5 Decluttering Methods That Work (when nothing else does!)

Is decluttering a serious struggle? Been there! Below are 5 simple decluttering methods that really work when nothing else HAS worked for you before.

While these strategies are simple, don’t let yourself think they are too simple to be effective – they really work!

5 declutter methods that work when nothing else does

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Ready to get organized in every room of your messy house? First we gotta get RID of stuff. Remember, less clutter means EASIER to clean, right? And it’s much easier to KEEP clean!

If you’ve been trying to declutter but can’t find a method or strategy that you can do, WILL do… and will CONTINUE to do, these 5 decluttering methods below will probably help you out a ton – especially if you struggle with clutter Hot Spots.

Method 1 – Grab A Bag

5 Decluttering methods that work

This decluttering method is as simple as it sounds, but is SO effective – especially when you first start decluttering. All you do is grab a trash bag (or bin bag), and sprint around the house putting items in the trash that you should throw away.

Method 2 – Four Box Method

5 Decluttering methods that work

I’ve talked about the 4-box decluttering method here, but as a refresher, you go room by room with 4 different boxes (or bags) – one for trash, one for donations, one for “maybe keep” and one for items that belong somewhere else (ie, definite keepers that need to go to their ‘home’).

The most important step in this decluttering method is that you FINISH it.

That does NOT mean finish decluttering EVERYTHING – it means be sure to take the donations to the donation place, putting the trash items IN the trash and putting the misplaced items IN their appropriate spot.

Otherwise, you’ll end up with 4 boxes of stuff STILL in your house – and that is NOT the goal.

Just a note: There is also a 5 Box Method that includes the same 4 boxes from my method above PLUS a box for “storage”.

5 box declutter challenge

I do NOT recommend that 5 Box method – decluttering is NOT about storage or about paying money to rent space to store your stuff.

Decluttering IS about getting RID of stuff.

Method 3 – The 12-12-12 Challenge

5 Decluttering methods that work

Everyone loves a declutter challenge right? I know I sure do – totally motivates me (especially when I can’t get motivated to clean!)

This is more of a Decluttering “Blitz” because you do it fast and TRY to keep your brain OUT of it.

What you’re going to do is blitz around the house to find:

12 items to throw away,
12 items to donate or give away and
12 items that are not in the right place.

Yep, that’s all there is to it – and it’s kind of fun!

In fact, the kids LOVE to do this in their rooms – especially when there’s a time to beat AND some sort of incentive or reward at the end (ok, some sort of BRIBE haha!)

Method 4 – O.I.A.D.

5 Decluttering methods that work

For those that really struggle and feel bad throwing things away, this O.A.I.D. method is a gentle and slow decluttering method.

BUT it is wonderful for gaining momentum and willingness to declutter (ie, when you’re trying to help a hoarder declutter, as an example).

This entire decluttering method is this – get rid of ONE item a day. That’s it. (One Item A Day)

It’s slow, but it’s steady.

Method 5 – N.E.H.

5 Decluttering methods that work

This decluttering method is most helpful to MAINTAIN a clutter-free home and a habit that has been super helpful for me over the years.

It’s just an extra little step whenever you leave a room. Before you leave, take a quick glance around you and see what you can take WITH you and always TAKE something with you (ie, No Empty Hands)

For example, when managing living room clutter, when you stand up, grab that empty cup to take with you to the kitchen, or take the backpack to where it belongs, etc.

When I first started TRYING to do this, it was kinda hard. I think I had some mental block along the lines of “I ALWAYS have to be cleaning up after SOMEONE” and I resisted this method.

But now – I love it and it’s habit.

Know why?

Because it helps ME.

Here is an infographic of all 5 decluttering methods for you to save to Pinterest.

5 decluttering methods that really work

Many thanks to imagineerremodeling for the inspiration for this blog post and steps to declutter room by room.

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declutter challenge binder printables

(image above links to a LOT of declutter challenge printables, cleaning schedules and MUCH more!)

My House Was a MESS!
And my anxiety was through the roof!

I needed a plan to get it together - it was all pushing me over the edge.

Thing is - we LIVE here... I never had the fantasy that my home would ever look "Pinterest perfect".

I simply wanted more control, less clutter and much less anxiety.

I finally found something that worked for ME.
  • My house is now easier to clean - I can now clean it in minutes, instead of hours.
  • I can now actually FIND the things I'm looking for.
  • I learned some simple decluttering systems that make me much more efficient every day - and I'm more relaxed and less overwhelmed all the time (finally)
  • My house now looks pretty darn good almost all the time.
  • Best of all - I no longer stress about guests unexpectedly showing up.
Turns out, it was so much easier to do than I ever expected.

This is how I did it.

5 decluttering methods that really work