11 of the Best Rainy Day Decluttering Ideas

Raindrops on a white-trimmed windowpane.

Rainy days off don’t have to be wasted days. Here are some quick decluttering and organising projects next time you find yourself stuck inside when it’s pouring out.

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Rainy days can be gloomy, especially in the autumn as the days get shorter. When you’re stuck inside on a day off though, they’re also a great opportunity to get some smaller organising projects done. Here’s a roundup of some quick and easy rainy day decluttering ideas to get you going.

Whichever activity you pick, stick with a small, manageable area you can do in a short amount of time. Choose a shelf, drawer or cupboard to declutter, for example. Keeping bad weather projects timeboxed like this will prevent you feeling chained to a huge mess when the sun comes back out.

These mini organising projects also present the perfect opportunity to create a to-do list for any larger project ideas you come up with. Use your time indoors to make a list of all the things you’ve been meaning to tackle around the house. If you need some to-do list inspiration, check out my post on how I keep my to-dos decluttered. And don’t forget to get some fresh air outside again when the rain stops!

Declutter Your Junk Drawer

Photo of around 25 pieces of random items typically found in a junk drawer such as masking tape, keychains and lanyards, old CD-Roms, a luggage lock and key, and a hook.
Oh, that junk drawer.

If you’re like most folks, your junk drawer is crammed full of all sorts of things. From old batteries and magnets, to dried-up pens and crumpled takeaway menus.

There’s only one way to really tackle this mess: take everything out of the drawer.

Throw out anything you can’t identify, no longer need, or that’s broken. Then sort the remaining items into like piles. Writing utensils, post-its, charging cables—keep things of the same kind together.

Now wipe the drawer down inside. You might like to line it with shelving paper or silicon liner so it stays clean. Adding some small empty boxes or organising containers to the drawer can also be helpful. You can corral any small bits in them so they stay put.

Organise the Toolbox

Cropped photo of inside of a very organised toolbox with screws, drill bits and plugs in separate compartments, and frequently used tools like screwdrivers at the front.

A toolbox is a great way to keep your tools organised and within easy reach, especially if you live in an apartment or condo where you’re short on space. The downside is that things tend to get lost in their depths. I can’t count how many times I’ve been installing something new and couldn’t find the right sized screws in my toolbox. I knew I had them somewhere, but where the heck were they?!

Start by taking everything out and then sorting your tools by type. For example, keep all your screwdrivers together, all your wrenches together, etc. This will make it easier to find the tool you need, when you need it.

Keep frequently used tools towards the front of the toolbox for easy access.

Use dividers or small, clear boxes to organise all those tiny items like nails, screws, bolts, mothers, and the like. This prevents them from getting lost in the bottom of the toolbox.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can also label each section or compartment so you know exactly where everything is. Use a label maker or simply take a permanent marker to a bit of masking tape.

Declutter Pantry Staples

If your pantry is stuffed and untidy, it’s time for a declutter. Depending on its size though, you might want to set aside a bit more time for this rainy day decluttering idea.

Proceed shelf-by-shelf and give the staples in your pantry a spot check. Weed out any expired and stale foodstuffs, and check your dry foods for pantry moths.

As you go along, make a note on your shopping list of anything you need to replace. If you’d like to do a full-on pantry project, check out my post with Tips to Organise a Small Pantry With Wire Shelves.

Clear the Counters

Keeping your surface spaces cleared off really makes your place look fresh and tidy. It’s such a simple thing, yet has a huge effect. The bathroom counter, the desk, dining table, coffee table, kitchen counters, and the bedroom dresser are all predisposed to serving as clutter catchalls where stuff accumulates. Aside from looking messy, it can make cleaning hard, too.

The most time-consuming part of clearing off your countertops is putting everything in its place. But once everything is off of the counters and you’ve put it all away, you just need to wipe and dry the surface.

Doesn’t the kitchen look instantly more organised now? It’s amazing how keeping flat surfaces tidy makes a space look cleaner and even bigger.

Digitise Paperwork

One of my favourite rainy day decluttering ideas is to scan paperwork. I turn on a podcast or the radio and shuffle through the latest pile of stuff that’s stacked up on my desk.

Thanks to digital archives, e-mail, and the Internet in general, we no longer need physical storage for most documents and files. There are loads of devices and apps out there that let you send documents and files to cloud services like Evernote or Dropbox, so you don’t have to hold onto the original papers anymore. You really just need to pick a tool you like.

If you opt for a note-taking app like Devonthink, you don’t even necessarily have to get a scanner—you can use your mobile phone to scan everything!

Digital archiving is new to you, and you’re not quite sure where to start? I wrote a whole post about how to go paperless which will help get you going!

One of the Chillest Rainy Day Decluttering Ideas on This List: Shred Some Papers

If you’ve got a shredder, get it out and grab that stack of paperwork you just scanned. Shred anything with any personal details on it before throwing it out. Identity theft is a real thing!

This is another easy mini-project you can knock out while listening to some music or watching an episode of your favourite show.

Clean the Fridge & Defrost the Freezer

Cleaning out the fridge can be a drag, but it’s important to do it every so often to keep your food fresh and keep your electricity bill down. The more ice that builds up in the freezer, the more power it consumes. A rainy day stuck inside is perfect for getting this chore done.

Cropped photo of a freezer in need of defrosting, with thick chunks of ice on its ceiling and floor.
Popsicle, anyone?

Remove everything from the fridge, including food, condiments, shelves, and drawers. Wash all the fridge’s removable parts with warm, soapy water. Then wipe down the inside with a mild cleaning solution.

While the fridge is airing out for a few minutes, use the time to toss out anything that’s gone bad or is expired before putting everything back in.

If you need to manually defrost your freezer, power everything off and take your frozen goods out. Leave the freezer door open. I like to pile everything from the freezer into the kitchen sink so that it stays fairly cold during the defrosting process.

If there are any big chunks of ice on the inside of the freezer, you can get them to thaw a lot quicker by placing an uncovered bowl of boiled water on the floor of the freezer. The steam loosens those blocks of ice very quickly. While you’re waiting, check your freezer foods to see if you need to discard anything that’s expired or frost-burnt.

Use a wooden spoon to prod any ice chunks along. Once everything is defrosted, wipe down the inside of the freezer and put everything back. Ta-da! Much nicer, right?

Sort Out One Section of Your Closet

Closet decluttering can be a huge, much more involved task than you might’ve realised before you started. If you’re just looking for a simple activity to keep busy on a rainy day, it’s better to pick a small section or category of your closet instead of trying to tackle the entire wardrobe.

If you need some inspiration, check out my 52-week method for slow closet decluttering. You might want to just sort through your jumpers, weed through socks and nylons, or organise the belts and scarves you’ve collected.

Take everything out of the section you want to work on and sort each item into one of three piles: keep, donate, or bin. Dust out the space inside the closet before you put anything back in. Easy, right?

Weed Out Spices

A well-stocked spice rack is a kitchen staple, but it can quickly become cluttered, dusty, and confusing. To sort out your herbs and spices, start by taking everything out and wiping the rack down.

Toss out any spices that are beyond their expiry dates. They won’t be going to Flavortown anymore! To organise, you could group things together by type, such as herbs, spices, salts, and blends. If you use a shelf for your spices, or store them lying down in a drawer, you might like to organise them all in alphabetical order instead.

Do what works best for you. Whatever way you organise it all, a clean and tidy spice rack will make cooking easier and more enjoyable.

Tidy Your Cosmetics

For some reason I find it cosy to organise bathroom stuff when it’s raining outside. It’s a quiet activity and I’ve always liked handling cosmetic and bath items since I was a little kid. Plus the bathroom is nice and warm. ☺️

Have a look through your own stash of cosmetics and beauty items, and get rid of anything that smells weird, is dried up, or you just don’t like. If you’re not sure about when certain cosmetics and hygiene items expire, I’ve got you covered in this more extensive article on decluttering bath and beauty products.

A rainy day is also a great time to clean your cosmetic brushes, too, while you’re at it!

Tackle That Ironing Pile

I don’t know what it is about the ironing pile, but it can really give me a case of the UGHs and I tend to put it off until there’s nothing to wear. As one of the last rainy day decluttering ideas on this list though, it really is suitable when you’re stuck indoors during bad weather.

The good news is you can watch TV during this task or listen to an audio book. This helps make the time fly by faster.

Sort your pile before you start ironing. I like to do all my t-shirts in one run, then all blouses, and finally any trousers or dresses that need pressing. You don’t have to over-iron. Sometimes you really only need a few quick passes with the iron to do the trick.

Still feeling ambitious? Here’s one last project for our list of rainy day decluttering ideas. This one takes a bit longer, but can still be done in an afternoon in most cases:

Organise the Storage Room

A narrow storage room with a shelving unit along the right-hand wall.

This is a bit more involved than the previous activities, but the results will make it worth your time. Take a few hours to organise your storage space. You’ll be happy you did the next time you need a box of decorations, or that bougie winter coat you want to wear for a night out.

Here again, you want start with a clean slate. So clear out the storage space and put aside any items you no longer need or use. This simply makes it easier to see what you have to work with and make decisions about what goes where.

Sort your remaining items into categories, creating piles for different types of items such as seasonal clothing, holiday decorations, or sports equipment. You might want to have some empty boxes or storage containers handy to neatly re-organise everything. Need some inspo? YouTube has some good ideas for both large and small storage rooms.

What kind of home-related activities do you do when you’re stuck inside during bad weather? If you have any other rainy day decluttering ideas, drop them in the comments below and be sure to download my free printable decluttering checklist as well!

Young bearded man of color wearing Adidas jogging pants and sorting through boxes and bags of clutter. Caption reads rainy day decluttering ideas to get your home organized.
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