Don’t run out and buy brand-new organizational bins just yet. If you’re looking to declutter on a budget, check out these tips to save money.


Updated on 2/15/23 & 6/15/16 from an article originally published on 2/25/13.

Have you been keeping up with the latest home organization trends? If so, you might think that decluttering your home is a process that requires a ton of money even to get started. And it’s no wonder: Lifestyle YouTubers, Pinterest boards, and professional organizers alike all tout beautiful and expansive kitchen, garage, and closet organization systems. The only problem? These storage solutions, while impressive, may not be feasible for the average family or individual looking to declutter on a budget. 

how to declutter on a budget

It’s no secret that there are hundreds of products you can purchase and install (or have installed for you) that will help you sort, organize, and stash your stuff. But what if you’re operating on limited funds or have no money to spend on storage solutions? Luckily, with time, patience, and creativity, you can declutter your home on a shoestring budget. 

Related: How Do You Stay Organized? 15 Do-It-Now Decluttering Habits

What is the best way to declutter on a budget?

Don’t run out and purchase brand-new organizational bins, decorative baskets, and label makers that promise to transform your space just yet. If you’re looking to declutter your home on a budget, check out these top tips to help you save money first:

1. Purge as Much as You Can

Unless you accidentally toss out a valuable heirloom or a forgotten Van Gogh– both being situations that are highly unlikely– the cheapest decluttering tip ever is to simply get rid of stuff you no longer use or need. From years-old toys, games, or books you no longer revisit to the boxes of holiday decor you rarely ever pull out, it’s astounding how quickly clutter can pile up around your home. Getting rid of it all is tough, but decluttering can help you see your space in a completely new light. 

That might sound straightforward, but decluttering is a massive task that can be overwhelming at first. That’s why it’s important to proceed in small increments – one room, one closet, or one drawer at a time. Before long, you’ll have purged your home of everything broken, unwanted, unworn, and otherwise useless. Throw it in the trash, sell it, or donate it. Now it’s gone, and it didn’t cost you anything!

declutter on a budget by donating items

2. Use What You’ve Got

Don’t buy a single storage or organizing solution until you’ve done an inventory of what you already own. If you’ve got some extra furniture or shelving units that are sitting unused or are leftover from a previous move, this is their time to shine. 

Ever tried your hand at DIY storage containers? Repurposing any items you already have is also a great way to save money when trying to declutter on a budget. With just a little creativity, you never know what could be turned into functional storage! Take an inventory of your cleaned-out margarine tubs, coffee cans, plastic bins, storage bags, and laundry baskets. Duffle bags, backpacks, and suitcases are also great for stashing the stuff you want to keep out of sight.

Need some additional DIY inspiration? Check out this great article by The Spruce for 30 Cheap Organization Ideas to Declutter Your Home

3. Buy What You Need Secondhand

There are tons of big box stores and online retailers that sell all kinds of containers and high-end storage solutions. And while it’s true that their products can be top quality, they can also be very costly, even on sale. 

If you live in an apartment, condo, or even a small single-family home, you may not be able to make do with the storage solutions you already have. (In fact, you may not have many storage options to begin with.) So let’s say it turns out you must purchase new drawers, dressers, or organizational furniture to help declutter on a budget. In that case, buying secondhand is a great option to help save money.

Still trying to figure out where to start? Here are a few tips for scouting some secondhand hidden gems:

  • Search online platforms like Facebook Marketplace, message boards and auction sites for deals on shelving and storage.
  • Post on your local swap websites; request the items you need and trade them for your discards.
  • Shop the “as is” section of your local furniture and hardware stores for deep discounts on lightly scratched, dented, or otherwise defective items.
  • Don’t overlook your local thrift stores and neighborhood yard sales, either. Just be careful to stay focused on the task at hand. You’re aiming to eliminate clutter, not add to it.

Related: 4 Cheap and Easy DIY Closet Organization Ideas You’ll Love

4. Sell What You Can to Make Some Extra Cash

Pro tip: If you sell some of your discards or take the charitable tax deduction for donations, you’ll actually make a little money. This can help ease the cost of your upcoming move or even give you a bit of an incentive to declutter. (As a bonus, you’ll also have less stuff to organize at the end!)

best resale apps to sell clothing

Looking for the best resale apps to help you sell your stuff? Consider selling your extra clothing, furniture, or other items on one of these top websites: 

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Poshmark
  • eBay
  • ThredUP
  • Depop

5. Employ the “One In, One Out” Rule

Once you’ve taken the time to thoroughly declutter your home on a budget, it’s a good idea to put processes in place to ensure it stays clean, organized, and clutter-free in the months that follow. One simple and easy method to help you maintain the decluttering you’ve done is the “one in, one out” rule. Haven’t heard of it before? This method is as easy as it sounds: For every new item you bring into the house, get rid of an existing one. That’s all there is to it! Past that, you can get as creative as you want with it, using this method in any way that works for you. For example, you can extend the rule to all new items in your home or strictly use it for items you have extensive collections of, like clothes, books, movies, video games, or other hobby-related items.

The best part about this rule (aside from the fact that it’s completely free to adopt) is that it doesn’t force you to stop buying new things altogether. Instead, it just asks that you be more mindful about what you’re spending money on and what you’re bringing into your home on a regular basis. 

Related: Donation Pick Up or Drop Off Options Near You

How Do You Declutter On A Budget?

We hope these tips helped illustrate how decluttering on a budget isn’t just possible— but completely doable. Let us know your best decluttering tips, tricks, and hacks by reaching out to us on social media!

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About the Authors

Emily Malkowski

Emily Malkowski is a writer and SEO strategist with over 5 years experience, living in Buffalo, New York. Having graduated from University at Buffalo with a Bachelor's degree in Communications, her work has appeared in outlets like The American Prospect, Roadtrippers Magazine, Step Out Buffalo, and more.

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at The Spruce and Martha Stewart.

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