If it’s time to declutter your home and you are looking for decluttering tips or how to get started, this is going to be helpful. Usually, thinking about doing something is more challenging than actually doing it. You might be thinking about everything you need to get rid of, wondering what’s in those drawers, piles and hidden storage spaces. By the time you begin to mentally sort through the stuff in cupboards, baskets and storage containers, you may feel a little overwhelmed.
For now, instead of stressing about how much there is to do or how long it’s going to take, consider creating a decluttering plan or decluttering checklist of sorts so you can move your thoughts of closets stuffed with hangers to a plan for a clutter-free living room, kitchen and other spaces.
Declutter Your Home: 3 Steps To Be Clutter Free
There are more than three ways to declutter your home, but sometimes it’s nice to avoid decision-fatigue and choose from a smaller menu.
1. Use a decluttering challenge to make it more fun to declutter your home.
Finding or creating a decluttering challenge to declutter your home will help you get over the “but I don’t feel like it” hump. A decluttering challenge will give you a small set of rules so you don’t have to figure out the how, what, where parts of getting started. You can also take things a little less seriously by gamifying your decluttering. Here’s a few challenges to consider:
- The 10-10-100 Decluttering Challenge: 10 spaces. 10 minutes. 100 items.
- The Minimalism Game: Find a friend, family member, or coworker who’s willing to minimize their stuff with you next month. Each person gets rid of one thing on the first day of the month. Two things on the second. Three things on the third. So forth and so on.
- Project 333 Challenge: This closet specific challenge will inspire you to let go in every room of your home.
- Decluttering Burst: Let go of 100 things in an hour. This challenge will definitely help you declutter your home!
- 30-day Decluttering Challenge: See how much progress you can make in a month!
If a challenge feels to big to start with but you want a list of things to declutter, try these 52 things or these 63 things or 120 things. Remove any pressure about doing it the best way. It really doesn’t matter if you start in the basement or with the kitchen counter. You might start with pots and pans or cords and cables. In the end, you’ll get to the lamp you don’t love, jewelry you never wear and a home office full of things you might not want anymore.
2. Create a declutter your home map.
For this declutter your home map, you can make it in a list form or if you are feeling more creative, draw out an actual map. Make a quick list of rooms in your home. Add the areas of each room that need to be decluttered. For example:
- Bedroom: nightstand, dresser, closet, under the bed
- Bathroom: toiletries, medicine cabinet
- Office: shelves, desk, filing cabinet
- Kitchen: pantry, junk drawer, utensils drawer
It will take less than hour to jot down this general detail for every space in your home. Whether you have three rooms or thirty, creating this outline of the spaces you’ll need to address when you declutter your home will eliminate some overwhelm if only because it’s written down and not spinning around in your head. Trying to think about everything that you need to do will add stress to the project. Writing it down and seeing it clearly will relieve stress. This is the time for less stress! Have fun making the plan. Snacks and music always help.
3. Make it easier.
You can declutter your home with more ease. The thought of decluttering may feel hard, but you can make it easier by creating some rules to eliminate decision fatigue and remind you of what’s important as you work towards living with less clutter and stuff.
When we were decluttering, it was a little overwhelming to decide what we’d keep, sell, trash or recycle. Instead of having to make that decision for every item, we created a rule. We decided to sell anything worth $50 or more. Otherwise, we’d donate it. If it wasn’t suitable for donation, we’d trash or recycle the item. Another good rule is to start with your own stuff. If you’re worried about how you will live a life with less stuff when your partner is a hoarder, or you have kids and stress about their stuff, come back to your own stuff. That will probably keep you occupied for a while. Demonstrate your desire to live with less stuff by living with less of your own stuff first.
You can make the process easier by creating a routine or schedule to declutter your home. For instance, commit to one area of your home for a certain time frame each day. For instance, Monday’s decluttering commitment is for 20 minutes in the laundry room or bathroom, on Tuesday, you spend 20 minutes decluttering the kitchen, Wednesday is 10 minutes decluttering mail and other paper clutter. Then, on the weekend you commit to an hour in the garage or another space. The trick is to keep your momentum up with a little bit everyday, but not to wear yourself out trying to do too much at once.
Answers to your decluttering questions
I’m not a professional organizer but I did declutter most of my stuff and have learned so much about why letting go is hard and what we can do to make it easier.
How do you declutter your home when you are overwhelmed? If you aren’t feeling your best, it’s important to ask yourself what you need. Is this the time to push through or is there a gentler path? Ask for help, take things more slowly or take time to feel better before you get started.
What should you not throw out when decluttering? These 5 things.
What is the 20/20 rule for decluttering? According to this article, when struggling to make decluttering decisions, the 20/20 rule says you should consider letting go of an item if: you can replace it for less than $20 and you can replace it in less than 20 minutes.
What is the 80/20 rule for decluttering? Who knew there was so much math in decluttering?! The 80/20 rule is also called the Pareto Principle that explains 80% of results come from 20% of action. You hear about the 80/20 rule in business and time management but the way we apply it to decluttering is thinking about how we use our things. For instance, we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time, or we use the same 20% of our things 80% of the time. In other words, we generally use our favorite things over and over again and the rest of the stuff becomes clutter. In this video, Dawn (The Minimal Mom) explains how to use the Pareto Principle to declutter.
What should I declutter first? This answer varies for everyone but if you want to figure this out for yourself, I’d recommend decluttering the most annoying thing, the most stressful thing or the thing you never notice until it is time to clean.
Helpful decluttering reminders
If you feel overwhelmed when decluttering your home remember …
- Less is not nothing. No one said you had to get rid of it all. You decide what you want in your life. Keep things that add value to your life and the stuff you enjoy. When it doesn’t add value anymore, or you stop enjoying it, let it go.
- Holding onto stuff is actually harder than letting it go. You may be struggling with guilt from an emotional attachment to your stuff. Letting go of stuff may feel hard, but holding on is harder. You have to hold on to your stuff every single day. You hold on by paying for items with your money, time, attention, and emotion. You only have to let go once.
- Our homes are not containers for stuff but rather a place for love and connection. Let’s make room for more of that.
- Just in case means never. The just in case excuse for holding on is a messy combination of fear and procrastination. We hold on because we aren’t quite ready to let go but we rarely use or enjoy the just in case stuff we keep. Take a look in the back of your closet, in the junk drawer, under the sink or in boxes in the garage or attic and it’s clear that just in case means never.
- You need less than you think to be happy. The more I had, the more I wanted. My constant quest for more resulted in frustration, overspending, and discontent. In contrast, today I live in a smaller space and choose from a small selection of clothes. Owning less, choosing from less and managing less gives me space to feel light, grateful and happy.
Most importantly, remember that decluttering is one part dealing with your stuff and three parts dealing with your heart. Take care of yourself along the way.