3 Tips to Simplify your “Stuff” (Clear the Clutter!)

Tiny House living requires you to embrace downsizing and simplifying. One of the biggest selling points for “right sizing”, is the ability to unload unwanted possessions.

Most of us take years to accumulate our stuff, and unloading that stuff can be tough. It requires us to analyze everything we own in a new light.

During my downsizing journey, the phrase, “is it useful, is it beautiful, does it add value to my life,” became my mantra.

I unloaded furniture, clothes, kitchen items and books at a furious rate. I scoured every drawer and closet and made a million choices about what to keep and what to toss. It was exhausting, but rewarding.

Here are three tips for clearing the clutter no matter where you live.

1. Start with the easy stuff and start small

Most of us are attached to our things. There are very few people that can embrace minimalism whole heartedly from the beginning. So start small.

When you start, pick the things that you don’t have a strong emotional attachment to, which is what I mean by the easy stuff.

As a professional organizer, I always started with the junk drawer in the kitchen or the extra toiletry items in the bathroom. Starting small can give you a quick victory and help you create a little breathing space.

2. Sort, Toss, Repeat

There is no short-cut for simplifying, well unless you just toss or sell everything you own! Make sure as you go through your house you sort like items first. This will allow you to see what you actually have.

One of my organizing clients found 14 cans of green beans when we were clearing out her pantry. Until we grouped the items together she had no idea she had that many.

Toss what you don’t need. Now this doesn’t always mean you are throwing things out. It might mean donating them, gifting them to a friend (but make sure it’s something they really need), or in the case of larger items possibly consigning them or selling them.

Repeat this process until you are finished with your simplifying project.

3. Track your progress

Find a meaningful way to track your own progress. It can be encouraging to see how far you have come on your simplifying journey.

I liked keeping a picture of all the stuff I parted with (like the one below). When I felt like I still had a long way to go I would review my progress which always helped me focus on my goal and appreciate how far I had come.


It is liberating and exciting to realize how little you need to live day-to-day, but it is also stressful. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress as you go.

I’d love to hear about your simplifying journey. What are you finding hard to part with? Or what strategies did you use to downsize effectively?


9 thoughts on “3 Tips to Simplify your “Stuff” (Clear the Clutter!)

  1. For us, kitchen items were/are the hardest thing to part with. We successfully downsized all the other areas of our home but we continue to do battle with the kitchen. I think we could live in a spot that is one half kitchen and the other half everything else! But a piece of advice we try to follow was from Alton Brown on one of his cooking shows. It was something along the lines of, “Get rid of single use gadgets. Every item in your kitchen should be multi-use, with the exception of a waffle maker.” We have stuck to that advice and it’s been very helpful.


  2. I really like the picture idea to keep track of progress. We thought we might be moving, so I started decluttering and it’s been very freeing. I still have to go through my RSS (really special stuff)…it’s hard, because I have a book collection and some of them are pre-1900. Not sure what to do about those. They’re cool decorations, at this point, but I’ve never read many of them, and likely never will. Thanks so much for the advice!


  3. Super excited to find your site. Read Jen Hatmaker’s 7, then a plethora of books on simplifying JUST before God re-routed our fam to Africa. Timely indeed. We moved from a 2,500 square foot home in the US to a 2 bedroom home in with just about 1,000 square feet–for a family of 7. THANKFUL for those purges and shifts and for wise women like you who help us to recognize what is really important!


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