How to Deal with Clutter

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Welcome to Day 3 of our 30 Day Challenge, A Time to Clean! Today I’m sharing with you my best tips on how to deal with clutter. Clutter can be so overwhelming sometimes! It’s good to have an action plan when you get ready to purge the clutter.

How to Deal with Clutter @

How to Deal with Clutter

Today I want to talk about how to deal with the clutter and get it out of your house. Sometimes it can be really hard to part with things that seem like “treasures.”

  • Maybe it’s because we paid “good money” for the item.
  • Maybe it has sentimental value.
  • Maybe it’s because we think we might need it “one day.”
  • Maybe we worry that we won’t be able to afford things in the future.
  • Maybe we just have a hard time making decisions about what to do with the stuff.
  • Maybe it’s broken and you think you can fix it, but you never get around to it.

There may be more reasons for hanging on to stuff, and if you have one, let me know in the comments below!

I love pretty things but I hate spending money. My husband hates parting with money even more than I do! So, if I shelled out money to buy something, well, it seems wasteful to throw it out.

The cure for that is not to buy so much stuff. One of the biggest problems I have had in year’s past is that since I hate spending money I’m always looking for a good {great} deal.

Sometimes a good deal isn’t as great a deal as you think. Especially if you buy it because you like it but you don’t love it – just because it seems like a bargain. Or buy more than you need just because it’s on sale.

About a year ago I realized that the reason I never felt “great” when I got dressed in the morning was because most of my clothes were things I didn’t really love – but I’m a sucker for a clearance rack! Not only that, sometimes we can end up spending MORE money because we think we’re getting a good deal.

These days, I spend a little more money {I still look for sales} on quality items I love and just have less clothes. Unfortunately, I still have a good number of clothes in my closet that are in great condition that I never wear. So, I’ll be going through them all this week. Things I never wear are going to our Appalachian Community Center so someone else can use them.

 Decision Time & How to Declutter

Clutter is really just another word for “unmade decisions.” So, it’s time to make some hard decisions. Grab a trash can {or bag} and two or three boxes {or bags} Mark them as follows:

  • Donate – for items to give away
  • Relocate – for items that belong in another room
  • Yard Sale – for items you want to sell {optional}

[Tweet “Learn How to Deal with Clutter with these 3 Simple Tips: “]

1. Decide what area you want to work on. This can be any area you feel is cluttered. However, instead of saying, “I’m going to declutter the living room.” say, “I’m going to declutter this pile of books on the living room floor.” or “I’m going to declutter this pile of papers on the dining room table.”

You want to set goals for yourself that you can actually accomplish in a short amount of time without feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. Your overall goal may well be to “declutter the living room” but that’s too broad of a statement. Small goals are more easily attained and at the end of the day I want you to feel good about what you’ve accomplished – however small. One drawer at a time. One pile at a time. One closet at a time. That’s how it gets done.

Change doesn’t happen over night. This process may be painful at times. It may be hard. It may bring you to your knees. That’s okay! Making hard changes is – hard! But in the end, not only will we find respite from the world in our homes, we will also find respite for our weary hearts!

How to Deal with Clutter @

2. Ask yourself some questions. As you go through your piles, closets, drawers, and other spaces as yourself these questions. Be honest with yourself!

  • Is this item still useful?
  • Do I really need this item?
  • Is this item adding to the quality of my life?
  • Do I love this item?
  • Is this item of sentimental value? Why?
  • Could someone use this item more?
  • Could I use something else in it’s place?
  • Do I have more of this item than I really need?
  • Is it broken?

3. Make a decision. If the answer to any of these questions is NO, you need to make a decision about what to do with the item – trash, donate, or yard sale. If the answer is YES, you need to make a decision about where that item’s home will be or is.

If the item is really useful – something you use on a regular basis find a permanent home for it in an area of your home that makes sense. If your closets are full and you have no idea where to stick it, you’re going to need to make room – and that may mean getting rid of other things so that the things you love and use have a place to live.

Sometimes it’s tempting to hold on to things that we really don’t need. Maybe you have an emotional attachment to the thing for one reason or another.

For instance, if you grew up really poor, it can be hard to let things go if you have a deep fear of not being able to afford things in the future. Our deep seated emotional hangups aren’t necessarily things we think about or process in our minds. But they are reflected in our behaviors.

Maybe you’re hanging on to clothing that no longer fits because you keeping hoping one day they’ll fit again. Reward yourself with new clothes when you lose the weight! Go ahead and donate those clothes to a place where someone less fortunate than you can use and enjoy them.

Maybe the item is broken, but you think you can fix it… for years I would hang on to broken things thinking, “One of these days I’ll get around to fixing that.” The truth is, it’s probably not going to get fixed. Or maybe you save broken things just because… Unless you have a better track record than mine… go ahead and throw it away.

Sometimes shopping and buying new things is a way that women {and men} make themselves feel better when they feel empty inside. Past hurts, emotional pains, failed relationships, unhappy marriages, discontentment can all cause us to look for ways to mask the pain. But the truth is, no amount of material possessions – however shiny and pretty – can fill that empty place in our hearts. There is only one Person who can fill that hole and Jesus wants you to bring all of your baggage to Him and set it at His feet.

Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

He wants you to be free from the burdens of this world. Clutter never adds to your peace of mind and it doesn’t give you peace in your heart.

Some clutter in our lives – like the pile of “important” papers perpetually found on our kitchen counters or on our desks, simply need to find a new home because they are important. You need to know the schedule of your son’s soccer games! That’s where having a household notebook can come in real handy. Or you could create a file system that works for you. The important thing is to not be like the ostrich and stick your head in the sand.

Make a decision – one at a time – and you’ll see the piles of clutter reduce before you know it!

Today’s Goal

  • If you feel like you have too much stuff, write down your thoughts on WHY you have too much stuff. Do you overbuy? Do you shop to heal the pain? Do you just have a hard time letting things go?
  • Pick up a journal and write down your thoughts about what He has shown you or print my free prayer journal.
  • Choose an area in your home you want to tackle. I’ll be working in my living room today.
  • Take a picture of your bag. Share it on Facebook or Instagram – use hashtag #atimetoclean {optional}
  • Leave a comment below about what you chose to get rid of and anything else God has laid on your heart.
  • Do your best to wake up early tomorrow and spend time in prayer. Use your prayer journal.

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  1. I had cleared out some things we were storing in the basement that I knew we just weren't going to use. I put in some children's dishes that my mother-in-law gave us for the kids (I never used them). My husband saw them in the donate box and asked me not to get rid of them. His mother wants us to give them to our children when they have children of their own. Now I feel stuck. And this type of situation happens with other things I try to clear out.
    1. I’m not too sure how recent this comment; but I have the same issue with my husband. So, I made him a compromise; and he got to “keep” the things he felt so strongly about. But, if after 1 month, they still sat in the box and had not been touched, used, etc. Then I was free to donate them. There was nothing that actually stayed that ever went in his “had to have” box but I think it just helped him to have an extra step in this process for him.
  2. another reason is the will stated that we had to keep said items for so many years or find another family member that wanted it, then give it to them. I know why they did was to keep fly talking to each other. lol... it didn't work well but they tried. thank you.
  3. I just want to say thank you for doing this! Your devotional for each day has hit the nail on the head for me each day. I have been focusing on my main living area this week, which includes the kitchen, living room and hall closet. I removed a large box full of kitchen things I never use, and the amount of things I pulled out of my hall closet was just crazy!
  4. I am totally loving this, letting go of 'stuff' is very invigorating. Now that I have started, it gets easier everyday. Keeping my mind focused on the end result. I have 2 boxes of kitchen stuff that were wither doubles or just things I never use. I cannot believe the space I have created already and it feels wonderful. I am still working on my kitchen today because I know I can scale down a lot more. Thank you so much for this, it is exactly what I needed. God Bless!
  5. This is so thrilling; to finally feel that my spirit is getting a JOLT whilst I’m working to finally deal with the clutter; and I have only just begun! I don’t know how I’ve ended up doing this challenge at this time; but I hope I’m not the only one!!! Thank you
  6. Alright, I am running a little behind, but want to process each post as it comes. Today, my box is a box of clothes we are giving to friends this weekend. We decluttered my youngest daughter's dresser and hanging rack and I am so glad to give the items away. We will be visiting friends this weekend and hopefully, it will bless them. I also have a box of items to take to the second-hand store which supports the handicapped in our area. I hope to get that out of the house tomorrow. I often need to do these purges because others like to gift us with items they no longer can use. Over the years, I have accepted too many gifts and I really struggled to purge as they came in. I felt obligated to keep everything everyone gave to me. I often have anything anyone wants and I gladly share it when asked, but I am realizing that I am not everyone else's closet and my home shouldn't be used to store items for the church, for my mother, for my sister, for my kids (who have moved out), etc. I also struggle to get to town to unload our donations and they will sit in our front room for a month until I make time to donate them to the charity of choice. I am trying to focus on finishing the donating... within one week... so on my errand day, I need to get the boxes out of the house. This was something that I was reading about today... about letting other people overstep my boundaries. I have let others dictate that they can give me things, but they need to be able to ask for it back when they need it... so I can never get rid of things. I have let others decide to use my basement or my spare room to fill with their items, their craft supplies, their treasures... until they want them back. And I willingly did it thinking they would be mad if I got rid of things, all the while I see them decluttering and their homes are neat as a pin and I feel so obligated to suffer the clutter in my own home. It sounds completely crazy, but I did it and I harbored a grudge at the same time. I gave the excuse I couldn't clean out because others would get mad, but then I would get mad at myself for being so taken by these thoughts which were really fears of disappointing others. And yet, people who stored things in our home were disappointed if their basement items got destroyed by the dampness. I still was at fault. The reading I had today really cleared my head in how I was thinking incorrectly. I am not responsible to keep everyone happy by storing their stuff. Sorry for my rambling, I simply am trying to process "out loud" my own past thoughts and the victory I am gaining over past issues when I finally allow myself the time to dig out. :) I have been gaining victory in my devotions and my schedules the past couple years, but I remained busy that I was unable to dig out the closets or basement so I just kept the doors closed. I also think being in a home for 20+ years it is easy to know where every nook and cranny is and fill it instead of dealing with it. Do I really like this ceramic dog I was gifted? No, but it fits on the shelf... so... I am thankful for the time that God is allowing me to take time to declutter. This summer, I started on the basement. Now that it is getting colder, this challenge will help me get through the rest of the house bit by bit. Thanks Melissa!
    1. Hi Melissa! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with me! Having healthy boundaries is so important in every relationship you have. I think you've come to some great conclusions and it's time to set those boundaries and then practice them. You are not responsible for other people's feelings, reactions, or actions. You are only responsible for yourself. You be the best person you can be - kind, loving, generous - but it's okay to say no. It's okay to say you don't have room in your house for other people's things. It's okay for you to have a beautiful, clean, uncluttered space - and not only is it okay, but it is RIGHT.
  7. Hello everyone! I recently performed a radical transformation in my basement ! I went from room to room adding handy shelving or using old trunks or dressers for storage. I prayed every step of the way and came to the conclusion that although I had some “nice things” that certainly were not ready for the trash these “nice things” were just collecting dust and taking up valuable space. They’d done their time and served their purpose in our household and honestly deep down inside I knew that the likelihood of them ever making another appearance would be slim. So perhaps someone just starting out in a new apartment or someone in need of a few new things could use them! Why continue to hold onto things just to hold on? I live on a fairly quiet street so whatever useful items I have I put them in front of my home with a friendly colorful “FREE” Sign attached then I pray that the right person will be truly blessed with a nice piece of furniture or a set of useful dishes . This method works sooo well. In fact most items that I put out are gone without 1 hour and I’m happy that someone was blessed by an unexpected addition to their home. In this process God has also shown me ways to use some of my older items to decorate outdoors as well! Like signs that once hung in my home now sit in my flower beds. Or what about all of the vases we manage to collect? Instead of allowing them to accumulate I now will use them by blessing someone with a beautiful bouquet of flowers that I picked up in grocery store or at a farm stand. Or what about those clothes that are just too small? We all change and may never be a size that we once were but that’s ok. I like Mellissa’s response above to treat yourself to something new☺️! I’m absolutely confident that someone could use your old size smaller so be free to donate and bless someone in need. I believe that it’s a season to let go and realize that God has wonderful plans for us so why not give someone a reason to smile . Hope that this encourages someone
  8. I had to actually throw some clothes into the trash bin. So hard to do. I checked with the local second had stores and no one is taking any clothes or items. So I tossed them.