose on several, then stick them up in all the places you know you like to go to when you want to avoid decluttering.

If you want to do something a bit more permanent, use a cute font in your word processing program or on picmonkey, then print it out on cardstock and frame it. If you don’t want an 8×10 print, you could make a 4×6 print by just placing the frame on top of the word and tracing around it with pencil and then cut it to fit the frame.

For an ever visible yet less permanent option than a body tattoo, you could write the word on your hand in permanent marker before you start your weekly decluttering session. That way each time you struggle with letting an item go you will see the word on your hand and remember that the hard work will be worth it in the end.

Okay, now spill it! In the comment section tell me what your word is. Or better yet click over to Facebook and join my Snail Pace Clutter Removers group and then add your answer to the string of comments I got when I asked the group what their word was.

3 More Posts On Decluttering You Are Going To Want To Read:









10 Ways To Keep Clutter Away For Good: Tips That Really Work!

(post contains affiliate links: see disclosure)

Have you been working hard at eliminating clutter? Are you now shifting from tossing clutter to keeping clutter away for good? If so, these 10 ways to keep clutter away for good should help.

Keep household clutter from ever coming back!


These clutter controlling steps are ones I have been using lately to keep my own clutter from growing while I was tossing and now from growing again. The 10 steps are vital for keeping your clutter gone for good!

10 Ways To Keep Clutter Away For Good

1. Make And Keep A Decluttering Routine

Above are five different decluttering routines that can help you to not only make your home clutter free, but to keep it that way. There are more ways; the key is to find the way that works for you and stick with it–even when you don’t feel like it.

2. Open Your Doors

The anticipation of having a guest in our homes tends to make us see building piles of clutter that we might otherwise be blind to. So if you want to keep your home clutter free, invite someone over at least once a month or better yet, twice a month. That way clutter won’t have time to build.

10 Ways To Keep Clutter Away For Good

3. Stay Accountable

You are not the only one out there struggling with clutter, join a facebook group that holds you accountable to keep working at obtaining and keeping a clutter free home. I have one called Snail Pace Clutter Removers and it has some very active and encouraging members. (click here to hop over to Facebook and join)

4. Give Collections Firm Limits

Love books? Put them in a small bookcase and when they start overflowing those shelves sort through them and toss until you have room for at least six books or more in the bookcase. Love knitting? Buy a good sized plastic tote with a lid to store your future projects in a closet and a basket to store your current project close to where you knit and don’t let yourself collect more yarn at one time than what fits in it. Hate going through receipts? place a small bowl or basket near where you tend to throw them and when they start to overflow discipline yourself to take few minutes to go through them, keeping only those you really need. Toss or shred the rest and then file those you kept.

10 Ways To Keep Clutter Away For Good

5. Set A Resale Goal

Some clutter does have significant value and if you are on a tight budget, it can be tough to just give those items away to charity. If you really do need the money from the items you no longer need, then I suggest that you create a reselling plan that works for your life and stick to it.

6. Stop Buying

Yes, I know you can’t stop buying thing altogether. Food gets eaten, clothes wear out, things break–but chances are if you have a clutter problem, you have been buying more items than you really need.

Before you buy anything, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Where will I store it?
  • Is something I already own serving the same purpose?
  • Do I have the cash to buy it right now?


  • 10 Ways To Keep Clutter Away For Good

7. Stop Accepting (Most) Free Items

As a blogger who also writes about thrifty topics, I can’t tell you with a clear conscious that you should avoid all free items you are offered. After all, I love my free books from Tyndale Rewards and my free magazines from Recycle Bank. I also find the free samples I acquire from various sources to come in handy.

However, there are some free items you should stop accepting–but only you can decide which ones they are. For me I no longer accept free flyers, brochures, water bottles, plastic cups, and I even turn down the odd free t-shirt. I know that once I get home these free items turn immediately into clutter.

8. Make Rewards Moments, Not Things

If you are the type of person who loves to reward yourself for a job well done, you might want to spend a bit of time thinking about the clutter you are creating with your rewards. Perhaps instead of a new journal you know you won’t really use you could reward yourself with a trip to get your nails done. Perhaps instead of yet another kitchen accessory you could reward yourself with an afternoon of hiking with a friend. Spend sometime brainstorming rewards that won’t create clutter in your home or on your hips and it truly will be a reward instead of something that was in the moment, but soon became a frustration.

10 Ways To Keep Clutter Away For Good

9. Ask Others For Clutter Free Gifts

Another source of clutter for many is gifts from friends and family. If those you love do ask for gift suggestions, steer them toward items that won’t become clutter in your home. Do you love lighting scented candles, but you rarely splurge on them? Add them to your gift list. Have you always wanted to try the local climbing wall but never got around to it? Put a gift certificate to it on your gift list. Do you love a certain coffee, but rarely treat yourself to it? Add it to your gift list.

1o. If It Takes Less Than A Minute To Attack, Do It Right Way

I really struggle with this one, but when I stick to this rule our home’s paper clutter stays fairly tamed. Basically if you see a pile of whatever building somewhere in your home and you know it would take you less than a minute to return the items to their proper places or to recycle or trash them, then stop what you are doing and do it.

Obviously you can’t do this all day long or you would never get to the priorities on your to do list. However, typically there are only a few times during a day that you might see a pile you can knock out in under a minute and my guess is you can make up for those few minutes each day without it getting in the way of completing your main tasks.

How do you keep clutter from piling up?

3 more posts that will help you bust through your clutter:

You Can Outsmart Clutter