I once came across a quote from Peter Walsh, professional organizer, writer, and media personality, that read:
“What I know for sure is that when you declutter—whether it’s in your home, your head, or your heart—it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.”
How much do you love that? While the idea of minimalism and living with less clutter can be appealing, it’s often a massive undertaking. After all, it takes years to collect your belongings. So, decluttering your home isn’t going to get crossed off in one fell swoop.
It’s a process. One that requires a lot of time and energy—especially if you want to spring into simple living. All that said, if you’re tired of searching for ways to declutter your home you’ve come to the right place (and, I’m so glad you’re here!).
Ultimately, a clean and organized home yields a clean and organized mind. Plus, decluttering and organizing helps you save time in the long run! Today, I’m not only going to give you the tips you need to declutter your home from top to bottom, but I’m also offering up a free guide at the end that’ll help you start small so you can get going on what may seem like a massive chore right away! What will you get in return? More space, stress reduction, and freedom as you go from chaos to calm! Did I mention that you will also save time down the road when it comes time to tidying up, again?
Okay, I won’t keep you waiting any longer because I’m too excited to share all of my not-so-secret secrets on decluttering so you can start your home transformation!
Get into the Right Mindset
Before all else, get into the right mindset. Actually committing to getting rid of stuff that’s causing clutter can be half the battle when it comes to organizing your home. The reason being, as I mentioned earlier, it often takes you years to collect your belongings. Some can possess more than just monetary value- they can also stir up memories! So, it’s not unusual to have a difficult time letting go.
As Marie Kondo, a best-selling author and organizing consultant writes in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,
“When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”
So, mentally prepare yourself to rid your home of things you don’t need, use, love, and that no longer fit your family’s lifestyle. You can hold onto the memories you’ve created with belongings in your heart while freeing up room in your home for more living space! Time is always a big motivator. Keep in mind that less “stuff” will help you save time as you tidy up your home in the future.
Prepare your Sorting System
Next, get your sorting system ready to go. To ensure you sort through your clutter the right way, you’ll need to implement what many in the industry like to call the Four Box Method. This method forces you to make a decision—item by item. This way, you can avoid having to declutter a bigger mess than the one you started with! Best of all it doesn’t require any fancy tools; you just need four boxes (or plastic bins) that you tag with the following labels—Put away, Give away, Throw away, and Undecided. Get ready to bring each of those boxes with you as you go from room to room to sort through the clutter! If you come across something you’re not quite sure what to do with yet, toss it in the Undecided box and come back to it later.
If going through every single item in each room sounds overwhelming, take Joshua Becker’s 12-12-12 Challenge. Locate 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their “home.” It can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly declutter and organize 36 things! Not to mention, you can turn it into a fun challenge and tackle alongside your spouse and kids.
Get to Work!
Now, it’s time to get to work—moving from room to room! Okay, you’re prepped for decluttering success and the real work begins—yay! How exciting is this?
First, flex your artistic abilities (if they’re limited, don’t worry) to map out all the rooms in your home. Then rank them on a scale of 1-3 based on their level of priority—one being the highest priority and three being the least. When deciding, consider high traffic areas or areas that you use the most often, first! Remember, a good amount of time and effort now means you will save time in the long run! Be sure to set realistic, achievable deadlines to complete the decluttering process of each space in your home. Having realistic and achievable deadlines makes it much easier for you to hold yourself accountable while setting aside time to chip away at it.
How to Let Go of “Stuff”
Feel you’ll have a difficult time parting with your belongings? You’re not the only one. But, I have faith in you and know that this will be your year for a clutter-free and organized home!
Still, if you find yourself having trouble saying goodbye to any belongings you tossed into the “Undecided” box and are unsure of how they fit into your long term solution of calm over chaos begin asking yourself the following questions:
- Have I used this in the last year? If not, toss it. It’s that simple!
- If I were shopping right now, would I buy this? It’s inevitable—your style will change over the years. If you wouldn’t purchase this item now and it doesn’t scream “you” anymore why are you holding onto it?
- Am I holding on to this for sentimental value? When you have children your keepsake box can become seriously large. That said, be mindful of what you plan on keeping and only focus on the things that spark joy. Otherwise, it’s all just “stuff” that sits in a box for years until your children are grown and decide they don’t want it for themselves.
- Do I have a lookalike item that serves the same purpose? If yes, go ahead and get rid of one of them.
- Am I holding on to the broken item to fix in the future? If it’s been stuffed away in a drawer or sitting on a shelf for months waiting to be fixed, fix it. If you don’t plan on getting around to it in the next few weeks, toss it.
- Would someone else enjoy it more than my family and me? I came across this question on MindBodyGreen.com and just had to share. It’s such a great way to think about the “stuff” in your home! Think about how much someone else or another family would enjoy the items you are no longer using. Then, pass it on by donating it to a local shelter or Goodwill!
Once you can get to a point where you’re okay with parting with certain items that don’t have a purpose or a place, you’ll be on your way to living out a life that’s clutter-free! Looking for some help on tackling your clutter? I created a free checklist just for you—5 Areas You Can Declutter in 15 Minutes. It’ll help you start small so you can get going on what may seem like a massive chore right away! To get your hands on it just enter your email address using this link and I’ll deliver it to your inbox very soon.
Have questions or something to share about decluttering your home? Let me know in the comments section below! I’d love to hear from you.
I love the quotes in the article, especially the Peter Walsh quote about how making room in your physical space will make room in other areas of your life.
I’ll absolutely follow this guide. This is awesome! Thanks for posting this!
Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m the type of person that does not throw things out and finds it hard to throw things that is worn out because it has meaning to me. I have to change that though. Thanks again!
Amazing guide for sure!