How to Declutter Your Home: The Ultimate Guide

how to start decluttering when you're overwhelmed

Many of us are guilty of hoarding unnecessary items. Over the years, we tend to buy more than we are getting rid of. In the long run, our homes become cramped and disorganized. It’s time we gave you a few tips on how to declutter your home.

According to the National Association for Professional Organizers and Decluttr, 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of clutter in their homes. That’s not all. 78% of that group has no idea what to do with it. 

The idea of decluttering your home can seem overwhelming, but it’s doable. The guide below will take you through everything you need to know about getting rid of clutter in your home. These tips are sourced from recognized professionals in this industry. The advice below will tell you exactly how to start decluttering when overwhelmed.

Why is decluttering important? 

No matter how much you try to be tidy, clutter has a way of sneaking up on a person. It often starts small and eventually piles up. Learning how to declutter your home is a process to integrate into your everyday life.

Chrissy, founder of Organize My House offers advise on ways to declutter
Chrissy is a 10+ year member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers!

Chrissy, the founder of Organize My House, refers to clutter as a collection of things lying around in a mess. 

The presence of excess clutter in a home can cause several problems. Clutter can act as a hiding area for dust and allergens. Seeing piles of clutter in your home can trigger stress and anxiety. For those who work from home, clutter can make you less productive. Clutter also sucks out space and beauty from your home. The list of problems clutter causes is endless. That’s why you need to deal with it as soon as possible. 

So, what benefits can you get from decluttering? 

  • Getting rid of clutter can lower your stress levels. After a long day of working and running errands, we all want to head home and spend a peaceful evening. Clutter significantly gets in the way of that.
  • The less clutter you have, the more physical space you will free up in your home.
  • Decluttering makes it easier to find things. Clutter may seem harmless, but it disorganizes your home, making it difficult to find things.
  • Learning how to declutter your home boosts productivity and focus. Since you won’t spend hours looking for stuff, you can get work done without interference.
  • Removing clutter makes your home friendly to visitors. At one point in your life, you have probably turned down a friendly visit because of how untidy your home was. You don’t have to be afraid of having guests over if there is no clutter.
  • Finally, a decluttered home is easier to clean and maintain. 
how to declutter your home

The Step-by-Step Process of Decluttering Your Home 

Step 1 – Schedule It 

Julie Hage founder of Filling the Jars (decluttering + Intentional Living)

If you have made up your mind about decluttering your home, it can be tempting to go all in and perform a big clean-out. However, Julie Hage, the founder of FILLING THE JARS (Decluttering + Intentional Living), recommends the best approach is to develop a decluttering schedule. 

For most people, it’s impossible to declutter within a day or over the weekend. Such attempts are often futile. Once you get tired, you start procrastinating, and clutter builds up. Julie Hage, a decluttering ambassador with years of experience, advises homeowners to follow a realistic approach. 

If you lead a busy lifestyle, you can schedule, even if it’s 10 or 20 minutes a day, for a decluttering session. She also explains that this should be more of a habit than a schedule. The more you get used to the schedule, you can turn things a notch higher and increase the duration to 30 minutes. Once the schedule sticks, keep decluttering even when your home seems organized and tidy. 

When scheduling a decluttering program, it’s important that you create something that works best for you and your family. Everyone needs to be involved in the decluttering missions, kids included. Doing so cultivates a clutter-free culture within the family. Decluttering doesn’t have to be strict and boring. You can make it a game or competition. Something that will encourage the habit. 

Step 2 – Declutter One Room at a Time 

Have you created a decluttering schedule? Well done. Next, you have to figure out where to start. Unless you are a speedster, it’s impossible to declutter the entire house at once. You have to declutter one room after another. So, which room should you start with? 

Jenifer from Decluttering Your Life encourages homeowners to start with the living room. The living room is the central part of your home. It’s where you spend most of the time. You will feel more satisfied after you have decluttered the living room. This can motivate you to move to other rooms. 

She also explains that there is no specific room that one should declutter first. The choice narrows down to an individual’s preference. If you feel reluctant about getting rid of clutter, starting with the bedroom can motivate you to clean other parts of your home. 

When you wake up in a clean and organized bedroom and enter a cluttered kitchen or living room, you will also feel the urge to clean it up. It is a brilliant strategy. 

One of the rooms you should never start decluttering with is the kitchen. Unlike other rooms in your home, the kitchen is always messy from food preparation or utensils. This will make it hard for you to see progress and might lower your motivation to declutter. The kitchen should be one of the last rooms to declutter. 

As you declutter rooms, it can be easy to forget storage areas such as the basement, attic, or garage. Also, do not throw all the clutter in these areas. That’s where step three comes in for how to declutter your home. 

Wrapping up on step two. Take your time when decluttering one room. Work from one drawer to another, carefully examining whether that item is of value. Feel free to ask your family to be part of the decluttering process. 

Step 3 – Divide Clutter into Four: Throw Away, Give Away, Keep, and Storage 

Do not dump all your clutter in the basement or garage, and assume you are done. You will only have solved part of the problem. A survey conducted by Sparefoot on 1,000 Americans revealed that 47% of them experience trouble parking in the garage due to clutter. 

Ryan Mitchel owner of The Tiny Life says to divide clutter into the four boxes

Ryan Mitchel, owner of THE TINY LIFE and a full-time minimalist, recommends the four-box decluttering method as the simplest approach to dealing with clutter. 

He encourages homeowners to divide their clutter into the following boxes; 

#1) A throw-away box

This box should contain defective items that you feel aren’t worthy of being donated.

#2 A giveaway box

Not everything in your clutter is trash. Some things can be of use to other people. Examples include clothes that no longer fit or old toys.

#3) The keep box

Ryan recommends that this box should contain the least number of items when you are done. It’s part of human nature not to want to let go. You may gravitate towards keeping more clutter than you need. The keep box should only contain items that you consider purposeful.

#4) The storage box

Some things may be useful for future use or have sentimental value. Examples include childhood diaries. These should go to the storage box. 

As you sort clutter, it’s important to understand that one can keep memories without the items. Many of us hold onto objects because they are associated with a certain memory. It would be best if you learned how to let go. 

Deciding which box you should put clutter into can be challenging. However, it becomes easier as you proceed. Something that may motivate you to declutter is thinking of how a certain object will benefit another person when you donate it. 

Also, when sorting clutter, you need to put items that you have borrowed and forgotten to return to the owners in a separate box. 

Step 4 – Purge the Stuff You Don’t Want 

When you are done decluttering, you will have four full boxes. Sometimes, you may even have old furniture you want to get rid of. Instead of stuffing these boxes in your basement, attic, or storage, here are some options on how you can conveniently get rid of clutter.

dumpster rental to keep an uncluttered home

#1) Rent a Dumpster for Decluttering

If this is your first decluttering project or it’s been a while since you gave your home a thorough clean-out, you probably have a lot of clutter to throw away. The best solution is a dumpster rental. It is an easy, stress-free, and affordable method of purging clutter.

When you rent a dumpster from Frontier Waste Solutions, we will bring it straight to your doorstep. It’s big enough to carry all your accumulated clutter, including old furniture. You can deposit all the clutter inside, and we will handle the disposal. Request a free quote today as you plan your decluttering project.

Frontier delivers dumpsters in the DFW, including in Dallas, Fort Worth, Garland, San Antonio Corpus Christi, and most cities from North to South Texas. Send us a message and see how fast we can have a dumpster delivered to you.

#2) Recycling

For paper, plastic, and glass clutter, you can send them to recycling. Most neighborhoods these days have curbside pickup for recycled items. If none is available, look for a nearby recycling drop-off.

#3) Donate valuable items

When decluttering, you will come across certain items that can be of value to others. Instead of sending them to the trash, you can donate them. Donating isn’t only an act of kindness, but it can also keep your home clutter-free.

#4) Host a garage sale

Another brilliant idea to get rid of stuff you don’t need is hosting a garage sale. You can make good money by selling items you no longer use or need. And in the process, eliminate clutter from your home. 

garage sale sign to get rid of old stuff

Decluttering advice and tips you can’t do without

Decluttering comes with many benefits. However, it’s not always easy. Here are some decluttering tips from experts in this field to ensure your experience is better, faster, and less stressful. 

1. Allocate time to declutter 

Earlier, we mentioned that scheduling is very important. Before you start decluttering, allocate time to perform this task. It can be in the morning when you are fresh, or in the evening when you are from work. Make a habit out of decluttering and always do it at the same time every day. 

2. Take before and after photos 

When decluttering, it can seem like you aren’t making any difference. Before and after photos can help show the tremendous progress you are making. It can also motivate you to continue to improve on how to declutter your home. 

3. Never hesitate to ask for help 

If your home is a mess, the thought of decluttering can be overwhelming. However, with the help of friends or family, you can tidy your home much more quickly and efficiently. It’s easier to ask for help if you live with other family members. Also, you are more likely to declutter for longer in the presence of some company. 

4. You need to buy a lot of bags

This should be done immediately after you decide to declutter your home. Whether the items will be stored, donated, or discarded, they need to be placed in bags. It would help if you bought a lot of bags to ensure you don’t run out when decluttering. 

5. Do not focus so much on selling clutter 

It makes sense that you would want to sell second-hand items instead of giving them away. But this mentality can interfere with the decluttering process. Not everything in your belongings is in high demand. When you focus so much on selling, you may never get rid of clutter. 

6. Utilize storage spaces in your home 

Cluttering isn’t about getting rid of all your items. There are some things you may need for future use. Examine the storage facilities in your home. You can re-arrange the attic to create more room. The same applies to wardrobes and kitchen cabinets. 

7. Keep the donation box close-by 

Remember when we said that learning how to declutter your home is an ongoing process? It’s a good idea always to have a donation box close by. This ensures that you don’t have to struggle to find the donation box every time you come across an item that is better off donated. Whenever the box gets full, please take it to a nearby donation center on your way to work. 

8. Declutter as you go 

We are not asking you to turn into a declutter robot. But, as you go about your day, get rid of items you don’t use whenever you come across them. When walking around your house, look for anything that comes off as clutter. 

9. Practice the one-in, one-out technique 

Whenever you buy something new, find another to get rid of. This ensures a balance between clutter and what you need. 

10. Discard items you haven’t used in a year 

The ‘I may need it mentality’ can leave your home full of clutter if you are not careful. Learning how to declutter your home means losing that mentality. Items that haven’t been used in 12 months shouldn’t be lying around in your home. This, however, doesn’t apply to seasonal items such as decorations. 

how to keep a room uncluttered

How to keep clutter out of your home

Getting rid of clutter is the easier part. The hard part is leading a clutter-free lifestyle. After you’ve invested time and effort in how to declutter your home, you must ensure it doesn’t return. Use these tips to keep clutter out of your home. 

  • Don’t treat your home as a storage unit – Never think twice about getting rid of old stuff through donations or disposal.
  • Embrace the KonMari Method – This is a method of keeping items that only spark joy. It was popularized by Marie Kondo, a popular organizing consultant, who is passionate about decluttering.
  • Use the 90/90 rule – Ask yourself if you have used that item in the past 90 days and whether you will use it in the coming 90 days. If both answers are no, get rid of it.
  • Occasionally go on a decluttering binge – Every once in a while, go on a decluttering rampage. This can ensure your home stays clutter-free.
  • Slow down the accumulation of items – Stop buying things you don’t need. This habit is a waste of money and also leads to clutter. 

The Bottom Line 

A peaceful, fresh, and organized world exists on the other side of a clutter-free home. This should be a wake-up call if you have been procrastinating about decluttering your home. We have rounded up the best expert tips and tricks that guarantee quick and efficient decluttering. After succeeding in your mission, be careful not to fall back to the old ways. Learning how to declutter your home is a lifetime skill you should keep sharp and in use!

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