The 4 decluttering 'laws' I live by – as someone who loves to keep an orderly home

My tidying rules help to keep my home neat every day, and not all of them require making picture-perfect solutions

A pile of folded jumpers beside a teacup
(Image credit: Alamy)

If you have read any of my other decluttering pieces, you will know that I am keen on decluttering and keeping as tidy a space as possible. Although it is almost impossible to make a lived-in home look like a studio space, there are a few decluttering rules I live by to help make my home a little neater 

While it is easy to tell myself that I will listen to every new decluttering tip, I have found that setting rules and building sustainable decluttering habits work far better – much like my family’s house rules. I affectionately call these my tidying laws.

Here, I explain my four favorite tidying laws and why they work so well. 

1.  Make a place for everything as soon as I buy it

An open bathroom drawer with organizers

(Image credit: Alamy)

I love to shop as much as the next person. The downside to this, however, is that my home very quickly accumulates items quicker than I can thin my collections down – this is especially true for my small closet ideas and bathroom storage ideas. Now I task myself with finding a home for anything new I introduce to my space as soon as I unpack my shopping bags or open up yet another online order. It has even gone so far as to be one of the deciding factors when I am browsing shops too. 

If I cannot think of where an item, whether it be new shoes, moisturizers, or a decor piece will go (and it is not an essential buy) it is not yet time to spend the money and I should be working with what I have already.

2. Only have one drawer dedicated to ‘junk’ 

Kitchen drawers freestanding furniture terracotta tiled floor real home

(Image credit: Future)

The ‘junk drawer’ is a phenomenon I know many people are guilty of having in their homes. Usually in the kitchen, there is always a random drawer that ends up holding all the useless pamphlets, batteries, and random cables that don’t quite fit anywhere else but I can’t get rid of quiet yet either. What if I get rid of a cable after two years and finally realize that it is far too late? 

While I know this is not the ‘best home organizing idea’, having this one guilty spot in my home, limited to one spot bare in mind, means I can quickly throw unclassifiable objects all in one spot. At least I know where to find them. 

Once my drawer becomes difficult to close, that is when I will have a thorough clearout and often end up cleaning my kitchen too.

3. Never underestimate a storage space

anelled door antique door knob single hooks belts scarf

(Image credit: Future)

I love to try and make the most of my space and, even if my partner doesn't agree, I never underestimate a space’s promise for storage. Whether I am adding hooks around my home in inconspicuous places to hang things out of sight, measuring a random space for a stylish sideboard with cupboards, or adding baskets to shelves and under benches, making sure to have too much storage means I will always have room to grow. 

One of the best places I have managed to fit unsuspecting storage is in over-door hangers on the inside of most closets and cabinets – you would be surprised at just what you can hide away in these. Never limit storage pieces like closet organizers to their ‘designated’ function either, an over-door shoe organizer can hold a lot more than just shoes, for instance. 

4. Never stop decluttering

dressing room with wall of closet doors, patterned rug, footstool, two armchairs, side table, shirt hanging up, 2 doors open, retro ceiling lights

(Image credit: Mendelson Group/Tim Lenz)

Now, this sounds tiring, I know, but it really is one of the best ways to keep my house tidy. When people talk about decluttering it often comes to spending a whole day (or even more!) going around your home one room at a time and having a mass exodus of belongings. 

It is far easier in my opinion to do little and often. Whether I am quickly organizing a kitchen when putting away the dishes and throwing out some old containers or organizing a bedroom first thing in the morning and tossing out some gunky makeup products, there is never a bad time to declutter. 

How do you declutter without regrets?

One of the best ways to declutter without regrets is to start the process with things that you definitely know you want to get rid of first before working up to items you are unsure of. Consider having a small bag to add things that you cannot make your mind up about and see if you are still thinking about them in a few weeks' time. If not, get rid!

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.