31 Days to Finding Freedom in Simplicity - Declutter Your Home

There are affiliate links in this post.  Thank you for supporting Townsend House!

Now that we have talked about what decluttering actually is, it is time to start the process of going through our homes and figuring out what is most important.

There are so many articles and books written about the *right* way to declutter your home, and I will have a post in a couple days with those resources in case you are interested, but here I am going to talk about what works best for me.

The easiest way for me to go throughout my home is to have a room by room approach.  The reason I do this is two-fold.  First, I have three small children, and if I tried to declutter a specific category throughout my entire house on one day, I would never have my house put back together.  Working on one room at a time helps me to concentrate on one area, and to see a.) if something even belongs in that room to begin with and b.) if it is something we actually need in our home.

This is something I tend to enjoy doing at the start of either the spring or fall seasons.  But, I have been known to start going through a room in February, after we have settled from all the holiday madness.  It is something that you don’t want to wait for the perfect time in order to start.  You just need to start.

If decluttering to de-own your stuff is really scary to you, start with the easy stuff.  Surface clutter.

Surface clutter is the bane of my existence.  Whenever I clean off a surface, it then starts yelling at the rest of my family “put your stuff here!”  I don’t know how many times I will have just cleaned off all of the kitchen counters, when my kids will start piling books they have read, LEGO they have put together, and they set it down on my clean countertop.  The same goes for my desk, and my command central table.

If your family does this, I recommend setting out a basket for you to put their stuff.  I have a pretty basket that I pile all the treasures into.  Eventually they come looking for it, or we have a 10 minute tidy and one person’s job is to put away what is in the basket.

Most of the time surface clutter isn’t something that we can completely de-own, because it is oftentimes bills (although if you have any ideas on de-owning bills – I have a couple – please share them!) and other paperwork.  We will get to how to deal with paper later.

Surface clutter can also be little items that you have in your home, that perhaps you wanted to decorate with at one point, but they no longer bring the joy to you that they used to.  Or along the same lines as my kitchen counters, try removing some of your appliances from the counter.  We keep all of our appliances in a cupboard, and it makes me so much happier to see nothing on the counter (except my coffee maker – which is something I see a heck of a lot of beauty in!).

When you reduce the amount of stuff you own, you will reduce the amount of time you need to take care of and manage that stuff, and it will give you freedom to use your time in ways that are important to you, rather than to take care of your stuff.

When you de-own your stuff, it gives you a mental boost as well.  Instead of worrying about all the things you need to take care of during the evenings, on the weekends, you are free to live your life, and to do the things that matter to you.

Having that weight lifted mentally is a huge positive.

We live in a home with only 1 closet, and that closet is actually a second floor entry that Matt hung up shelves for us to use as a clothes closet – and we do hang all of our clothes in the closet for the entire family.  Because we don’t have a lot of closet space, we can’t keep a lot of clothes all the time.  The options are either to store them in totes in the attic (which we tend to do with off-season clothes and hand-me-downs for the kids), or to hang them in our closet.  Because I have very little space, I tend to only keep the items that I really love and wear.  This is the same for my kids and husband. 

Because of this one closet craziness, we are unable to store a lot of stuff away from the public eye.  So we have the interesting dilemma of living in a large house with nowhere to hide stuff.  Instead, most of what we own is out in the open.  This can cause a lot of stress for me because I don’t like to see all of that mess all over the place.  And no matter how many basket systems I work out with my kids, it is too overwhelming to them.  So we try to have less, and that gives the kids the ability to take care of their items without feeling overwhelmed.

Have you sent your kids into their bedroom or playroom before when the floor is covered in LEGO and Shopkins, princess dolls, and yarn? OK so the yarn is probably slightly unique to my home.  Usually what happens is my kids will work for about 15 min and come down either saying they are finished (they are most definitely not), or being so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff that they are crying and are paralyzed unable to clean it up. 

It is overwhelming to them to deal with everything out at once.  And while I would love to say the “take one toy out, use it, put it away” approach is a great one, it isn’t realistic, at least not in my home.  My kids like to make elaborate scenes for stop motion movies using any and everything they can get their hands on.  I love that creative play, so I have to make adjustments to my attitude about what comes out when.

If they have fewer toys, they are able to easily take care of them. 

At first you might think that taking away toys will lead to boredom.  And it might at first.  But, I noticed that when the kids have a clear space to play, and only a few options, they play longer, and happier together, than when they have everything at their fingertips.

Start with making it a point to de-own.  Do not bring new stuff into your home just because it is newer, or prettier, or the kids might like to use that.  Then go through each room of your home and weed out what you really, truly do not need.

What is the one area of your home that you are most concerned with de-cluttering?

Find the entire 31 Days of Finding Freedom in Simplicity series here.


  1. I just found you via abowlfulloflemons and love this series! So happy to have found your blog. Surfaces are my struggle too. I've been known to put notes there saying "STOP! Don't put stuff here!" I would also really enjoy pictures of your process and method! Visual ideas really motivate me and inspire me to get the work done. I'll go through this series, and maybe you have some to share!

    1. I love the idea of putting a note on the clear surfaces! I might have to try that with my family :-) Unfortunately, my series is heavy on words and not so much on pictures this time around. I was hoping to get a lot of wonderful pictures for this series, but then I had the realization that in order to actually get the series "finding freedom in simplicity" down in words I needed to let go of my photos and editing for a season. Thank you so much for visiting!


I love to hear from my readers and try to respond to all comments either here or through e-mail. Thank you for taking the time to comment!