Use my free printable decluttering calendar to declutter your dining room, and have a totally organized space by the end of the month!
It's monthly decluttering challenge time again! Since we are coming up on the busy holiday season, for November and December I decided to choose rooms that are fairly easy to declutter but are also the rooms that get a lot of use at this time of year. In November, we're decluttering the dining room!
If you've never joined in on one of our monthly challenges, the goal is to take one area of the house and break it down into small decluttering baby steps so that it is easy to keep up with and gets you great results!
How to Declutter a Dining Room
If your house has a formal dining room and a breakfast nook, the dining room may not see a ton of use. This plus the fact that it usually has a large flat surface-- the table-- can make it a prime dumping ground for clutter. We're going to remedy that this month!
I keep all of our decluttering calendars neatly organized in a “decluttering vault,” and you can gain access to them by clicking the button below.
[See every single one of our 50+ free organizing printables in our free printable library!]
You'll notice a few things when you download your decluttering calendar:
- There is one easy task to tackle every other day. I know life can get crazy and schedules fill up (especially during the holidays!), so by assigning a task only every other day, you basically have two days to complete each one. So if you get busy and miss a day or you have a lot of one particular item and it ends up taking longer than you expected, you have a built in day to catch up.
- I purposely didn't put specific days of the week on the calendar. The November calendar runs from day 1-30, but I didn't include a line that says "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc." intentionally so that the calendar could be used for any year (or any month, for that matter)!
- If you want, you can just use this calendar as a guide. You may find yourself with extra time one day and know you'll be busy in future days, so you can definitely do 2 or more of the tasks on one day, check them off, and then pick up again after your busy days have passed. The calendar is meant to get you started down the right path and give reminders of what to do next; it doesn't have to be a hard and fast rule.
Quick Tips for Decluttering Your Dining Room
I thought I would lay out the process I like to use when decluttering our dining room. You can feel free to follow it exactly, tweak it to fit your liking, or completely disregard it and use your own strategy!
1. Gather up all of the items from the day's category.
Dining rooms tend to have storage pieces with lots of drawers and cabinets (like buffets and china cabinets), so I try to go through each and every one to make sure I have everything from the day's category all in one place. I also scan the tops of surfaces because they tend to collect a bunch of stuff.
Once I have everything from the day's category together, I can easily tell if I have way too many of something and can quickly decide what to get rid of.
2. Purge like crazy!
Since we eat most of our meals at our kitchen island and our dining room is not used all that often, I have a tendency to store things there that I want to get "out of sight, out of mind."
Things like decorative items or fancy serving pieces that we got as wedding gifts are easy to throw into the bottom of the china cabinet and not think about, but they could be taking up valuable space that we could be using to hold the items we actually use and love. (Or clearing them out could leave more open space, which is also great too!)
Things like gifts can be hard to part with because we feel that twinge of guilt that comes with getting rid of something that someone else gave to us, but if we're not using it and loving it, it will be much better off in the home of someone who will, so we can donate or sell the item guilt free. (And just think how great you'll feel when your dining room is looking all neat and tidy!)
If you're still feeling the guilt, do a test run where you put the item away in a bin in a storage area for a while. Set a reminder on your phone to check back in on it in a month or two. If you haven't missed it at all, it's probably safe to let it go for good.
3. Put items back in an organized way.
The great thing about decluttering by category is that once you've gotten rid of everything you don't need, it's easy to see what you have left and which size/shape of container would be best to corral your items, if you even need bins at all.
I don't use a ton of extra bins in our dining room, just some baskets I already owned to keep my mugs tidy (shown above), a drawer organizer in our china cabinet drawer where we keep furniture pads on hand...
...and a few small boxes that make it easier to fold and store our rectangular placemats.
Using the filing method (aka the KonMari method) to fold our table runners and placemats helps me to store a bunch of items in one small space and easily see what I have.
4. Give yourself a reward!
Let's face it, we can use all the help we can get when it comes to decluttering, and giving myself a reward when I've finished all of my decluttering tasks is the perfect way to boost motivation! You can use the "Notes" section of the decluttering calendar to decide what your reward will be. Some ideas may be...
- A special date night with your significant other (especially if they've helped with the decluttering process!)
- Or if the whole family has pitched in, a special family trip to the zoo, museum, trampoline park, movies, etc.
- A manicure/pedicure
- A girls' night out
- A day off to spend however you'd like
The possibilities are endless! Choose something that motivates you to keep going throughout the month!
5. Maintain your beautifully decluttered dining room.
Now that we've worked hard to declutter our dining room, the last thing we want to do is fill it right back up with more clutter!
The biggest battle in the dining room can often be keeping the surfaces uncluttered. It is so easy to walk in the house and throw things right onto the dining room table-- it's big and flat and practically BEGGING to hold our excess papers and bags and books, right?!
When I walk into our dining room and see our table completely clear or just holding a beautiful centerpiece, it puts a smile on my face because I enjoy how the room looks and how it makes our home feel. When I walk into the dining room to a table full of clutter, I immediately feel stressed because usually, the items on the table are things that I need to take action on.
The easiest way I've found to keep the surfaces in the dining room clear is to employ the "one touch rule." It's simple, but effective: When I'm sorting through mail or coming into the house with a bunch of stuff, I make it my goal to only touch the item one time.
If it's unneeded paperwork that I can get rid of, I put it right in the trash/recycling. If it's my purse or the boys' bookbags, I hang them in their spots in the mudroom. If it's groceries, I put them away right then.
By committing to only touching the item once, I'm a lot less likely to have piles of stuff appearing all over the flat surfaces of our house, including the dining room table! It can take a while to get into the "one touch rule" habit, but I find the longer we strive to utilize it in our house, the tidier our home stays.
For more info on the one touch rule, see this post.
That's it! It's a simple process, but I've found that having a guide-- like a decluttering calendar-- to walk me through it makes me more likely to follow through and stick to the plan. Again, you can request your decluttering calendar and gain access to the "decluttering vault," which will contain all previous decluttering calendars and every new calendar when they come out each month, by clicking the button below.
If you're looking for more inspiration for decluttering and organizing the dining room, these posts may be helpful:
Which decluttering themes would be most helpful for future monthly challenges? Let me know in the comments!