Posts Tagged Decluttering

How To Declutter Faster Using The Four-Box Method

How To Declutter Faster Using The Four-Box Method

four box decluttering methodWe all want a clean and tidy house, but often have no clue where to begin to get there. I’ve found that attempting to tackle my physical clutter has allowed me to simplify all other areas of my life, and has helped me turn my home into a clean and organized oasis.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I’m a firm believer that simpler is better, which is why I’m a huge fan of this four-box decluttering method when it comes to tackling the mess in my own home. So, let’s keep this simple and make progress in the places we need to.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

Try Out The Four-Box Decluttering Method

Try Out The Four Box Decluttering Method

There are many different approaches to decluttering, but the four-box method has been proven itself to be a favorite for many people because it’s so simple. With a process as chaotic as decluttering, the best way to tackle your mess and turn your house into an organized and decluttered haven is a simple, easy approach!

Find four boxes and label them:

the throwaway box

The Throw Away Box

The throw away box covers items you want to discard that you don’t feel right about selling or donating. These items can be broken, damaged, or no longer in working order.

One thing I try to consider when I’m deciding whether to sell, donate, or toss an item is if I would feel good getting it as a gift or a hand-me-down. If I wouldn’t want to receive it, someone else probably won’t either, so I toss it.

the giveaway box

The Give Away Box

A huge aspect of adopting minimalism is giving your belongings a second life. Fill this box with items like old toys, clothes that no longer fit, or extra supplies you have no use for. There are so many things you can sell, donate, or give away as gifts to friends and family to make their lives easier.

the keep box

The Keep Box

Having an awareness of what to keep when decluttering can be a challenge. This box should be your smallest, as the purpose of a decluttering session is to let things go.

However, don’t force yourself to let go of things you aren’t quite ready to part with. Be intentional with this box and make sure the items that fill it have an active purpose in your life.

the storage box

The Storage Box

The purpose of the storage box is for stuff that will have a purpose in your life in the future or have a purpose in your life in specific seasons. These aren’t items you’re getting rid of, but also aren’t items that serve an active purpose in your daily experience.

It’s okay to hold on to your childhood books, your sentimental memorabilia, or those vinyl records you love to dig out of the closet around the holidays. Try to keep this category small so as to not fill your attics, closets, and other storage spaces with clutter.

how to declutter like a minimalist

Things To Keep In Mind With The Four-Box Decluttering Method

Things To Keep In Mind With The Four-Box Decluttering Method

Here are some things to remember as you’re working to create the smoothest, most effective decluttering experience with the four-box decluttering method:

You Don’t Have To Declutter Everything At Once

You Dont Have To Declutter Everything At Once

When I get in the zone, it’s easy for me to get obsessed with trying to use every ounce of my time as efficiently as possible. This is great in theory, but it can cause burnout. These days, I try to tackle my decluttering process in small chunks to conserve my mental energy and maximize my effectiveness when decluttering.

declutter challenge

You’ll Have The Memories Without The Stuff

Youll Have The Memories Without The Stuff

It’s easy to get bogged down in the decluttering process with sentimental items. Keep in mind that you can still keep those cherished memories without hanging onto all of the physical stuff.

With items that are especially hard to let go of, I put them in storage and then set a time to come back to them when I’m out of the decluttering hustle mentality. That way, I can make the decision to keep it or get rid of it with a clear head and a fresh mental state.

saving cherished memories

Only Give Away What You Would Want Yourself

Only Give Away What You Would Want Yourself

Sometimes minimalists tend to feel wrong about throwing a ton of items away, especially when trying to consider the needs of others and live a low or no-waste life. However, people don’t want to receive things that are broken, unhygienic, or no longer work.

This may seem backwards but, like I mentioned before, you don’t want to donate or give things away as gifts that you would be offended to receive or that are unusable. If you feel weird about throwing so much out, try an alternate method of discarding things like composting food scraps or recycling broken tech.

only give away what you would want to receive yourself

Some Items Have Temporary Purpose

Some Items Have Temporary Purpose

Just because it was valuable at one time doesn’t necessarily mean you need to keep it around now. Just like life, our stuff has seasons. It’s okay to let things go of things that once had invaluable purpose in your life but no longer serves you in the present.

declutter like a minimalist

Your Turn!

  • How will you use the four-box decluttering method this week?
  • What areas of your home will you tackle with the four-box method?

Decluttering Your Bookshelf Is A Novel Idea

Decluttering Your Bookshelf Is A Novel Idea

how to declutter your books


We connect with stories because we see ourselves in them, which its why it’s so easy to fall in love with a good book. Decluttering a bookshelf can be challenging when you’re surrounded by a full library of beloved stories.

However, decluttering your books doesn’t mean you have to give up the novels you love most. You can tidy up your bookshelf without sacrificing the caliber of your collection.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I’m a pretty big reader and at one point I realized I needed a way to manage my ever-growing stack of books. I adopted a policy that after reading a book I would takes some notes, then gift that book to someone who I thought would like it or benefit from it.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

How To Declutter Your Books: Questions To Guide You

How To Declutter Your Books

For those who really love books, it can be hard to know what books you’re willing to part with and which ones you’ll regret letting go of. Here are a few guiding questions to ask yourself when decluttering your bookshelf on your own.

Do I Own More Than One Copy Of This Book?

Do I Own More Than One Copy Of This Book

It can be appealing to own more than one copy of a book you deeply love. This is especially true if there is a fancy new edition of the book out there with gorgeous cover art and a smooth, high-quality cover.

These ostentatious features can be mesmerizing for a book lover, but make sure to consider your needs over your wants. When deciding whether to buy a new copy of a book you already own, or whether you should part with the duplicates already in your library, ask yourself if you’ll use two copies of the same book.

owning more than one copy of a book

Have I Read This Book In The Last Three Years?

Have I Read This Book In The Last Three Years

Bibliophiles have large libraries they cycle through, so you’re not going to get to every book in your library each year. However, if three years have gone by without engaging with a book, maybe it’s time to let that read go. That way, you can make room on your shelf for books you know you’ll actually read!

Can I See Myself Reading This Book In The Next Year?

Can I See Myself Reading This Book In The Next Year

If you haven’t read the book in the past three years, but plan to read it in the next year or couple years, you may convince yourself to keep it around. However, ask yourself if you truly have a tangible plan to read the book or if you just hope to read it, idealistically. If you’ve been planning on reading it for several years, it might be time to let that book go.

Does This Book Have Sentimental Value?

Does This Book Have Sentimental Value

It’s totally okay to keep books around because they were meaningful to you in the past, but don’t go overboard. Balancing how many books of sentimental value to keep when you know you’re not going to read them is a tough one.

On the one hand, you don’t want to let go of those childhood favorites that you have a deep attachment to, want to keep around for your kids, or that light your soul up when you look at them. However, you also don’t want to keep several closets full of books you’ll never read. Limit yourself to a certain container size for sentimental books. If it fits in the bin, it stays, if not, it goes.

books that have sentimental value

Is This A Classic Or Renowned Novel?

Is This A Classic Or Renowned Novel

Everyone knows of those classic books that you just have to have in your library. However, if your copy of The Great Gatsby or The Old Man And The Sea might not be read for several years, is it truly worth keeping around?

Ask yourself if you are keeping the book around more for the image of it, or because you truly love it. I think it’s okay to hang onto to renowned classics that were meaningful to you, even if you don’t plan to read them again for a while. However, if you’re keeping Kafka on your shelf just to say you have it, maybe revaluate that impulse.

classic books to keep

Does Holding Onto This Book Give Me A Visceral Reaction?

Does Holding Onto This Book Give Me A Visceral Reaction

There are also those books that you feel a deeply special connection to. Maybe you don’t plan to reread them in the next few years, but just by looking at the cover, your heart jumps a little and you remember how you felt the first time you read it.

minimalism book reviewsThat’s how I feel about Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. When I first read it, I remember I was on the train in London and when some of the first dots connected in my head, I was stunned by the implications.

I don’t read it every year because I want to make time for new, enlightening books that will help me grow. However, I always find my way back to this book, and would never force myself to let it go.

If you pick up a book and immediately feel something, it’s worth keeping around. That’s the point of literature — for you to connect with it. If you do have an emotional connection, you may regret letting it go.

Three Tips For Decluttering Your Bookshelf

Tips For Decluttering Your Bookshelf

Decluttering a bookshelf can feel like a scary endeavor, especially for a bibliophile who considers their books their most cherished possessions. Again, decluttering is about reducing quantity without losing quality, which especially applies to decluttering a library.

I had the opportunity to speak with Rachel, August, and Madeline. These women are Youtubers who had a lot to say about book consumerism and decluttering your bookshelf. I asked their advice on how to declutter books as an avid reader.

Ask Yourself Why You Feel Connected To Certain Books

Ask Yourself Why You Feel Connected To Certain Books

One way to make the decluttering process go more smoothly and avoid uncertainty is to reflect. What is it about certain books that causes you to want to keep them or let them go? If you begin to identify patterns, the decluttering process will be much easier for you overall.

rachel sargent

“Ask yourself why you feel attached to a certain book: Is it something you recommend all the time, something you have a special memory associated with? Knowing the why informs the how.”

– Rachel Sargeant, A Model Who’s Read

Don’t Force Your Bookshelf Declutter

Dont Force Your Bookshelf Declutter

Don’t force a bookshelf declutter just because you feel like you should. The last thing you want to do is make yourself declutter books you love that you later wish you could buy back! If you don’t feel ready to purge your shelf yet, wait until the time feels right.

august nyson

“I hang onto books that especially wowed me. Not just enjoyable reads — reads that made me think outside of the box, pushed me, made me question things, educated me, or inspired me.”

– August Nyson, Cozy Rosy Reads

Don’t Feel Guilty For Decluttering Your Books

Don’t Feel Guilty For Decluttering Your Books

Another tip to keep in mind when it comes to decluttering your shelf is to not feel guilty about letting your books go. Readers tend to also be the type to cherish things deeply or collect things of value. It doesn’t make you less of a book enthusiast to give some of your books away, especially if they’re just gathering dust on your shelf.

rachel sargent

“I know book lovers who feel like they aren’t as legitimate if they don’t have a full bookshelf behind them. This can lead to keeping books you don’t actually enjoy anymore just for show.”

– Rachel Sargeant, A Model Who’s Read

What Can I Do With All My Decluttered Books

Once you figure out what books to get rid of, how do you decide what to do with them? There are many options to ensure your favorites stories have a nice, new home.

Donate Books To A Charity Or Thrift Store

Donate Books To A Charity Or Thrift Store

One of the most popular options for getting rid of old books is donating them to secondhand stores, thrift stores, or used book stores in your area. Some even give books to kids, veterans, and prisoners. Donating your books is an awesome way to give back to the community you’re a part of.

august nyson

“When I finish reading a book I didn’t feel connected to, I immediately donate it! This way, I feel like I am constantly in a state of unhauling and passing books on to others.”

– August Nyson, Cozy Rosy Reads

Consider the following donation sites and stores

best places to donate books

Give Books Away To Friends Who Might Enjoy Them

Give Books Away To Friends Who Might Enjoy Them

One of the huge positives of having friends who are also book lovers is being able to connect and swap books that you truly enjoyed. One habit I’ve found myself adopting after many years of being a minimalist is thinking about other people when I decide to declutter something.

I consider specific people in my life when I’m cleaning and organizing, and ask myself if they could benefit from what I’m letting go of. Books are no different. I love giving books I’ve read to friends I know will really get something meaningful out of reading them.

give away books as gifts

Look For A Little Library In Your Neighborhood

Look For A Little Library In Your Neighborhood

The Little Free Library started gaining in popularity back in 2009, and they’re a great way to get rid of your old books while making sure others are still able to enjoy them. These little libraries have popped up in neighborhoods all across the world, with more than 100,000 little free libraries in existence.

You can easily locate one of these bookstands in your area and drop off some of your old books in a neighborhood near you. I was able to locate several little free libraries near me and sometimes, when I’m on my nightly walk, I’ll bring a book along to drop off.

neighborhood little library

Alternative Ideas To Buying New Books

Alternative Ideas To Buying New Books

The best way to keep clutter low is to reduce the amount of stuff you own to begin with. However, this is hard when you’re a bibliophile and love the idea of fillings your shelves with all of your favorite reads.

Here are some alternatives to purchasing physical copies of brand-new books that can help you maintain your love of reading without breaking your wallet or causing your shelves to overflow.

decluttering books pro tip

“One way to mitigate too many books is to choose books with decorative covers that can double as decor or wall art. You can still own the books you want to own while giving them a secondary purpose.”

– Madeline Flack, Content Creator

Go Digital With Your Book Collection

Go Digital With Your Book Collection

There are many E-readers out there that can replace physical copies of books and keep the clutter in your library down to a minimum. You can also try audiobooks if you’re an auditory learner. There are many ways to make your book collection digital and keep your favorite stories close while reducing clutter.

Try these E-readers and digital libraries

digital tablet for reading

Borrow Books From Your Bibliophile Friends

Borrow Books From Your Bibliophile Friends

Having a community of book-loving friends is nice because you can share and swap stories and trade books you love with one another. When trying to keep your personal collection to a minimum, ask your friends if they already own the book you have in mind. If so, borrow the novel instead of making the purchase.

Another fun idea is to host a book party with your friends who also love reading. Invite everyone to come over for food, drinks, and a book exchange. Ask your friends to bring over books they planned to donate or declutter, and then have all your guests browse each other’s collections. This is a great way to diversify your library without buying a ton of new books.

reading books with friends

Visit Your Local Library For New Reads

Visit Your Local Library For New Reads

The library is, of course, the most common way to read books without buying them. Most libraries have a lot more than people think — things like audiobooks, DVDs, podcasts, CDs, photo collections, telescopes and science equipment, and even tickets to local museums and attractions.

Libraries can do a lot more than just help you keep the clutter on your shelves down. Find a local library in your area.

Madeline Flack

“I recommend libraries because it forces you to read to more. There’s a deadline for how long you have with each book, whereas when I’ve bought books, they might sit on my shelf for years before I read them, if I do.”

– Madeline Flack, Content Creator

How To Declutter A Digital Library

How To Declutter A Digital Library

When you imagine a book collection that is in need of decluttering, you probably picture piles of books and overstuffed bookshelves. However, digital decluttering is just as integral to book collection decluttering as cleaning out your physical books.

Decluttering Your Audiobooks

Decluttering Your Audiobooks

Tips for decluttering your audiobooks are likely going to depend on what platform you use and the bells and whistles that your service has. I know that Audible has a “collections” feature which allows you to organize your library by creating individual folders with titles and descriptions.

Decluttering audiobooks is just like decluttering any other shelf. It can be misleading to think that digital clutter doesn’t have the same impact as physical clutter. It’s just as important to keep your digital world organized.

audible trial

Decluttering eBooks

Decluttering eBooks

Even as the quality of phones and tablets increase, E-readers continue to have a loyal crowd of adopters who enjoy the matte screens, lack of harsh light, and long battery life. Whatever type you use, you want to keep it as organized and decluttered as your physical shelves.

You’ll likely have the option to download a PDF or other format of the book, but these files can pile up on a computer quickly. Isn’t the whole point of a digital library for it to take up less space?

To avoid the digital clutter, remove book files from your library after you finish reading them. If you’ve purchased the book already, you should be able to redownload it anytime you decide to reread.

Your Turn!

  • What steps will you take this week to declutter your books?
  • What methods will you use to read without buying new books?

How To Declutter Without Sacrificing What’s Meaningful

How To Declutter Without Sacrificing What’s Meaningful

How To Declutter Without Sacrificing Whats Meaningful

As a minimalist who lives in a tiny house, I’m pretty ruthless when decluttering. However, I have learned to also be intentional when deciding what to keep around. It’s important to remind yourself that it’s okay to keep items that have meaning and add value to your life.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I’ve learned a lot over the years about being intentional not only with what I discard, but with the things I keep. Intentionality is equal parts what you remove and what you decide to keep.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

Sometimes I have to stop the ruthless cleaning, take a step back, and remember that minimalism is a mindset built on quality. It’s not about getting rid of everything you own, it’s about removing the excess while keeping the meaningful things around. But how do you identify what items are truly worth holding onto?

Questions To Ask Yourself When Deciding What To Keep

Seven Questions To Ask Yourself When Deciding What To Keep

A single Google search will instantly spit out thousands of how-tos and tips on what to eliminate when you’re decluttering, and where to start. But in some cases, it can be helpful not to begin with your junk mail, your extra electronic cords, or your closet that’s bursting at the seams.

Start with the things you know you want to hang on to, and let that be the first step for the ruthless decluttering to come. Here are seven simple questions I’ve learned after years of failures that make deciding what to keep a walk in the park.

30 day declutter challenge

Is This An Item I Use Every Day?

Is This An Item I Use Every Day

Decluttering isn’t about deprivation. Of course, there are those extreme minimalists out there who like the challenge of getting possessions down to the bare bones and going into survival mode. For me, I believe that if I truly use it, I don’t have to lose it.

Sure, I might not need 10 sets of dishes in my minimal kitchen or 50 pairs of shoes in my minimal closet. However, if I have two different types of Tupperware that I use actively throughout the week or have three really good pairs of tennis shoes that I rotate out when I run, it’s okay to keep them.

How Often Do You Use This? Should I Keep This Item?
Daily Definitely
Weekly Probably
Monthly Maybe
Quarterly Probably not
Yearly Rarely

Don’t get rid of all your essentials just to declutter. Make sure you have enough of what you need in each area of your life to maintain the lifestyle you prefer. For me, minimalism is about ridding myself of the excess, not the things that truly help me function. If I use an item every day, that’s a good reason to keep it around for the long haul.

Is This An Item I Would Part With If I Wasn’t Minimalizing?

Is This An Item I Would Part With If I Wasnt Minimalizing

It’s easy to get in a very particular headspace when you are decluttering. It can get relentless. You have a goal in mind and you want to discard as much as possible, as quickly and efficiently as you can.

Take a step back and evaluate whether or not the item you’re holding is one you would part with if you weren’t in machine mode. Ask yourself, if I wasn’t trying to declutter right now, would I part with this on a normal day? Make a pile of the items you are on the fence about and come back to re-evaluate once you are out of the hustle mentality.

Does This Item Entertain A Hobby That I Love?

Does This Item Entertain A Hobby That I Love

There’s a misconception that minimalists give up things they love, when in reality, the opposite is true! Minimalism is an act of removing what you don’t love so the things you do are accentuated.

Keeping books around is important to meDon’t let decluttering experts trick you into thinking you have to give up the things that support your hobbies and passions. I encourage you to keep things around that make you feel fulfilled and light that fire inside of you.

For me, that looks like an entirely full bookshelf in my tiny house. Keeping books around is important to me so that I am never without a good read. For others, it might mean keeping scrapbooking supplies, instruments, a pottery wheel, strategy board games, or sports and workout equipment.

Whatever it is for you, if it supports your favorite hobbies, keep it around — as long as you’re being honest with yourself that you’ll use it with some regularity. If you have an old art set in the back of your closet that you’ve never touched, don’t keep it around on the off chance that you’ll suddenly get the urge to paint. However, you should keep the guitar you play every day.

Ashlynne Eaton

“You don’t have to declutter items involved in hobbies you love. I love photography, embroidery, and water coloring, so I intentionally keep things to be able to practice each of those hobbies.”

– Ashlynne Eaton, Content Creator

Does This Item Have Sentimental Value?

Does This Item Have Sentimental Value

Sentimental items are infamous in the minimalist world for being hard to let go of. Rightfully so! Our minds associate cards, photos, letters, and sentimental knick-knacks with the memories they’re attached to. When we look at those items, we feel those memories and emotions again.

keeping things that have sentimental valueIt’s natural to want to hold onto those memories and the feelings we associate with them. There are many ways to repurpose sentimental items and give them a new life outside your attic, basement, or closet.

Maybe you take your grandma’s handwritten cookie recipe, frame it, and hang it in your kitchen. Or perhaps you cut up the notes in your greeting cards and make a collage to hang on your wall.

You could also create a memory box or keepsake drawer specifically for sentimental items you don’t want to let go of. That way, your memorabilia isn’t filling your room with clutter — it’s in a compact place created specifically for that purpose. You don’t need to feel pressure to get rid of those items that make your heart swoon.

My own personal rule is that I try to put things that are sentimental in places I can see or interact with daily. Beyond that, I have a large box that I keep most of my keepsakes in. I give myself permission to have that box be full of whatever I want without guilt. The box helps me have a simple way to keep it in check; if it fits, it stays.

antonia and the universe

“If something holds a beautiful memory, you don’t have to let it go. I keep a box in my closet full of small mementos and presents and I don’t intend to declutter anything in it anytime soon.”

– Antonia & The Universe, Content Creator

Should Every Item I Keep Spark Joy When I Use It?

Should Every Item I Keep Spark Joy When I Use It

Marie Kondo’s Kon Mari method is one of the most popular decluttering methods out there. Her book encourages readers to walk around their home, hold each item they own, and ask themselves if that item truly brings them joy. If not, it goes!

things you own that spark joy to useMarie’s method is a pretty ruthless pursuit of less, and for some it’s the perfect way to approach it. For those like me, I appreciate the intent behind Marie’s ideas but have a more analytical mind and tend to rely on the other questions in this list.

It’s not wrong to keep things around simply because they don’t awaken deep joy in your gut. It’s unlikely that your dish towels are going to make you giddy, but that doesn’t mean you don’t not need them. Yet, I can’t deny that the idea of “sparking joy” resonates and helps so many people. What’s important is finding what works for you.

Do These Items Belong To Someone Else?

Do These Items Belong To Someone Else

Make sure you’re only getting rid of what’s actually yours. If you aren’t sure if an item actually belongs to you, you should probably keep it around until you are.

store items that belong to someone elseMaybe your mom left her purse at your house the last time she came for dinner, you borrowed your sister’s kitchen mixer, or you’re letting your neighbor store some boxes in your garage for the time being. Load those items up and return them to their rightful owner if you can.

If that’s not possible, store them away from your own belongings. That way, you don’t accidentally donate or sell your sister’s favorite kitchen mixer or your neighbor’s winter coats until you’ve had the chance to talk to them about what they want to keep.

Is This An Item I Will Regret Not Saving In The Future?

Is This An Item I Will Regret Not Saving In The Future

Sometimes you don’t have a purpose in mind for an item right now, but there might be a purpose for it in the future. Consider toys your children may use when they’re older, clothes for special occasions, or sentimental items you want to give as gifts later on.

saving a vintage wedding dress for the futureTypical minimalist practice is if it’s not serving you now, let it go. While I do think that is a helpful way to declutter your home, there are some cases when it’s okay to keep things around for a someday moment.

My advice would be to keep things around for someday moments that are certain and specific. For example, maybe you want to wear your grandma’s wedding dress in your own wedding, give your daughter a specific doll when she turns 10, or use your microphone to record music in the near future even if you don’t have time this season.

By contrast, if you’re keeping an item around as a “just in case” or “maybe someday item” but don’t have a specific plan in mind, it’s probably time to part with it. You don’t need to keep that calligraphy set you haven’t touched in fifteen years just in case you finally decide to start hand lettering your envelopes.

Your Turn!

  • What items do you want to keep around when decluttering?
  • What questions do you ask yourself to decide what items to keep?

Minimalists Obsess Over Decluttering These 75 Things

Minimalists Obsess Over Decluttering These 75 Things

Minimalist list of things to get rid ofMost minimalists have a regular decluttering process that they’ve implemented in their lives to keep their belongings under control. They’ve created a decluttering regimen that works for them — a mental checklist of things to get rid of, if you will. Here’s a list of things to get rid of on your own minimalist journey.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

After years of helping my friends get rid of their stuff, I’ve learned a lot about which items make the biggest impact when decluttering. Take it from a minimalist veteran — these are the things to get rid of if you want to create a stress-free, clutter-free home.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

What Do Minimalists Get Rid Of?

What exactly should a minimalist get rid of? I’ve compiled a master list of all the things minimalists know to let go of.

I’ve divided up this list by what to get rid of in each room of the house. I’ve also included a list of things to start with and discard quickly, as well as miscellaneous items you may have forgotten about. Let’s dive into the good stuff and declutter room by room!

75 Things That Minimalists Get Rid Of

There are so many things you can easily get rid that minimalists tend to discard. Here’s my advice on what minimalists get rid of in each room of the house:


Simple Things A Minimalist Quickly Does Away With

As a minimalist, I’d say that starting with easy-to-get-rid-of items is the best way to declutter your space. When you toss out the no-brainers first, you feel encouraged to get into to the things that might take more brain power to discard of.

Things to get rid of right away

  • Electronic cords
  • Product manuals
  • Empty packaging
  • Old receipts
  • Paper forms
  • Coupons
  • Plastic bags
  • Batteries
  • Spare change
  • Old gift cards
junk to get rid of
mia danielle

“Cords are at the top of the list of things people forget to declutter. They stay out of sight and out of mind until, one day, you realize you don’t have a clue what half of them go to.”

– Mia Danielle, Content Creator

List Of Things Minimalists Get Rid Of In The Living Room

Getting rid of items in the living room has a lot to do with aesthetics. You probably don’t have as much junk piled up in the living room as you would in say, a bathroom cabinet or bedroom closet.

However, minimalists value curating spaces that feel simple, peaceful, and holistic in every room — especially in a room where family and guests will congregate. You want that space to feel clutter free.

Things minimalists get rid of in their living room

  • Board games they don’t play
  • Unused electronics
  • VHS tapes
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Remote controls
  • Extra blankets
  • Extra throw pillows
  • Shelf trinkets
  • Flashy home décor
  • Half empty baskets
Things minimalists get rid of in their living room

List Of Things Minimalists Get Rid Of In The Kitchen

The kitchen is the place where families come together to cook and share meals. A tidy kitchen is a staple in a minimalist household. Tackling this space as a minimalist is all about creating an environment that feels warm, welcoming, and intimate. That means getting rid of clutter and excess noise to be more present with your people.

jana leigh

“Having a pantry where you can clearly see all of the ingredients or having uncluttered pots and pans in the cupboard — these are game changers in the kitchen. It will literally save you time.”

– Jana Leigh, Content Creator

Things minimalists get rid of in their kitchen

  • Expired food
  • Unused electronics
  • Old spices
  • Mismatched Tupperware
  • Chipped dishes
  • Extra cutlery
  • Old cookbooks
  • Salt and pepper packets
  • Extra dish towels
  • Unused appliances
Things minimalists get rid of in their kitchen

List Of Things Minimalists Get Rid Of In The Bedroom

There is no better place to recharge and find personal Zen than in your own bedroom. Minimalists get rid of clutter in their bedrooms to foster a space that is cozy and restful. It should be the place where you feel most able to refresh your mind and rejuvenate without life’s chaotic distractions.

Things minimalists get rid of in their bedroom

  • Spare picture frames
  • Books you don’t read
  • Outdated magazines
  • Clutter in nightstand
  • Spare bedsheets
  • Decorative pillows
  • Television
  • Extravagant décor
  • Leftover waterbottles
  • Under bed clutter
Things minimalists get rid of in their bedroom
minimalist decluttering pro tip

“Start with the bedroom. It’s your sanctuary. Neglecting this area is a sign that you don’t prioritize yourself. It’s the last thing we see before we go to sleep at night and the first thing we open our eyes to every morning.”

– Mia Danielle, Content Creator

List Of Things Minimalists Get Rid Of In The Bathroom

Most people start and end their day in the bathroom. Showering, brushing your teeth, washing your face — this is the room where you signal to your body that it’s time to get going or go to sleep.

As a minimalist, I know decluttered bathroom countertops, cabinets, and shower shelves help my brain to feel less overwhelmed. It helps me to be more productive with my time throughout the day and gives me a sense of control over my space and my time.

Things minimalists get rid of in their bathroom

  • Expired medication
  • Old makeup
  • Travel-sized toiletries
  • Unused styling tools
  • Extra accessories
  • Dried-up nail polish
  • Unused beauty products
  • Old hairbrushes
  • Old toothbrushes
  • Guest towels
things minimalists get rid of in their bathroom
Ashlynne Eaton

“Decluttering my bathroom had a huge impact on me. It’s a functional space, so once I removed the clutter it made it easier to go about the daily activities of getting ready.”

– Ashlynne Eaton, Content Creator

List Of Things Minimalists Get Rid Of In The Closet

Closets and other storage spaces can quickly turn into epicenters for junk and clutter. It’s easy to just let things pile up, but minimalists make an effort to keep their closets and other storage spaces from becoming a dumping ground. Clothes are also a major declutter zone for minimalists, and there are many ways minimalists go about tackling their wardrobe.

Things minimalists get rid of in their closet

  • Junk that doesn’t belong in closets
  • Clothing they don’t wear
  • Clothing they don’t love
  • Clothing that doesn’t fit
  • Excess hangers
  • Socks that don’t match
  • Shoes they don’t wear
  • Purses they don’t use
  • Extra jewelry
  • Unused accessories
Things minimalists get rid of in their closets
minimalist decluttering pro tip

“Don’t forget storage spaces you rarely check! People might have their handbags that they use the most hanging in the closet but forget that they have a tub of them stored in the attic.”

– Kirsty Farrugia, Podcast Host

List Of Things Minimalists Get Rid Of In The Office

The hope for any workspace is that the area will support your workflow and help you stay inspired and productive. Minimalists value getting rid of excess clutter in the office so that they are able to be efficient with their time and get the most out of their day.

Things minimalists get rid of in the office

  • Emails
  • Junk mail
  • Extra supplies
  • Last year’s calendar
  • Pens that don’t work
  • Old documents
  • Used notebooks
  • Old receipts
  • Unused cables
  • Outdated materials
Things minimalists get rid of in their office
declutter like a minimalist pro tip

“Don’t forget mail and paperwork. I was able to declutter 70% of my paperwork in one go — old invoices from your insurance, a car lease from 10 years ago, and things that we file away.”

– Antonia & The Universe, Content Creator

List Of Miscellaneous Items Minimalists Get Rid Of

There are always going to be those excess items that do not fit into one specific category or room. Getting rid of miscellaneous clutter can be a beast of its own. Here’s a guide to what’s left for minimalists to get rid of after they’ve decluttered each room of their home.

Miscellaneous items minimalists get rid of

  • Seasonal decorations
  • Halloween costumes
  • Unwanted gifts
  • Memorabilia
  • Greeting cards
  • Sports equipment
  • Unused toys
  • Cleaning products
  • Storage bins
  • Junk drawer items
miscellaneous items minimalists get rid of
declutter like a minimalist pro tip

“Declutter areas that are small but have a big impact. Like your purse, your wallet, your car, or any manageable area you use every day where you will be able to feel the impact.”

– Ashlynne Eaton, Content Creator

What Minimalists Do With Decluttered Items?

Knowing what to do with your items after deciding what to get rid of is a whole other ballgame, but minimalists are pros at the process of letting go and have abundant advice on this too.

As a minimalist, I typically evaluate the item and consider how that item could best serve another person. After all, minimalism is not just about the cleaning process — it’s about applying a more communal and less individualistic philosophy to all areas of your life.

Donate Items They’re Getting Rid Of

Donating clothing, books, toys, or games is what I choose to do most often when getting rid of my things. Knowing that my items are going to someone who may need them more than I do is a genuinely good feeling.

I think oftentimes we feel as if what we own is somehow permanently connected to our personhood, but minimalism has taught me so much about the true joy that comes with letting go. I have a system down now where I know the donation sites I like and that I believe get the most use out of what I bring.

You can find donation sites in your area by connecting with local Facebook groups or conducting a simple Google search. You can also check out your local library or grocery store for donation boxes, as well as resale stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army.

minimalists donate unused items

digital decluttering

Sell Their Decluttered Items

Sometimes items are just too valuable to give away. There is no shame in wanting to sell an item instead of simply giving it away.

minimalists sell old things at yard sales
It’s easy to feel like selling something for monetary gain is not as intentional as making a donation, but sometimes items deserve to see their worth reciprocated.

Maybe you own a rare antique with a unique story or a very nice set of wedding china that doesn’t feel right to donate. Selling items of that stature demonstrates that you value the quality and worth of the items. I have several minimalist friends who use Facebook Marketplace to sell things, but there are also apps like Depop or Etsy that are great for the reselling more upscale items.

Throw Some Items Away

Then there are the things that just aren’t going to be worth much to anyone, and that’s okay! I think one misconception about minimalists is that they feel everything must be valiantly repurposed in the decluttering process, but that’s not always the case. It’s seriously okay to toss junk.

If your stuff is broken, torn, stained, or unusable, don’t feel hesitant about throwing it out. If you’re searching for a more ethical way to discard of waste, consider recycling centers or starting a compost pile. You can also integrate a zero-waste lifestyle into your daily routine to prevent trash from piling up in your home.

minimalists throw some things away that can not be saved
30 day declutter challenge

Give Decluttered Items To Family Or Friends

If there’s something I’m getting rid of that reminds me of someone I love, could be useful in my friend’s space, or a family member would get more use out of than I would, I’ll ask if they want it. There is truly no better feeling than giving my stuff a better purpose.

Another method to expedite this process is Swedish death cleaning, which encourages you to invite all of your loved ones over at once and let them take anything that speaks to them. That’s one extremely easy way to get rid of thing quickly and know they’ll have a loving home.

Your Turn!

  • What can you get rid of in your house today?
  • What will you do with your decluttered items?

How To Begin The Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning

How To Begin The Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning

the art of swedish death cleaning


The term “Swedish death cleaning” may raise some eyebrows considering these three words aren’t commonly used in the same sentence.

However, if you’re in search of a way to declutter the stuff your loved ones have left behind or looking to make the decluttering process easier on your loved ones when you pass, Swedish death cleaning may be just the thing to help.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

Minimizing and decluttering became a pretty huge part of my life when I moved into my tiny house 10 years ago. I started to think more consciously about what items were essential and what I could live without.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

Swedish death cleaning seems a bit grim at first, but after helping so many people declutter throughout the years, I’ve seen this practice change lives for the better.

What Is Swedish Death Cleaning?

What Is Swedish Death Cleaning

Swedish death cleaning is a decluttering process that is geared toward the legacy you’ll leave after you die. Put simply, its about cleaning for death, except it isn’t meant to be morbid!

The practice is intended as a way to leave our belongings in the best order we can for those who will deal with our things after we pass. On the flip side, it’s also a helpful method to use as a guide for cleaning and decluttering the belongings of loved ones who have passed on.

However, the method is not just about our lives after death. A huge aspect of Swedish death cleaning is also about creating a more peaceful, minimal existence while we’re alive.

Death cleaning has been around for a while in Sweden, but has only recently found its way to the U.S. as The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, a self-help book by Margareta Magnusson, gained popularity. Margareta has moved 17 times throughout her adult life. Throughout that process, she has learned to analyze the purpose that her stuff actually serves.

the gentle art of swedish death cleaning

Is Swedish Death Cleaning For Everyone?

Is Swedish Death Cleaning For Everyone

In short, yes. One huge lesson I learned from Swedish death cleaning is that decluttering is not about depletion. Oftentimes, when you think about decluttering, you think about what to get rid of.

But Swedish death cleaning is less about what you will lose from the decluttering process and more about what you gain from having conversations with loved ones, looking through sentimental memorabilia, and creating a stress-free life.

This is what makes Swedish death cleaning approachable for anyone. Sure, you might think the demographic is typically someone preparing for their own death or that of a loved one, but those aren’t the only people the practice can help.

Starting the practice of Swedish death cleaning while you’re young is a wise way to think about death early on and normalize interacting with the idea, especially in a society that fosters a lot of anxiety around the topic. It also can help you create a peaceful, decluttered, calm space in your daily experience that will improve your mental health and quality of life.

Five Tips For Getting Started With Swedish Death Cleaning

Tips For Getting Started With Swedish Death Cleaning

Getting started with the process of Swedish death cleaning does not have to be a giant undertaking, and there are many different ways you can approach the practice in your own life. It’s also a slow process that won’t all happen in one day.

Margareta’s book moves through eight basic steps that each touch on a different element of life. Those values include community, peace, collaboration, asking for help, being wise with time, self-care, and endless others that can be gleaned from Swedish death cleaning.

I was able to sit down with Kristen Meinzer from By The Book podcast to talk about her and her best friend Jolenta’s experience trying out Swedish death cleaning for the first time.

Kristen Meinzer

“The hope with Swedish death cleaning is that what’s in our homes isn’t just taking up space. It makes our lives better, speaks to our values, and speaks to our legacy.”

– Kristen Meinzer, By The Book

What I love about Kristen’s perspective is the way she views Swedish death cleaning as much more than a decluttering process. For her, it was really about the way it affected her personhood.

I think that’s what’s so cool about the practice. It isn’t just about the things you’re actually doing, it’s about the way those physical actions can help you and your loved ones on a deeper, psychological level.

While we’re not going to cover everything from the book in this post, I did want to highlight some major takeaways that can help you kickstart your Swedish death cleaning journey.

Tip One: Talk To Your Loved Ones

Talk To Your Loved Ones

One major objective of Swedish death cleaning is to be a positive and peaceful experience. There is value in analyzing the possessions that are important to you and letting that inform conversations you have with your loved ones about what to do with those things after you’re gone.

Kristen Meinzer

“My grandma’s wedding ring, now my wedding ring, has been in the family for close to 100 years. When Swedish death cleaning, I reached out to my sister and asked if I could give the ring to my niece when I passed.”

– Kristen Meinzer, By The Book

The process is not meant to feel morbid, scary, or shameful. You should feel peace while letting go. I’ve talked to a lot of people who try to declutter after their loved ones have passed, and many of them have intense guilt about getting rid of items that belonged to their loved ones.

family discussing optionsWhen people are grief stricken, it’s harder to focus on the details. They might cling to an entire house of the person’s items they can’t get rid of because it feels disrespectful, or because they can’t deal with the trauma of losing that person.

That’s one reason it’s important to have these conversations while we’re still alive. A will often covers large assets, but it won’t necessarily cover sentimental items or valuable memorabilia that you want to ensure falls into the right hands.

By talking to those we love beforehand, we can identify what items are actually important and what aren’t so that we can feel peace about letting those things go after they’re gone.

Another element of this conversation that we often forget to address with our loved ones is their digital footprint. Ask your loved ones important questions like where they keep all of their passwords and login information, and how to access those things if they pass. This simple tip can save a lot of trouble down the line!

Tip Two: Start By Decluttering Storage Spaces

Start By Decluttering Storage Spaces

As you’ve likely realized, decluttering is a huge element of the Swedish death cleaning process. The value of decluttering is honestly much more mental than it is physical.

Yes, going through all of your stuff piece by piece can free up a lot of physical space in your house, but undergoing this purge will also free your brain space far more than you can imagine.

Decluttering Rooms and Storage SpacesThe decluttering process doesn’t have to be treated like a daunting, monotonous task, but it is challenging, so don’t do it all alone. The art of Swedish death cleaning really emphasizes the value of community.

Typically, you want to start the process with big storage spaces, then move into areas of the house that are actually on display. After that, you can tackle more difficult areas like your wardrobe.

This way, you’re beginning with high-traffic areas that are filled with junk and things that are easier to part with. This can make the early stages of the decluttering process feel more successful and motivate you to keep going.

I’ve heard other decluttering experts suggest starting with the areas you can see, because clearing out the spaces that are in the public eye might bring you a greater sense of control.

You can declutter room by room, start with storage spaces, or work from the outermost part of the house inwards. Find what works for you — it might end up going a lot faster than you think!

Kristen Meinzer

“Declutter with someone you love — have somebody join you. If you’re alone, put on a podcast or call someone while you sort so you don’t have to be by yourself.”

– Kristen Meinzer, By The Book

Tip Three: Save The Personal Items For Last

Save The Personal Items For Last

It’s hard to let go of the things that feel sentimental and remind us of memories and people we love. Try going through your personal items much later in the decluttering process. This way, you already feel accomplished and motivated by the time you have to tackle the most difficult category: memorabilia.

On the one hand, the momentum you’ve built will allow you to more easily sort through these emotionally charged items. But also, because you’ve already tackled other categories and trimmed a lot of the fat, you won’t feel the need to force yourself to part with things you aren’t ready to let go.

keepsake boxOne way to justify holding onto those valuable keepsakes is to give them a new life by putting them to use. Your memories don’t have to sit in a box in the attic and gather dust. If you’re going to keep a sentimental item, honor it by putting it in a place where you’ll look at it each day or interact with it often.

Maybe you take the letters in your grandmother’s handwriting and frame them for your living room walls. Or maybe you get out your mom’s double fudge brownie recipe and bake them with friends for your next birthday party.

Bringing your memories to life in new ways is a valuable practice that plays right in to one of the core themes of the art Swedish death cleaning: celebrating our legacy instead of fearing our death.

It’s also okay to have a special box of stuff that you don’t necessarily use, but also don’t feel comfortable parting with. That box probably shouldn’t be a giant bin the size of your couch, but there is no harm in keeping a small stash of keepsakes that are meaningful to you.

Tip Four: Get Help From Your Community

Get Help From Your Community

The art of Swedish death cleaning teaches us that we aren’t meant to do everything alone. I am a huge proponent of this message and I think, especially as Americans, we underestimate the value of asking for help when we need it.

ask your community for helpThere are many ways you can enlist help. One is to look around your neighborhood or community resource pages for places to donate your stuff after decluttering. Maybe there is a local used bookstore, clothing donation site, or recycling center where you can bring some of your belongings that are in good shape to help those in need.

Another idea is to invite friends and family over while you declutter to take things home with them. You might have a sweater you never wear that is exactly your sister’s style, or a set of dishes that you never use but will go perfectly in your cousin’s new studio apartment.

Getting help from others as you go isn’t just about the efficiency of the task and expediting the process, though. It’s also about using the art of Swedish death cleaning to build connections, establish a deeper sense of community, and create fun memories in the midst of a task that might initially seem morbid or daunting.

Kristen Meinzer

“We live in a culture in the U.S. where we overstate the value of doing it all on your own. No person is an island. Having people help us is an extension of love for our fellow person, so let’s just enjoy that.”

– Kristen Meinzer, By The Book

Tip Five: Take Care Of Yourself

Take Care Of Yourself

Swedish death cleaning can be an intense and overwhelming experience if you don’t take the time throughout the process to check in with yourself and participate in forms of self-care.

Everyone is different — for some people, the idea of cleaning for death feels terrifying, while others may not be as phased. All feelings and reactions are valid.

take care of yourself tooHowever deeply you react to the process of purging your belongings and memories, and consciously analyzing your legacy, it is still important to take the time to care for yourself before, after, and during the process. After all, this is your life.

As you go through what you own, talk to loved ones about where your possessions will go postmortem, find keepsakes from your favorite memories, look through things from your ancestors, and think about the legacy you want to leave. Keep checking in with yourself and your feelings throughout.

Ask yourself how these tasks are making you feel and why? Talk to trusted friends and family members about those feelings. Again, we aren’t meant to be alone. Take breaks while you’re working to do things you love. Go for a walk, go out to dinner, read a book, or watch a movie.

Also keep in mind that Swedish death cleaning is not meant to happen in a week. It’s a long process that can take months, even years to feel close to completion. The process is, in many ways, its own lifestyle.

Swedish Death Cleaning Beginner’s Checklist

Swedish Death Cleaning Beginners Checklist

Overall, I think Swedish death cleaning is a cathartic but also practical process. Going through these motions really helped me to purge my belongings, help others by donating, and do some much-needed self-reflection.

There is a lot that goes into cleaning a house after death, so I’ve put together a basic checklist of ways to get started with the Swedish death cleaning method. Use this list to help you navigate the Swedish death cleaning method for yourself and stay on track:

swedish death cleaning checklist


  • Clear your headspace
  • Take inventory
  • Identify your valuables
  • Call your loved ones
  • Tell them about your valuables
  • Ask them to write them down
  • Identify their valuables (with them)
  • Write down what they say

Storage Spaces

  • Take inventory
  • Throw away trash
  • Discard what’s broken
  • Put things in categories
  • Go through smaller boxes
  • Make a donation pile
  • Make a keep pile
  • Organize what’s left

Display Areas

  • Remove what doesn’t belong
  • Organize clutter in to categories
  • Make a donation pile
  • Make a keep pile
  • Sort papers like letters, receipts, and cards
  • Sort books and toys


  • Take out every item
  • Sort into sell, keep, and maybe piles
  • Put sell items in donation box
  • Hang items to keep back up
  • Sort your maybes in to sell and keep piles
  • Try a minimalist wardrobe


  • Consider award/trophies
  • Sort greeting cards
  • Go through photographs
  • Sort keepsakes
  • Choose a home for each
  • Repurpose cards and photos
  • Donate or recycle what’s left

Get Help And Give Help

  • Declutter with friends
  • Give things away as gifts
  • Find community donation site
  • Donate or sell clothes
  • Give books to used bookstore
  • Compost what you can
  • Donate to local charities
Your Turn!

  • Does Swedish death cleaning sound attainable to you?
  • What will you declutter as part of Swedish death cleaning?
  • What loved ones will you talk to this week?