Step By Step Decluttering

Ok, we have talked a lot about the concept of decluttering. Today we will actually do the work! I’m laying out my step by step decluttering process. I’d like to hear yours as well!

If you want to catch up on all of the posts featured in this challenge–go here.

I like to set aside time to work on one room or space at a time. And, ideally, I only want to work on one of these rooms or areas in a day–because–let’s be honest here–decluttering is overwhelming.

Depending on your reason WHY you need to declutter–this can be an emotional time. I’ve helped friends go through houses while they were preparing for a move, or clearing out an elderly parent’s home, or even dealing with a new empty nest. These are emotional times to clear out clutter.

Depending on the state of your space, decluttering takes a lot of time. A common mistake is to try to combine decluttering and organizing. These are two very different processes. This is a big reason why I have a separate part of this challenge dedicated to organization. If we take a step by step decluttering approach–things will seem a lot less overwhelming.

How To Declutter a Room Step By Step

So, let us start with our Step by Step Decluttering!

  1. Choose Your Space: For the sake of this post, we are going to use the kitchen as our example. It is a common clutter spot for many and it is a space I try and give some attention to in this manner at least once a year.
  2. Gather your Supplies: The decluttering supplies that I use the most are large black plastic garbage bags . You will also need about four sorting containers. Depending on the level of your clutter you will either need some cardboard boxes, , or (I use these white plastic dishpans for so many things around my house–more on that later!). I also like to keep a sharpie in my arpon pocket (yes–an apron is a great tool while decluttering–it not only protects your clothes–but pockets!!!) as well as a stack of Post it notes.
  3. Map your Course: I once read somewhere to choose a starting point in your room and work clockwise around the room. This is perfect for someone like me who may or may not have MAJOR focus problems! Mapping a course will keep you on track. In my kitchen, I start at the entrance from the garage and move counter-clockwise–starting at my junk counter and moving my way back around. I also like to work from top to bottom–so, in my kitchen that would mean that I would start with my cupboards–and in this case, the cupboard that houses my leftover containers–ack; then move onto the counter top, then the drawers, and then the bottom cupboards. (Now, in my house–this is enough for one day!).
  4. Remove Obvious Garbage First: This is always the most shocking part for me. I find it AMAZING that not only do I collect obvious garbage–but I tuck it away into storage spaces. It is a good idea to be fairly ruthless here. Your goal, after all, is to have a more organized space. That is why you are reading here. The black garbage bags serve a few purposes. The first is that these heavy duty bags can fit a LOT of your junk. Second– they are not see through, so family members will not see their “precious” fast food toys in the garbage. You will thank me for this tip!
  5. Set out your Sorting Bins: I label my bins: “keep”, “donate/sell”, “move” (to another room) and “action”( for things that need repair or need to be returned to the library or a friend). In my kitchen, I will set the bins on my big table (in another room you may have a clear spot on the floor, the bed in your bedroom, or maybe a portable folding table).
  6. Get to Work!: This is your moment of glory! Empty each item out of the space you are working in. AS you hold each item in your hand make a (quick) decision about which bin it should go in. Do this for every single item that comes out of the cupboard or drawer or countertop. Once the space is empty. Return the “Keep” bin items to the space. Important! Do not get distracted at this point and decide you need to get a new organization system for this space! Just put the stuff back–we will come back and organize later! Right now we are DECLUTTERING!

I like to Listen to music while I work–it makes things more fun. You can use my Spotify Playlist The best part is, I use it as a timer as well–playlist over? Take a break!

If you have a very overwhelming space–invite a friend to help you! Most are happy to help, or can be bribed by wine!

Organize All the Things Task: Pick a spot. Any Spot. (Maybe start small). Work through these steps. Take a before and after picture and share it on the Facebook Group


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Written by Dakotapam
I'm a Lutheran pastor's wife and mom to six kids, including young adult sons down to 8-year old twin daughters. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!