15 Simple Clutter Rules For a Minimalist Lifestyle at Home

Angela | Arrow
by Angela | Arrow

I know how frustrating that clutter can be. With five kids and a husband and a busy lifestyle, clutter is just one extra thing to add to the stress. I have found over the last few years a few simple clutter rules at home really helps, and I want to share those with you. I hope that these clutter control rules prove useful for you, too.

1. Keep tabs on unused items

They are hiding in plain sight: clothes that no longer fit, toys that are no longer used. These items just pile up if you are not staying on top of it. So we are constantly looking around our house for any duplicates or anything unused, and we get rid of them as soon as we can.

Clutter control rules

2. The container method 

This is very useful to ensure that we are not keeping more of the same type of thing than we actually need or use. Fill one box with a specific kind of object, and whatever does not fit, do not keep. We found this to be especially helpful in our bathrooms. 

3. Be aware of clutter magnet spots

No matter how tidy or minimalist you are, there are always areas where clutter gravitates towards. Knowing our clutter spots, we constantly declutter them to make sure they do not become overwhelming.

This rule applies specifically to the kitchen. Horizontal surfaces tend to attract more clutter, and in the kitchen, the countertop spaces need to be left for use to prepare your meals. So any items we are not actively using, such as the blender or toaster, we do not let take up space on the countertops. 

5. Set expectations for family members

No one person wants to pick up everybody else's messes. We make sure that everyone is involved in keeping our hope clutter-free. Knowing which spaces are yours to take care of and which items you are in charge of is really important.

And bonus, this is a life lesson that will benefit the entire family, every single member in the future. 

Rules for clearing clutter

6. Central location for electronics

This is a simple thing, but it is amazing how a little cord or an electronic device scattered throughout your house can add to your visual clutter. Having that one spot where all of the electronics go when they are not in use is a really good tip. 

7. Keep a simple wardrobe

My whole family has very simplified wardrobes, with only the things that we use on a regular basis. This really helps to cut down on laundry and makes sure that our drawers and our closets are not overstuffed. Anything that we have outgrown, ripped, or stained, is automatically decluttered and out of our lives. 

8. Seasonal declutter

My calendar is marked with four days a year where I do a thorough declutter of my home. This means going deep into any area where you store things and doing a really good, thorough declutter. I find all sorts of things when I do these extra-specific decluttering sessions. 

How to set clutter rules

9. No more waiting for later

So much clutter can be avoided with just one minute of an activity, such as making the bed or putting your clothes away instead of throwing them on the floor. Do these tasks right away instead of waiting for later, and your home is going to feel a lot more clutter-free. 

10. Take action on paper clutter immediately.

Paper clutter tends to pile up a lot faster than in other areas, and I found it helpful to just get rid of all the junk mail or school papers as soon as they enter my home.

11. Minimize recreational shopping or bargain hunting

At this point, I barely do any recreational shopping. Instead, I shop to replace items. I enter a store with a list in hand of items that I am looking for. I know that for some people, shopping is a form of entertainment, and I too like to peruse the antique stores sometimes.

However, if I see something I like, I take a picture of it, go home, and then think about it before making a commitment. This allows me to still do some recreational shopping without always bringing something home. 

Shopping at home first

12. Shop at home first 

This applies specifically to home decor items. I like to refresh spaces and instead of going to the store, I tend to go around my home and see if I can find any blankets or furniture pieces that might do the job. More often than not, I end up giving the space a new life without bringing anything new into my home. 

13. Shop second-hand first

If shopping is inevitable, choose either Facebook Marketplace or a secondhand store. In addition to it being more economical, I have been able to find some very high-quality, basically new items for very reduced prices.

Importantly, this way, if you get something and it does not fit, it is easier to let go of it and not feel guilty. This works great for puzzles and board games, too.

Special vs replaceable items

14. Things are just things

We tend to have an attachment to items that we have owned for a while. In our house, we try to remember that these items are easily replaceable. If a child breaks a glass, for example, that is not a big deal. It is crucial to distinguish between what is truly special and worth holding onto versus what is just an everyday item. 

15. Do daily and weekly resets in your home. 

Our life is definitely not 100% clutter free, but we know that at the end of each day we are going to get things back in order, and once a week we are going to do a whole house reset. This helps us to not be so overwhelmed if things start to get a bit out of hand. 

Clutter rules

I hope that these rules for clearing clutter helped you guide yourself towards a more clutter-free lifestyle in your own home. Which rule are you going to try to implement? What rules have you set at your home? Let me know!

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2 of 39 comments
  • Marion Collins Marion Collins on Oct 26, 2022

    There was something I read the other day about not cleaning someone else's stuff. My husband and I live together and I am always having to clean up after him. Sometimes I do have to clean up his stuff, so that I can clean up my things, too. I am also taking care of my Mother and have to clean up after her as well. My advice on this is clean up their area, just Do Not throw anything out without checking with them first. When that person comes home, you can sit down with them and have them go through the items before throwing it out. Hope this will help others in their decluttering and/or cleaning.

  • BonDiva BonDiva on Nov 11, 2023

    Frequent resets are normal. Nothing in life is static, changes abound. Thanks for not writing in a preachy self-righteous manner. SO MANY DE-CLUTTERING AND MINIMALIST PEOPLE DO!

    They don't take into account the major differences and health emergencies and more that can have an impact on someone's ability to put their goals into practice.