Use this simple, 7-step process to declutter your home and create a simplified, more minimalist home you’ll love!
Plus, click the image at the bottom of this post to sign up and get access to a free pdf workbook to guide you through these 7 steps to make decluttering even easier.
If you’re ready to declutter your home and your life and embrace a simpler, more minimalist lifestyle, this post has everything you need to get started.
Getting started can be the hardest part
Often, taking the first steps of decluttering can be the hardest.
The thought of decluttering your whole house might feel overwhelming. Or maybe you just don’t know how to tackle all the “stuff” without bouncing from one spot to the next, but never feeling like you’re making progress anywhere!
The good news is, once you get started decluttering, it becomes a lot easier to keep going.
Use the simple, 7-step system in today’s post to get started decluttering and keep your momentum going to continue decluttering and create a home you love!
Why decluttering matters
Before I began decluttering my home and embracing a simpler life, I often felt frustrated with how much time and energy I was spending managing our stuff. I spent so much of my day picking up, cleaning, maintaining, organizing and dealing with STUFF.
Finally, I had enough and began to systematically simplify and declutter our home.
Decluttering our home and embracing minimalism has benefited my life in so many ways.
I spend less time cleaning and managing the stuff we own and have more time to focus on what matters most to me.
I feel more at peace in our home, feel less stressed trying to “keep up” with taking care of our home and have more patience with my family when I’m not always feeling behind in taking care of our home.
Life, in general, feels so much lighter and happier. There is so much freedom that comes with clearing the clutter, letting go of the excess stuff and only keeping what you love and use regularly.
How to declutter your house
If you’re ready to experience the same sort of freedom decluttering can bring, this post is the perfect place to start.
In this post, I’ll break down the decluttering process into 7 simple steps. Showing you exactly how to clear the clutter from your home and embrace a simpler life. All without feeling lost, overwhelmed or ready to quit halfway through!
And don’t forget to sign up for your free decluttering workbook at the bottom of this post. Use the workbook to help you put these 7 steps into practice and clear the clutter for good!
Step 1: Get clear about your vision and your “why”
What’s your “why”?
Knowing your “why” for wanting to declutter is so important. It’s what will keep you motivated, dedicated and on track to continue decluttering, even when it feels hard.
Get clear with yourself about why you want to declutter. What do you want to achieve? What matters the most to you? What do you want to gain by living more simply and minimally?
Do you want to spend less time cleaning? Have more time for a hobby, activity, job or your family? Create a more peaceful, calming home? Take action to reduce stress caused by your home and the stuff you own?
Check out this great list of the benefits of decluttering to give you some inspiration. This list of some of the more unexpected benefits of decluttering can give you some helpful inspiration too.
What’s your vision?
Next, take some time to get clear on the vision for your home you want to create by decluttering.
Ask yourself how your space is currently making you feel? Then, think about how you want your home to look, feel and function.
Without a clear vision of how you want your home to look, feel and function, it’s easy to get sidetracked or lose momentum as you’re decluttering.
There’s no way around it – decluttering your home takes work. Physical, mental and emotional work. It can be easy to let this pull you off track, distract you and even make you feel like giving up!
But having a clear “why” and a clear vision for what you want to achieve by decluttering, is a great way to help you stay on track. Reminding you why you’re putting the work in, and how it will pay off in the end.
What do you want minimalism to look like for you?
The term “minimalism” carries a lot of assumptions, and can even turn some people off.
Whether you want to become a minimalist, or just want to clear the clutter, it’s important to know what that will look like for you.
Everyone’s version of minimalism will be different, and unique to their lifestyle, preferences and goals. The key is deciding what your version of minimalism will look like.
You don’t have to follow anyone else’s rules for minimalism or an aesthetic you see on social media. Instead, decide what your decluttering goals and vision are and use that as your version of minimalism to work towards as you declutter.
Step 2: Make your decluttering plan
Having a plan to follow as you declutter can make the whole process significantly easier.
First, a decluttering plan means you’ll always know exactly what needs to be done next. And never waste your decluttering time and energy trying to figure out where and what to work on.
Second, taking some time to figure out a few of the logistics before you start decluttering, means you won’t get derailed by unexpected questions and roadblocks that come up while you’re in the midst of decluttering. That way you can spend your time clearing the clutter instead of getting sidetracked on these issues while you’re decluttering.
Your decluttering plan will make it easy dive in and get to work once you start decluttering. Allowing you to reach your decluttering goals faster and with less frustration!
Don’t forget to sign up at the bottom of this post to get a decluttering workbook sent right to you. Use the workbook to answer all of the following questions and create your personalized decluttering plan!
How will you declutter?
First, decide how will you declutter.
Will you declutter room by room? For example, declutter your kitchen, then your bedroom, then the living room, etc.?
Or will you declutter like categories of items together? Decluttering all your books at once, then all your clothes, then all paperwork, etc.?
What will you do with the stuff you’re getting rid of?
Not knowing how you’ll get rid of the stuff you’re decluttering can be one of the biggest roadblocks when it comes to decluttering. If you don’t know what to do with the stuff you’re getting rid of, it can mean the stuff will sit in your house, continuing to cause clutter. Or even worse, get spread back out in the house and undo all of your hard work!
Taking some time to figure out ahead of time what you’ll do with the stuff you’re decluttering is one of the key ways to ensure decluttering success.
Garbage and recycling
First, figure out what you’ll do with anything that’s garbage or recycling. Can you add it to your regular garbage and recycling collection? Will you need to take it to the dump or recycling center? Or will you need to rent a garbage bin?
Figure out the logistics ahead of time so getting rid of garbage will be easier.
Next, decide where you will donate things you’re getting rid of.
Choose one or more donation centers you’ll use. Then look into what items they accept, what their hours for donation drop-offs are, if they’ll pick items up, or if there are any other guidelines you need to be aware of when making donations.
Plan exactly how often you’ll make donation drop-offs or pick-ups. Will you drop off donations weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.? Then hold yourself accountable to those times and add them to your calendar (with reminders!).
If you’re planning to try selling anything you’re getting rid of, first, figure out where you will sell it. Some options are Facebook Marketplace, eBay, consignment shops, yard sales, etc.
Then decide how long you will let unsold items sit before lowering the price and/or donating the items.
If you’re planning on hosting a yard sale, set a tentative date for it ahead of time to help hold yourself accountable. Then commit to donating anything that doesn’t sell during the yard sale. And give yourself a deadline for donating items if you don’t get around to hosting the yard sale.
A quick note about selling items!
Selling the stuff you’re decluttering can be a good way to make some extra money, but it can also slow down and impede your decluttering progress.
Selling items takes a lot of time (taking pictures, posting items for sale, corresponding with buyers, setting up meetups, accounting for people who don’t show up, setting up a yard sale, etc.).
Holding on to stuff while you’re waiting to sell it means your space isn’t cleared as quickly. And there’s always the danger of changing your mind or the “sell” pile being moved back into the house (especially with small kids around!).
It is important to decide for yourself if trying to sell items is worth the time and energy it will take, or if you’d rather clear the clutter quicker.
When will you declutter?
Next, figure out when you will declutter.
Do you want to declutter for shorter periods more often? Maybe aiming for 10 minutes of decluttering a day.
Or do longer periods of decluttering less often? Planning to declutter for an hour once a week, or one Saturday morning a month, etc.?
Or some combination of the two?
The key to making sure it happens is getting specific about when you plan to declutter. Then scheduling your decluttering times in your calendar, holding yourself accountable and making sure it gets done.
Treat your decluttering times like any other appointment. Decluttering is really easy to put off if you don’t make time for it. So schedule it, then make sure you follow through!
Prioritize the areas to declutter
And finally, the last step of your decluttering plan is deciding what order you want to tackle decluttering your spaces.
Start by identifying the top 3 highest priority areas to declutter.
Your highest priority areas will be the spaces causing you the most stress, making you feel the most overwhelmed and taking up too much of your time.
Tackling your three highest priority areas first will not only make life a lot easier and less stressful. But it will also free up a significant amount of time that can be used to continue decluttering. Making it a lot easier to see the process of decluttering through.
After listing your top 3 highest priority spaces, continue ranking all the spaces in your home from highest to lowest priority to declutter.
Don’t forget to take action!
One last note about your decluttering plan.
Having a decluttering plan is great, but don’t get too caught up in the planning.
Don’t spend so much time making a colour-coded map of your house and corresponding decluttering chart that you run out of steam before you even begin.
Remember, a plan is important to make decluttering easier. But a plan is only effective if you actually put the plan into action.
Make your plan, but more importantly, don’t forget to actually START decluttering!
Step 3: Do a whole house clutter sweep
Doing a whole house clutter sweep is a great way to ease into decluttering. It removes a layer of surface clutter that is relatively easy to get rid of. Allowing you to start building momentum and gaining confidence in your decluttering skills.
Take a box, bag or even a laundry basket and quickly walk through each space in your home looking for anything and everything you can see that you know you can get rid of.
It can be garbage to throw away, decor items you don’t love or feel particularly attached to, items you know you don’t use or need, etc.
It will likely be surprising how much stuff you can gather relatively quickly. Often you have things that are either just filling space, but you don’t really love, use or feel attached to. Or there are things that just need to be dealt with and gotten rid of!
Step 4: Clear your surfaces
Clearing the flat surfaces in your home has a huge visual impact on your space. Immediately making your home look and feel tidier, less cluttered and more visually appealing. But also making the surfaces in your home easier to use too.
Seeing the big impact clearing your surfaces can make is a great way to stay encouraged and motivated to keep going.
Key surfaces to focus on include the kitchen counters, dining table, refrigerator front, entryway table, bathroom counters, nightstands, coffee tables, end tables, etc. Anywhere clutter tends to collect.
Use a box or basket to gather everything off one surface at a time.
Throw out or recycle any garbage. Get rid of anything you no longer use, need or love. Then put anything you’re keeping away where it belongs. Or find or make a home to keep items that don’t already have one.
It’s important that each item you’re keeping has a home to keep it to avoid it ending up with surface clutter again. This may require some decluttering as you go to make homes for the items you’re keeping.
Once the surface is clear, work towards keeping it clear and getting in the habit of putting things away instead of leaving them on your surfaces.
Step 5: Declutter somewhere easy
Continuing to build on the decluttering momentum, motivation and confidence you’re building, next tackle decluttering somewhere easy.
An easy space to declutter tends to be a smaller space. Where you can start decluttering, finish the job and see the results of your efforts relatively quickly. As well as a space that is more utilitarian, so your decluttering decisions can be more logical and less emotional.
Good places to try include spaces like the bathroom, the pantry, a coat closet or even a few kitchen cupboards.
Work through the space decluttering. Then celebrate another decluttering success under your belt!
Step 6: Declutter your highest priority area
Now that you’re in a good decluttering groove, it’s time to tackle the highest priority space you identified in step 2.
Tackling this area will make a big impact on your life. Giving you more time, less stress and a huge boost in motivation to keep decluttering when you can immediately see the benefits of your efforts!
Step 7: Follow your plan and keep going
Now that you’ve had success decluttering the area of your home that causes you the most stress, keep following your plan to work through the rest of your spaces.
Work from highest to lowest priority to declutter. Continue scheduling and holding yourself accountable to your decluttering times.
Take before and after pictures of your spaces so you can easily see what a difference your decluttering efforts are making. Not only will seeing the changes in your home keep you feeling motivated. But it’s also a great way to track your progress if you’re doing a little decluttering at a time and don’t have an immediate and dramatic before and after to keep you encouraged.
After you’re done decluttering all the spaces in your home, take some time to assess how your home looks, feels and functions now.
Does your home align with your vision, your “why” and your decluttering goals?
If it doesn’t, don’t get discouraged. It often takes a few rounds of decluttering to reach your decluttering goals.
Instead, go back through each of your spaces and see if there is more you are now willing to let go of after your initial purge.
One of the best ways to feel motivated to let go of more “stuff” is by living in your decluttered spaces and enjoying the benefits firsthand.
Keep going until your home looks, feels and functions in a way that works best for you and your family!
Don’t forget to click the image below to sign up and get a FREE Decluttering Workbook to help you put these steps into action in your home!
Thursday 2nd of August 2018
Thanks for the tips.
Great ideas, What i did to declutter my Wallet. first started using money clip but it wasn't the best idea in winters and rain, also it wasn't most safest option. I started using this Cascade Wallet by Mani Wonders and that is RFID proof and comes with inbuilt Moeny Clip so it is the best decision i ever made.
Simple Lionheart Life
Monday 13th of August 2018
That's great Donald. It's so important to be thoughtful and intentional and find what works best for you and your life. I'm glad you found a system that works for better for you. Our purses and wallets are great places to declutter - it literally lightens our load quickly and easily! Thanks for reading!
Sunday 10th of June 2018
Thanks!Iam glad to read this post.I like it very much thanks for this posting. its sounds like you are makng good progress. http://bentokai.com/blog/
Simple Lionheart Life
Monday 11th of June 2018
Thanks for reading, I'm glad you found the post helpful!
Monday 28th of May 2018
Thank you for putting this so nicely! I have been on the "declutter" bandwagon for over a year now, and my vision started with decluttering so I could start building a tiny home and move in with "less". Little did I realize!!!! I have so much junk, and the emotional and mental energy to get rid of it is huge! So it is taking longer, but the Kitchen pantry is DONE. The Kitchen is DONE, although I still need to downsize a little bit more to fit into a tiny home...I am now working on my Office space and my Closet, which is for both my husband and I and all our things for our house, so it is closer to a space a tiny house would use...it's getting there...but I have alot of stuff yet to "declutter"...wow. It's a process, but take small bites and good luck everyone!
Simple Lionheart Life
Monday 28th of May 2018
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. What a wonderful and exciting goal for you and your husband! I agree completely - decluttering is hard work, physically, emotionally and mentally! Our "stuff" really does add a lot of weight to our lives, literally and figuratively! It sounds like you're making good progress. That's the key like you said - it's a process and small steps are still moving you forward! Thanks for reading and sharing your journey with us. And good luck with your plans to move into a tiny home!
Wednesday 2nd of August 2017
These are some really great tips to get going! I recently decluttered a lot of my house before moving. It helped to give me get a head start by being able to minimize a lot of my belongings during the packing process. Even still, some boxes that made the cut, didn't make the final cut. My home feels so much more calming and happy now that it is decluttered!
I am happy to have found your site Melissa!
Simple Lionheart Life
Sunday 6th of August 2017
Thanks Katherine, I'm glad you found it helpful! Moving is an excellent time and motivation to declutter. It sounds like you did a great job. And it's true, the more you declutter, the more we are often ready to declutter and let go of during the next round of purging!
I'm glad you found my site too, I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for reading and please keep in touch!
20 Tips to Have a Successful Garage Sale - Simple Lionheart Life
Sunday 18th of June 2017
[…] the past year I have been ruthlessly decluttering and minimizing our home. I had gathered quite a bit of stuff we no longer use or love. I was planning to donate […]