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Declutter your house (without making a mess) using this method

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how to declutter room by room

Decluttering has become complicated

So you need a little help figuring out how to declutter your house or where to start decluttering and guess what, you’re not alone!   Decluttering experts have made things really confusing with all the layers of joy and unicorn dust they’ve added to everything.  Luckily decluttering is a lot easier to do than you think.  Once you figure out what the real issue is…

As a matter of fact, decluttering is not complicated at all.  It’s just stuff afterall. It’s the emotions you have about the stuff that funk things up.  

I won’t talk about the emotions that make decluttering hard in this post. This one is all about action!

My five-step process for decluttering your home is straight to the point, no fluff and kinda gets a little dark around step #4 – but hey, it gets the job done.  

If you’re ready to declutter and want to know how to do it quickly, keep reading!  Oh, and there’s an epic, room by room decluttering list that’ll have you looking like a decluttering ninja ready to kick some clutter butt!

declutter your house quickly

STEP 1 | Be realistic about how much time you can spend decluttering & when you’ll do it.    

You want to declutter the entire house in a day?

Sorry but that may not be possible.  If this is your first big decluttering mission in a while, you’re going to need a little more than a day to do it right.  To make sure you succeed, don’t start off by biting more than you can chew. That’s the fastest way to fail.  

Small decluttering projects are the key to decluttering your house.  They are a lot easier to manage – and you can typically start and finish in one sitting.  That’s super important for staying motivated. You can tackle one small decluttering project a day or do several on the weekend.  Just do what works for your schedule.  

Plan for your decluttering sessions 

Whether you still want to declutter your entire house in a day or declutter it in 30 days, you need to plan for it.  Check your schedule. How much time do you want to spend decluttering & when do you want to block off time to do it? Be sure to set reminders – be serious about it.   

  • How much time will you spend decluttering each time?  5 minutes, 30 minutes or all day?
  • When do you want to declutter?   Every day, just a few days out of the week or weekends?

STEP 2 | Don’t go in half-cocked – get everything you need to declutter. 

Regardless of what areas or rooms you’re decluttering, the tools you’ll need to carry out the mission will stay the same for the most part. Luckily, you only need a few things and you’ve probably already got most of them!   

Things you need to declutter any area in your home /

  • Something to write on.  You’re going to need labels. Paper or my favorite, sticky notes, will work perfectly for this.  
  • Something to write with – a pen or sharpie! 
  • Three big enough things to hold stuff plus large trash bags.  The big enough things can be baskets, boxes, containers, or a mix of all the above. 
  • Tape – any type is fine.  Except maybe wire or electric tape – only an overthinker would write that! 

Step 3 |  Be prepared to go all the way – get your clutter to its final destination without delay.

Sure, how you start decluttering is important but how you end your decluttering project is everything!   If you don’t get the clutter where it needs to be, instead of decluttering your house, all you’ve done is move clutter around your house – yikes! 

You are going to follow a very simple sorting system so that you know exactly where the clutter needs to go once it’s been sorted.  This needs to be done at the conclusion of each small decluttering project. It’s the absolute best way to prevent your house from turning into a disaster while you’re decluttering.  Plus actually finishing in entirety is pretty motivating.  

For example, while sorting, when you pick up an item that you think is trash, you put it in the trash pile.  And can you guess where you should take the trash pile once you’re done sorting everything? You guessed it – to the trash bin!  Told ya decluttering is easy.  

Below are the five sorting categories you should use to sort your clutter: 

  • Trash or Recycle (Will not be of value or service to anyone, not in good condition, is broken, or outdated)
  • Donate  (Is in good condition and can be useful to someone now)
  • Sell (Is in good condition, worth my time to sell and can be sold quickly)
  • Keep & Relocate (I currently use this, without it, my day-to-day would be affected and it’s just in the wrong place) 
  • 30 Days From Today – If you can’t make a decision on an item immediately, put it in this very special box and write “Throw Away On (the date that is 30 days later)”.  You can sort through the box whenever up until that date you wrote. When the day comes, toss it!

YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO READ // The Smart Girls Guide To A Clean And Organized Houe | 10 Actionable Tips for more ideas on how to create and keep your house clean and organized!

Step 4 | The pleasantly practical, slightly dark, highly effective clutter busting process you can use to quickly figure out what stays & what goes!

Ask clear, practical questions in order to declutter quickly 

This is where I don’t agree with the Kondo process. I have five questions that I ask, and while most other methods I see use fewer or more abstract questions. The five listed below keep my mind focused and prevent me from going down a rabbit hole of joy.   

Just remember, you probably don’t have to ask yourself these questions when decluttering the kitchen pantry for example.  Use a little common sense & more importantly, declutter in a way that makes sense to you.  


1 |  Have I used this in the past 365 days? 

If the answer is no, toss it. If it’s yes, keep going. 

2 | If I get rid of this, will it negatively impact my day-to-day life or my life in the next 365 days?

If the answer is no, toss it. If it’s yes, keep going.

3 | If I toss it now but need it later, is it something I can replace?  Buy, rent or download?  

If the answer is yes, toss it. If it’s no, keep going.

4 | If I died tomorrow, would anyone I know be happy that I left this?  

If the answer is yes, keep it. If it’s no, let it go!

POINTERS TO FOLLOW: Make this process short & sweet! Give yourself one minute to make a decision on each item you sort.  If you still can’t make a decision after one minute, put the item into the 30 Day Box mentioned above. Do it like this so that you can make a lot of progress in a short amount of time & not let indecisiveness slow you down! 

Step 5 | Declutter with turbo speed by letting the bigger picture keep you motivated.

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed or lose focus when decluttering your house.  Especially if you have a lot of stuff. Clearing one surface after another, sorting everything, going back and forth to goodwill – the whole process can take quite a bit of time and energy.  

Thinking about what you want your house to look when you finish or how it got cluttered in the first place can help guide your decision-making process and keep you motivated.  It’ll also inspire you to develop habits that’ll keep your house clutter-free in the future.  

Here are a few practical questions to ask yourself to help create your big-picture goal.  

  • Is there any particular reason why the house is cluttered?
  • Why do you want to declutter your house now? 
  • When you walk through the door, what do you want your house to look like?

YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO READ // How To Get A Clean House For Life!  71 Super Actionable Ideas for tips and tricks to keep your house clean without pulling your hair out!

Recommendation for a vacuum cleaner

Where to start decluttering your house when you’re clueless

And finally, the million-dollar question – where should you start?  Honestly, that’s a great question that you’ve probably been overthinking so I am happy to point you in the right direction.  For the record, there is no wrong place to start – not getting started is the wrong answer!  

Below are three options you can choose from if you don’t know where to start decluttering your house: 

1 | The Touch Rule

Don’t start with a decluttering project at all!. If you don’t really have the time or motivation to plan a big decluttering overhaul, don’t.  Instead, use the Touch Rule which allows you to get into the habit of decluttering without going out of your way to do it. Consider it a minor lifestyle change.

Here’s how the Touch Rule works – whatever you touch, you declutter immediately. When you take off your clothes, you put them in the right place – on a hanger or in the hamper – not the floor.  Grab the mail out the mailbox and Instead of putting it with the pile of old mail, you read it, file it, scan it, toss it or shred it. You get it right?    

2  | Declutter Something Else Entirely

Choose something like your purse or your car. I know it sounds like we are getting off task but hear me out! The items you have to sort out of your purse will naturally lead you to other areas of the house. For instance, a lot of the items in your purse may belong in your bathroom or your office. One of those rooms can be your next decluttering project.

This will allow you to get into the hang of managing small decluttering projects and build momentum with small wins so that by the time you get to the worst areas, you’ll be a decluttering pro! 

3 | Start In The Bathroom

Start in your bathroom.  Why not? You use it every day, it’s not a huge area and it should be fairly straightforward in regards to what to keep & what to toss. Once you finish that one, knock out the rest of the bathrooms.  

YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO READ // The Smart Girl’s Guide To A Clean & Organized House – 5 Drool-Worthy, Must-Have Things You Need To Get Now!  Who should read this?  Anyone that wants to learn smart ways to set up their home so that it stays clean. 

Declutter room-by-room with this epic list

So you’re ready to rock n’ roll but could use a little help on exactly what you should be clearing from each room.  No worries. Here’s a list of things you can declutter and it’s broken up by rooms so it’s super easy to follow!   

Anywhere In The House

trash or items to be recycled

anything that you don’t know what it is

anything you can’t use

duplicates that don’t get used (keep your favorite and ditch the rest!)

old electronics like phones, chargers and cords

product boxes like phone boxes

paper clutter like bills, transcripts, school work, etc. 

decor you do not like


clear furniture surfaces

Items on the floor

junk drawers

clothes you will never wear

clothes that don’t fit

damaged clothing

shoes you won’t wear again

shoes that are in bad condition

clothing you haven’t worn in over a year

old underwear

socks with holes or without mates

tarnished and broken jewelry

worn or damaged luggage, bags, purses or backpacks


damaged or worn sheets and blankets

stained pillows

flat pillows 

excess blankets

outdated comforter sets


old make-up

raggedy towels 

empty product bottles

old fingernail polish

expired beauty products

old cleaning supplies

raggedy towels

excess towels



junk drawers

condiment packages

expired refrigerator food

old frozen foods

old food in the pantry

chipped glasses and mugs

outdated dishes

dishes without the rest of the set

plastic containers without lids or lids without containers

excess coffee mugs

raggedy dish towels

old appliances 

Living Room

books and old movies (for example, DVDs)

unnecessary furniture

outdated furniture

magazines or books you won’t read again

old remote controls

cords and wires

old electronics

unused gaming systems and electronics

personal items 


unfiled papers

unnecessary paperwork like old bills (everything is online)

dried markers and pens

excess amounts of office supplies 

owners manuals for products

random electronics cords + cables

outdated phones and electronics


paint cans 

boxes you haven’t opened in over 1 year

excess products or things

broken equipment

Broken sports equipment

Anything broken

Progress over Perfection

Don’t let perfect become the enemy of better.  The first time you go through your home, you won’t remove all the clutter. But you will make progress. In just a few short weeks (or even days), you will begin to feel different about your home. You will enjoy it more—as if a burden has been lifted from your shoulders. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better. And that’s the best any of us can hope for in this life.”Joshua Becker, Best-Selling Author of The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own and Founder of Becoming Minimalist

Let’s recap

Decluttering your house does not have to be complicated. Get started right now by simply choosing to start. You don’t need to spend your time reading one post after another. Use this brief outline & trust your instincts.

Here’s an outline of the refreshingly pragmatic method of decluttering your house:

Step 1 | Plan when you will declutter and how much time you’ll spend doing it.

Step 2 | Get everything you need to declutter from start to finish.

Step 3 | Be prepared to get your clutter where it needs to go quickly by sorting into one of five categories.

Step 4 | Use the practical, highly effective clutter busting questions to quickly declutter tough areas.

Step 5 | Make sure you know why you’re decluttering and what the bigger picture is to help you stay motivated throughout the process.

Good things are meant to be shared! Save this to your Pinterest account so you can actually find it later and so others can see you’ve got all the good stuff!

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