Are you desperate to get your house organized but don’t know where to start? We teamed up with nine professional organizers to create a 30 day declutter challenge checklist to help you get your house in order and keep it clean.
We’ve broken up the home into four groups to help you tackle each area thoroughly within a month. Don’t worry – we’ve included a free day each week to give you a break or let you catch up on tasks. Bookmark this page, print the calendar and get to work. Good luck!
Before we dive in, take a day to get yourself in the cleaning mindset. Start small by clearing out your day planner or digital calendar tasks and get yourself organized. You can even put all of the following tasks into your phone and set reminders to stay on track.
Grab some trash bags and head to the bedroom. It’s time to purge your closet and get rid of the clothes you forgot you had.
Pro-Tip: Before you get started, take everything out of the closet. This will help you see the space you have to work with as you put your “keep” items back in.
How to Organize Your Bedroom Closet:
✔ Ask yourself: Does it fit? Would you still wear it? Is it in good condition?
✔ Group your “keep” items into categories, i.e. sweaters, dress shirts, pants, etc.
✔ Use a second clothes rod, shoe rack, drawers or shelves to maximize storage space.
Getting a handle on toy box clutter will ensure you have a place for everything and make cleanup time go smoother.
Tips for Toy Box Organization:
✔ Sort through toys without your kids, unless they can handle letting go of the things they’ve outgrown.
✔ Consider storing frequently used toys on open shelves or in baskets where kids can easily reach them and put them back.
✔ Divide items between boxes so your kids can see all the toys available.
It’s hard to relax around clutter. Get miscellaneous items off of your night stand and you’ll be poised for a restful night’s sleep.
Tonia Tomlin’s Tips for a Peaceful Bedside Table:
✔ Use stackable drawer organizers for the items stored in your bedside table.
✔ Install clear dividers so you can easily see everything you have.
✔ Label your drawer dividers so you know exactly where to put things back after use.
“I recommend storing a very small number of items in your nightstand. Chapstick, book, kindle or iPad, phone charger, ear buds, small tissue package – only what you truly need at your fingertips in the evening.”
Tonia Tomlin, Professional Organizer | Sorted Out
Whether it’s part of a mudroom or tucked beside your front door, it’s easy for your coat closet to turn into a catch-all.
Try These Coat Closet Organization Ideas:
✔ Remove anything you don’t need when you’re entering or leaving your house. Re-home those items where you actually use them.
✔ Rethink how many coats each member of your household needs. Most of the time, one everyday coat and one for dressy occasions is plenty.
✔ Store out-of-season items in your basement or attic so you can quickly get to the outerwear you need for the current weather.
It’s easy for hall closets to turn into a giant junk drawer for your home. Cut through the clutter and find what’s valuable and what needs to go.
Tips for a Neater Hall Closet:
✔ Toss or donate any items you haven’t pulled out of the closet in the last year.
✔ Group your “keep” items by category.
✔ Use vertical space. Hang a shoe organizer on the back of the door to use as storage and set plastic drawers on shelves.
It seems like a big job, but once you get your kids’ closets organized, you’ll have a much easier time getting them ready for school in the morning.
“Put the things worn most in the place that’s most accessible and easiest to reach.”
Barbara Reich, Professional Organizer | Resourceful Consultants
Child Closet Organization Ideas:
✔ Get rid of anything your kids have outgrown or no longer wear. Group the rest by season and category.
✔ If you want your children to dress themselves, hang clothing where it can be easily reached.
✔ If children share a closet, separate clothing using labeled closet rod dividers.
Take a breather – you’ve earned it! If you fell behind on your tasks, take this time to sort through the belongings you didn’t get to yet so you’ll be ready to move on to the next area of the house.
Do you have three different sets of silverware and tons of mix-matched coffee mugs? Get a handle on kitchen clutter to get the heart of the home in order.
How to Clear Out the Cabinets:
✔ Keep enough dishes for each family member to use between washings, plus a few more. Get rid of the extras and anything that’s broken or chipped.
✔ You cook nearly every day, so if you haven’t used a cooking utensil in the last month, it can probably go.
✔ Keep the utensils and dishes you only use during holidays and special occasions in bins at the back of your cupboards or on high shelves.
It’s probably total chaos, but we found some helpful advice to make organizing your junk drawer a breeze.
“It’s all about divide, contain and conquer. Get some inexpensive dollar store plastic baskets in multiple lengths and widths. You can arrange them as if you were playing a game of Tetris. Ice cube trays or mini muffin tins are great for containing very small items.”
Julie Bestry, Certified Professional Organizer | Best Results Organizing
Bestry’s Tips to Get the Junk Drawer Under Control:
✔ Empty the entire drawer onto the kitchen counter or table.
✔ Move anything edible, like sauce packets, to an appropriate place in the pantry.
✔ Toss anything broken or unnecessary, then group the remaining items into categories like “tools,” “batteries,” “keys,” “office supplies,” etc.
Stop using your counter as a shelf and gain back the space you need to prepare meals. The trick is figuring out what belongs and what doesn’t.
Tips to Declutter Kitchen Countertops:
✔ Remove decorative items. Display these on a shelf, on top of cabinets or another out-of-the-way spot.
✔ Remove appliances you don’t use often. An exception might be a stand mixer, which is usually too big and heavy to store anywhere else.
✔ Use vertical space. Get racks for spices, cooking oils and paper towels and mount them on the wall, or use a magnetic version on the side of the fridge.
This is likely where you stuff cleaning supplies, which, ironically, can turn into a total mess. Use this list to make it easy to find what you need.
Simple Organizing Tricks:
✔ Use pull-out storage or a Lazy Susan to find what you need fast.
✔ Be honest about the products you actually use and get rid of the other supplies.
✔ Hang hooks or tension rods to create extra space for dish rags, gloves and other items.
Pro-Tip: Remember to toss any expired cleaning products, which can be dangerous to use past their expiration date, and sponges older than a few weeks, which can harbor harmful bacteria.
Tired of wasting money on food you forgot you had or buying so much it goes bad before you can eat it? Start by emptying both the fridge and freezer and giving them a thorough cleaning. Then, use these tips from Perri Kersh, owner of Neat Freak Professional Organizing LLC, to keep them organized.
How to Keep a Tidier Fridge:
✔ Label drawers so you can unpack groceries directly into the correct area of the fridge.
✔ Do you have more than one open container of the same condiment? Keep the freshest and throw out the rest.
✔ Use small, plastic containers and group like with like. Designate certain areas of the fridge for particular product types, like drawers for produce and top shelf for leftovers.
“Plastic works best for organizing food because it’s easy to toss in the dishwasher or wipe clean if anything spills.”
Perri Kersh, Professional Organizer | Neat Freak Professional Organizing LLC
Get the Freezer in Order:
✔ Skip a trip to the grocery store and eat what’s already in the freezer.
✔ Set up a regular schedule to go through your freezer and take inventory to avoid buying duplicates.
✔ Just because something won’t go bad in the freezer doesn’t mean you should keep it. If you know you’ll never thaw and cook it, toss it.
“Tossing food you won’t eat and can’t donate is really no different than tossing items you don’t need, use or love. It’s taking up valuable real estate that could be used by items you’re much more likely to eat.”
Perri Kersh, Professional Organizer | Neat Freak Professional Organizing LLC
It’s easy for the pantry to turn into a mess of canned goods and boxed snacks. Use today’s task to get yours back into order with more advice from Kersh.
Guidance for an Organized Pantry:
✔ Place like items in containers, especially if your pantry has deep shelves.
✔ Use organizers that create height to store items that won’t fit in containers.
✔ Label containers or use clear plastic so it’s easy to find what you need. This also makes it easier to quickly and neatly unpack after a trip to the store.
“Containers act like drawers, allowing you to pull out the whole thing to find what you need rather than reaching into deep shelves to see what is in the back.”
Perri Kersh, Professional Organizer | Neat Freak Professional Organizing LLC
You’re on a roll! Time to relax – unless you missed a task or two. Then it’s time to catch up.
Make your morning routine less stressful and get your bathroom organized by getting rid of the beauty and hygiene products you don’t use.
Tips for Organizing Personal Care Products:
✔ Do you have multiples of an item? Keep the brand you like best and toss or donate the others.
✔ Don’t feel obligated to hold onto gifts. If you’ll never use the bubble bath you got, donate or re-gift to someone who will.
✔ Get rid of “aspirational” products. Doing a daily face mask is a nice idea, but if you don’t have that kind of time, you’re better off letting it go.
Now that you’ve figured out which toiletries to keep, it’s time to get them in order.
Create a Tidy Shower:
✔ Don’t forget to regularly run your loofahs through the wash.
✔ Wipe down or replace your shower caddies so they’re fresh and clean.
✔ Group products by category. Hair products on one shelf, face and body wash on another, etc.
Let’s be honest – beauty products are rarely beautifully organized. Use today’s task to tackle the clutter.
“Don’t punish yourself for buying something you ended up not liking; chalk it up to a failed experiment. This has everything to do with quantity. Once you know what you are keeping, you can find the best storage solution.”
Ben Soreff, Professional Organizer | House to Home Organizing
How to Declutter Your Makeup Bag:
✔ Toss anything that’s more than a year old. Makeup expires and can harbor bacteria after that point.
✔ Chuck all the free samples if you’re not using them. Even though they’re little, they’re just taking up space.
✔ Let go of products you don’t like. Don’t let an eyeshadow palette that doesn’t suit you take up space at the bottom of your bag.
An orderly vanity will help you get ready quicker which means you’ll have more time to yourself in the morning.
Soreff’s Advice for an Organized Vanity:
✔ Group items into categories like dental, shaving, etc. Use drawer dividers to keep them contained.
✔ Don’t overbuy. If you can’t fit five toothpaste tubes within your dividers, pass up on the bulk pack no matter how good the deal is.
✔ Only keep the things you use frequently in or on your vanity. If you have products for special occasions, move them to the linen closet.
If you’re tired of shoving towels into an overstuffed closet or hoping the whole pile doesn’t come tumbling down when you take a pillowcase out, today’s task will help you get organized.
How to Achieve Orderly Linen Storage:
✔ Get rid of anything torn, worn or stained.
✔ Keep enough towels for each family member between washes, plus a few extra. Donate the rest.
✔ Unless you frequently have multiple overnight guests, only keep one extra set of bedding per bed.
Under the bathroom sink is the perfect recipe for out of sight, out of mind. If you use this space to stash miscellaneous items, it’s time to sort through.
“Under the sink often holds a mix of unused and forgotten bathroom cleaning supplies, toiletries, cosmetics and other health and beauty aids (old curlers set anyone?). Here’s a hint: if it’s dusty and grimy, it means it’s not being used. It’s time to get rid of the junk and liberate your space.”
Kathy Vines, Certified Professional Organizer | Clever Girl Organizing
How to Take Back the Space:
✔ Take everything out and immediately toss anything over a year old, broken or that really shouldn’t be there.
✔ Put cleaning supplies in a shower caddy so they’re easy to grab when you need them and can be neatly put away when you’re done.
✔ Invest in stacking bins and group like items together, toiletries, cosmetics, first aid materials, etc. Use a cabinet door organizer to hold hair appliances.
Rest day! If you have a guest bathroom you didn’t get to, this is the perfect day to rinse and repeat all the tasks you went through this week.
If you need help minimizing the clutter in your living room, start by getting rid of the things that don’t carry sentimental value or provide a necessary function. Then, decide what to do with the rest.
Tips on Organizing the Important Things:
✔ Label each cord and use cable ties to group wires connected to the same device.
✔ Use baskets or decorative bins to hold remotes, video game controllers and other small accessories.
✔ Sort sentimental items into categories and only keep those that spark a strong, positive memory or feeling.
“I often help clients redesign their spaces, but only after we have decluttered. I find that when we remove what’s no longer loved or needed, the space tells us what it wants to be.”
Kristen Ziegler, Professional Organizer | Minima
It’s easy for misplaced items to end up in the living room and clutter the floor and coffee table. Use today’s task to put them back where they belong.
How to Put Things Back Efficiently:
✔ File paperwork away in the office.
✔ Take toys back to your kids’ rooms or playroom.
✔ Return dishes to the kitchen and coats to their closet.
It’s time to bring order to the small spaces like end tables and ottomans that do a good job of hiding clutter.
Tips for Organizing Living Room Storage:
✔ Toss old electronics like cords and remotes that you no longer need.
✔ Get rid of throw blankets and pillows that are worn out or simply not needed.
✔ Treat these spaces like other storage areas and use dividers or plastic containers to organize small items.
It can be distracting and difficult to conduct business on your phone or get to the app you need when you have pages of apps and hundreds of notifications. It’s time to get a hold on your phone.
Get Your Phone in Order:
✔ Delete old apps and get rid of any that are similar.
✔ Create albums to archive photos and delete duplicates and blurry pictures.
✔ Listen to old messages and delete the voicemails you don’t need.
It’s a tedious task, but you’ll thank yourself when you need to quickly find an important document. Certified Professional Organizer Amy Vance of Eco Modern Concierge gave us some advice on the best ways to organize paperwork.
Amy Vance’s Tips for Getting Papers in Order:
✔ Clean paper off surfaces like your desk, counters and kitchen table every night.
✔ Go paperless wherever possible and remove yourself from mailing lists so you’ll have less junk mail to sort through each day.
✔ Deal with mail as soon as it comes in. Have a recycle bin and shredder nearby for junk and schedule a time to go through the keepers every evening.
“When it comes to organizing paperwork, one of the biggest problems is that paper stacks up everywhere. Prevent this by giving your paper piles a physical limitation. Use a mail sorter or magazine holder to vertically corral mail and papers as they enter the home or office. Once this holder is full, you’ll have no choice but to tackle the paperwork.”
Amy Trager, Certified Professional Organizer | AmyTrager.com
It’s time to tackle your desktop and drawers to create a home office that helps you stay focused.
Vance’s Advice for an Orderly Desk:
✔ Use a desktop file system with folders or bins for categories like, “To Be Paid,” “Paid,” “File,” “Outgoing Mail” and “To Read.”
✔ Keep items you will need to access often, like staplers, stamps, checkbooks and envelopes, near the top drawers of your desk.
✔ Utilize pen holders for pens, scissors, highlighters, etc. Group items by category and be realistic about how many of each you need.
“Make a list of file categories that work for you based on your paperwork. But try to keep it to six files or less if possible, so it doesn’t get overwhelming.”
Amy Vance, Certified Professional Organizer | Eco Modern Concierge
You made it through arguably one of the hardest rooms to clean, the catch-all we like to mask as a home office. Reward yourself by kicking your feet up or doing something fun.
Now that you finally have the whole house in order, it’s time to do a last sweep through every room. If you’ve organized the right way, there shouldn’t be too much clutter and it should be easy to put things back.
Congratulations! You decluttered your house in 30 days. Whether you checked off every task on the list or just focused on your problem areas, we hope our decluttering challenge helped you get organized. Now it’s time to pick up your feet in your freshly organized living room, relax and enjoy the results of your hard work.
Want to make sure your house stays clean? Check out our tips for keeping a clutter-free home.