Decluttering Your Home & KEEPING It Decluttered

by Tammy Taylor

Before we moved here to the ranch, RancherMan and I had to clear out our previous home of items we didn’t want to move with us.  There were tons of things left behind when the children one-by-one moved out of their childhood home to begin their own lives as adults.  There were also all the duplicate items from blending two households when we got married.  And there were of course those sentimental things we each held onto for various reasons.  The first cut was pretty easy.  Things that once belonged to the kids that they no longer wanted – outta here! Things that were duplicates – keep the nicer ones and donate the others, etc.  Pickup truckload after truckload left the house and came back empty.  How refreshing!  Kitchen cabinets were cleared of duplicate sizes of casserole dishes, serving platters now way too large for any of our current needs, etc.

Decluttering Your Home & Keeping It Decluttered Takes Vigilance And Your Decluttering Can Even Be A Tax Savings! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Once we actually moved out here to the ranch we did another declutter.  There were things we initially thought should move with us but we decided we could actually do without.  Our home became so much less cluttered of things I never used anyway – I loved it.  But how to keep it decluttered?

I think one thing for me that has made much difference is by reducing items I purchase.  I simply ask myself this question first:  “is it worth throwing away the whatsit we already have to replace it with this same type of whatsit in a different color?”  Sometimes the answer is yes but most of the time the answer is NO!

Some of the thoughts that run through my head are: Well I know these coffee mugs are cute, but where will we store them?  Will I need to get rid of the cute coffee mugs I already own to be able to have the space for these new cute coffee mugs? Or:  These sheets are beautiful, but what about the sheets I currently have?  Are they ready to be replaced or will this set just add to my already-tight storage space for yet more sheets?  Or even: These towels have a beautiful pattern, but how will I store them?  This cuts down on many impulse items & would-be purchases coming into our home.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of buying something new but I’ve found once you quieten the buy, Buy BUY monster it’s just as easy to think it through first.  It’s meant a huge clutter reduction as well as budget saver for us!  Good for the environment, good for our budget.

Decluttering Your Home & Keeping It Decluttered Takes Vigilance And Your Decluttering Can Even Be A Tax Savings! #TaylorMadeHomestead

What about the things we already have?  About once a year I go through my closet and take a good hard look at my clothes.  Typically when my clothes are washed they are rehung on one side of the rod in our closet.  So the things hanging on the other end of the rod haven’t been worn in a while.  Sometimes it’s a seasonal item or a special-occasion dress that still makes the cut to remain.  But oftentimes is a lesser-loved item.  I’ll pull them out of the closet and separate into two stacks.  One indicating it has outlived it’s useful clothing life and ready to be turned into rags.  And another stack to throw into the washer to freshen up the fabric, then fold them nicely and send them off to a thrift store so someone else can love them like I did.

Once the closet has been decluttered I take a walk around the house for anything else that needs to get outta here on this thrift-store run.  Coat closets and kitchen cabinets are examined.  Desk drawers and guest-room closets get looked at too.  I make a box of things that should go.  Then I list them on a spreadsheet that I keep for income tax purposes.  I list every item going to the thrift store and apply a fair-market value to each item, along with the date donated and the total value.  I add to this document any time throughout the year that we make a donation to a charitable thrift store and it’s printed out at the end of the year and attached to the thrift-store receipts for our donations.  Oh yeah, I really like EASY at tax time!

What about you? How often do you declutter?  How do you determine what stays and what goes?  Where do you send your still-usable items?

~TMH~

 

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69 thoughts on “Decluttering Your Home & KEEPING It Decluttered

  1. Terri Presser

    Great post, and great steps to ensure that you don’t keep too much clutter. We don’t get receipts for donations to thrift stores here in Australia that I know of. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      That’s a good point Terri, the tax deduction is here in the U.S. – I’m not sure about other countries. ~TMR~

      Reply
  2. Elaine

    Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday – Link Party!! Hope to see you tomorrow !! Love your stuff! Pinned!

    Reply
  3. Melissa French, The More With Less Mom

    Sometimes it’s really hard to pass up on a good deal, even when you don’t need it. Thanks for posting. Hello from Farmgirl Friday.

    Reply
  4. Mila

    Keeping it decluttered is the hardest thing ! And you are so right : ‘need’ vs ‘want’ is the key 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      You’re so right Mila. And without showing restraint and just buying more things to take the place of things you’ve purged, oftentimes you find yourself in the same place again and again. Every now & then we’ll contemplate a purchase (a want, not a need) and I’ll come to my senses and wonder what perfectly good item I’d have to get rid of to replace it with this thing… ~TMR~

      Reply
  5. heidi

    You make decluttering sound so easy. I have to tell myself that I have to put together a bag or box of items to take to the thrift shop before I allow myself to go out shopping again. It does work, and it slows down that buying habit.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Decluttering is often a challenge Heidi for any of us, and changing “needs” vs “wants” perception can be key in winning that battle! ~TMR~

      Reply
  6. Sarah E. Albom

    Recently I cleaned out my closet, which although not on as grand a scale as a house was very nice. Except for the fact all the unwanted stuff is now in a pile on the floor. Such fun 🙂 Linking over from Weekend Blog Party

    Reply
  7. Nancy @ Little Homestead in Boise

    We declutter several times a year. After storing our kids things during college, now most of it is gone. Leaves us with the space in the garage to move our things around. We’re actually emptying our shed to downsize it, and tear it out. More garden space 🙂

    Reply
  8. Ricki @ The Questionable Homesteader

    I love this, when I was in collage I would go through the house after every semester and get rid of everything I didn’t need. I used to challenge myself to get rid of at least 1 to 3 bags of stuff. I did summer, fall, and winter semesters so I my place got an overhaul about 3 times a year (towards the end it started to get really difficult to fill 1 bag of stuff, but I still tried), it was great. I really loved it. But since finishing school, I’ve found it more and more difficult to do this. I really don’t suffer much from the “buy monster” but for some reason people love to give me stuff, and the worse part is half the time I can see instantly what I want to do with something (only problem is I have about 500 other things to do before I get to that project). I’m exceptionally good at saying no and tossing out stuff I don’t need or don’t know what I can do with, but when it comes to stuff I have a vision for, I hold on tight. I need to learn that if I can’t get to something in the next month, it needs to go…

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I’ve always hated that I wasn’t more crafty & creative, but I guess in this case it’s helpful that I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. I’ve heard that crafty and creative people have a more difficult time because they accumulate craft or project supplies. ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Lady Locust

    I went through the house a couple years ago & as I like to say “cleaned to the corners.” I got rid of so much. Since then, I keep a bag inside the pantry door so whenever there is something to go, I put it in the bag & every so often take it in to a thrift shop that helps the historical society. Also, to help keep things out, I ask myself if I will have to dust it, feed it, or care for it. If the answer is yes, I don’t want it. Usually if it’s something I actually need, it will feed me, help care for me in some way, or add value to life not distract from it. I actually like decluttering. It feels wonderful:)

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      That’s a great idea to leave a bag inside the pantry door. And it’s wonderful that the things you can no longer use are being sold at a thrift store and going to a cause important to you. Love that! ~TMR~

      Reply
  10. Ashley

    I have to admit that I don’t declutter often enough. I recently went through my closet to clear things out and ended up donating 500 pieces of clothing! Thanks so much for sharing this great post with us at the Merry Monday link party. Hope to see you again next week!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Wow – 500 pieces. LOL Good for you Ashley for taking the step to clear out your closet. It looks so much better now though, doesn’t it? ~TMR~

      Reply
  11. Colletta

    My house needs a good decluttering. Maybe you could make a trip up to PA to help me out! BTW, I love the picture in your header 🙂 I hope you can stop by: http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2015/05/family-time-take-me-out-to-ballgame-5515.html Colletta

    Reply
  12. Gentle Joy

    I have read this before … and commented, but I had to do it again…. this is great and I am doing this and getting ready for a garage sale… and this is a little boost for me. 🙂 Thank you.

    Reply
  13. At Rivercrest Cottage

    this was a good reminder to not purchase cute, but unneeded things. I try to remind myself that there is no need, and no room, for more than two sets of sheets for each bed…clean one on the bed and the other one in the wash basket. Still, I find myself looking at sheets more and more lately, even though I don’t need them. I will keep your post in mind and ask myself the questions you posed. great article.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      YES – Those cute but unneeded things were the reason I couldn’t ever KEEP decluttered. I still have to go through the house semi-regularly and look at things with a new eye but it’s significantly reduced. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  19. Millie

    We’re building a slightly smaller home that we’re moving to next summer so de-cluttering is high on my list. It amazed me that just over 5 years ago everything we owned fit in a 10 x 12 storage unit and 23 foot camp trailer! Now it seems we are crammed to the rafters. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Millie I really think we fit the possessions into the space we have. If we have more space, we seem to want to buy more stuff. I’m fighting that mindset as hard as I can by NOT buying things to replace things I already have. Sometimes a purchase is actually merited and in those cases I buy, but more times than not I can pass by that purchase with no regrets. My primary drive is environmental, but this action benefits both financially as well as reducing clutter. ~TMR~

      Reply
  20. Jenny

    This is so true. I am in the process of decluttering stuff and you often wonder why you even bought the item in the first place. I would love for you to share a post on my Meet Up Monday Blog Party! http://jennymaire.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  21. Julie V.

    Thanks for sharing. I found you on the Saturday G’day Party. Question: For your donated items, you say you make a spreadsheet with a list of fair market value. Is that the value you believe the thrift store will sell your items for? Or is it the value you think they have? Because sometimes thrift stores sell things for less than what I think fair market value is, which is why I love to shop at them 🙂 I try to keep down too much of a lot of things. When I was a pre-teen and first learning to cook/bake, I remember always searching for the right size of measuring cup. My mom had so many sets, I would search for a 3/4 cup and instead pull out four 2/3 cups before finally finding the 3/4. The extra stuff actually got in the way of finding what I needed. I cook and bake a lot now (I own a food blog) and I always tell my husband that I don’t want him buying me lots of kitchen gadgets without asking me because I’d rather not own kitchen drawers stuffed with so many things that I can’t find what I’m looking for.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Julie – I did a search for fair market value of donated items for the current year (it can change every year). Goodwill provides a very thorough information sheet online about IRS guidelines and fair market value – I use their estimates. Also I’m like you, I hate specialty things in the kitchen. For instance I don’t want a quesadilla maker – I have a cast-iron skillet that will make quesadillas and many other things. ~TMR~

      Reply
  22. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

    I sort my clothes every fall and spring when I’m rearranging so that my seasonal clothes are in the drawers and closet while the out-of-season ones are in the storage bins. I also try to give away an item similar to each Christmas gift: get a sweater, give away a sweater, etc. We did a lot of decluttering in preparation for our new baby…who of course requires some new stuff of her own, sigh! But our house still looks a lot better than it did because we cracked down on big brother’s tendency to scatter his stuff throughout the house, and needing to get it all into his room motivated him to part with some things.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Becca, everyone has their own version of decluttering, but almost everyone feels a real sense of freedom & satisfaction when decluttering is done. To me it’s frustrating that ‘things’ kinda creep in when I’m not looking. My success finally came when I became determined NOT to buy something to replace something beautiful & functional I already had in my home. Others like you have a seasonal system, and of course you have the added facet of small children. But it sounds like the decluttering system you have in place is really working well for you & your family. Congrats on the new baby! ~TMR~

      Reply
  23. Tracy @ OurSimpleLifeSC

    I wish I could say I only have to de-clutter once a year but I find things creeping in and taking over a few times a year. My hardest spot is my closet in our bedroom. About every six months I practice my 3-step program. http://oursimplelife-sc.com/live-simple-challenge-2-less-is-more/ If I faithfully do these 3 steps I can at least keep it under control.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Kristie It’s surprising to me some of the things I feel may be difficult to part with aren’t difficult at all & I never miss those things I send along. It’s made me more brave into my decluttering too. ~TMR~

      Reply
  24. S.L. Payne

    You’ve just inspired me to go clean out my house! I’ve been trying to figure out where to start and know I really need to do this. Right now, we have all 6 of us in our 3 bedroom house and it is great, but I feel like God is asking us to take in another foster child in addition to the one that we already have so I need to be able to squeeze my 3 bio sons into one bedroom. No stuff is worth not being able to make a difference for a child in need! I love your question about whether or not to buy something- very few things are worth getting rid of what I already have that works 🙂 That would be huge to help us stay decluttered! Love your ideas and thanks for sharing! -S.L. Payne, uncommongrace.net

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Another foster child – what a great motivation for decluttering. Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Judith. You’re right, successful decluttering IS an ongoing thing, huh? ~TMR~

      Reply
  25. Gentle Joy

    This is such a constant task…. and so good to keep up with. We have done much of this… and I love it, but we still have areas….. an ongoing task… making good progress though. 🙂 It’s hard because with 7 of us still here, a lot of stuff comes and goes or kids grow out of things or…. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh yeah, I can see how it would be a constant maintenance with kids growing in & out of things. It gets much easier when your babies grow up & strike out on their own. Keeping your own clutter in check is easier than keeping a whole household full of family decluttered. But each season has it’s joys & rewards. ~TMR~

      Reply
  26. Heather

    I feel like I am constantly decluttering. With two littles and another on the way, it seems like the stuff that gets into the house in never-ending! But, it feels so good to go through the toys and the *stuff* and just get rid of it! The kids have joined in with me recently, when they don’t pick up their toy room, I give them each a bag and tell them to start picking things to donate. They seem to enjoy decluttering as much as I do.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh yeah Heather, especially with littles “things” can creep in. How fun that you’re having fun teaching your little ones too! ~TMR~

      Reply
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  29. Shana

    This is so true! Hubby and I are currently in the moving process and although we don’t actually have A LOT of stuff….I still seem to be getting rid of things. Shoes that I have kept with the “intention” of having them resoled (for 3 years now) and baby items that I just don’t feel ready to let go of yet are slowly finding their way into trash piles or other homes needing of these items! One thing I’ve learnt in the process is there are lots of people out there with nothing and here we sit with so much we don’t use. I’ve given away more than I’ve thrown out. There seems to be always someone willing to take the something or another! Thanks for linking up to the Weekday Mixer! Stopping by as a co-host!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Shana, when you mention that there are so many people out there with nothing and here we sit with more than we can use, I think you really hit on one of the reasons I hate to throw something out unless it’s really useless. Sure this flatware is outdated but SOMEONE will use it. I’d rather make absolutely sure it can’t be used by someone else before I throw it away. Hopefully anything that’s in usable condition but not pristine that I give to a thrift store is sent somewhere where it can still be useful. (I know thrift stores hate you to send them trash – I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about goods still in usable condition w/o holes or stains, etc) ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

        Actually, I just read (in a paper newspaper that doesn’t seem to have the article online…) that many thrift stores these days, including Goodwill, have connections with businesses that turn unsellable clothing into rags for making insulation, stuffing, etc.

        Reply
        1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

          I’d read that before as well Becca and I asked our local Goodwill about it. The clerk seemed a little confused and didn’t know anything about that so I’ve not been sending our used-out clothing. You’ve made me want to go ask again in case that one clerk was just not in the know – I think reusing clothing for other purposes once they’re not fit for actual wearing is an awesome idea! ~TMR~

          Reply
  30. Heidi @ Pint Size Farm

    I am hosting a clutter challenge at my blog and I have gotten rid of so much already! For my closet I made myself go down to 10 days worth of clothes for each season. I got rid of a ton! Thanks for your homeacre blog hop submission 🙂 Feel free to stop by this week and submit another!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      That sounds like a great system Heidi, and one I hadn’t thought of. Hummmm…. Thanks for sharing. ~TMR~

      Reply
  31. Daphne

    Good Morning to you, I have moved around a lot during my married life, so decluttering always happened when we moved…. it was so cathartic to clear away possessions which had accumulated. The problem now is, we are settled and I have noticed an accumulation of possessions. The real problem for me is that I hold on to things, just incase they are needed. I seem to be resisting donating clothes and the like to charity shops as I might need them in the future. I know this is something I need to change, so I will set myself a task to clear out a few things at a time…. maybe then it will not be so hard. Best Wishes Daphne I

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Daphne, I’ve struggled as well with keeping things ‘just in case they’re needed’. I think it’s a common holdback. But I’ve rationalized a change like this: If I DO need this (blouse, slacks, skillet, etc) in the future I’ll go back to the thrift store & pick it up then for very little money, in the meantime I don’t have to store it. I’ve found very few things ever had to be replaced, and that success has helped me build on it further. Give it a try. ~TMR~

      Reply
  32. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    I usually declutter my home once a year, sometimes twice if I think we need it. I’m going through a decluttering phase right now, especially since things didn’t get put away because I was so busy.

    Reply
  33. Karen

    I’ve given this post some thought over the course of the past couple days. We spent Mother’s day afternoon at my husband’s niece and her husband’s newly acquired home. They have everything they needed as far as furnishings but there was a distinct absence of “stuff.” The effect was liberating. Decluttering could be one antidote to less stress in our lives. One of the best pieces of advice you gave was to reduce what we purchase. After all, how much more do we need than what we already have?

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I agree Karen. In the past I’ve been baffled as to why I can go through & declutter the entire house yet never seem to get on top of it. The answer was these small sneaky onsey-type purchases. It never seems like much at the time but they all add up. Since I’ve started being mindful about what I DON’T bring into the house we’ve finally gotten a grip on the clutter bug. ~TMR~

      Reply
  34. Texomamorganlady

    When we were active duty military, we moved every couple of years and collected very little clutter. Now, we are retired and I am shocked at how quickly it piles up! Sometimes I dream of moving just to be able to dump the junk.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      LOL – I hear ya! It really does sneak up on ya – one tiny insignificant purchase at a time. I’m telling ya until I turned off the “BUY” monster those little tiny insignificant purchases kept me in trouble. Now I stop & think about it before I buy. If it’s worth getting rid of the like item I already have to bring in this new one I will, but more times than not I pass on the new purchase. Good for our budget, the environment and our clutter sanity! ~TMR~

      Reply
  35. carol

    I do declutter now and then. I ask myself if I have used it or worn it in the past year if the answer is no then it goes. As far as where I send them sometimes it’s the Thrift store or the diabetes society. I did do a big declutter when we moved here three years ago so not much left to go.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Carol there are many different avenues for getting things out of your home that you no longer use & getting them into the hands of someone who will love them. Good for you for finding those outlets that work for you. Like you we’ve done the major declutter when we moved here but I do mini declutter sessions several times per year. (isn’t it funny how things sneak back in over time?? LOL) ~TMR~

      Reply
  36. ColleenB.~Texas

    I need to do some decluttering here as well. Big time I might add. If I only had the time. I have clothes in my closet that I haven’t wore probably in 5 years or more. Went out early this morning and dug and transplanted daylilies to put in my rose and daylily bed and then the rain came so had to quit and I only had 3 more lilies left to dig up in the one bed but have about 8 more others yet to dig and plant. Too muddy to do any dig anymore today and the way it sounds having rain again tomorrow but complaining as well all need the rain. I did manage to plant 9 roses tho and 6 daylilies yesterday so at least they are in the ground.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Yep Colleen, I have to keep revisiting my closet to get it toned down to a level I’m comfortable with. So many times you hang on to something you forgot you had but still looks great on you, but there are so many clothes in your closet it’s not long before you forget again that you have it. 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply

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