Episode 14: 5 Tips to Reduce Clutter

Mar 27, 2023
5 tips to reduce clutter

Hey Friends!

I love that you’re listening to a podcast (and reading a blog) about decluttering! You’re my kind of people!

Before we jump into decluttering I kind of want to dig in to the purpose. Not just decluttering for the sake of decluttering. But think about this for a minute - how do you want your house to feel? This is the anchor that you’ll keep coming back to as you make decisions for your house. This is for YOU to decide.

Some possible words you can choose here are:

  • Peaceful?
  • Home-y?
  • Comfortable?
  • Warm?
  • Joyful?
  • Colorful?
  • Bright?
  • Happy?
  • Relaxing?

Its okay if you’re thinking of a few words here. But really decide what you dream of your house feeling like. Then, as you make decisions about your house, clutter, decorations, functionality, you’re going to refer back to these words

Think about all the different types of people, that’s why there’s not “one best” way for your house to feel. This is up to you! Some people love vibrant colors and beautiful things everywhere and a little bit of chaos. And some people like serene and neutral and a few more blank spaces.

It’s up to YOU, YOU decide.

But whatever you decide will be your anchor.

This is reducing decision fatigue as we love to say on this podcast. It’s not a brand new decision every time ….like oh someone said brightly colored chevron prints are cool again- should I buy all new throw pillows? This amazing artwork is on sale- 99% off! Should I buy it?

Well, does that object fit in with what YOU want your house to feel like? That will help you make those decision. The answer is, no I’m pretty sure brightly colored chevron is not the latest home décor trend and no just because something is an amazing deal and someone else said its valuable does not mean you need it for your home if it’s not your style at all.

And for the record, you guys, maybe chevron is cool again. I just googled it and some celebrities are, sure enough, bringing it back! SO that’s exactly why we need to make decisions based on what WE like, because other people’s opinions are probably going to change soon anyway.

So back to how you want your house to feel, now try to picture a home that feels that way to you:

  • You’ve seen on Pinterest
  • A home you’ve been to
  • A spa or hotel

Clutter usually implies things that are in the way. To make your house feel less cluttered, you want to have only things you love or are useful to you. So when you’re choosing from now on- only bring things into your house that align with the words and feeling you have chosen. This will help you reduce impulse buy regrets, and helps you reduce waste, reduce having to declutter so much in the future.


So I’m going to give you some tips for reducing clutter, but feel free to interpret for yourself and do it your way! Gretchen Rubin coined the term “clutter blind” for some people who really just don’t see clutter. And if that’s you, I don’t want to convince you to change your ways. I’m really just trying to help the people who want help! People who are affected by clutter and do benefit from peaceful houses and want some ideas! So here we go.


My first 2 tips are kind of freebies because I have already mentioned them at least once on this podcast. The number 1 way to reduce clutter is reduce the amount of items in your house. You guys knew I was going to say it, right? Shoving things into drawers to create the illusion of clutter-free spaces will work in the short-term but the things end up coming out of their little hidey holes and end up all over the house again. And remember, we want to be able to find things quickly when we need them, so having things stuffed in small hidden places is just not going to work!

So we’ll skip right on past deciding how to getting rid of things. Because that is a topic for at least one whole episode!

And the second freebie tip is something else you’ve already heard me say- everything in your house should have a home where it belongs. If someone needs to find scissors, they should look in the scissors “home” where the scissors always return to when they are done being used. It helps SO much to reduce “mom, where is such-and-such” if it has a home, that’s where it is. So we are giving everything a home.

So in doing that, how do we decide where things go?

Here we go with the 5 new tips to reduce clutter in your home.


My first tip is to- Create open spaces. Counter tops that are clear, drawers that aren’t totally full, etc. It’s almost like your space can breathe when there are open sapces. And I mean create them intentionally. I am a huge fan of clear kitchen counters. Or at least one clear kitchen counter if you have the space. The clear spots will bring you peace but moreso we are leaving space for LIFE. Space for making dinner, space for kids to sit, space to drop the things of the day.

When we organize our closets or drawers, leave some space for the next few things you don’t own yet. That way when you do get them, you can keep the order you have created. I even have one mostly empty shelf in my kitchen “pantry/cabinet” because I don’t really have a pantry. But I keep one space in there mostly empty because there are always temporary things. Food I buy to take to an event at my kids school, or food when it’s our turn to bring soccer snacks, stuff like that. I have a spot for it so it’s not just sitting on the counter for a few days.

So that’s the tip - Leave some space for life! You don’t have to fill everything to the brim.


Tip #2 for reducing clutter- when purchasing decorative things for your house- opt for a few bigger things instead of lots of little things

  • Picture frames, bigger flowers, lamps, décor
  • Bigger rugs.
  • Yes usually the smaller things are cheaper but if you’re like me I can talk myself into 5 things that are $20 each instead of 1 thing that’s $100 when the total amount would be the same and maybe I just would have liked that 1 thing better. So I’m trying to be better at this myself and just be intentional getting the one thing even if I need to wait and save up. If I truly like it better and it looks better, I should just do that. And especially if it’s big and really makes a good visual for the space.
  • There are like actual guidelines for how big things should be proportionately to the other décor things they are around – I am NOT an interior designer but from what I’ve learned, typically you would want art above a couch to be around 2/3 the length of the couch. And that will look less cluttery than a gallery wall. Which gallery walls can be great. But if you have a gallery wall on every wall of your house, it might contribute to an overall feeling of clutter. And picture some built in shelves on a design website or pinterest. Usually the designers don’t put like 30 small trinkets on a shelf, often the designers will use fewer larger items. Next time you’re shopping or designing part of your home, think- could I get one bigger thing instead of some smaller things.
  • Anyway, refer to actual decorators on these types of guidelines but I ahev seen lots of tuides like this on pinterest!


Tip #3-  Remove unnecessary “noise” from things that do belong in your home. Things that contribute to visual “noise” or visual clutter, in my opinion, are things like stickers on the sides of storage bins, price tags, labels, etc. Words that you just don’t really need to read. I even took the dealership tag off around my license plate because I just didn’t need those extra words on my car! I know I’m weird guys. But if something has a label or brand name that can be taken off cleanly, I take it off.

Another place I do this is taking things out of boxes in the pantry. I mentioned in episode 2 home organization that if you’re anything like me, we don’t have time to carefully decant every single type of flour and pasta into beautiful clear jars. I love the look of that. I really really do. I just don’t have the time for it in my current season of life. I am not making fun of the people who do that because honestly when I have more time someday, I will be a decant my flour kind of girl. Right now I have 4 little hands always pulling at me and knocking things down and I usually just need to get the groceries out of the bags and put away quickly.

BUT I do like grouping things in clear bins. I think this saves space and makes it look tidier and reduces the visual noise compared to having several boxes holding a few small items each. I have one clear bin in my pantry for granola bars, beef sticks. When I get groceries and some new boxes of those items, I dump them straight out of their box and into that bin and then recycle that box. That takes 2 seconds. And honestly saves more than 2 seconds of time later because I’m not having to move extra boxes around. And it saves me space because I can fit more in that bin than I could if each one stayed in its box.

I also have a clear bin for any kind of nuts. I keep the nuts in their packages but I throw them all in there. I think the broad, easy groupings in bins helps reduce noise. I really don’t even have to label them because there aren’t very many and the categories are kind of broad. Sometimes labeling things unnecessarily adds to visual noise. But sometimes labels are helpful. I do have a label maker and love to use it! Just something to think about!


Tip #4- If you’re getting something new- get rid of the old version.

  • New backpack- get rid of the old one
  • New coffee pot- get rid of the old one
  • This is hard when the old item isn’t really like totally bad or ruined or whatever. And if you really are going to use both, then great. But chances are, you’re going to use your new one every time. So consider donating it or selling it to someone else who will love it if there’s still some life in it. Don’t just shove it in a cabinet forever! It’s not serving any purpose there!



Tip #5- the last tip for today on reducing clutter in your home – Have a “things to donate” box and a “things to return to people box”

I actually like keeping these in my garage because it’s always easy to access and just throw it in the tub as soon as I decide something shouldn’t stay in my house. But also it’s right by my car so I can easily grab things and get them out of there as soon as I can too.

On the note of donating things. In case you don’t have a great place to donate things to already, check your local area foster care companies. My sister in law works for one in the OKC area called Anna’s House and it is a non-profit that serves foster families. They accept donations of kids things and are able to give those to foster families who need them. Isn’t that great? A way to do your part of helping families who are making such a big impact for these kids. Just putting that idea out there if you need a place to donate to!

And personally, I to keep kids outgrown clothing AWAY from their clothes that do fit – unless it’s clearly marked so the kids or husband or whoever aren’t digging into that box andgetting things mixed up. Exception for this might be a babies first year of life when they are literally outgrowing things every week. When my babies were tiny- I had an outgrown clothing bin in their closet! But I have a donate bin and I just let it fill up and then take it to a donation place.

I also like to have a "things to return to people" bin because I feel like I always am ending up with a friends’ toy, or a dish to return to someone, or my sister and I still share clothes and I’ll put some stuff there that I have already worn and I know I need to give back to her soon. Anything like that. I even put “things to return to a store” in this bin too. I like it being right by my car so I don’t forget about it and let things go past the return window. It’s right there in that return bin and easy to keep at the front of my mind.


If you’re on Instagram find me @elevatemoterhood. I share more behind the scenes of daily life and mom hacks!


Thanks for being here, friends! Until next time! Let’s elevate motherhood.

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