How to Declutter Your Home: An Easy Process for Beginners

Knowing how to declutter your home is one of the best skills you can hone.

Living in a cluttered house has been proven to trigger feelings of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. While living in a decluttered home has been proven to do the opposite. From creating a sense of calm to increasing productivity, there are just so many benefits to living in a clutter-free space. 

But starting a decluttering project can feel so intimidating, especially if your goal is to declutter your entire home, top to bottom.

A picture of a woman putting clothing donations into a box.

It can be hard to figure out what tackle first, especially if you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. Additionally, it can be difficult to let go of things, especially more sentimental items. And it can be challenging to find the time, especially if you’re a working mom like me.

Trust me, I get it. I used to think of decluttering as a daunting, time consuming task, too. One that was reserved for rare weekends when I had nothing better to do.

But I’ve learned from experience that it’s actually much easier and faster than what our minds paint it to be. 

That’s why I created this beginners guide on how to declutter your home. I want to help you make progress, even if you don’t have a ton of extra time or motivation. Not just because I know how paralyzing clutter can be, but because I know how freeing decluttering can be, too. 

So if you’re ready to dive in, scroll down! Below I’m sharing:

  • Helpful decluttering strategies
  • An easy decluttering process
  • A FREE decluttering checklist

How to Declutter Your Home: 5 Strategies for Success

Here are a few pointers that will help you along your decluttering journey. These are not in any specific order, but they’re all of great importance if you want to declutter your entire house with minimal time and effort.

1. Treat Decluttering as a Process

Decluttering is a journey, not destination. Over time, new items will inevitably be brought into your home. And since your home can only hold so much, that means old and/or unused items will need to be removed.

When you treat decluttering as an ongoing process, it feels less overwhelming and more manageable. It’ll make you more mindful of what you bring into your home, and make it easier to get rid of things, too.

Over time, your decluttering muscle will get stronger, making the process far easier than it might be at first. 

2. Declutter High-Traffic Areas First

When you go to declutter your living space, start with the areas that gets the most traffic – think living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and entryway. These areas often accumulate clutter more quickly due to frequent use.

By tackling these rooms first, you’ll not only make a noticeable difference in your home but also gain momentum for tackling other areas.

3. Focus on Decluttering First

Resist the temptation to organize a space until it’s completely decluttered. Honestly, I’d focus on decluttering your entire home before trying to organize anything.

I appreciate a well-organized space, trust me. But there’s no sense in spending time, energy, or money organizing things you don’t need or use. Plus, organizing doesn’t resolve the underlying issue – the fact that you feel you have too much stuff.

By decluttering first, you can assess what items you truly need and value, making it easier to organize the remaining items effectively. You’ll be able to create a clean slate, solid foundation, and optimized plan for an organized and clutter-free space.

4. Create a Plan for Sentimental Items

If you have a hard time decluttering items with sentimental value, come up with a plan for how you will handle these items before you begin the decluttering process. Without one, you’ll waste too much time contemplating what to do with every sentimental item you come across.

Perhaps that plan includes taking a picture of these items to preserve the good memories, without the physical belonging. Or maybe you create a single memory box – giving yourself permission to hold on to some things, but not everything. It’s completely up to you!

5. Put Decluttering on Your Calendar

Schedule time on your calendar to declutter. Literally write or type it into your calendar. Commit to a day and time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes on a weekly basis, something is better than nothing.

We’re more likely to accomplish things when we actually plan and make time for them. That’s just how humans are!

How to Declutter Your Home: My Easy Decluttering Process

1. Choose Your “What”

Before you start decluttering, it’s a good idea to narrow down exactly what you’re going to be working on.

Are you doing all of your kitchen drawers and cabinets, or do you only have the capacity to focus on a small space like the junk drawer?

Are you going to tackle your entire home office, or just your desk?

Narrowing this down will help you stay focused.

2. Set Your “Why”

Next, you want to set some clear goals. Why are you decluttering what you are? If it’s a space – like a drawer or cabinet – think about how you want it to feel and function. 

Knowing what you want to achieve will keep you motivated during the decluttering process.

3. Get 4 Bins or Cardboard Boxes

When you go to declutter any space, make sure you have 4 boxes with you. Label them: move, donate, throw away, and recycle. This will help you get everything to the right place quickly and efficiently.

Sure, you can use a trash bag in lieu of one of the boxes. But if it’s a small space you might not fill the entire bag, which is wasteful. With a box you can just dump the contents into your garbage can at the end of your decluttering session.

Also, if you don’t have bins or boxes immediately on hand, just designate a space for each category and create separate piles as you go. Don’t let not having them slow you from making progress, especially when you have the time and motivation to do so. It’s not ideal, mainly for mess purposes, but you can box things up later.

4. Start With a Quick Sweep

Before you get into more deep cleaning, take a few minutes to do a quick scan if it makes sense.

Identify any obvious items that can be discarded, donated, relocated, or recycled and move those things to their designated spot. This is a simple way to make fast progress, and it’ll give you a cleaner slate to work off of.

I think quick sweeps are best suited for rooms and larger areas. The idea is to clear surfaces before digging deeper.

That said, I don’t think this is a necessary step if you’re decluttering small areas like a kitchen countertop, a cabinet with small appliances, etc.

5. Tackle the Task

Now it’s time to fully declutter your area of focus! 

Go through every single item and sort accordingly. Be honest with yourself about what you truly need, use, and love.

If a sentimental item comes up, address it using the plan you put into place.

Things that you plan to keep can just stay put, unless there’s something you’ve decided to move elsewhere. That would go in the “move” box at this point.

6. Make Moves

Now that you have a bunch of boxes of stuff (or piles of stuff), it’s time to make moves! 

Put everything in its proper place: garbage goes in the garbage can, donations go in the car for a quick drop off, recyclables in your recycling bin or in your car for drop off (this will depend on what it is), etc.

Take care of all of the items from this decluttering session before you move onto the next one.

This will make sure you’re able to keep a relatively clean home throughout the decluttering process. Also, it’ll keep you from second-guessing your decisions and holding onto things you really don’t need or use.

7. Get Organized-ish

I know I said I don’t recommend organizing anything until your whole house is decluttered, and I stand by that. I wouldn’t go buying fancy bins and baskets until that point, just so you can focus on the task at hand – getting rid of unused and unwanted items. 

However, if you think the area you’re working on should be set up different (like swapping your sock and underwear drawers), go ahead and adjust.

It’s okay to move things around if it makes sense, especially if that means you’re making items you constantly use more accessible.

Just don’t start trying to create the Pinterest-perfect organized space just yet. The time will come!

​8. Celebrate Your Progress

After you’ve completed your decluttering project, take a moment to celebrate the progress you’ve made – no matter how big or small. The work you’ve done is important and will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.

You now officially know how to declutter your home. When you’re ready to tackle the next area, start back at the top of this list! Soon enough you’ll be enjoying extra space, less stress, all of the other benefits of living in a clutter-free space.

How to Declutter Your Home in 52 Weeks or Less (Free Checklist)

In the last section I mentioned that the first step in the decluttering process is to choose what you’re going to declutter. 

While this could be a full living room or kitchen, you’ll likely want to break each room down into smaller chunks. This is the easiest way to declutter, especially when you’re limited on time.

That said, I wanted to give you a list of potential areas/items you can declutter. That way you do’t even have to think about it when the time strikes.

Obviously you can get more granular than this, but there are 52 ideas listed below. The thought is that if you could do one of these per week, you could have your home decluttered in a year! 

I actually took these decluttering ideas and turned them into a printable PDF so you can check things off as you go! There are also blank spaces provided so you can add your own areas/categories. We all have different needs, so I wanted to be able to make sure this list could meet yours.

52 Things You Can Declutter from Your Home

  1. Kitchen Gadgets (Spatulas, mixing spoons, etc.)
  2. Cooking/Kitchen Appliances (Mixers, blenders, waffle irons, etc.)
  3. Kitchen Gloves, Pot Holders, and Towels
  4. Pots, Pans, Tupperware, and Bakeware
  5. Dinnerware
  6. Mugs and Water Bottles (Realistically, you only need 1-2 per person in your house.)
  7. Pantry and/or Snack Cabinets (Goodbye old, stale, expired food!)
  8. Refrigerator(s)
  9. Freezer(s)
  10. Kitchen Counters
  11. Kitchen Furniture (sideboards, dining table, other cabinets)
  12. Junk Drawer(s)
  13. Alcohol
  14. Medicine and First Aid Supplies (Some meds expire faster than you’d think.)
  15. Cleaning Supplies
  16. Paperwork, Magazines, Old Mail
  17. Entryway/Mudroom (Go through racks, baskets, and bins.)
  18. Blankets, Comforters, Sheet Sets
  19. Bath and Beach Towels
  20. Beauty Products (Makeup, Hair Products, Skincare, Nail Care, etc.)
  21. Toiletries
  22. Bathroom Counters
  23. Jewelry
  24. Accessories (hats, scarves, gloves, belts, handbags, etc.)
  25. Night Stand(s) and/or Bedside Tables
  26. Work Clothes
  27. Everyday Clothes
  28. Outerwear (vests, jackets)
  29. Workout Clothes
  30. Pajamas and Loungewear
  31. Socks, Bras, Underwear
  32. Shoes
  33. Under Bed(s)
  34. Cables and Cords
  35. Desk(s)
  36. Fire Safe and/or Filing Cabinets
  37. Arts and Crafts Supplies
  38. Tools
  39. Lawn and Garden Supplies
  40. Outdoor Toys and Sporting Goods
  41. Outdoor Decor
  42. Holiday Decor
  43. Indoor Decor
  44. Misc. Bags and Travel Gear
  45. Entertaining and Party Supplies
  46. Indoor Toys
  47. Books
  48. Memory Boxes or Bins
  49. Workout Gear
  50. Media (DVDs, CDs, Video Games, etc.)
  51. Electronics
  52. Games

And there you have it — a comprehensive guide on how to declutter your home for beginners. 

Please know that your decluttering journey is personal and unique. It doesn’t have to be done in a set amount of time, and it doesn’t have to be done exactly as someone else would – myself included. 

At the end of the day, I’m here to cheer you on and provide a helping hand whenever you need it.

That said, if you have any questions or need anything at all, feel free to comment below. Since emails and Instagram messages can get buried, that’s the best way to get a response.

Before you go, here are a few other posts I think you’d like:

Until next time!