THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

How To Declutter Your Home
By Luvmihome

How To Declutter Your Home Step By Step

There are a number of reasons why you might have chosen to read this guide. Perhaps you are tired of listening to your best friend regurgitating Marie Kondo tips that she learned from binge-watching the Netflix series.
Perhaps you are on a mission to figure out how to declutter your home and streamline your lifestyle and cut down on the amount of housework you have to do (by eliminating clutter, the average home requires 40% less housework!) Maybe your clutter has got out of control and you can no longer find your tennis shoes/cat/kitchen!

According to NAPO (the National Association of Professional Organisers – yes, it’s a real thing!), we spend the equivalent of around 12 days a year looking for things we can’t find.

If you could free up those 12 wasted days, and reduce your housework by 40%, and end the closet-shame, think about how much easier life would be. 

Not only would life be easier, but you may also be healthier.  A study conducted at Indiana University discovered that people who live in clean houses are healthier than those who have untidy homes. The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness

No more emergency tidying when someone is coming round (and then finding boxes of things you shoved under the bed months later when you are looking for something else). 

Don’t be avoiding rooms because you just don’t know where to start. No more buying take-out because the kitchen is just so cluttered that cooking is a chore.

No more excuses.

DECLUTTERING METHODS

You know that stressed, frustrated feeling you get when you look around at the clutter and just don’t know how to fix it? As you declutter, those feelings untangle and dissipate. Every time you clear a space, you are clearing your mind. Follow this guide and it will take you step-by-step to where you want to be.

Here are some of the most popular, tried-and-tested decluttering methods to suit everyone.

Room-by-Room

Take each room at a time and work methodically through it until it is completely decluttered. Anything that belongs in another room gets taken to that room to be dealt with when its turn comes. Perfect if you have problem rooms you need to focus on.

Category-by-Category

Rather than working one room at a time, you can deal with a certain type of clutter at a time, such as paperwork overload or clothing clutter. This is ideal if you can identify a very specific clutter problem you want to tackle.

The Kon Mari Method

Popular decluttering guru Marie Kondo has created the Kon Mari method, a technique that has gained millions of followers by focusing on the wellbeing benefits of a tidy home. Gather together all of the clutter in your home, ask yourself if each individual item ‘sparks joy’, and eliminate the unnecessary things that you are hoarding.

Swedish Death Cleaning

This is the process of prioritizing and organizing your belongings, usually as you age, so that you leave behind only the things you wish to. The technique is increasingly popular with people of all ages as it involves the positive approach of deciding what is truly important. 

Just 10 Things Technique

Simply take a bag or box and fill it with 10 things that you do not need. They may be recycled, binned or donated, but they must leave your home as soon as possible. Make it a regular habit and you will soon see and feel the difference.

Moving Forward Technique

We all accumulate things that are no longer relevant to our lives. Get rid of books you are no longer interested in, clothes that no longer fit, souvenirs from times you don’t care to remember, and move forward.

How To Declutter Your Home Tips

Before we jump into our decluttering system, here are some general tips that will help you get motivated, stay on track, and make the most efficient use of your time and how to declutter.

  1. Make a small start on the decluttering by picking up 5 items right now and getting rid of them by giving them away, recycling or binning them. Enjoy the feeling you get from having made a start and recognize how much better it would feel to do this with the entire home! This is a good tip if you tend to procrastinate.
  2. Be sensible about sentiment; if your house is covered in kids’ art or photographs, take pictures of each piece and then store it away in the attic or a scrapbook. Downscale by holding onto a couple of cups and saucers rather than the whole 40 piece tea set that your great-auntie left you.
  3. Are you surrounded by half-finished things? Get a couple of ‘project boxes’ for the things you truly must keep and store each project and everything it requires inside. If you haven’t made any progress with a project in 3 months, then get rid of it.
  4. Stop the flow of paper! If you are a gatherer of leaflets, catalogs, and mail, then it is time to change. Open your mail beside the recycling bin and get rid of unwanted things immediately. Take pictures of receipts, instructions, notices, and leaflets so you have the information you need without the paper.
  5. Make a list of local places that need donations. This is particularly helpful if you feel guilty about getting rid of things; by decluttering you could be helping others. Listing charities, hospitals, and residential homes will give you an added sense of purpose. 
  6. Keep a box in your car so that it is as easy as possible to take unused things out of your home and get them to where they can be useful! Each time you pass a goodwill store, simply take the box in.
  7. Seeing double? Make a list of things you know you have two of. If you could always find the item when you needed it, would you need another? Nobody needs 5 pairs of scissors! Get rid of duplicates and spares.
  8. Think creatively to maximize the potential of every space. Is there space under your bed for storage boxes of out-of-season clothes? How about hooks on the back of your doors? Storage baskets on top of the bookcase? Shelves in an awkwardly shaped alcove?
  9. Never give up your valuable space to accommodate someone else’s clutter. Give back books and clothes you have borrowed, return belongings to your ex, make your brother come round and pick up his bicycle… anything taking up space in your home should be yours.
  10. It is perfectly acceptable to put a waste-paper bin in any room that needs it. If you find yourself gathering trash off the floor or other surfaces, then its time to add a bin to the room.
  11. Learn to love the label – if a label on a box makes you more likely to remember what it contains and put things back in it, indulge in some pretty labels and pens and get to work.
  12. Refuse to hoard – if you are holding onto clothes to make memory cushions, storing up corks to make a notice board, or hanging onto craft materials for a hypothetical scrapbook, be honest about whether you truly have time and motivation or if it would actually feel good to let go.

YOUR DECLUTTERING SYSTEM

Set Goals

It is important to decide what you want to achieve before you start. 

Visualize what you want your home to look like and how it would change your life. Imagine getting up in the morning and not having to rifle through piles of clothes. Picture how much easier life would be and how much time you would save.

Decide on a timescale. Without this decision, you are much more likely to procrastinate or give up. Make a firm commitment and be specific. Instead of saying, “I’d like the closets to be tidier,” say “By the end of the month, I will donate every unwanted item from our closets and organize the storage so it works effectively for us.”

The Handy 5 Box Rule

We are going to keep this really simple. All you need to begin are 5 bags or boxes to sort the clutter.

  1. Trash – anything that is broken, damaged or unusable should be thrown away.
  2. Recycling – recycle wherever possible.
  3. Sell – ask yourself if it is really worth the time and effort listing lower-value items and if not, donate instead.
  4. Donate – donate to a charity or pass things along to friends. Enjoy the opportunity to help others as you streamline your home.
  5. Keep – these should be things you either need or love. Be ruthless. If something needs to be fixed, only keep it if it’s worth fixing and you truly intend to.

Get Rid!

According to NAPO, “72% of Americans believe they would gain more space in their homes by purging unused items, but 41%… haven’t decluttered for over a year”.

Until those bags are out of your home, they are technically still cluttering!

  1. Immediately take the trash to the bin; this is going to make the biggest difference to your home.
  2. Take recycling to the nearest recycling center as soon as possible, even if it means making a special trip.
  3. Starting with the higher value items, list everything for sale as soon as possible. Set yourself a deadline – if it isn’t sold within a month, it gets donated. 
  4. Put the box of donations in your car and drop them off at the soonest opportunity. Putting them in the car means getting them out of the house and you’ll be much more likely to actually donate them.
  5. Divide things that are to be kept into those that should be stored away, and those you need regular access to. Items that can be stored should be packed away and safely stowed in the attic, basement, or garage. Items you want to keep should have a specific place where they belong. Give every item a home, and it will be much more likely to be returned there!

ROOM BY ROOM DECLUTTERING TIPS

Whether you have problem rooms that are crying out for decluttering or you want to work through your entire home, the way you approach different spaces will be different. Let’s take a look at some more specific decluttering tips for each room.

How To Declutter The Kitchen

A tidy kitchen could not only make cooking more enjoyable, but it could have a positive effect on the food choices you make. “Research shows that cluttered kitchens prompted people to eat 44% more of their snack food than a kitchen that was organized and decluttered” (NAPO). Here is how to declutter your kitchen.

How To Declutter The Bedroom

Believe it or not, a tidy bedroom could give you that great nights’ sleep you are after! “Research shows that people who [declutter their bedroom] may sleep better at night.” Preparing Your Bedroom for a Great Night’s Sleep.

How To Declutter The Kids’ Rooms

Of all the rooms in the house, kids’ rooms are probably the places that accumulate the most unwanted clutter, simply because children develop so quickly that before you know it they have grown out of the toys, clothing, and books that just months ago they were growing into!

How To Declutter Entrance Hall

As the first place you see when you enter the home, the entrance hall is an important place. If it is messy and cluttered, your mood instantly alters. Of course, because it is the first place you reach, it also can become a dumping ground for coats, shoes, and countless other things.

How To Declutter Your Home Office

Whether you work from home or have a study for keeping on top of paperwork, it is difficult to keep the home office from absorbing clutter from other rooms. A tidy office boosts productivity and puts an end to procrastination!

How To Declutter The Living Room

As the room where you are most likely to spend time relaxing, it makes sense to declutter and keep it tidy so that it is easier and more enjoyable to hang out in. The living room is for living, it doesn’t have to be an empty space, but great storage and display areas will transform the way you live in it.

How To Declutter The Laundry Room

The laundry room can be crucial for keeping your home free from clothing clutter. Whether you have a small laundry station or a larger room to work with, streamlining this area can cut down the time you spend sorting, washing, drying, and folding.

How To Declutter The Bathroom

Most of us have too many lotions and potions in our bathrooms, and you might be surprised how many items are hiding away in cabinets or on shelves that you are not intending to use! Save valuable space, cut down on dust and create a relaxing haven in your bathroom. Here is your list of how to declutter the bathrooms in your home.

How To Declutter Closets

We all have far more clothes than we really need (and yet it often feels like we’ve nothing to wear!) Being more careful about what we keep and what we buy can transform how we feel about our closets, and that can change how we feel about the way we look. “In 1930, the average American woman owned nine outfits. Today, that figure is 30 outfits — one for every day of the month” (NAPO).

How To Declutter The Garage

The garage can become the ultimate storage area for things that we don’t quite know what to do with, projects we haven’t got around to or things the children have outgrown. Garage space can make up a large proportion of the space you own, so why waste it? “60 percent of parents admit they’ve been unable to park their car in the garage due to their overflowing belongings” (NAPO). Let’s see how to declutter your garage…

How to Declutter Your Attic and Basement

If you dread the thought of going into the attic or basement because of the seemingly endless number of things you might find, then you can be sure there is stuff hiding away that you no longer need or want. If you can’t even get into these areas properly, then it is time to rid your home of unwanted clutter and reclaim your space.

FUTUREPROOF YOUR HOME FROM CLUTTER

Once you have decluttered, it is essential that you set in place good habits so that you don’t end up back in the same situation again. When you future-proof your home from clutter, you spend less time tidying and more time enjoying your home. That’s not to say that no clutter will ever build up again – of course, it will, but with these management strategies, it will be so much easier to eliminate since you know how to declutter your home now!

You may also like this article about getting your home perfectly organized.