Do you feel overwhelmed by the clutter and wonder how to declutter your house?
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Many people struggle with cluttered homes, even if they don’t realize it. Walk into almost anyone’s house and you’ll be met with dozens of unnecessary items. Items that haven’t been used for years, items sitting on a shelf covered in dust, and items that “are neat” but serve no purpose.
If you’re here I think it’s safe to assume that you’ve realized you have too much clutter in your house and you’re wondering where to start decluttering.
Realizing you need to declutter it one thing… but actually decluttering is another thing altogether. It’s easy to see that you have too much stuff in your home and think to yourself “I should really get rid of some of this clutter” or, “how do I get rid of clutter in my house?”. That’s the easy part. The hard part is actually STARTING to declutter.
The hard part is putting actions to your words.
If you struggle with decluttering, I want to help you learn how to get rid of clutter in your house TODAY.
Together we’re going to learn where to start decluttering your house, what are the steps to decluttering, and how you can actually START decluttering. That’s right… you’re going to start putting actions to your words today!
How do I declutter my home?
Actually starting to declutter is the hardest step in the whole process. You can do everything to prepare yourself for decluttering your home.
- Set decluttering goals
- Gather your decluttering supplies (not sure which supplies you need? Grab my whole decluttering supply list, here)
- Make a plan of attack
You can do all the things to prepare yourself, but after you’ve done that you’ll still find yourself at a loss for how to actually start.
You know what you need to do – put unnecessary and unneeded items into a box to donate. Sounds easy, right?
But it’s not.
If you’re struggling with decluttering your home, dive in below to learn in this step-by-step guide how to start decluttering your house.
How to Declutter Your House – 3 steps to declutter every room in your house
I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage saying,
“Less is more”
And that couldn’t be more true when it comes to home organization. While the feeling of having not enough stuff in your home can cause you to panic, the realization that you may have too much stuff in your home is also cause for distress.
Living in a cluttered house has been shown to increase stress, overwhelm your brain and decrease productivity.
So yes – less really IS more when it comes to your house.
On top of all of that, living in a cluttered house creates extra work for you – the more clutter you have, the more stuff you have to clean and move out of the way when you’re cleaning your house. (And I’m willing to bet you’re busy enough that you don’t want to spend your time just shifting things around your home so you can clean properly.)
Clutter is just all ‘round bad for your health, home, and life. Here is the best way to declutter your house with the best decluttering tips that you need to know.
Before we start you’re going to want to gather your decluttering supplies. The good news is, you don’t need anything too fancy. All you need when it comes to decluttering your house is ONE box and a garbage bag.
Well, a box and garbage bag and a whole lot of drive to live a simpler life.
When you’re choosing the box that you’re going to use, I suggest you don’t use any fancy containers or any boxes that are personalized in any way. All you want is a plain old cardboard box (one just like this) that you won’t miss because this box – and everything inside it – is going to be left at the donation center.
Likewise, when you’re choosing a garbage bag you won’t want to take any old bag and use it – there’s going to be a lot of trash going into this bag and it’s bound to get heavy. You don’t want your garbage bag ripping and spilling out its contents. I recommend using these hefty bags as your decluttering trash bag.
1. Start with the area that bugs you the most
The first step in how to get rid of clutter fast is to choose a starting point. When you’re choosing somewhere to start decluttering, I always suggest that you start with the room, area, or surface that bugs you the most.
Some people will recommend you start with the messiest area, while others will recommend you start with the easiest area to conquer.
My two cents?
Start with the area that bugs you the most.
We all have that one area in our house that we just can’t stand to see cluttered and dirty. Any time we walk past it and see it messy, we get irritated.
Where is that spot for you? What area in your house do you absolutely hate to see cluttered and messy?
Start with that area.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an entire room or it’s something as simple as a shelf in the entryway. There’s no rule that says you have to start with something big an elaborate (and if there is, it’s wrong) when you’re decluttering your house.
When you start with the area that bugs you the most, you’ll have drive to declutter it all the way to completion – because, well, you can’t stand when it’s messy.
Then, once you’ve completed that area, you’ll feel great about the work you’ve accomplished and you’ll have motivation to keep on going in the rest of your house.
So your first task for learning how to declutter your house is to find the area that bugs you the most and use that as your starting point.
2. Move everything to the middle of the room
This step is where it starts getting real.
Go to the spot in your house that you’ve chosen as your starting point (it looks disgusting, doesn’t it?) and move absolutely EVERYTHING into the middle of the room. Plop it all onto the floor.
Don’t worry about sorting like items with like, right now all you’re doing is taking everything out of its original place and putting it in a giant pile in the middle of the floor.
The most important part when it comes to this step is simply taking things out of their “home” and putting them somewhere they don’t belong.
If you were to declutter your belongings without moving them away from where they belong in your home, you’re much more likely to skip over items and keep far more than you would otherwise, just because they “fit” or look like they belong where they are.
When you put everything into a giant pile in the middle of the floor it gives you the freedom to see things out of their natural habitat and will give you an easier time seeing them for what they are, allowing you to truly discern whether they’re something you need or not.
I’ll wait here while you go ahead and take everything out of its place and put it into a pile in the middle of the floor.
Even if the area that you’re starting with is something as simple as a shelf in the entryway, remove everything from the shelf and plop it onto the floor.
Regardless of how much or how little stuff you have, the most important thing is that it all gets taken away from where it was being kept and put into a pile together somewhere; and the floor is the easiest place for the next step.
3. Sort through the pile
You’ve got a giant pile of junk (well – it’s not all junk, but it doesn’t look too pretty sitting in a pile on the floor) in the middle of the room, now what?
Now is the crucial part – sorting through your belongings.
Now that everything is out of its original place and in a giant pile on the floor, it’s easier to discern which things are “just for fun”, which things are truly necessities, and which things you thought you needed to keep but now that you’re looking at it you’re realizing you really don’t need.
Before you jump in and start sorting your stuff, there are three important things you need to know.
Your garbage bag is there for a reason. If you come across anything that is broken, old and ratty, or not worth donating, throw it away.
Don’t feel bad for tossing items… it’s better to throw things away than to put them back somewhere in your house to sit for another 5 years without being touched or acknowledged.
Donate, donate, donate. This entire decluttering session would be a giant waste of your time if you didn’t get rid of anything (and the garbage bag full of stuff alone doesn’t count). Be honest with yourself when you’re sorting through your belongings and don’t feel bad for donating items that you don’t need or use. Remember – if you’re not using something, there’s someone out there who could be. Donating your items will give someone else a chance to use whatever it is that is just wasting away in your house.
Only touch something ONCE. Meaning, if you’re not throwing it away or donating it, you should put it where it belongs in your house before it leaves your hands. When you pick something out of the pile up, you need to make a decision of where it’s going to go right there and then, and then put it there – don’t put it back down to come back to later.
Okay, now you’re going to sort through your giant pile of belongings on the floor. Don’t get overwhelmed if it looks like it’s going to take you hours, if you follow the “one touch” decluttering rule, you’ll be ripping through that pile of clutter faster than you realize.
Pick items out of the pile one by one and make a decision right away about what you are going to do with it, and put it in the corresponding bag/box/place in your home.
Whether you want to tackle all the areas of your house in a couple of days or you want to take a more leisurely pace is up to you. Either way, as soon as you’re finished decluttering for the day, take the full trash bag out to the garbage right away and place the donation box straight into your car.
Even if you don’t have a chance to make it into town to the donation center today, putting the box in your car will keep you from picking through it.
Some people wonder “how do you get rid of clutter fast?”, then they get frustrated when they try to declutter but end up quitting within the hour. The key here is to stay focused and stay motivated – keeping your end goal in mind will help you stay motivated and see the whole process through to the end.
What is the best way to declutter your home?
There are so many different decluttering methods, you might be wondering why I claim that this one is the best decluttering method. Other decluttering methods, like using 4 boxes to declutter, for example, give you more opportunities to second guess your decision and end up keeping more clutter than you were originally going to.
When you use 4 boxes to declutter (one to keep, one to toss, one to donate, and one to store) you’re allowing yourself to put things that you don’t really need, but don’t want to get rid of, in the “storage” box, which isn’t really decluttering – it’s simply moving your clutter out of the way.
This is why using ONE box and ONE bag and putting things that you’re keeping away right away is the best method – it gives you no opportunity to churn your clutter (move it from room to room or hide it away). It forces you to face the clutter in a pile on the floor so you can see it for what it truly is, and makes you address each object you own right away.
Home decluttering tips you should know
- Make a decision in 15 seconds or less. Decluttering can become very time consuming if you take 20 minutes to decide what you’re going to do for each item. To keep the process moving along quickly, set a timer (I like these magnetic ones) for no more than 15 seconds and make a decision about an item before the time runs out. Chances are, you know deep down whether you should keep or get rid of an item as soon as you look at it, but the longer we look at something the more we start to second guess ourselves and try to convince ourselves that we actually need to keep whatever it is we’re deciding on. So – make a QUICK 15-second decision with each item.
- Don’t look in the garbage bag or donation box. Another rule of thumb I like to follow is that you’re not allowed to look in the garbage bag or donation box throughout this whole process. (It’s hard not to look into the box since it’s so wide open, so just make sure you don’t touch anything you’ve already put in there.) If you look through the box or bag you’ll likely end up thinking, “why did I decide to get rid of this? I actually want to keep it.” If you do this you’ll end up REcluttering your house, rather than DEcluttering it. So, stick to your guns, don’t second guess your decision, and don’t sort through the items you’ve already made a decision on.
- See one area through to completion. Instead of bouncing from the kitchen to the coffee table to the bedroom, pick one area to start with and don’t leave that area until you’ve completely finished decluttering it. Once it’s done, then you can move on to the next area. When you bounce around from area to area it’s easy to lose focus and momentum and end up doing a half-hearted job.
- Don’t rush yourself. If you’re rushing yourself to get it done as quickly as possible, you’ll likely end up opting to keep items that you don’t need simply because you don’t have time to make a decision about it. You might even end up skipping over a different area of your house entirely without realizing it. When it comes to decluttering, you don’t want it to drag on, but you don’t want to be rushed. So take your time, make quick decisions, but don’t be on any timeframe that causes you to try and rush through the whole process.
3 declutter questions to ask yourself
If you’re faced with an item that you just don’t know whether you should keep or not – part of you knows that you have used it in the past, while the other part of you knows you probably won’t use it again – there are a couple of questions you can ask yourself regarding the object to make the decision easier.
You won’t want to ask yourself these questions for every item or else decluttering your entire house will take years and you’ll have a real clutter problem. Most items you’ll be able to make a decision about in less than 15 seconds, but if you find yourself really struggling, use these questions to make the best decision:
- Do I love it?
- Do I use it?
- If I lost it, would I buy it again?
Do you love the item? If not, get rid of it. If you do love it, move on to the next question.
Do you use the item? If not, get rid of it. If you do use it, how often do you use it? Do you have something else that serves the same purpose that you could use instead?
If you lost it, would you buy it again? And finally, if you weren’t able to make a decision based on the above questions, ask yourself if it were to suddenly go missing, is it worth spending your money on to buy again? If not, get rid of it. If it is something you’d buy again – and it serves a purpose – then you should be safe to keep it.
A quick note on selling clutter
Some people are wondering why you would donate all your clutter when you could sell it and make some money off of it – here’s the reason.
Selling items takes time, which means you have to find a place to store the clutter in your home. If it takes upwards of three months to sell something, that means you have to find somewhere to store it in your house for another three months. Your house won’t look truly decluttered because you’ve simply packed the clutter up and moved it to a different area of the house for the time being.
Then, if something doesn’t end up selling and half a year down the road you decide to give up on selling it, you will most likely forget about the items and leave them where they are, or you’ll unpack them from the box you’ve stored them in and put them back into your house… recluttering your house.
This is why I recommend donating your items – it gets them out of your house and out of sight right away, it doesn’t allow you the chance to change your mind and decide to keep them after all, and it will enable your house to be truly decluttered as soon as you’re finished going through it.
To close out this post, here’s a quick review of this ruthless decluttering method.
- Use only one box and one garbage bag
- Find and start with the area of your house that bugs you the most
- Place every object onto the floor in the middle of the room to create a pile
- Make a decision to keep, toss, or donate an item in less than 15 seconds
- Put the item away in the appropriate place once the decision is made
- Ask yourself the three decluttering questions if you aren’t able to make a decision in less than 15 seconds
- Don’t second guess your decision
Learning how to declutter your house doesn’t have to be hard or challenging. If you follow the three simple steps we went over previously, you’ll be able to declutter any and EVERY space in your home – even the most cluttered rooms – before you even have a chance to get overwhelmed by them.
Have you used this method to declutter your house? I’d love to hear from you!
Don’t forget to take a before-and-after picture of your house to share and inspire others with!
Let’s get started decluttering!