10 Expert Hacks To Declutter Anything

person carrying box of stuff to get rid of

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Do you need expert declutter tips to declutter a closet, room, several rooms, or even your entire house because you have no idea where to start?

Or maybe you want to declutter your computer? After all, our technology devices get cluttered too!

If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place!

On one hand, clutter in a home is a sign of a comfortable home that is well-lived with lots of activity.

On the other hand, getting rid of all the clutter can offer a breath of fresh air when it is cleared out, which will also clear your mind.

This guide will show you how to quickly declutter your home (or whatever you want to be decluttered) in a simple and efficient way.

lady looking in closet to declutter and lady sitting on bench in closet

10 Expert Decluttering Tips

Decluttering isn’t a difficult process.

However, it can be stressful, overwhelming, and create an inner struggle with your personal self.

Following these 10 expert tips will simplify the process for you. Rather than overthinking what needs to be done, use these tips to dive in and just get started!

1. Create A Game Plan

game plan of x and o for expert decluttering tips

Every successful athletic coach goes into the game with a game plan if they even want a chance to win.

Decluttering is no different.

If you want to win at the game of decluttering you have to get a strong game plan in place.

The good news?

I’m going to help you do that!

You have taken the first step, which is a huge one I might add, and that is making the decision to declutter your home.

The second step is actually getting started, which can feel like an even larger obstacle. This is the reason it is essential to create a winning declutter game plan if you want to win and complete this decluttering mission.

How To Create Your Decluttering Game Plan

  1. Define and write down your decluttering goal.
    This will give you direction for the next step.
    For example, do you want to get rid of a messy house that is visually cluttered with stuff laying around, or do you want to create a household system to have a consistent decluttered and organized home?
  2. Map out which rooms you want to do first, second, third, etc.
    My recommendation is to pick the easiest room to do first. This will give you a quick win and kickstart your decluttering venture.
    For example, if you know your closet needs a complete overhaul, don’t tackle your bedroom and closet first. Start with something much simpler, such as your kitchen spice rack.
    Can you see how this would be much simpler and create a quick win, which is inspiring in and of itself?
  3. Create a shortlist of things in each room to go through. I have this done for you! Hop over to 101 Things To Declutter Right Now To Make Your Home Feel Bigger *happy dance*
  4. Download the blank declutter checklists in the Ultimate Decluttering System and personalize your own declutter checklist for each room.

2. Use The Four-Box Method

Every job is more successful when there is a system to follow.

Decluttering is no different.

Having a system in place will keep the process simple and

efficient as you clean and reorganize your home.

My system of choice is the  ‘four-box method’ because it is straightforward and you can visually see progress being made, which is a huge motivator!

It’s super simple!

This is how it works:

Get four boxes or storage bins and label them like this:

Box 1: Trash (broken or of no use to anyone)

Box 2: Give away or sell (gotta go)

Box 3: Keep (already has a home)

Box 4: Put away (needs a home)

Start going through your items and things laying around that don’t belong in the room you are decluttering and put them in the right box.

How to decide which box to put an item in?

Box 1: Trash (broken or of no use to anyone)

Box 1 is your designated trash box.

You will dump anything you want to get rid of and that is not of use to anyone else in this box. For example, this could be broken or stained items. And remember to recycle items whenever possible!

Box 2: Give away or sell (gotta go)

Box 2 is your designated box for items that are in OK condition, but that your household doesn’t need or can stand to not have in it.

Examples might be old books or worn-out toys.

After you make the decision to place them in this box, you know they will be going out of your house and you can decide where they will be going. For example, to family or friends, donate to charity, or sell them for cash.

Box 3: Keep (already has a home)

Box 3 is for items you don’t want to get rid of even though you may not use or need them on a daily basis.

Examples might be holiday decorations or seasonal items.

Quick Tip

As you put things in this box make an inventory of what is included, then create a label and mark the box with the label that goes into storage.

If you are going to take up storage space (or attic or garage space), it is helpful and efficient to know what is in each box.

This will also save you time when you need to find something when you need it.

Box 4: Put away (needs a home)

Box 4 is for the items that you use frequently, or at least often enough that they need to be kept in your house.

However, they need to be relocated to the correct place.

What if they don’t have a place?

The simple and quick answer? Find them a place!

I call it the holy grail of decluttering and organizing: Every item must have a home!

And it isn’t just in the correct room (where it is typically used), but a ‘home’ in that room.

For example, you might have smaller boxes, wicker baskets, etc., in your bathroom cabinet that houses specific items that are similar in use.

This will save you hours of time in the long run. There is little that is more frustrating than needing something and not remembering where you last saw it, but you know you have it somewhere! Grrrrr! 😡

Quick Tip

Want an extra expert tip to expand the Four-Box System?

Add a fifth box and use it for items that you want to keep but they need to be repaired.

For example, a watch that needs a new battery. I keep batteries on hand, but not watch batteries.

3. Start Small

This expert declutter tip is super important to keep from getting so overwhelmed you give up before you barely get started!

If you set a goal to run a marathon but you have never trained for a marathon before, you don’t start out by trying to run 26 miles the first day!

You start small and build up to that point. It takes time. And it takes dedication and consistency . . . in small steps.

Decluttering your house is no different.

You might even need to start by breaking down one area of a room, not the entire room. For example, the master bedroom closet, not the entire master bedroom.

And if you need to go even smaller, focus on one drawer. This is completely fine! You are moving forward, which means you are making progress!

That is what taking small steps looks like when you start a whole-house decluttering mission.

Give yourself grace (one of my favorite sayings) and remember there is so much truth in Lau Tzu’s quote ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

[bctt tweet=”The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lau Tzu” username=”drtawnaschmidt”]

4. Use A Timer

little boy holding alarm clock

If you don’t take control of your time, it will take control of you!

The way around this? Use a timer (this is one of my favorites!)

The key to making a timer work for you is to create your plan of action, decide how much time you are going to work, and then stick to it.

For example, your goal today is to declutter the bathroom cabinet under the sink and you have 20 minutes available. Get to your work area, set your timer, and get busy until it goes off and then stop.

Don’t keep saying ‘one more minute’ or you will end up going down the well-known ‘rabbit hole’ and the next thing you know two hours will be gone.

5. Start With 10 Minutes At A Time

digital kitchen timer to plan for expert declutter tips

There is nothing wrong with building momentum a little bit each day.

I vote for consistency over ‘leaping and stopping’ on any day!

To build a slow but consistent momentum, use your timer and set it for 10 minutes every day. If you do this every day for 30 days and then evaluate where you are at, and what you have accomplished, I can promise you that you will be motivated and excited to continue on to another 30 days!  🙌

If you’re new to decluttering, you can slowly build momentum with just five minutes a day.

6. Get Rid Of One Item Every Day

lady decluttering kitchen cabinet one

This is a super simple way to start small and see big progress!

You may not see the progress quickly but do the simple math.

If you get rid of one item every day for a year that is 365 items gone from your home! *big win*

And if you take this expert tip one step further?

Increase it to getting rid of 2 items per day. This is 730 items in a year!

That is what I call progress!

You got to love how that would feel! 💖

7. Answer 5 Key Questions About Each Item

lady using checklist on clipboard sitting on box decluttering

Deciding what to do with an item can consume hours if you let it!

Answer these 5 questions for each item to help you make a quick decision and keep moving forward:

  1. Do I use this?
  2. Do I have more than one of this item without reason?
  3. Would I buy this again?
  4. Does this simplify my life?
  5. Does this make me feel happy?

Keep in mind there are items you can use more than one like mason jars in the kitchen . . . but do you need 10 of them? Maybe …. maybe not! 😲

Just because an item doesn’t fit all 5 questions doesn’t mean it needs to go! I have many functional items that don’t make my heart warm when I look at them, but I use them often!

These questions are meant to get you thinking.

If you start over-analyzing you will not only slow your progress, but you will also find that your decluttering mission isn’t as successful as it could be.

8. Enlist Help From A Close Friend Or Family Member

girls decluttering clothes in closet

Sometimes an extra boost of support is all we need!

Not only does a close friend or family member make a tough or dreaded job more fun, but they also know us well and can walk us through a tough process.

Other ways friends and family can help?

  • They can suggest big items to get rid of that they have seen around for a long time but have never seen you use.
  • Offer support when you know you need to get rid of something but are struggling to actually follow through.
  • Help us answer the 5 questions with honest answers.

9. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge

Any type of challenge has a way of providing direction and creating motivation and momentum.

What is the 12-12-12 challenge?

Locate 12 items to throw away, 12 items to sell or donate, and 12 items to put away (aka be relocated to their correct home.)

Quick Tip

Want an extra expert tip to expand the 12-12-12 challenge?

Commit to doing this challenge once a week for one month (so you will do it 4 times in the month.)

Document your results and progress at the end of the month.

What would happen if you followed this plan for the next 12 months?

Are you ready to jump-start decluttering your home with the 12-12-12 decluttering challenge?

12-12-12 Decluttering challenge tracking form

Track your progress with the 12-12-12 tracking form! It’s part of the Ultimate Decluttering System! 🤗

Read about the 12-12-12 Challenge here if you aren’t familiar with it!

two rooms that need to be decluttered

10. Take Before & After Photos

I saved this one for last because visuals can be the most motivating of anything we do!

The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” has so much truth in it!

We love looking at before and after pictures to see progress.

If you are trying to lose weight, motivation comes from seeing other people’s before and after images. If we are looking for a contractor to hire to remodel our bathroom, we hire based on the before and after images on their website showcasing their awesome work.

Taking your own before and after pics as you declutter small areas is no different when it comes to motivation!

When you get discouraged, go back to these photos and it will likely get you moving forward again!

Quick Tip

When you first start decluttering you won’t have before and after photos to look at for motivation.

Let’s fix that!

Choose one small area of your home that needs to be decluttered and take a snapshot of it. For example, one end of your kitchen cabinet or your bathroom counter.

Now move everything off to the side so the area is completely decluttered, the same as it will look when you are finished decluttering it.

Take another snapshot.

Keep this before and after as your reference to what your home is going to look like when you are finished decluttering! 😊

My Amazon Picks For Decluttering

What Is Your Favorite Decluttering Tip?

No matter which expert decluttering tip you choose to get started the important part is that you get started!

Do you have another decluttering tip that helped you get started, or which one of these are you going to try or already worked well for you?


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Keep Reading

Are you ready to jump-start decluttering your home with the 12-12-12 decluttering challenge?

12-12-12 Decluttering challenge tracking form

Track your progress with the 12-12-12 tracking form! It’s part of the Ultimate Decluttering System! 🤗

Read about the 12-12-12 Challenge here if you aren’t familiar with it!