How to Declutter Your Home: 10 Creative Decluttering Tips

WRITTEN by JOSHUA BECKER

Joshua Becker, from Becoming Minimalist, smiling and holding a box, ready to teach readers how to declutter

Last updated: October 22, 2019

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” —Dale Carnegie

The idea of living a simple life with less stuff sounds attractive to many.

But often, they begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated around the idea of owning less. That’s too bad.

Learning how to declutter your home and (and as a result, decluttering your life) doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. And the benefits are numerous.

The Benefits of Decluttering Your Life

There are many benefits to owning fewer possessions. Even then, it’s tough to move into action. That is… until the many benefits of getting rid of clutter reveal themselves:

Less to clean. Cleaning is already enough of a chore, but having to clean around things you have zero emotional attachment to (or worse, actively dislike) makes cleaning the house much more stressful.

Less to organize. Finding things suddenly become easier. Things don’t just “disappear” anymore. You can actually move around your home and enjoy the space, instead of moving around things that are in the way.

Less stress. Looking around at the clutter is a nausea-inducing sight once your home becomes cluttered enough. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look around and see a home you love?

Less debt. Spending less time shopping for material possessions and adding to the clutter means your wallet and bank accounts remain fuller, your credit cards’ statements are lower, and your home doesn’t get filled with costly things you don’t need.

More financial freedom. Most American households live paycheck to paycheck (59% according to a recent survey done by Charles Schwab back in May 2019.) Nearly half of those surveyed carry credit card debt. Decluttering, paired with minimalism, will help you build up savings to keep you protected in case of unexpected emergencies.

More energy for your greatest passions. With less debt, more financial freedom, and a clean home, you can now focus your energy on the things you enjoy instead of worrying about “Keeping up with the Joneses.” This will ultimately make you happier.

Ok, so now you know the benefits of decluttering your life, but you may be getting tripped up by the very next question… where in the world do you begin?

10 Creative Decluttering Tips

If you’re struggling and need guidance on how to declutter, you’ll need to get creative with your plans. Here are several interesting decluttering tips to get you started on decluttering your home:

  • Start with 5 minutes at a time. If you’re new to decluttering, you can slowly build momentum with just five minutes a day.
  • Give one item away each day. This would remove 365 items every single year from your home. If you increased this to 2 per day, you would have given away 730 items you no longer needed. Increase this number once it gets too easy.
  • Fill an entire trash bag. Get a trash bag and fill it as fast as you can with things you can donate at Goodwill.
  • Donate clothes you never wear. To identify them, simply hang all your clothes with hangers in the reverse direction. After wearing an item, face the hanger in the correct direction. Discard the clothes you never touched after a few months.
  • Create a decluttering checklist. It’s a lot easier to declutter when you have a visual representation of where you need to get started. You can use our decluttering checklist.
  • Take the 12-12-12 challenge. Locate 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate, and 12 to be returned to their proper home.
  • View your home as a first-time visitor. It’s easy to “forget” what your home looks like to a new visitor. Enter your home as if you’re visiting the home of a friend. Write down your first impression on how clean and organized the home is and make changes.
  • Take before and after photos of a small area. Choose one part of your home, like your kitchen counter, and take a photo of a small area. Quickly clean off the items in the photo and take an after photo. Once you see how your home could look, it becomes easier to start decluttering more of your home.
  • Get help from a friend. Have a friend or family member go through your home and suggest a handful of big items to throw away or give to someone else. If you defend the item and want to keep it, your friend has to agree with your reason. If they don’t agree, it’s time to get rid of it.
  • Use the Four-Box Method. Get four boxes and label them: trash, give away, keep, or re-locate. Enter any room in your home and place each item into one of the following boxes. Don’t skip a single item, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. This may take days, weeks, or months, but it will help you see how many items you really own and you’ll know exactly what to do with each item.

No matter which decluttering tip you choose to get started – whether it be one of these ten or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step in decluttering your life with excitement behind it.

There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. Deciding how to declutter your home is up to you.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.