10 Simple Strategies for Decluttering That Actually Work –
Today, let’s talk about different methods to declutter your home. 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 and 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.
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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 talk about 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.
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?
These are the 6 decluttering strategies that minimalists swear by (but are NOT realistic):
- Buy NOTHING that is “trendy” (really?)
- Don’t own ANYTHING that does NOT “inspire” you (read below)
- Declutter for 10 minutes every day (this DOES work)
- Buy used items instead of new
- Purge your house of junk once a year (this one I DO agree with)
- 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?
10 Strategies For Decluttering
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.
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
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.
3. Zoned Decluttering
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
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 a LOT more decluttering done with more people working on it – and it can really help with accountability to keep going and complete your decluttering plans and 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
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
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
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 after her mom passed away last year.
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.
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
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
This decluttering strategy is perfect for those that are perfectionists or who stress the details – and it’s very simple.
10. D.C.O. Method
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.
I call it:
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.
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.
This is how I did it.
More Decluttering Methods
- Decluttering Methods
- 10 Strategies For Decluttering
- 1. Decluttering Blitz
- 2. Pre-Planned Decluttering
- 3. Zoned Decluttering
- 4. Group Effort Decluttering
- 5. Decluttering Club
- 6. Declutter Challenge
- 7. Delegated Decluttering
- 8. Before and After Decluttering
- 9. 4 Words Strategy
- 10. D.C.O. Method
- What Does NOT Work
- More Decluttering Methods
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