30 Decluttering Projects to Tackle in 2020

posted in: Organizing 0

Do you want to make decluttering a top priority in your home in 2020?

Are you looking for a fun and easy way to make the decluttering process enjoyable, without stressing yourself out too much?

Decluttering items from your home on a regular basis is a must in today’s world.

We’re constantly buying, acquiring, and receiving more and more material items in our daily lives.

Unfortunately, we don’t often consider the second stage of living and interacting with material items, which is letting things go on a regular basis.

Our homes and offices can only hold so many items at a given time.

What’s more, we naturally outgrow items as we live our lives, be it physically, mentally, or spiritually.

All the more reason to make room for our next stage of development in a meaningful way.

In this post, I offer thirty practical decluttering projects you can tackle over the next month, or at any time you so choose over the course of the year.

These projects are focused on decluttering, or removing items from your home or office that you no longer need, want, or have use for.

If you’ve ever tried decluttering items before, but end up looking at all of your stuff sitting in a pile, then it might be time for a change when it comes to how you approach the decluttering process.

Sure, you can try and remove items here and there, but in my experience, I’ve found the process can go much more smoothly when you turn it into a lighthearted game!

Each of the decluttering projects below are centered around a specific group or collection of items in your home or office. The projects have a creative name attached to each of them to turn decluttering into something that is fun and focused.

Here are a few tips to help make the decluttering process a smooth one:

Assemble decluttering materials in advance.

You’ll want to round up several items before you get started on your decluttering projects. Not all of the projects require the items listed below, but having a few key items like a timer and trash bag handy can make the process a bit more manageable.

At the very least, you’ll want to have a timer, a trash bag or box, a recycling bag or box, and a donation bag or box on hand. If you’re looking for a more thorough decluttering session, round up a recycling bag or box for sensitive papers and materials to be shredded at a later date.

Select your decluttering work sessions with care.

To make the most of your decluttering session, choose a time to work when you’re not visibly distracted or rushed. You probably won’t want to start a session when you’re getting ready for work in the morning, nor would you want to attempt a session when you have your mind buzzing away on a pressing household concern, like preparing dinner.

Work when you’re feeling the most alert, awake, and energized. You should be in a relatively good mood and ready to tackle the job at hand. Taking these steps will help you focus on your work and complete your project with ease.

Start with one decluttering project.

Avoid jumping into the fray and decluttering everything in your home in one single sitting. This may take some self-control, but trust me, it will be worth it! Start with one decluttering project, ideally this should be a project that’s a glaring issue in your living space.

Tackling this project first will free up much-needed space and energy and will motivate and inspire you to keep on going. As you’ll soon find out, it can be incredibly freeing to let go of old and unwanted items so can make room for new items and experiences in your life.

Get ready, get set, and let’s get decluttering!

Makeup Your Mind

Is your makeup causing a mess in your purse or bag? You’ve probably already got a good idea as to what will stay and what will go, this activity only seals the deal.

Pare down your portable makeup kit (the one you use on a regular basis is a good place to start) by removing any lip, eye, or nail colors that you’re tired of using or don’t flatter your features. Now is also a good time to discard makeup products items that have an odor, separated, cracked, or otherwise changed from their original color or form.

The Great Wallet Clean Out

Your wallet may go for weeks, months, even possibly years before you attempt to declutter it. Now’s a great time as any to get started. Go through each of the sections, pockets, and flaps of your wallet and remove all items. Lay everything out on a table or counter and sort through everything.

Throw out and/or shred expired coupons, membership cards, credit cards and IDs. Save any receipts in a marked envelope for business or tax purposes. Take note of any items you’ll need to store elsewhere or for which you’ll need to request replacements. Don’t forget to replace items in your wallet when you’re finished.

Write Well

This tip will make it amazingly easy to locate and use a writing implement at your desk. You’ll be able to say goodbye to all those dried up and unusable tools sitting in your pen cup.

Grab a sheet of scratch paper, pull up a garbage can, and grab that giant mug or coffee tin filled with pens, pencils and markers. You can also dig out any writing implements you may have stashed in a drawer, on top of a desk, or other location.

Quickly open and test each of the writing implements to make sure they are in good working order. The point here is to make your writing a breeze: if the ink/lead is dried up, if the implement doesn’t work, or you don’t enjoy using the item, recycle or throw it in the trash.

No More Diamonds in the Rough

Jewelry boxes house precious keepsakes and sentimental items. But they can also store items that we buy once, and never touch after we acquire them. This activity will help you streamline your jewelry collection.

Open up your jewelry box and take out ten of your favorite pieces and set them aside. Then, take out ten (or more) costume jewelry pieces you don’t really care for, or haven’t worn in the past few years, and donate them to a thrift store, local college theater class, or amateur drama group.

Sock Around the Clock

Could your socks or hosiery use a bit of tender loving care? This activity is fun and relatively quick, and allows you to see great progress being made in a relatively short period of time.

Set a timer for ten minutes and raid your sock drawer. Pick out and throw out unmatched, worn, or uncomfortable socks. When the timer reaches ten minutes, stop. Repeat this exercise as often as you need to clear out your sock or hosiery drawer.

Build a Better Bulletin Board

Your bulletin board is covered in items that are no longer bulletin worthy. They’re just taking up valuable space. This activity will help you start things afresh.

Find a bulletin board in your home that could use some decluttering. Remove old invitations, expired coupons, miscellaneous phone numbers, and notes. Recycle or shred items you no longer need.

Finally, make a pile for items that need to be transferred, transfer any necessary information into your calendar, address book, note taking app or notebook as necessary.

I Wouldn’t Be Caught Wearing That!

Is your clothes closet bulging with stuff? A fun way to declutter your closet is to actually think about whether or not you would wear a certain top or slacks in the presence of another person.

Head on over to your closet and imagine you’re going to meet someone famous whom you admire. Now, pick out, and remove ten pieces (tops, bottoms, dresses) that you wouldn’t want to be caught wearing in their presence. Repeat as necessary until your closet feels a bit lighter.

Purses, Bags, and Backpacks…Oh, My

The right purse or bag can complete an ensemble and make an outfit pop. The wrong bag, no matter how lovely, fashionable, or stylish, won’t be used, and will take up precious space in your purse wardrobe.

Head over to your closet or hallway and pull out five purses, bags, or backpacks you don’t use, or don’t need. Be sure to check all pockets, enclosures, and sections for any loose items like makeup, coins, tissues, and the like. You can repeat this process if you have a large collection.

Feel free to extend this process to any spare wallets, coin purses, and small bags. Donate unwanted items to a local shelter or donation hall.

Ten Minutes, Twenty Magazines

Do you read all the magazines that come through your door? Postal mail subscriptions can quickly pile up even if you’re an avid reader. This step will help you cut back on all that paper clutter.

Begin by setting a timer for ten minutes. Then, locate and recycle twenty magazines you haven’t read or touched in the past six months or more. Repeat this step as needed to shrink the size of your magazine piles.

If you’re really swamped with magazines, you may wish to cancel some subscriptions or switch to digital versions of your favorites.

Fridge Freeze Frame

When’s the last time you decluttered the outside door of your refrigerator? Having a clean space to rest your eyes in your kitchen can motivate you to tackle the rest of your belongings.

Remove old takeout menus, coupons, receipts, invitations, photos, and notes. Transfer any notes or information you’d need to keep in your address book, planner, notebook, or filing cabinet.

If you have any mementos you’d like to save, store them in scrapbook, place them in a frame, or find another suitable storage location. Recycle items that have expired or which you no longer have a use.

One, Two, Unbuckle Your Shoes

Shoe collections can quickly get out of hand. This activity will keep you honest about your shoe collection and your storage situation. And if all else fails, remember: you should own comfortable shoes that you’ll actually wear on a regular basis.

Visit your closet and/or hallway and locate five pairs of shoes. These shoes should be beyond repair, uncomfortable, not in your correct size, or shoes you no longer wish to keep. Donate gently-used shoes to a local thrift store and recycle or trash shoes past their prime as necessary.

Two by Two

A quick note: this project requires a bit more time and thought. You may already have an inkling as to where certain items are located in your home, but otherwise, you’ll want to take your time with this project…

Find duplicate items in your home and get rid of one of them. This could be anything from kitchen gadgets such as electric can openers, to garden and lawn items such as hedge clippers or lawnmowers, to unopened beauty appliances such as hair dryers.

If necessary, you can create a master list of duplicate items you suspect are in your home. When you come across the item in your decluttering travels, you can remove it from your home and cross it off your list.

Shelf Sweep

A kitchen pantry can be full of items that need to be decluttered, especially if you rarely cook, buy items on sale, and/or infrequently use pantry-staples. It’s a good idea to do this decluttering project at least once a year to keep your food stores fresh.

Begin by working your way to the very back of your food pantry shelves. This should be the area that’s nearest the wall or back panel of a cabinet. Carefully pick up and inspect items one by one, be they bags, boxes, canisters, or jars. Dispose of any expired, leaking, or stale foodstuffs.

Bag Be Gone!

Ready to free up some precious real estate in just a handful of minutes? It’s time to finally get rid of that huge donation bag that’s been sitting in your hallway, mudroom, and/or guest room.

Round up any donation bags sitting in your home or office. Take the bag out to your car and make a quick trip to the location donation center. And just like that, you’ve created more space in your home. You can breathe a sigh of relief!

Rank and File

This project is best completed in a filing cabinet or system that is already maintained or updated. It’s about clearing out old information and making room for new. If you need help organizing your filing cabinet from scratch, read my filing cabinet post here.

Pull out three overstuffed files from your filing cabinet. Go through each of the files one by one and shred any old or expired information. Repeat as necessary until you’ve worked through the entire contents of the cabinet.

The T-Shirt Two-Step

T-shirts tend to grow all over the place in a closet or dresser. They truly have a tendency to multiply like crazy, especially when you’re not paying attention! This exercise will help you make your t-shirt collection a bit more manageable.

Here’s what you need to do: for every t-shirt you wish to keep in your closet or drawer, remove at least two. Yes, this will require come sacrifices, but remember, you’ve only got a finite amount of space in which to store items.

If you’ve got an extensive collection, you can change this number to three or more t-shirts as needed.

Tackle the Junk Pile

Warning: this project is not for the faint of heart! This exercise will require your full attention, focus, and persistence. Make sure you are ready to handle a lot of mental and physical processing in a relatively short period of time.

Work your way through a pile of stuff you’ve been meaning to sort through. You could tackle a stack of items on your kitchen counter, coffee table, dining room table, desk, or near the side of your bed. You’ll want to sort through items broadly, removing items you no longer want or need.

Once you’re finished with that, you can work your way towards organizing miscellaneous items into a structure that suits your needs. You can learn more about organizing miscellaneous items in my post here.

The Desktop Dash

Could your computer desktop use a thorough decluttering? It’s not uncommon for digital items to get short shrift. This is a great opportunity for you to clean up your files and start the new year with a freshly-decluttering desktop.

Boot up your computer and take a bird’s eye view of your desktop files. Then, take your time working through each file, trashing any old or unnecessary documents. Store files you wish to keep or evaluate further in a single convenient file on your desktop.

Do the Electric Slide

Let’s face it: technology is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean you need to hold onto all those outdated, defunct, or non-working electronic devices or accessories! It’s well-worth decluttering electronic devices from your home and office on a regular basis.

Round up any old, outdated, or broken electronic devices, attachments and chargers. Some ideas to get you started are cell phones, computers, tables, digital cameras, fitness trackers, and other small electric items. If necessary, remove any sensitive personal data from these devices.

Next, go online to research proper electronic disposal methods in your municipality. There might be local electronic disposal events sponsored by your city, state, or even local stores.

Let’s Dish

Dish ware collections can take up a lot of space in the kitchen pantry. Whether you’ve purchased a brand-new set or received a recent donation from a friend or family member, you can’t go wrong paring down your collection of china and glassware.

Visit your kitchen cabinets and pick out any china and glassware that’s chipped, cracked, or broken. You may want to get rid of items you’re tired of looking at or can’t stand having around the kitchen (ugly mugs, anyone?). Trash and/or recycle items as necessary.

Belt it Out and Scarf it Down

Love to accessorize your wardrobe? If so, you may want to get in the habit of decluttering all those belts, scarves and other miscellaneous items. While seemingly small in size, these items can quickly take up a lot of space in a wardrobe or dresser when they are together en masse.

Go to your closet or dresser and pull out any belts or scarves you haven’t worn in a while, no longer fit, are out of fashion, or that you no longer wish to keep. Donate items to a local thrift store or trash or recycle as necessary.

Drive Me Clean

Driving around in a cluttered car is no fun. By taking the time to clean out your car, truck, or van, you’ll magically gain a clutter-free travel experience for weeks to come.

Grab a plastic garbage bag and head outside to your car. Remove any obvious trash or debris sitting on the floorboards, seats, door pockets, and trunk. This is also a good time as any to remove items that do not belong in your car and store them appropriately in your home or garage.

Plastic Container Meltdown

Tired of drowning in an avalanche of mismatched plastic food storage containers and lids? There’s no need to let storage materials take over your kitchen drawers, cabinets, and shelves.

Head over to your kitchen and pull out your collection of plastic food storage containers. Do your best to match appropriate lids with bottoms. Promptly recycle lids or bottoms with no matches.

Clear Out the Coupons

When’s the last time you tackled those grocery store, department store, and postal flyer coupons? If you keep a file of coupons, discounts, and gift cards, now’s a good time to go through everything.

Go through your collection of coupons one by one. Recycle expired coupons and set aside any valid coupons. Lastly, make a note on your shopping lists or calendar to cash in your unused gift cards.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

If you want to look good, then you need tools that are in good working order. Wouldn’t you agree? This activity will help you declutter items related to personal grooming.

Make a visit to your bathroom, bedroom, and anywhere else you might store hair products. Dispose of worn, sagging, broken, or damaged elastics, scrunchies, clips, barrettes, wraps, bands, brushes, or combs. Feel free to dispose of similar hair tools that don’t make the cut.

Bookcase Race

Is that overstuffed bookcase causing you grief? Why not start the new year off with a bookcase clean out? You’ll be able to find what you need in a pinch, plus your bookcase will look neat and tidy.

Set a timer for 30 minutes and work your way through one shelf of a bookcase. Remove any books you no longer want or need. Recycle or donate books to a local library, used bookstore, reading center, community center, or other group of your choosing. Repeat the race for all bookcase shelves in your home.

Drawer Cleanse

A tidy drawer can be an absolute pleasure to use. If you’re looking for a wholly satisfying decluttering session, you’ll want to definitely start here.

Locate a drawer in a desk, cabinet, or dresser in your home or office. Ideally, you should have difficulty opening and closing the drawer. Carefully open the drawer and remove the contents. Go through all items, one by one, and remove any old, cracked, broken, outdated or unusable items.

Ode to Joy

Sentimental items and mementos can add a bit of personality and fun to any living space. The trick is to keep your collection under control so you can enjoy both your memories…and your space.

Find a collection of mementos and souvenirs currently on display in your home. Decide on a limited number of items to keep on display. For example, you may select five of your most treasured bird figurines from your travels to place on display, and put the rest of your collection into storage, or perhaps let the rest go.


Undergarments literally set the foundation for the clothes we wear. When’s the last time you evaluated your undergarment collection as a whole?

Head over to your underwear or lingerie drawer. Inspect each undergarment with care, one by one. Remove any items that are falling apart, torn, stained, damaged, or hopelessly worn out.

Keep Someone Else Warm

Jacket and coats can quickly take up a lot of space in a hallway, entryway, or spare closet. Fortunately, you can free up some space in your home while warming someone else up in the process.

Raid your hallway and closets for unwanted gently used coats, parkas, jackets. Launder items in a washing machine at home or drop off at the dry cleaner’s for a freshening up. Then, donate the lot to a local shelter or charity drive.

How about you? Are you going to take this decluttering challenge? What are you most looking forward to when it comes to getting rid of things in your home? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
Latest posts from