New Year Decluttering In German Posted by on Jan 5, 2022 in Language, Vocabulary

Guten Tag und frohes neues Jahr (Hello and Happy New Year)! I don’t know about you, but around this time of year I love having a good clear-out. Even if you don’t subscribe to the ‘Neues Jahr, neues ich’ (‘New Year, new me’) sentiment, it’s a good opportunity to take advantage of the ‘fresh start’ feeling and do some decluttering (entrümpeln) and cleaning (putzen)! Today’s post will give you some German vocabulary relating to this subject – so if you need a push to do any of your own, hopefully this post will help!

New Year Decluttering In German


Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

Firstly, there are a few German verbs you can use, depending on exactly what you’re doing:

To declutter: entrümpeln
To clear out: ausmisten
To clean: putzen (or reinigen)
To wash: waschen
To tidy: aufräumen
To organise: organisieren
To sort out: aussortieren
To hoover: staubsaugen

Here are a few example sentences using the above verbs:

Ich werde meinen Kleiderschrank ausmisten – I will clear out my wardrobe

Ich werde meinen Dachboden entrümpeln – I will declutter my attic

Ich werde meine Küche putzen – I will clean my kitchen

Ich werde meine Handtücher waschen – I will wash my towels

Ich werde mein Schlafzimmer aufräumen – I will tidy up my bedroom

Ich werde meine Bücher organisieren – I will organise my books

Ich werde meine Papiere aussortieren – I will sort out my papers/documents

Ich werde meinen Teppich saugen – I will hoover my carpet


Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Those are the common verbs used to talk about the decluttering/cleaning process. But what about the things you are decluttering or cleaning? What does the German language call ‘clutter’ or ‘mess’? Here are some words you might hear used:

die Unordnung: clutter, mess
das Durcheinander: clutter, mess
der Kram/der Krimskrams: junk, bits and pieces, odds and ends
der Dreck/der Schmutz: mess, dirt

Something that helps me tackle the decluttering process is to only do one room at a time (or one area of a room, if the room is really big!). This helps me break it down into more manageable chunks. For example, if you were going to tackle your bedroom (das Schlafzimmer: bedroom), the checklist of areas to work through might be:

die Klamotten – clothes
die Bettwäsche – bedsheets
der Nachttisch – bedside table
der Boden/der Teppich – floor/carpet
die Kommode – chest of drawers
der Kleiderschrank – wardrobe
die Schminke – makeup
die Papiere – papers

Having a checklist (die Checkliste) is a great tip, as it not only gives you a focus, but ticking each one off motivates you to continue!


Photo by Backbone Visuals on Unsplash

Now, let’s finish with an exercise! Here are the above words again, with the verbs you learnt at the beginning of the post. Which verb do you think fits best to each noun? Note – most of them have more than one possible answer! Use your knowledge and creativity to pair them up!

1. die Klamotten ———————– A. waschen
2. die Bettwäsche ———————- B. ausmisten
3. der Nachttisch ————————- C. entrümpeln
4. der Boden/der Teppich —————- D. organisieren
5. die Kommode ————————— E. putzen
6. der Kleiderschrank ———————– F. aufräumen
7. die Schminke ———————– G. staubsaugen
8. die Papiere —————————– H. aussortieren


Photo by Katja Rooke on Unsplash

Here are some possible answers:

die Klamotten —- ausmisten (clear out clothes)
die Bettwäsche —– waschen (wash bedsheets)
der Nachttisch —– putzen (clean bedside table)
der Boden/der Teppich —- staubsaugen (hoover the floor/carpet)
die Kommode —– organisieren (organise chest of drawers)
der Kleiderschrank —- entrümpeln (declutter wardrobe)
die Schminke —— aussortieren (sort out makeup)
die Papiere —– aufräumen (tidy up papers)

Are you a fan of entrümpeln and/or putzen? If so, let me know in the COMMENT BOX what areas of your home you’re currently working through, and why!

Bis bald (see you soon)

PS. If you liked this post, you might also like this one: The German culture of cleanliness: Putzfimmel and Kehrwoche

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.

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