10 tips for physical de-cluttering

Today’s IORG Guest Post is from Ingrid Pope, executive coach and professional mind de-clutterer. Ingrid’s mission is to de-clutter the world of everything that gets in the way of our effectiveness, our focus, and our life by creating space to think, to work, to live. https://creatingspacecoaching.co.uk/

After my top 10 tips for digital and mental de-cluttering, this third and final installment is about all things physical clutter. This is the most visible stuff, what we think of when we think about de-cluttering. It is the stull that we generally put aside as not really important, and don’t connect with anything else than simply tidying the house. But that’s a mistake, because our physical clutter affects so many areas of our lives, and most importantly our ability to focus, think clearly and make good decisions. So let’s start paying attention to all the physical clutter and create space for more effectiveness. Here are my top 10 tips for getting started!

De-cluttering: top 10 tips for creating physical space

  1. Remove your goggles: it all starts with noticing and paying attention to the stuff that you have become blind to. Looking around with fresh eyes will give you a very different perspective of what’s in your way.
  2. Find your motivator for doing this: are you fed up with having to look for something and not finding it? Are you tired of having to squeeze past those boxes? Is your clutter affecting your relationships? Whatever your reason is, remind yourself of it regularly.
  3. Tidy your bedroom: this one might sound a bit unexpected, but sleep affects everything. When you are not well-rested, you function far less effectively than when you have slept well. And the state of your bedroom will affect the quality of your sleep.
  4. Tidy your kitchen: this is the next step in looking after yourself and being able to function at your best. In a messy kitchen, you make poor food choices which will drain your energy.
  5. File your paperwork: paperwork (or its digital equivalent) is sadly a reality of the admin of running our lives. Having a good filing system and knowing that you can find what you need when you need it will take a huge load off your mind and free it up to focus on other things. (My clients often describe this as having regained a sense of calm.)
  6. De-clutter your wardrobe: what we wear tells us and the world a lot about who we are and how we want to present ourselves. If you have any outfits that don’t make you feel great, pass them on.
  7. Love them, not their gifts: gifts and heirlooms are always a really tricky area because of all the emotions that are attached to these items. Focus on the relationship and the memories rather than having to possess the items themselves, and don’t feel the need to hold onto everything unless you really want to.
  8. If you don’t love it, chuck it: the research in positive psychology tells us just how much positivity impacts us, not only emotionally, but also mentally and physiologically. So in your home, surround yourself with only those things that make you feel positive.
  9. Consider what you bring in: be mindful of everything that you bring into the house and be clear on where it will live. If it doesn’t have a home, it will be in your way.
  10. Start with removing one thing right now: yes, right now. Pick one thing, then get up and put that one thing away/file it/ recycle it/throw it out.

Do share your tips with the community too by commenting below. And if you would like to talk about any of this in more detail, get in touch!

Happy de-cluttering!



  1. I love your comment Deab ! I can really sense how much joy you get from your collections and optimized accessories. And that’s what it’s all about, enjoying our stuff rather than it getting in our way and holding us back somehow.

  2. Being a guy of a certain vintage, I have transitioned into a new phase. At first it was about acquiring lots of stuff. Then you go for complete sets of stuff, which leads to better stuff. Now I am into containing and displaying my stuff optimally. Now I strive for the perfect laptop bag, with exquisitely organized cables and dongle for every eventuality. Or mow my large-ish Pez collection gets great display cases and barrister cases, broken down by genres. Whats the sense of having awesome things, if they are tucked away and never experienced?

  3. That’s a great question Rocket Mom! I think that we all tend to slowly accumulate clothes over time and it’s great to notice this and want to do something about it.
    Lots of people have different “rules of thumb” that they recommend. My view on this is keep what makes you feel good and pass on everything that doesn’t. The way you dress has a big impact on how professional you feel at work, how confident you feel when out socializing, and how good you feel about yourself when simply chilling at home. And the amount of storage space you have will determine the overall quantity of what to keep.
    Let me know how you get on! 🙂

  4. That great Joanna! Noticing how good it feels to choose to part with stuff and pass it on is such a great motivator. Keep it up!

  5. I struggle with clothing. Is there a “rule of thumb” on work wear, casual wear, and play wear that I should keep? I am noticing the closet and drawers slowly become full every year.

  6. Ingrid, as always, so insightful. Thank you.

    I started doing my bedroom this morning and have taken a few breaks to keep up my motivation. What I’m noticing is that as I throw things away or put them in a bag to gift elsewhere it FEELS GOOD and my commitment to finish increases.

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