20 Tips to Declutter Your Home Before 2020

This year has gone by so fast.  Not only is it the last 20 days of the year, it is the last 20 days of the decade.  What do you remember about 2010?  Hold that thought.  It’ll be on a future blog post. Stay tuned.

Around this time every year, some of us get into a declutter mindset.  All of a sudden we get the urge to purge anything and everything we acquired during the year or have accumulated for years. Are you one of them? I know I am. All of a sudden we want to get rid of things before the year rolls in.

First question: Where do we start? Well, all I can say is don’t start in the kitchen if you don’t want to set yourself up for failure.

A couple of years ago, I read The Life-Changing Magic Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. She calls it the Kon-Mari Method. She shares a “revolutionary” way of decluttering or tidying up that made sense to me. Instead of going from one room to room, she suggests you go by category. For example, clothes. She asks you to take out all the clothes that you have in your house, put them on one pile in the living room (or whatever room is clutter free). Then touch every piece of clothing item. If it sparks joy as you hold it, keep it; if not, toss it.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

So we will kind of use this method, that is, we will declutter one category every day. This helps us tackle a few things every day so as not to feel so overwhelmed. You can rearrange the days to work on a category however you want. For example, you can start with shoes on Day 1 or maybe jewelry and accessories, if this is more your vibe. The most important thing is that you get started.

Here goes.

Day 1. Clothes.

Instead of going through your entire closet on day 1, go through all your tops first. Gather all the tops that you have in the house. Check the laundry, your husband’s closet, the spare bedroom, your luggage, the bathroom. Basically anywhere that you may have stashed your tops.

Put each top on any one of three piles: the yes, no, maybe. If it sparks joy, place it on the yes pile; if not, put in in the no pile (you can decide to donate or sell these). The maybe pile is for those that you are not quite sure. Put this in a bag and if you have space, put inside your closet. Hopefully you don’t have a lot on this pile. If after a certain time has passed (maybe 3 months max), and you have not touched it or even thought about it, it goes to the no pile. You can then move on to to the next category: pants/shorts, dresses, jackets, sweaters, formal dresses, etc. This category will take more than one day so pace yourself.

Day 2. Undergarments

Today go through all your undergarments and toss out worn panties, socks, bras, etc. Go through socks that are missing pairs or those that are “holey”. Do you have have underwear that are now too tight, stretched or have frayed?

Day 3. Shoes

I hope you don’t have as many shoes as the infamous former Philippine First Lady. Even if you do, today is the day you go through your stash and declutter. Collect all your shoes and do the same as above in clothes. Check for worn out ones, ones you haven’t even worn, or those that just don’t feel comfortable. Donate those that are still in fairly good condition and toss the rest. If you have not used it in over a year for one reason or another, it may be time to donate, sell or toss them out. Check those that you have multiples of. Do you really need all those running shoes?

Day 4. Purses, Wallets, Totes, Suitcases, Clutches, Handbags

This might be tough to go through if you have designer ones. If you don’t use them anymore and they are still in good condition, there is a market for those. See about selling them on Poshmark, Coutoure, or Verstiaire Collective. These are sites where you can buy or sell designer handbags, jewelry and accessories.

This is also a good time to empty your purses and wallets and toss out anything that you don’t need. I know mine is always full of of receipts. This is a perfect time to clean them out.

Day 5.  Jewelry and Accessories (Hats, Scarves, Belts)

The other day, I found belts that have long outgrown my waist. Or, is it the other way around? Seriously, I have been keeping them in one drawer hoping that one day I will use them. Some were out of fashion and some had parts that have fallen off. I am sure that at the time I placed them in the drawer, I thought I would find the time to fix them. Watches that are dead, earrings that are missing a pair, can go in the trash bin.

Photo by Kyle Frederick on Unsplash

Day 6. Sheets, Towels, Linens

Go through your linen closet and check for towels that are now tattered or stained. Yes, it may be your favorite because it was a present on your wedding day but it’s time to let it go. You’ve kept your spouse, that is enough. Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy a new one in its place or just toss it if it is just occupying space. Your towels, not your spouse. For some reason, we several fitted sheets and no flat ones.

Day 7. Electronics

Do you have old phones, laptops, computer screens, desktop computers that you no longer use or are outdated?

Here are some places you can sell your used/old electronics. Decluttr for video games, smart phones, Swappa for gently used phones, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Letgo or OfferUp.

Day 8. Kitchen Cabinets and Drawer

Check for plastic containers that no longer have lids, are cracked or smelly. Keep only enough dishes or glass ware that you use every day. Donate the rest.

Go through one drawer at a time  Toss out ketchup packets, sweeteners, chopsticks, etc. that you saved three years ago.  For kitchen gadgets, check if you have multiples of can openers, peelers, etc., considering keeping only one.  

Day 9.  Holiday Decorations

Throw out broken ornaments, old decorations that you’ve had for years and have not used. You may keep ornaments that have sentimental values. Toss out the others.

Day 10.  Bathroom cabinets and drawers

Go through the one drawer that you have not really opened for years first. Resist the urge to look at each make up item in it as it may very well be past its use by date. Just dump the entire contents in a trash bag with your eyes closed. Only keep those that are still within its expiration date. However, if you don’t think you will use them because you didn’t like the color or the scent, go ahead and toss it.

Don’t forget the medicine cabinet. Go through expired medications and medical equipment that have dead batteries. Replace the batteries and check that it still works. Otherwise, toss them out.

Day 11.  Photos (albums, camera photos, loose photos) and Phone Photos

This might be the hardest to organize for sentimental reasons.  My take on this is as long as you have them well-preserved in albums keep them.  If you have loose photos in boxes, consider putting them in albums or digitize them.  You can try Scan My Photos, Scan Digital or Scan Cafe .

Photo by Otto Norin on Unsplash

Day 12. Stored Media on Your Phone (photos, videos, messages)

Open your photos folder and delete photos and videos that you took years ago.  Here’s how to mass delete photos on your iphone. and Android .  If you have them on your iCloud or Google Drive, you don’t need them on your phone.

Go through your text message inbox and delete those that you received year ago. Go through your voicemail and delete those you have already heard.

Day 13.  Emails

This should be a Two-Step process. First, go through your emails and delete all that you received 5 years ago or longer! Yes, I had ones in 2013 still! If you feel that you will be referring to an email in the future, you can put them in folders. Don’t just delete those in your inbox, be sure to also go through your sent mail. Once you’ve deleted them all, empty your Trash.

This is a good time to unsubscribe to all email or mail subscriptions. This is easy to do. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the email, and click Unsubscribe. Just follow the directions after that. It differs per company.

Day 14.  Paper (Mail, Magazines, Advertising, Newspapers, Owner’s Manuals)

Most of the stuff we used to get in the mail such as newspapers, magazines, etc., can now be accessed online. The same goes for Owner’s manuals for all appliances and electronics. Check your countertops, office drawers, bedroom nightstands, coffee tables, bathrooms, etc. Be sure to shred bills, bank statements before you toss it. You can also use this time to put important documents, bills, tax information, etc. in Manila folders. You can recycle most paper but the others can go to the trash bin. ,


Day 15.  Phone apps

If you are like me, you phone is full of apps. Go through each app and decide if you still need it. If not, then delete it. Here is a good source to learn how to delete them. At the very least, organize them so your phone screen is not cluttered that it takes you forever to find the app you need. Click here for help to organize your iphone and ipad apps, and here for Android.

Day 16. Books

Photo Credit:  Photo by Eugenio Mazzone

If you still have textbooks that you no longer need, sell or donate them. Here are some places you can sell used books: Bookscouter.com, Half-Price Books, Amazon, Powell’s Books, or a local bookstore.

Day 17.  Hobby:  yarn, art supplies, scrapbooking supplies

Do you knit, sew, or do scrapbooking? Do you play a sport? Go through your yarn stash, fabric piles or paper and scrapbook items. Do you have duplicates? Are they out of style? If you paint, toss out dried up paint. If you play a sport, go through all your sport equipment and get rid of those that are broken or the ones you have not used in years.

Day 18.  Pantry

The pantry is one part of the house that needs reorganizing more than once a year. It is best to go through each bottle, jar, box, bag and toss out those that have expired. This is my dream pantry below. How does yours look like?

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Day 19. Fridge and Freezer

Toss out vegetables that have wilted, or worse, dried out or watery. Look for expired jars of mayonnaise or kethup. Do you have half empty bottles of soda? Check the freezer for dried up food that you saved for another supper. It is best practice to clean up before you go on a major grocery trip.

Day 20.  Your mind. 

Congratulations! You’ve done well! It is now time to reward yourself for having decluttered in the past 20 day. Have staycation of sorts for your mind. Don’t let it wander to thoughts that don’t spark joy nor add meaning to your life. Clear out your mind of negative thoughts and fill it up with feel good and positive ones instead.

Twenty-days to declutter is not enough to go through everything in your home. I encourage you to keep at it. Make it your resolve to keep decluttering even after the new year.

Here are other places to declutter:

  • Car glove compartment, side pockets and trunks
  • Furniture
  • Cleaning Products
  • Make Up, Perfumes, Lotions, Soaps
  • Stationery – Pens, pencils
  • Garage
  • Attic
  • Laundry Room




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