7 Steps to Declutter Your Life (Not Just Your Stuff) And Live Simply

Margin. Breathing room. Curate. They’re more than just buzzwords. They can be part of a lifestyle shift to help you (yes, you) have a home and calendar filled only with what truly matters.

If you’ve felt overwhelmed by the pile of possessions, commitments, or digital notifications crowding your life, join the club. Everyone feels this way.

But what if there was a way to break free? Let’s explore how we can shed the excess and declutter your life together.

grid of 4 images showing simple joys: reading, walking, decluttering spaces

After all, a decluttered life and simple living isn’t just about having fewer things; it’s about creating space for what truly matters.

Quick wins

Not sure where to start? Here are 20 little tasks that will move the needle.

  1. Unsubscribe from email newsletters you no longer read.
  2. Delete old and unused apps from your phone.
  3. Declutter your wallet of old receipts and unnecessary cards.
  4. Set a screen-time limit for social media apps.
  5. Donate three items of clothing you haven’t worn in a year.
  6. Designate a ‘no-spend’ day once a week.
  7. Clear your workspace of unnecessary items before starting work.
  8. Allocate a specific ‘me-time’ slot in your calendar every week.
  9. Say ‘no’ to one unnecessary commitment this week.
  10. Unfollow five social media accounts that don’t uplift or inspire you.
  11. Create a go-to grocery list to prevent impulse buys.
  12. Streamline digital files by deleting or organizing old documents on your computer.
  13. Spend 10 minutes each day tidying a small area in your home.
  14. Declutter your to-do list by eliminating or delegating tasks.
  15. Practice one-minute meditation daily to declutter your mind.
  16. Cancel unused or unnecessary subscriptions, like magazines or streaming services.
  17. Batch similar tasks, like replying to emails, to simplify and reduce multitasking.
  18. Plan your outfits for the week on Sunday to reduce decision fatigue.
  19. Designate a spot for your keys, wallet, and phone to reduce daily searching.
  20. Re-evaluate your goals monthly to ensure you’re prioritizing what truly matters.

That was fun. Want to really restructure your life? Keep reading.

Step 1: Identify What Truly Matters

it’s easy to lose sight of what’s genuinely important. We get caught up chasing things that, in the grand scheme of things, might not matter that much.

So, where do we start? By taking a moment to define our priorities and values. Maybe it’s family time, perhaps it’s personal growth, or it could be giving back to the community.

Once you’ve identified these core elements, everything else becomes secondary. And here’s the thing: life will constantly try to push and pull you in different directions, which is why setting boundaries is crucial.

Whether it’s carving out uninterrupted family time, setting aside personal “me-time,” or even just having a cut-off time for work emails, these boundaries ensure you’re living a life that reflects your true values.

Don’t just read this and nod your head. Actually do it!

Step 2: Declutter Your Physical Space

clean and organized closet with wooden shelves.

Now, let’s tackle the tangible stuff—the items we can touch and see. Begin by zeroing in on the areas that feel the most overwhelming. It could be that chaotic kitchen drawer, the closet bursting at its seams, or the garage you can’t even park in.

As you sift through items, you’ll likely realize that many things hold emotional weight. That dress from a memorable date, the trinkets from travels, or gifts from loved ones.

But it’s essential to remember: memories aren’t in the objects, but in us. If something doesn’t serve a purpose or bring joy, it might be time to thank it for its role in your life and let it go. By doing so, you make room for new experiences, memories, and a more breathable living space.

Step 3: Digital Detox – Clearing Out The Virtual Clutter

In a world dominated by screens, our digital spaces can become just as cluttered as our physical ones. Start with a simple task: go through your email subscriptions. How many of those newsletters do you actually read? Unsubscribe from the ones that no longer interest you or add value. Do the same with your social media. If there’s an account that doesn’t inspire or uplift you, maybe it’s time to hit ‘unfollow’.

Clearing your digital footprint isn’t about disconnecting entirely but refining what you interact with. And speaking of disconnecting, there’s something truly refreshing about scheduling offline time. Whether it’s an hour before bed, a weekend morning, or even a full day—time away from screens allows you to reconnect with the world around you, with your thoughts, and with loved ones.

Step 4: Re-evaluate Your Commitments

man and woman on nature walk in woods.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to do everything. Social events, volunteer work, extra projects, hobbies—while they all sound great, it’s crucial to ask yourself if they align with your goals and priorities.

Take a look at your calendar. Are there things you’re doing out of obligation rather than genuine interest or value? Here comes the tough part, but it’s also liberating: learning to say ‘no’.

It’s not about being dismissive, but about recognizing that by saying ‘no’ to one thing, you’re saying ‘yes’ to something else—like time for yourself, for self-care, or for commitments that truly resonate with you. And remember, it’s okay to prioritize your well-being. There’s no guilt in choosing yourself.

Step 5: Simplify Your Finances

Money talk might feel complex, but simplifying your finances can bring a sense of calm and clarity. Start by embracing a minimalist mindset when it comes to spending.

Ask yourself: Do I really need this? Will it add genuine value to my life? By being more intentional with your purchases, not only do you save money, but you also reduce the amount of stuff that eventually might become clutter.

But it’s not just about spending; it’s also about saving. Setting clear financial goals can make it easier to resist splurges and to focus on long-term rewards. To streamline your financial life, consider tools and apps designed for budget tracking. Setting up automatic transfers to savings accounts or investments can also ensure you’re consistently working towards your financial goals without the daily hassle.

Step 6: Cultivate Mindful Consumption

woman reading by windowsill.

In today’s world of instant gratification, impulse buying is a real challenge. It’s all too easy to click “add to cart” without much thought. But each time you’re about to make a purchase, pause and reflect: Is this a need or a want? Will this purchase bring lasting joy, or is it a fleeting desire?

Mindful consumption isn’t about denying ourselves but about recognizing genuine needs and avoiding the pitfalls of mindless buying.

And let’s chat about quality over quantity. While it might be tempting to go for cheaper options or sales, investing in high-quality items—whether it’s clothing, gadgets, or furniture—means they’ll likely last longer, function better, and ultimately, lead to less waste and fewer replacements. So next time you’re about to buy something, think of it as an investment in your future self.

Step 7: Maintain A Decluttered Lifestyle

Alright, you’ve done the hard work of decluttering, but how do you make sure it sticks? The key is incorporating small, daily habits that act as safeguards against the return of clutter.

Some ideas:

  • The “one in, one out” rule—every time you buy something new, something old gets donated or tossed
  • Set aside 10 minutes each day to tidy up.

It’s these tiny habits that build up over time and make a significant difference. Beyond physical habits, cultivating a mindset of simplicity is paramount. This means continuously evaluating what you let into your life, be it items, relationships, or commitments, and ensuring they align with your values and goals.

More Resources on Simple Living

If you want to dive deeper, there’s a wealth of resources out there. Many books and documentaries dive into the art of decluttering and the philosophy of simple living, offering both practical tips and profound insights.

  • Slow Your Home Podcast – Brooke McAlary chats about the slower life, focusing on simplicity and mindfulness.
  • Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki – An intimate look into the author’s personal journey towards minimalism.
  • The True Cost – Focusing on fashion, this documentary questions consumerism and its impact on the world.
  • Becoming Minimalist – Started by Joshua Becker, this blog provides inspiration and practical tips on embracing minimalism.
7 Steps to Declutter Your Life (Not Just Your Stuff) And Live Simply

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  1. great article. and fYI, I didn’t have one ad in mine.☺️. even if I did, it takes a second to scroll past them. sorry so many folks are annoyed by the little things.

    1. This my is full time job and the ads are how I generate revenue. So while I realize they are not everyone’s favorite thing, they are a fact of life and how free content exists on the internet.

  2. I am guessing the content in this article was valuable. Unfortunately I was so inundated with ads to buy THINGS I gave up trying to read suggestions for how to reduce the number of things in my life and live more simply.
    Please consider reducing the number of ads your readers are subjected to so they can appreciate the valuable information you are trying to share.

  3. it’s funny because I totally agree with the wrticle, but this page was so shock full adds it was almost unreadable and a short of juxtaposed to the whole intention of the article