cluttered shelf

Decluttering: 5 Simple Ways to Do It

Every time you go to your closet, look at your books, go to your kids’ rooms, or open your kitchen cabinet, you see that life can be much simpler. Clutter creates stress and when you’re stressed, the rest of the day goes haywire. But you see it every day… so what do you do?

Declutter! Simple? Not really. Some people just rearrange things and that’s just so different from decluttering. Pretty soon you’ll be looking at piles of stuff you’ll accumulate along the way and you’ll be forced to declutter anyway. So how do you do it?

Here are 5 tips to help you get going in the right direction.

organized dishes
Visualize your end result.

1. Visualize – Picture in your head (or draw if you can) what you want each room and each part of your home to look like. Having a picture of what you want something to look like does more than just give you good feelings. It actually forces you to prioritize things that will fit into your vision. When you’re able to see what you want your room to look like, chances are, you’ll be more ready to give up stuff that you really don’t need.

2. Personalize – The only way to make your rooms and spaces consistently clutter-free in a fun way is to personalize it. How can personalizing a room or space keep it free from clutter? When you personalize a room, you’d have to sort things in your head before putting up a new display or item. Having a space that’s personalized creates a theme that will keep you from placing just anything there except those that go well with that space. It also keeps you from buying stuff that don’t belong there as well.

3. Digitize – Much of the clutter you have most probably comes from things that have sentimental value. Your child’s first baby clothes, his singing contest trophy, the tickets from your first date, a gift from your mom, etc., have a way of creating memories that you just can’t let go of them for any reason.

But if you think about it, it’s not really the stuff you have with you that matters, it’s the memories that come along with the stuff. With today’s digital age, you have an opportunity to keep the memories without completely letting go of your keepsakes. Taking digital photos of souvenirs, mementos, family heirlooms, and even special greeting cards will give you the chance to keep them even when you let go of the items. The feeling you get with sentimental items will still be there when you look at their photos as well. In fact, digitizing them will help preserve them more than if you were to keep them. You can even create digital photo albums or digital scrapbooks of them, too.

Digitizing sentimental items makes it easier for you to let go of them and in turn gives you more space in your home.

Boxes can help you categorize your stuff into things to keep, things to give away, and things to sell.

4. Prioritize – Whenever you declutter, it’s always good to have at least three kinds of boxes to sort your stuff into three categories: things to keep, things to give away, and things to sell. When you do this, you’re prioritizing everything you see into just three categories which makes it easier to filter them. A case can be made for a fourth one: things to consider. If you’re like me, there are times when you can’t figure out which box something belongs to. Having a fourth box will give you time to consider your options and keep you from making rash decisions.

5. Organize – One of the results of having too much stuff is having stuff that don’t belong together in the same place. After having filled your three or four boxes, it’s time to sort through your things-to-keep box and things-to-consider box. Survey the space you have and then put stuff where they should belong based on what you visualized earlier. Chances are, you’ll have stuff that don’t fit in the space you have but are essential to you.

This time you’ll be needing storage boxes to put all those things that you need but don’t necessarily have to be seen. You can place these boxes in storage rooms, your cabinet, or under your bed for easy retrieval.

Decluttering can be a tedious and stressful process but remember it can’t be done in a day—so don’t even try! It took you months or even years to get to where you are now so it will take you about a week to completely declutter your home. If you follow the tips we’ve outlined for you, decluttering can be fun and fulfilling especially after you experience the functional benefits of your hard work.

This post was written by Nicole So.

2 thoughts on “Decluttering: 5 Simple Ways to Do It”

  1. Hi Nicole! You just reminded me of my recent effort to clean my room 🙂 I have my own tips to add:

    1. Give everything its own place. If something doesn’t belong anywhere, you won’t be able to return it to where it belongs! These just pile up on any open surface.
    2. Don’t buy things you don’t need. That’ll save you both money and space.
    3. Buy things based on efficiency. Don’t have 20 pairs of shoes when you’ll really only use five frequently, while the rest you’ll use once a year. You should have “special” items that you use on special occasions, but how many of these do you really need?
    4. Position things based on where and how often you’ll use them. If you tend to read before sleeping, why not place your book rack near the bed so you won’t be lazy to return books? Also, if you use something frequently, don’t store it in a place that’s hard to reach. Chances are, you’ll put off returning it.

    I’m far from having a room that’s spick and span, but I’m struggling and these have helped me improve.


  2. I love what you said about rearranging things NOT being the same as decluttering; that sure hits home for me. Knowing about my tendency to just transfer stuff from one place to another has led me to impose a simple rule on myself: handle things only one. As soon as an item or a document touches my hands, I try to make a quick decision about what I’ll do with it: will I use it daily? Will I need it in the immediate future? Do I need to file this? Or, will someone I know benefit more from this item than I will?

    While I can’t say that my life and my house are 100% clutter-free, following this rule has significantly reduced clutter and stress for me!


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