Decluttering doesn’t have to be complicated. But it is essential if you want to make home your happy place. Here’s my simple guide to decluttering your home and all the tricks I use to keep our home decluttered and feeling great!
Over the years, I’ve asked my email subscribers one question over and over again: “What is the one thing you’re struggling with in your home right now?”
I’ve collected almost a thousand answers to that question. And in all of those replies, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gotten a response that had something to do with TOO MUCH CLUTTER!
Here are a few of the clutter-related responses:
“All the rooms contain leftovers and inherited furniture and too much of it. Every room struggles with clutter particularly paper paper and baby items of our one year old.”
“Too much furniture but little space. Too many things to have but no room to put it all.”
“…the little bits and pieces make things look cluttered instead of pretty”
And so on. It’s pretty clear that we all struggle with things piling up and looking cluttered. Decluttering our home is a priority!
With a little organization and some practice, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to declutter your home so that it looks and feels so much better!
Clutter in your home clutters your mind.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time, of course! Although, I personally don’t know why anyone would want to eat an elephant!
The point is the best way to deal with a really big job is one little bit at at time.
Therefore, the best way to declutter is to tackle your home one room at a time. If that seems overwhelming, you can tackle one drawer or cabinet at at time.
I also recommend start decluttering your home with small spaces first. That way you can feel the elation of a win faster. Maybe try the junk drawer. Or the front hall closet. And then move on from there.
As you go through your things and space you need to ask yourself a three questions.
The 3 Questions You Need to Ask When Decluttering Your Home
As you go about decluttering and organizing your home, there are three things you need to ask of all of your things.
1. Is it beautiful?
Of course, we don’t just want a clutter-free home. We want one that is lovely too. If you love something because of its beauty – like you’d actually go out and purchase it in the store today – and you have the space for it, it can stay.
A note: beauty is subjective. So, what I may find beautiful, you may not. And vice versa. Only you can decide the answer to this question in your house.
2. Is it useful?
There are a few things that can JUST be beautiful in your home, but but there will be many more things that serve a purpose. They are useful items. If you genuinely need something, it can stay.
Now along with this question there is the additional question of “is this the only thing that can be useful in its way”? If you have somehow collected 3 can openers over the years, they’re technically all useful…but you don’t need three can openers! Get rid of two and keep the best one.
3. Is it sentimental?
This one can be a bit of a tricky question to answer. We’ve likely all been given things from family or friends that we didn’t choose to have. But for one reason or another, they hold sentimental value.
For example, my Grandmother’s China is lovely. It’s a classic white bone China with a gold rim. But until recently, I didn’t have the space for it, so it lived in a Rubbermaid tote at my sister’s until I had room to store it. If you have something similar, you will need to decide whether to keep it based on space.
Another example from our house. Years ago, I was given my other Grandmother’s antique deacon’s bench. I kept it for a long time. I loved it because I adored her it was hers. But when my style and the size of my house changed, I realized it just wasn’t working for us anymore. Now my sister has it.
The sentimental question is something ONLY you can answer. But you also have to ask yourself, are you keeping something out of guilt? Or a genuine desire to keep it?
Owning less is better than organizing more!
What do you do with everything?
After asking yourself the three questions above (Is it beautiful? Is it useful? Is it sentimental?), there are only three options for what to do with your things. You can:
- Keep them.
- Donate them.
- Trash them.
If something is beautiful, useful or extraordinarily sentimental in value, you keep it. If they’re not, you can either donate them or trash them.
How do you know whether to donate or trash something?
If something is showing major signs of wear and tear, you should trash it. If it’s still in good shape, donate it. It’s as simple as that! Also, try to remove the trash and donation items from your sight and your house asap! That way you can’t change your mind…or create clutter with bags and boxes of things to get rid of!
The Bad News About Decluttering Your Home
Do you want to know the one thing that no one wants to tell you about decluttering your home? The thing I’m even a little afraid to tell you?
Decluttering isn’t permanent.
I’m really sorry, but it’s true. You can’t just do it once and it’s done forever. It’s sorta like the dishes and the laundry that way. Although, thankfully, it can be done with far less frequency than dishes and laundry.
Decluttering your home is sort of a repeatable thing that probably has to be done a few times a year at minimum. Even if you become more strict with what comes into your house, inevitably drop zones and closets and drawers will collect old things, broken things and all manner of papers.
I’m also not going to BS you and tell you that it’s easy. Simple? Yes, absolutely. But my friend, YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK!
You have to set aside time to clean out those closets and drawers and bedroom and living rooms. Your sanity depends on it. And you know it!
You are smart and capable and you now have the tools to declutter your home efficiently.
Once you have decluttered, some things will still get messy. That’s life. Like kids toys or kitchens and entryways. If THOSE messes regularly seem out of control, see our 5 Steps to Organize Anything post for how to get a better handle on that.
The Good News
The good thing about decluttering is once you start, it’s a little addictive.
One of my good friends is always telling me I’m good at decluttering and getting rid of things. Which may be true. But I FEEL it when the house is crowded and messy and cluttered. And I don’t like the feeling.
So, every so often I set aside time (or just spur of the moment dump a drawer out!) to go through things.
And my house FEELS so good because of the work I put in to make it feel that way.
I know that you can do it too, Beautiful! You really can!
If you need help deciding further on what to get rid of, you can download our decluttering checklist by leaving your email below!