10 Decluttering Strategies That Work (and one that does NOT work!)

10 Simple Strategies for Decluttering That Actually Work –

Today, let’s talk about declutter challenges and 10 different EFFECTIVE methods to declutter, downsize and organize your home – and one NO GOOD method that does NOT work (that EVERYONE should STOP DOING).

10 Decluttering Strategies That Work (and one that does NOT work!)

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10 decluttering strategies that work

Below are 10 decluttering strategies that work very well whether your house is a “normal” messy house, a cluttered mess that overwhelms you or you’re just plain STUCK, don’t know how to KEEP decluttering… or where to even start.

There’s also one decluttering strategy that does NOT work and I’ll talk about that as well to be sure YOU do NOT declutter that way.

Clutter can paralyze you emotionally which causes us to freeze up in NON action. When it comes to decluttering your home it’s easy to get stuck feeling as if it’s all TOO much to deal with – and there doesn’t seem to be a clear path to start.

So let’s dig into these 10 strategies, systems and methods you can follow to begin clearing the clutter.

Now, these strategies aren’t really decluttering secrets, but they absolutely work to help you clean the clutter in your home.

Decluttering Methods

First off, I am NOT a “minimalist”… at ALL.

To me, being a minimalist is taking decluttering to an extreme I am not comfortable with nor am I comfortable living in a minimalist environment.

I simply like my house clean and clutter-free but not void of things that make our house a HOME.

Did you know that minimalists have their own strategies?

Minimalist Decluttering Methods

These are the 6 decluttering strategies that minimalists swear by (but are NOT realistic and usually do NOT work):

  1. Use this simple declutter strategy whenever you can because it WORKS and it’s easy! It’s one of the best strategies for decluttering.
  2. Reduce clutter by NOT having ANYTHING that does NOT “inspire” you (*read below)
  3. Buy NOTHING that is “trendy” (really?)
  4. Buy used items instead of new
  5. Purge your house of junk once a year (this one I DO agree with)
  6. Keep all your stuff “hidden” behind doors, in closets etc (say WHAT?!?! I thought we were getting RID of clutter – not HIDING it?!??)

Since we’re NOT minimalists, let’s talk about REALISTIC decluttering methods, ok?

Not sure where to start?

✅  Read: The Best Room To Declutter FIRST

10 Strategies For Decluttering

10 Realistic Ways To Declutter Your Home That Work

Below are 10 REALISTIC decluttering strategies that DO work to keep your home clear of clutter WITHOUT taking it to the extreme.

1. Decluttering Blitz

This is the most popular decluttering strategy that is the perfect way to declutter your house in ONE day – it’s intense, extreme decluttering and is also the fastest way to purge clutter out of all the decluttering strategies in this list.

Decluttering Strategy 1

If you’ve ever heard the term “cleaning like a mad woman”, well this strategy is pretty much the same thing.

In this strategy one is SO overwhelmed, mad and angry at all the clutter in their home that they decide to just get rid of all their stuff to simplify their life.

There’s no real plan to this decluttering strategy – one just grabs trash bags and throws stuff out.

Here’s a little secret for you: while this strategy works well at the moment, it’s not really one that works out long-term.

But it IS a good place to start – especially when the clutter is closing in on you and there is no real clear path to get started.

2. Pre-Planned Decluttering

Decluttering Strategy 2

This decluttering strategy works great for people who love checklists and love to plan.

This strategy is only for people with strong motivation to declutter that also have strong self-discipline.

Do NOT get lost in the planning details of this technique – making lists and plans doesn’t do a thing to actually getting clutter OUT of your house.

✅  Feeling UNmotivated?

These tips can help you get motivated when you don’t feel like it.

3. Zoned Decluttering

Decluttering Strategy 3

This decluttering strategy is sort of a combination of the first 2 strategies – it’s like a Pre-Planned Blitz.

To do this strategy, divide your home into “zones”, make a list and a a plan for that zone only, then do it and check it off.

The key here is to completely declutter a zone BEFORE moving on to the next zone.

This decluttering strategy works VERY well and is a great way to declutter a room in 30 minutes if you stay on task with your decluttering checklist.

4. Group Effort Decluttering

Decluttering Strategy 4

I have found that many people do well with this Group Effort Decluttering Strategy.

The best part?

You are NOT doing it all alone.

Instead, you enlist the help of the entire family, all that live in the house, a group of friends, etc.

You can do a LOT more decluttering done with more people working on it – and it can really help with accountability to keep going to complete your declutter checklists.

Just to note: this decluttering strategy doesn’t work all that well for people who have a hard time asking for help.

5. Decluttering Club

Decluttering Strategy 5

This decluttering strategy is very similar to the Group Effort strategy, but the Decluttering Club is a bit different, but can be even more effective (and can actually be a lot of fun!)

You know how we have book clubs where we all read a book then get together and talk about the book?

This is the same basic concept.

BUT, instead, everyone will go to Decluttering School and then take turns at each member’s homes to declutter as a group.

Every club member learns the same decluttering skills and uses those skills to help each other out.

This decluttering strategy works SO well and it really is a lot of fun to get together with your friends and work together for a common goal – that every club member will have a clutter-free home.

6. Declutter Challenge

Decluttering Strategy 6

A very successful decluttering strategy is to follow a declutter challenge like this.

Having a set amount of days and a planned out list of WHAT to declutter and WHEN to declutter it, can be very helpful!

7. Delegated Decluttering

Decluttering Strategy 7

Sometimes the clutter is just too much to get a handle on by yourself.

This is more common for hoarders and packrats – but I know a lot of friends who fall into this category when cleaning out the home of a friend of relative who has passed.

My friend, Kimberly, just went through this after her mom passed away last year.

Decluttering after someone dies is different… and brings about a whole new set of challenges and Kimberly was finding that out the hard way.

Her mom had lived in her house for 45 years – and lived there alone the last 15 years.

There was SO MUCH STUFF in that house.

Kimberly was not only overwhelmed with the necessity to clean out her mom’s house so it could be sold, but she was also SO very emotional – and just couldn’t get her heart on the right page to declutter her mom’s stuff.

And she didn’t understand why she felt GUILTY throwing things away – things she KNEW were unusable and trash.

Kimberly was way over her head and she was grieving – it was all too much to deal with.

She finally came to terms with the fact that she couldn’t do it on her own, so she opened Google and searched for clean out companies near her and PAID for help.

In fact, she delegated the whole job to a professional company that does it for a living.

There is NO shame in hiring a professional to clean out, declutter or organize your home – none at all.

Instead, be PROUD that you’re doing what needs to be done and saving yourself all the stress, anxiety and possibly grief over doing it all yourself.

If you need help cleaning and organizing your home, then GET help – it will be worth every dollar you spend!

8. Before and After Decluttering

Decluttering Strategy 8

This decluttering strategy is perfect for those that feel they aren’t getting ANYWHERE to conquer the clutter in their home.

Here’s how it works:

When you are about to declutter ANY space or room in your home, take a picture of that space or room BEFORE you start anything.

It doesn’t matter if you’re decluttering your junk drawer or your entire living room, take a picture FIRST.

Then, declutter for 30 minutes and take another picture.

How does taking pictures help?

It’s simple, really – it’s a visual feedback kind of thing… you can SEE your progress – and it really works!

It’s funny how our minds don’t seem to remember how bad a room looked before we started working on it – we just feel overwhelmed and like we’re not getting anywhere.

If that’s how YOU feel, try this Before and After decluttering strategy.

9. 4 Words Strategy

Decluttering Strategy 9

This decluttering strategy is perfect for those that are perfectionists or who stress the details – and it’s very simple.

It’s just these 4 words.

10. D.C.O. Method

Decluttering Strategy 10

This D.C.O. decluttering strategy is a “one small step at a time” method. D.C.O. stands for Declutter Clean Organize and it is best used for decluttering very small areas over a longer period of time.

In short, you start with ONE cabinet or ONE drawer – completely get rid of the clutter, completely clean the area or space out, and then organize the items you have left that actually belong in that space. This technique is the best way to declutter slowly if you only have the time, or the energy, to do a little bit at a time.

What Does NOT Work

This last decluttering strategy does NOT work – so please do NOT do it, ok?

Sadly, it’s a method used by MANY to avoid truly decluttering.

Bad Decluttering Strategy

I call it: The H.T.C. Method –

ie, Hide the clutter

People hide the clutter in their home in baskets, in closets, behind curtains and room dividers – they shove their clutter into spare bedrooms and into their garage… and yes, even in storage units.

Actually, I’m pretty impressed at all the ways to hide clutter in plain sight. I’ve seen pretty baskets on a living room floor that LOOK like it’s full of quilts or throw blankets, but instead, the basket is jam packed with clutter and covered up with one blanket.

Clever? Yes, very.

But is it DEcluttering?


DE-cluttering is about getting clutter OUT of your house.

The only time you should try to hide the clutter is when you need to fake a clean house.

Hiding clutter is NOT a decluttering strategy – it’s an avoidance technique.

Need Help?

Helpful Tips To Declutter Your Home

Decluttering Tips in the picture above:

(1) – How To Declutter WITHOUT Giving Up – Trying to declutter and organize your home but you seriously can NOT get organized? Read: How to declutter without giving up or feeling overwhelmed

(2) – The Only Decluttering Checklist You Need To Get Started (room by room!) Need a decluttering plan? Not sure where to START? Grab this room by room decluttering checklist and plan to declutter, clean and get seriously organized starting in the best room to declutter FIRST.

(3) – Challenge – One Month To A Clutter-Free Home – Ready to start decluttering and get seriously organized at home? This 30 Day Declutter Challenge could really help!

(4) – 5 BAD Decluttering Mistakes You’re Probably Making – Clearing clutter is the first step if you want to get seriously organized – don’t make these 5 decluttering mistakes! I learned them the HARD way!

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.

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