The Most Important Thing You Need to Declutter Your Home (For Good This Time)

Feeling overwhelmed by the clutter? You’re not alone. Tackle the piles once and for all with this critical shift to declutter your home and your life.

Today we’re tackling a topic that I think everyone can relate to: clutter. No matter how organized or minimalist we attempt to be, the clutter slowly creeps back in. Before we know it, those recently-cleared countertops are overflowing with papers and mail, our closets are a mess, and the kids’ toys and art supplies are taking over the house.

Declutter your home with signs and by creating a system

How to Declutter Your Home

But we don’t have to live this way. In fact, I bet you can think of one friend or family member whose home always seems neat and tidy — despite the fact that she’s got multiple kids and pets.

And while it’s tempting to just feel annoyed at her seemingly perfect life (oh so tempting), I’d like to offer another solution. One that will help you declutter your home quickly, efficiently, and for good. Because believe me, I’ve been where you are right now. And clutter still accumulates when our family gets busy and our decluttering habits fall by the wayside for a bit.

But over the years, we’ve developed a system for keeping clutter at bay that can help you, too. So without further ado, I’m really excited to share my best tips to declutter your home and your life for good.

Woman organizing and sorting items into boxes for keeping and relocating
Photo credit: Jessie Wyman Photography

How do I start decluttering?

This is the question I’m asked the most often. And it makes sense. Because clutter can be overwhelming. That’s why my first step to organizing your home might surprise you. 

To declutter your home, you need to adopt the right mindset.

Now the word mindset might sound a little “woo woo”, and I get that. You might be looking for more practical tips to declutter your home. We’ll get there, I promise.

But experts know mentally preparing for a task actually helps us complete it. Plus, living in a cluttered home — and taking the steps to remove that clutter — can actually bring up some really tough emotions. So it’s a good idea to address these head-on:

  • Shame — when we look around and don’t feel proud of our homes, it can trigger feelings of shame. We say to ourselves, “How did I let this happen?” or “Why can’t I do a better job here”. Not only is this unpleasant, but it’s actually demotivating.
  • Guilt — often, clutter comes from not wanting to let go of unnecessary things. We feel guilty for getting rid of a family heirloom or a gift we don’t want. After all, we were taught to be grateful. So, we let guilt talk us into keeping objects and things that don’t serve our lives.
  • Regret — impulse purchases don’t always pan out. And if you regret wasting money, you might hold onto the object even though you don’t actually want or need it.

These feelings are all valid — and really common. But they’re not conducive to change. Instead, it’s important to get clear on your organization goals so you can focus on the positive emotions and outcomes. Rather than feeling paralyzed by guilt and shame, shift your mindset to focus on how you’ll feel when your house is tidy and clean.

To get in the right mindset for decluttering, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why is decluttering a priority?
  • How will it feel to live in a clutter-free environment?
  • What stands in the way of you and the home you want to live in?

Be specific with your answers. Write them down and put them on the fridge or next to the bathroom mirror. Let them really sink in and motivate you to move forward. Then, set clear goals for decluttering your home.

Maybe you want to pair down your belongings by 20%. Or maybe you want to tackle 10 trouble spots in your home in the next 15 days. Make these goals measurable and achievable, so you can celebrate once you’ve reached them.

Once you’ve gotten clear on your goals, you can move on to the task of clearing out clutter.

Baskets and boxes with relocate and donate signs for decluttering

What should I get rid of when decluttering?

Here’s where most people really get stuck: how to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

I get it. Our belongings are often tied to memories, experiences, and places we don’t want to forget. They remind us of another chapter of our lives. This is powerful stuff — and why the mindset piece is so important. It allows you to take a more objective approach to getting rid of clutter. Keep returning to your focus on the present, and the future you want to create, rather than memories of the past.

British designer, poet, and craftsman William Morris had a mantra:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

This statement provides two key questions to ask yourself as you’re assessing each object:

  • Does this object serve a clear, tangible purpose in my life? Does it solve a problem or accomplish a task?
  • Does this object add joy and beauty to my home?

If the answer to either question is yes, it’s a solid contender to keep. If not, ask yourself if you’re holding onto it for the wrong reasons (see negative emotions above).

Want some help decluttering your home?

Even with the right mindset and clear goals in place, decluttering can be an overwhelming task. That’s why I’ve put together a mini-course to help you declutter your entire house quickly, efficiently, and for good.

In the Declutter All of the Things course, I provide:

  • Four short video lessons that walk you through my decluttering process.
  • Over 20 printable pages of guidance to help declutter your home
  • A questionnaire to establish a healthy mindset and help you set clear goals (so you actually reach them!)
  • Clear, step-by-step instructions to help you get started decluttering — and finish the job
  • Printable signs and checklists so you stay organized throughout the process
  • Ideas for repurposing and donating things you no longer need
  • A guided 30-day plan to tackle the trickiest spots in your home — the mudroom, your desktop, that linen closet! 
  • My favorite tried-and-true-tips to keep your whole home clutter-free.

This course also includes a troubleshooting guide to avoid common pitfalls along the decluttering journey. Whether you have unmotivated kiddos, a sentimental spouse, or a mountain of family photos and memorabilia you just can’t seem to keep corraled. I’ve thought of clear solutions for you, friend.

Declutter your home with our Wildcard system for decluttering

And finally, I’m sharing the wildcard system my own family uses to stay on top of clutter and keep it under control for good. Simply cut the cards from the printable and you have a fun and easy way to keep trouble areas clutter-free — in less time than your kids’ favorite episode of Paw Patrol.

You deserve to love where you live, friend. To have a home you’re proud of. One that feels peaceful and calm, without the mad dash of last-minute closet-stashing before company arrives.

Grab the Declutter All of the Things course here to get every tool you need for the home you want.

What comes next?

If you’re looking for some inspiration for how to organize after decluttering, check out my organized pantry tips, IKEA hack closet project, and how I organized my daughters closet.

The Most Important Thing You Need to Declutter Your Home (For Good This Time)

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