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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RMN = Retail Me Not
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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Whenever the seasons change or we go through a big transition, I love to do a big declutter.

Some great times to do this are:

– whenever the seasons affect clothing changes (fall and spring)
– after my kids’ birthdays
– during the time between Christmas and New Year

Or… whenever a certain area of my house causes my heart rate to rise whenever I see it.

What does decluttering have to do with frugality? There are so many reasons why learning how to declutter, and continuing to do so a few times a year, can help you save money and stay in a frugal mindset. First of all, when you declutter and are aware of what you have, you don’t buy things you don’t need. If you never look in your hall closet, you might forget you have a bunch of tubes of toothpaste that you bought on sale and have continued to buy toothpaste. When it comes to kids’ clothes, it’s very easy to forget over the course of a year about all the pants you bought on clearance for your daughter.

Another reason decluttering can help you save money is because when you know what you have and only have things you really love and use, you will be less likely to spontaneously purchase things. When you remember how you threw away a whole bin of trinkets to decorate for Christmas because you decided that you don’t actually like having trinkets all over your house, you’ll be way less likely to buy more trinkets! If you’re still not convinced, follow along with me as I go through my hall closet and declutter to save money.

How to Declutter to Save Money

I hope I’ve convinced you of the importance of addressing the clutter in your home. Now you need to know how to declutter! To show you, I thought I’d declutter my hall closet.

I use it to store linens, medicines and other extra toiletry items, cleaning supplies, extra toilet paper, and various household items like outlet covers. Because it holds so many things, it makes it easy to throw things in there when I don’t want to deal with them. It doesn’t look as bad as it has looked in the past, but things on the top shelf are constantly falling down, and while I do have little containers on the other shelves, I have had a hard time finding things lately which means things haven’t been getting put back where they belong. So let’s declutter to save money!

When I am beginning the decluttering process, here are the steps I follow:

  1. Pick the area
  2. Remove all items from the area
  3. Sort into three piles
  4. Throw away the trash and donate give away items
  5. Organize remaining items

Pick the area

We’ve picked the area—the hall closet. This is a great place to start. When you are first starting to declutter, it is best to take it in small bites. You might just work on one room, one closet, or even one shelf!

Remove everything from the area

The second step is to take everything out of that area, or at least from a section of the area. For example, if you are working on an entire closet, remove the items from one shelf at a time. (That said, if you have a big block of time, I’d recommend taking everything out of the closet so you can see what you have.)

I took out one container at a time. Here’s my “dental hygiene” container. This is where I theoretically keep any extra supplies like toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental floss for when we run out. I got a bunch of toothpaste on sale recently, threw it in the container, and now it’s impossible to see what’s underneath it!

Sort into three piles

The three piles you want are keep, throw away, and give away. As you sort, you may find you need a fourth pile for things you’re not sure about. When it came to my hall closet, I really only had two piles: keep or throw away. Anything I found that I didn’t want was almost always because it was expired. That said, if you have a big backstock of unopened, unused toiletry items and it’s more than you need, you could totally donate it to a crisis pregnancy center or homeless shelter. Don’t throw those things away.

I did end up having a “pile” of things that I was going to “give away” in the sense of moving them to a different place in my house. None of my kids like using the flat sheet that comes with sheet sets—they just use the fitted sheet and a comforter. I found multiple flat sheets and a whole sheet set for my bed that I don’t like. I asked my husband, and he wanted to keep these so he can cover all of his more fragile plants in the winter when it freezes. So these got “donated” to the garage, out of the hall closet!

Throw away trash and give away donations

I managed to collect an entire bag of trash from the hall closet. Some of the trash was things like the boxes all those tubes of toothpaste were in. That caused them to take up more space. I also found a ton of expired medications or old prescriptions we don’t need anymore.

There is nothing better than taking a bag of trash to the outside trash can or dumpster. It’s also a great feeling to load up your car with donations to take to the thrift store! I like to put these items in my car as soon as possible so that they’re out of my house.

Organize the remaining items

This can often be the part where many people finally get bogged down. You now have only the stuff you need, but how you should you organize it?

The first step is to find a container for the items that belong in a different place and set those aside. If you have time to get everything back to where it goes, great. But you might be mentally drained, so it’s fine to just leave that for another day. For the items that need to go back into the area, there should be many fewer to deal with!

I found an entire first aid kit in the back of the closet, and I have no idea where it came from! Since I already have bandaids, medicines, and other first aid items in the closet, I opted to move this out to my car so we can have it when we’re on the go. It seems like it’s a good idea to have a first aid kit in the car, but if I hadn’t decluttered, I definitely would have spent full price for a new one!

Here’s the “dental hygiene” bin after I decluttered. I had a little container already in there for extra floss, and then I just grouped like with like so we could see any extra toothpaste and toothbrushes.

I almost always have random bins that can be used for organization. I keep any empty ones on the top shelf of a closet as our needs change and I move things around. If you don’t have containers for things, a dollar store is a great place to get inexpensive containers. Having things loose on shelves is a recipe for disorganization and not really knowing what you have.

Here’s my first aid container after I organized. Who knew I had so much athletic tape?

And here’s the container where I keep boxed medicine, syringes, and any medication that can’t stand on the shelf (which in this picture is to the right). I had some more smaller bins so used those to further separate items.

This shelf now only has the decluttered bins and a shelf with only medicines that aren’t expired. I think I threw away about a third of the items on this shelf!

I already had these plastic bins on this shelf, also, so I just made sure I knew what was in each one and moved things to the right container.

The top shelf looks so much better, too! All I kept were extra pillowcases and the linens we use for our air mattress when people visit. Now there won’t be sheets falling on my head every time I open the door.

Here’s the final picture of the full closet. Not only did I throw away a whole bag of trash, but I only have unexpired medications, I know what household and personal care items I have, and I even found a full first aid kit that I could put in my car. In the near future, I will not buy deodorant, athletic tape, toothpaste, or bar soap, because after I decluttered I realized I already have so many of those items.

I hope this was helpful and encourages you to choose an area of your home to declutter to save money. If you do, let us know how it goes in the comments!

For more help in decluttering, check out my list of spring cleaning and decluttering resources!

Getting rid of clutter and frugality may not seem related, but join me as I teach you how to declutter to save money—let's declutter my linen closet!