Areas in Your Home to Declutter

If you are working with us on the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge, you might be looking for suggestions of places in your home to clean. I’ve compiled this list of 79 areas and will add to it as we think of more. Think of it as your go-to checklist when working on your 40 Bags (or more or less). If you can think of more ideas, list them in the comments!

Want to join in on the challenge? Find more details, free printables, and weekly tips here in the 40 Bags in 40 Days 2014 Challenge.

want to clean your house but don't know where to start? Here are 78+ possible spots to declutter. want to clean your house but don't know where to start? Here are 78+ possible spots to declutter.


Whether you have a big or small kitchen, I think it is a good idea to break up this area into sections. Ditch things that are expired, have missing pieces, or are broken but also things that you have too many of, even if you like them. You don’t need 10 different travel coffee mugs (even if you got them for free!), you probably only need one or two. You don’t need 8 different styles of drinking glasses, pick one or two and go with it. Here are some examples of places to clean out:

  • upper cabinets
  • lower cabinets
  • all drawers
  • under the sink
  • junk drawer
  • food storage containers (especially the ones with no tops/bottoms!)
  • utensil drawer
  • pantry
  • refrigerator
  • freezer
  • vitamin storage
  • spice cabinet/rack
  • mismatched bowls or cups
  • countertops
  • top of the fridge

Family Room and Living Room:

This is the spot you hang out in, right? Well let’s keep it that way! Remove all the clutter so when you finally get some down time, you can enjoy it.

Seriously, if you have tapes or VHS and you haven’t used them in a year or five, you need to rethink keeping them. Same goes with magazines or books. :)

Foyer/Front Closet

In a perfect world, my foyer would always be clean. In real life, it is so hard to keep clean! Sort through the things you have stored here, look for duplicates, things you don’t wear, or sizes you don’t need. Take out of season items and put them in a “summer” or “winter” bin. Keep one or two pairs of shoes and a coat or two out but put the rest in a larger closet.

  • shoe storage
  • coat storage
  • mail
  • baskets
  • backpacks
  • purses
  • desk or sidetables


Many people use their bedroom as a shove-all place (raises hand, guilty). But your bedroom should be the place where you go to relax. Clothes seem to take over. Just remember, if you don’t wear it, get rid of it.

  • under the bed
  • dressers
  • closets
  • side tables
  • bookshelves
  • desk
  • chest
  • everything else that got shoved in here :)

Dining Room:

You may have collections of glasses or china or linens. Try to keep these at a minimum if possible and only keep what you use. If you have something nice, you should use and enjoy it instead of keeping it in storage your whole life.

  • buffet or side table
  • hutch
  • china cabinet
  • bookshelves
  • extra furniture


These spaces will take some time so give yourself a few days or a week to tackle them.

They are also notorious for storing stuff out of sight that you will never use again. If you don’t use it, you probably don’t need it. If you might use it, take note and think about it, and if you still aren’t using it a year later, consider donating it. Remember you are not a store and things can be replaced. If you are hanging onto it because you just might maybe need it some day, it isn’t worth the space it is taking up.

Looking for a sturdy storage shelf to hold bins? My husband built one for our home, here are the instructions on How to Build a Basement Storage Shelf for $60 and in one day.

Other areas:

Our houses are all so different that making a tailored list is really up to you. Here are some other suggestions of areas to declutter:

  • craft storage
  • tools (shed/workbench)
  • paint cans and spray paint storage
  • furniture or DIY project piles
  • laundry room
  • linen closet
  • bathroom
  • bathroom cabinets
  • toy room
  • office (here is a list of “non-stuff” areas, such as email inboxes)
  • recipes
  • filing cabinet (shred old documents)
  • computer desk
  • medicine cabinet
  • makeup, lotions, and hair products
  • flower beds and garden
  • deck, porch, and/or patio
  • purse/diaper bag
  • car, truck, or van (including the trunk and glove compartment)
  • junk drawer (seems like there is one in every room!)

Looking for a list of items that you can’t see but are taking over your life? Here are some “non-stuff” areas to declutter.

Want to join us on a challenge to decrapify your home and simplify? Join our 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS challenge. There are free printables to help you, tips, a weekly newsletter, and support from thousands of participants.

want to clean your house but don't know where to start? Here are 78+ possible spots to declutter.

Have anything you think needs to be on this list?

Tell me in the comments!


    • says

      I am so glad that my girlfriend Kathleen shared this with me. I’m starting today. I had just made
      a decision not to have another year carrying all this clutter in my house.

    • Liz says

      We gave a bunch of VHS tapes to my cousin, who has a two year old, so that he can watch videos and put them in the player himself (can’t really do that for DVDs — too easily broken).

    • Sammi says

      Our local children’s hospital takes them, or schools, or you may even be able to sell them at a yard sale (speaking as one of the crazy people who will buy them if theyre cheap enough).

  1. Stephanie says

    I have already gotten rid of most every thing in my house in preparation for a move. However, I am moving like a turtle in peanut butter when it comes to getting the house ready for sale. I may adapt this idea to help me get through finishing this stuff up!!! Thanks for the great suggestion. I look forward to reading updates.

    • Susan says

      I sold my house last year and took a year to get it ready. My system was one room at a time. Habitat For Humanity took furniture, Salvation Army took some. Many trips to Goodwill. I wish you luck. Lots of work but so happy now!

  2. Renee says

    Yes!!! I’m in, although I’m starting a day late. I heard about this challenge from an e-friend. It’s exactly what I needed for motivation. My house has become so cluttered that I’m mortified. I used to be the “queen” of organization and I didn’t believe in clutter of any kind.. A very stressful job, a challenging needs child, single parenting, and depression has me at this point in my life. I’m determined to use this challenge as a jump start!

    • Shelly says

      Same exact boat! I’m mortified that I haven’t deck uttered in over a year!
      Challenging job, single dating parent, special needs child, and a mountain of depression.
      We can do this! :)

  3. says

    This is AWESOME timing! I just started a major declutter campaign last week. Took a break and restarted yesterday. Today a friend sent a link to this “40 Days, 40 Bags” idea. LOVE LOVE LOVE it! So I’m keeping a log. The link to Phoenix Commotion is to give everyone ideas for things and possible places to donate. Dan with Phoenix Commotion builds homes from 80-90% repurposed things. You will be totally amazed and inspired on top of this article, to see what some things can be re-used for. He is insanely amazing!

    So happy to have found this site! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  4. Lisa says

    I am so doing this beginning tomorrow. I will start one drawer or corner at a time. I have 6 kids and we all have ton’s of stuff. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING THE IDEAS!!!

  5. says

    We’re moving, so everything in this house has to go. I’ll probably have forty bags of stuff – easy! But I’m going to follow along regardless. It’s good motivation to keep on packing and paring down the stuff that we’re taking to the next place.

  6. Sarah says

    This is such a fabulous idea! I have cleaned three spaces thus far, and keep going back to look at them since they look so AMAZINGLY CLEAN AND TIDY. So encouraging to continue the journey. :) Taking things little by little is doable. Thanks!!

  7. Joy says

    I started — even if you get busy and can’t do it one day, it’s helpful to have the mindset. Know what I decluttered? A “technology drawer” full of old chargers and cables that are worthless now. Gone!! Also, I decluttered a pile of old boxes that contained my boyfriend’s Marine Corps photos and such; they were just sitting there gathering dust, and now I’m working on a great project for him for Veteran’s Day. Wouldn’t have found it without the declutter challenge!

    Up next: winter clothes that are never worn and the magazine pile!

    • Kaaren says

      The Salvation Army near my home does a really great job with technology – identifying and labeling various cords and cables. If you haven’t thrown them away already, take them there.

  8. says

    I love that you are doing this! I started purging my house in mid-December and I’m still at it. I don’t do it every day but I make up for it on purge days. I fill at least two bags every time and I visit Good Will to drop off donations weekly.I had no idea I had so much unnecessary stuff.

    I am always discovering an under-used cabinet full of stuff (empty glass jars), clothing the kids don’t like or have outgrown and areas that are problems but I’ve gotten used to them so I have “blind spots” (front closet).

    It’s motivating to know that there are many others out there purging and organizing alongside me.

    I don’t think 40 days will be enough.

  9. Jeanette says

    I took all my DVD’s out of the cases and stored them in a binder. They are much easier to find and take up a lot less room.

  10. says

    Add: Pantry in kitchen
    Under beds & couches, it is interesting to see what gets lost there:)

    I am de-cluttering, started a month ago~ I am so happy to have found your site today…will use it to finish up.
    I am becoming a “minimalist” for our environment personally & the world… we really only use about 20% of what we have, I have read so, why not “share” the other 80% with someone who can use it.


  11. Margy says

    I started this late but still determined to get in my 40 bags by Easter. Spent the last week THINKING about how to get started. YIKES!! Started yesterday and wrapped up 10 bags. Could barely sleep last night for planning to do at least that many again today. Got up early, and have started already. My biggest hindrance was jut throwing good to new things away that I know that people can use and would want. I found a site that will come and pick these things up and put them to good use. That was so liberating I can’t stop thinking, planning and doing.
    Off to do more – just had my coffee break!!

  12. rima says

    I like the idea and really need to join (what? now!)
    I just read it and would definitely like to get rid of too much clutter :( and need too much encouraging!
    I have another place to dig in (if not mentioned in comments!) , UNDER the couches and their cushions!!
    Thank you for supportive ideas..
    Good luck to us all :)

  13. Donna says

    When I feel myself getting lax about the decluttering I go right to 40 Bags in 40 Days and read it through and I’m motivated again. I thank you for this inspiration, it is just what I need.

  14. Madeleine says

    I too am grateful to have learned of this site. I started de-cluttering two weeks ago and love how it feels. I’m not counting bags very well, but my recycling bins are filling faster, and I have quite a lot going to Goodwill. I have found a college-bound son of a coworker to receive the dorm sheets we no longer need. I’ve liberated shelf space! My family is 100% behind me in this effort, and have pitched in too!

  15. Mama Bearito says

    Hi, do you have a downloadable list of these areas? This would b.e a great thing to print and post, in order to help motivate.

  16. Marta Pisco says

    Thank you, I AM going to do this this year! I so much need it! We moved to a slightly bigger house 3,5 years ago, and there are still cardboxes unopen! In the meantime the rooms of the children got so full of toys they can hardly play there… My bedroom is a disaster! Aaaarrrgghh! I am doing it!

    I read at Carrots for Michaelmass I nice tip a couple of years ago: do one wall of the house per day. So, all that is on that one wall and the wall itself will be cleant that day. I think I will use that strategy. I’ll keep you posted!

    Greetings from Amsterdam!

  17. Ami says

    I started this today since winter is getting to me and the thought of having to do spring cleaning when spring starts did not settle with me, So I figure I can get this done and then I get to focus on the entire outside when the snow is finally gone.
    I think this is such a terrific idea and it really feels great getting something accomplished and knowing you are donating stuff (today I did my front foyer, and I got 1 1/2 black garbage bags to donate). My husband is also on board with this and I printed him off the printable as well so he can break his garage in 40 sections, honestly I think he will need 80 lol
    Thanks again for posting this, it is going to be awesome when I get to the final day :)

  18. Jo Roxburgh says

    YaY! This post came just the right time, I’ll go ahead and start here at work, I have plenty of multiple copies of “stuff” and will be more than happy to recycle it. I did this 40 days 40 bags in my home, actually I had more than 40 bags and I dont even have kids, just me and my hubby, we are hoarders, well, getting good at getting rid of stuff though every year. Thank you for the motivation and Good Luck to all of us!

  19. says

    I must have seen this coming. I just gave to Purple Heart, 2 rocker recliners, microwave, toaster oven, storage cabinet, a library table and 25 boxes of books, clothes, kitchen items, pots and pans, etc. I still have a lot to go but I got a big start.

  20. Tricia says

    I downsized after ending a 3 year relationship in April 2014. Separating the household goods with the ex. Inspired me to live minimally. I donated quite a few of my household items, furniture, inherited items from my grandmother and anything typically that would have a better purpose in another person’s home. I am now in a studio participating in Lent, 40 bags 40 Days event and purging from this suggested list of 79 hot spots. I’m am blessed to have found your blog. Good luck to everyone.namaste!

  21. Dianne Lee says

    Thank you to my son’s partner, Lexie, for showing me this challenge. I have loads of clutter and I am downsizing in the next 3 moths, so this has come at exactly the right time for me. Some days I won’t be able to do anything because I have moderate M.E./depression/a life, lol but I’ll do the best that I can. hugs

  22. Terry says

    This is a great project for this terrible weather. Since my trash is not being picked up due to the weather and I cannot get out due to my unplowed road,the stuff may stack up for a few days. I need to convince my husband that 95% of the garage clutter is his!

  23. Becky says

    great ideas, as I talked to friends about the site we decided you need to add a room: the office — our suggestions are
    top of desk, top of tables, and drawers
    top of file cabinets and labels on drawers (get rid of all those magnets)
    file drawers one at a time — toss all that paper you don’t need
    piles of junk on the floor

  24. LAE says

    Last year, I got rid of 2015 things from my house!!!!! I counted every piece of clothing, box of screws (not individual screws/nails etc.), toys, papers etc. I am ready to do it again this year!!!!! :) Every little bit helps! :)

  25. Susan sandler says

    Wow…..just found this website …..I have been decluttering for about a month now……These suggestion ms are wonderful and give me motivatin n to continue…..

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