The Declutter Mindset

Woman storing pantry items on a shelf. Image credit: Karolina Grabowska

February 2022

Whether you’re daunted by the idea of decluttering your apartment or raring to get going, organizing and keeping things that way are all about mindset. Embrace these 8 ideas and you’ll become a natural organizer. You’ll also find that it’s much easier to continually take small actions to organize rather than occasionally deal with clutter overload.


  1. One space at a time. If you’re start decluttering from a place of chaos, don’t try to take it on all at once. First conquer a closet, then a bathroom, etc. It makes the work less daunting and quickly gives you a feeling of accomplishment.
  2. Always have a donation bin. The declutter mindset means continually purging things you no longer need. That’s easier to do when you can drop them directly into a donation box. As soon as it’s full, drop it off.
  3. Place like things with like things. All your coats go together, all your shoes go together, etc. This not only helps minimize clutter, it makes things easier to find.
  4. Use labels. Have you ever come across a box or tote and have to open it to see what’s inside? It’s a waste of time, makes things hard to find, and makes it harder to follow the rule about keeping like things together.
  5. Containerize your life. Toiletries, cooking supplies, laundry… loose items can quickly lead to clutter. The simple act of storing them in easy-to-access open containers can have a big impact.
  6. One in, one out rule. Getting new things is fun, but it leads to over-accumulation and clutter. If you buy a new pair of shoes, get rid of a pair you rarely wear. Not adding to the total amount of stuff you have makes keeping it organized much easier.
  7. Use it, love it, or lose it. Items that may have served you well at one time but have no place in your life right now should be purged.
  8. Put it away. Are you about to put something down? Is that where it’s stored? Unless you plan to pick it up and use it very soon, put it away.