8 Steps to Clear the Clutter + Free Checklist

8 Steps to clear the clutter

When I first started to declutter our home I would get distracted easily, I would jump around from room to room, and at the end of the day I didn’t feel like I had accomplished very much. What I was missing was a game plan, a checklist, or some kind of method for decluttering. 

In general, decluttering your home is not an easy task. Whether you are tackling your wardrobe, your living room or a single drawer in your kitchen, decluttering takes time, energy, and lots of decision making! Without a plan the task is even more difficult.

Having a game plan or list of steps to clear the clutter will help! It will take some of the decision making out of it so you can focus on deciding what to keep and what to toss. It will also help to keep you focused and not get so distracted by all the shiny objects.

This reminds me of a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “you can fail to plan or you can plan to fail.”

I am generally a planner so I can’t believe I didn’t think about planning for decluttering as well! Once I thought through the process that seemed to work for me it made such a difference!

click here to get your free checklist

Decluttering methods

If you have done any research on how to declutter you probably came across the two main methods: room by room or by category

  • Room by room: select a room or part of a room and go through everything in that room or part of the room.
  • By category: this is also known as the konmari method from the popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Pick a category, for example clothing, and pull all clothing together from all over your house and then declutter.

The decluttering steps are basically the same, except for step number 2, below. There are pros and cons to each. You can choose one or do a combination of the two.

8 Steps to Clear the Clutter

  1. Determine your why. See this post on finding your why.
  2. Choose your method
    1. Room By Room: Choose a surface/ area/ room to declutter.
    2. By category – Choose a category and pull all the items from that category to one area. For example pull all of your clothes together from all over the house, including winter coats, boots, etc.
  3. Clear a work surface. This could be your bed or a table, you just need somewhere to set things while you work.
  4. Get 4 bags/boxes: Label them trash/recycle, keep, donate, holding/unsure.
  5. Remove all items from the area or category you are decluttering.  Put all the items in a pile on Urbance work surface.
  6. Pick up each item individually and decide which box to put it in  
    1. Questions to ask yourself – is the item useful? Meaningful? Beautiful? Is it worth having around (worth the money, energy, cleaning), space in your home?
    2. If you can’t answer yes to at least one of these questions – out it goes!
  7. Take care of decluttered items right away.  Take out the trash and drop off the donations. The key is to get the stuff out of your house quickly so you don’t get declutterer’s remorse.
  8. Put KEEP items back where they belong.  Enjoy your newly decluttered space!

Tips for Success

    • Start small.  Choose one drawer, one shelf or just your socks.  When you have success with something small you will exercise your ability to declutter and you will build momentum to keep going.
    • Don’t choose sentimental items first. You will likely give up before you even begin because there is so much emotion tied to sentimental items.
    • Use a timer to focus your time.  This is like the pomodoro technique where you give yourself a set amount of time to work on just one task at a time.  When you know you only have 25 minutes you will get so much more done!
    • Take before and after pictures to see your progress.
    • Count the number of items you declutter.
    • Tell someone about your goal and develop an accountability partner.
    • Do a decluttering challenge.
    • Complete one area, room, or category before moving on to the next.
    • Use a checklist to keep you on task.  Click below for your FREE checklist!

Decluttering is about progress, not perfection. Start small, be intentional, and you will start to see an improvement in your home!

Do you have a process you follow to declutter?  What has helped you to declutter your possessions?

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