Are you sick of excess toys? Do you have clothes from high school still sitting in the back of your closet? What about those sealed boxes from two-PCSs-ago untouched in your garage? It’s time for a good ‘ole declutter, friend.
Maybe you want to clear some space and prep before doing a deep spring clean. Or maybe you’re just plain sick of the stuff everywhere.
Everyone declutters their spaces differently. What works for one person may not work for you or your lifestyle. But sometimes it helps to see what methods people use before diving into our own.
I’m only a mama of two littles, a military spouse who manages a home, and a million different schedules. I’m also someone who gets incredibly stressed out by clutter. But here are some tips I use when I declutter.
Make a Decluttering Route
Will you go room by room? Will you work in zones? Will you do similar spaces first, like the pantry or closets?
Make a plan!
Willy-nilly decluttering works… kind of. But if you want to declutter a lot of space effectively, you might get distracted without a plan. Maybe you want to maintain consistency. Or maybe you want to do a deep decluttering.
There’s a big difference between decluttering one area and ruthlessly decluttering your entire home. (And both are just fine!)
Yes, it’s easy to follow the energy. But your energy may run out quickly. Then you won’t have time or headspace to continue on. If you want to do multiple spaces or a full home flip, have a plan.
Make a Holding Space
Not everything you want to get rid of is going to be a cut-and-dry solution.
What about that toy that still works, but you think your kids may have outgrown it? Or the duplicate art supplies? What about the clothes you only wear at certain times of the year?
Have a “holding space” for items you may not want or need to get rid of right this second. I use a laundry basket. While it’s easy to decide what clothing needs to go, you have to know what you’ll do with it. Will you sell it? Donate it? Pass it on to a friend? List it on Facebook marketplace?
Have a (reasonably sized!) middle ground for things you might need to come back to.
Start with a No-Brainer Space
This is a trick many professional organizers swear by. It simply means to start with an un-emotional area. These could be places like a bathroom cabinet or pantry. Something that’s straightforward, “yes get rid of it” or “no, I need it.” This gives you a flow as you start.
These are not overly emotional choices you’ll waste time on as you declutter.
Expired food? Trash.
Half a bag of your kid’s favorite chips? Keep.
Old crusty makeup you haven’t used since High School? Toss.
An expensive hair product you use nightly? Keep.
Especially in the beginning, you need clear-cut decisions that are going to propel you into wanting to keep decluttering. This creates momentum! So give yourself an easy win and start with a space that takes less energy all around.
Determine Your Time Frame
Work around your schedule. Otherwise, decluttering won’t “work” for you.
Maybe you don’t have three hours in one day to declutter your space. Or you could have a whole weekend. Everyone’s schedule is different. Aim for consistency! Even if it’s just for five minutes a day. Keep going until you feel you’ve hit your goals for decluttering your space.
Wait Until Laundry Day
This tip is pretty specific to clothing: wait until you have to do laundry to declutter clothing. Likely, what’s left in your and your kids’ closets are things you wear or use less often.
Then keep or send them on their way and out of your home!
Don’t do the garage in the middle of winter. Save that for spring or summer. Don’t worry about warm-weather clothing in the middle of winter that you haven’t worn in a while, anyway. If you aren’t pregnant or about to be pregnant, don’t worry about decluttering the maternity clothing that’s in a box on top of your closet. You can do Christmas or seasonal decor at a separate time. Or better yet, right after you use them! Timing matters.
These are spaces people often forget about when doing a ruthless decluttering:
- Your car
- Your storage space
- Hidden areas like laundry room cabinets, jewelry boxes, under beds, etc.
- Subcategories of rooms such as bath toys, makeup, etc.
- Paper clutter
- Digital clutter
Why Should You Do a Deep Declutter Anyway?
There are several reasons to regularly declutter your space.
Fewer things make your space visually less stressful.
Less clutter makes it faster and easier to clean.
Things (that don’t have a designated home) are more likely to get lost, forgotten about, or broken.
Having fewer items in your home doesn’t make it seem sterile or cold. In fact, it can do the opposite! Those with less clutter feel more at peace with their spaces. They know what they have and they can find it and use it as needed. Our homes are important to us. And we spend a lot of time there. Less clutter creates a sense of rest and comfort in a place that matters most.