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5 Popular Decluttering Methods to Simplify Your Life

Does the thought of decluttering your home immediately make your heart race?

When you combine the amount of stuff in your home that needs to be decluttered with the many decluttering methods, it’s easy to begin to feel overwhelmed! You begin to wonder about the best way to organize your home, and begin to obsess over doing the method the right way so much that you never get started!

You don’t have to get stuck in the rabbit hole of the perfect methods of decluttering and organizing. Below I have compiled a list of a few of the more popular decluttering strategies for creating a simple home you love

decluttering methods, strategies for decluttering

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How to use decluttering strategies to organize your home

Declutter and organize. This is the basic goal for anyone looking to simplify their material footprint and live a more minimalist (or just tidy) home. If you keep this as the driving force to your plans for organizing, then you will find yourself much less overwhelmed with the entire process of decluttering.

Before getting started, I always recommend that you focus on getting a clear picture for any mental barriers you may have regarding your clutter. This includes asking yourself questions such as:

  • Do I unnecessarily hold on to my stuff?
  • Is my clutter negatively impacting an area of my life?
  • What could I do with the extra time/money I will get from living a simpler life?

Journaling through questions like these can help you get your mind focused and set your intention for simplifying your home. Having your heart and mind focused on the why of your decluttering is important for the longevity

Best decluttering methods to try

With so many ways to declutter it’s hard to decide which one will work best for you! I’ve compiled this list to help you determine the best way of decluttering for your home. Use this to reference as you follow our 60 day Minimalism challenge!

decluttering strategies, decluttering methods

KonMari method of tidying

The first way to declutter and probably the most popular right now is the KonMari method. Named after Author, Marie Kondo of the widely popular book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, this method involves focusing on what you keep, not what you give away.

The basic principles of the KonMari method of decluttering involve categorizing your things, and then going through each item you own and mindfully evaluate why you keep it. If it does not “spark joy,” then box it up to donate or sell.

My take on this method: Practically this method may take quite a bit of time, because you want to hold each item you own in your hand and sense the feeling that each particular item gives you. This is an intuitive way of organizing, but for me, I just could not sense the “joy” in items that I knew I needed!

This worked great, however, for clothes! And let me tell you it was freeing! When I held up those too tight jeans, it was definitely a “this does NOT spark joy.” I did not feel good looking at them everyday, so letting them go was easier!

The Four-box or Four-container method

The Four Container method of decluttering is another simple method to implement and one that is great for those just starting on a minimalism journey but maybe not ready to commit to two options. With this decluttering method, you use four boxes or containers to declutter and organize any room or area in your home.

The containers are labeled as:

  • Trash – actual garbage
  • Give Away/Sell – things you will not keep, but are in good enough shape to give away or sell
  • Storage – these are items you don’t use often but you aren’t ready to part with
  • Put Away – these are items you are keeping and use often, they should be organized

As you go through your space and declutter the 4 boxes are used to sort out your items. This method is probably one of my favorites because it gives me some space to change my mind, or to not be ready. Having the storage/maybe box allowed me to practice living without a particular item. It also gave me a space to put away the keep sakes that I was either not mentally prepared to get rid of, or knew I would not be letting go of.

365 Less Things

Colleen Madsen of, 365 Less Things, has an awesome approach to minimizing possessions. She determined in 2010 to make minimalism her resolution by giving away or selling one item each day for the year. She documents the results of her project as well as the psychological benefits on her blog.

In my opinion this method can be great for declutterers on both ends of the spectrum. For the newbie minimalist, this can be a great approach to start slow and steady. It allows you to commit to minimalism and slowly get your feet wet.

It can also be beneficial for the senior minimalist. This method allows you to really pare down on the extraneous things that you are holding on to, especially if you are mindful not to replace items.

Play the Minimalist game to declutter

If you liked the idea of a daily give away, but would like to take it a step further, check out the Minimalist Game. This decluttering strategy is simple and quite brilliant. Each day of the month you give away or sell items based on the day of the month. For example, if it is the 1st of the month you would give away 1 item. Simple enough, right. Things get trickier when you reach the 30th or 31st, and you must find 30 or 31 things to declutter respectively.

The cool thing about this game is at the end of the month you have decluttered your home by 496 items. If you do this every month, you will find your home decluttered within the year. Now this is a lot of decluttering!

This method is particularly great for those who maybe tried the 365 less method and are ready for a more challenging task.

Clear everything with the Packing Party

This strategy for decluttering is probably the most extreme of all of the described decluttering methods. With this method you invite some friends over, or plan a weekend, and pack up everything in your home as if you were moving.

Over the next several months (define a time) unpack only what you need. At the end of the defined time, everything else can be sold or donated.

Rules of Decluttering

Regardless of the method of decluttering you use, there are a few rules that you can follow while you are decluttering your space to make the process run smoother and ensure that the minimizing you spend your time doing, actually sticks. Those rules are:

Vow to bring less home. You must make the mental decision that you are not going to simply refill your home with new things. As you purge, embrace the idea that you do not need a new (fill in the blank of whatever item you have separated with.) There is little point in putting the effort of choosing a method of decluttering to then refill your home.

Start small and simple. While it may be tempting to overturn your entire space like the next HGTV DIY television show start, taking such drastic measures can bring up emotions that can lead you to abandoning your efforts. instead, consider starting with the simple items that are easy to part with or a space that is easy to see progress in. Such as a junk drawer.

Let go of the duplicates. You do not need 4 curling irons. The “standby toaster” is irrelevant. Getting rid of duplicates is another simple decluttering task that you can complete that will give you momentum in the process as well as minimize the decisions you have to make.

Put thing in their place. This is honestly one of the hardest rules of minimalism for our family. Its also the reason we continue to declutter consistently. Until we get to the place that we have removed enough items that cleaning up is easy for me specifically, we will continue to declutter.

Organization mistakes to avoid

Once you decide on a particular method to use you are ready to get started with your decluttering journey, but you should be aware that there are some mistakes that many new minimalists run into. Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re learning to become organized. Knowing what roadblocks you may run into ahead of time can help make your journey to a decluttered and organized life easier to achieve and maintain.

Some of the common mistakes many new to decluttering make include:

1) Not knowing where to start. When we decide to become a more organized person as an unorganized person, we can quickly become overwhelmed with deciding where in our unorganized life to start. While it can be tough finding a starting point, it is crucial that you do so. This is because if you just start randomly organizing things, you’re not going to see much progress and it’s also going to cause you quite a lot of stress. Solution: consider starting in the room you spend the most time.

2) Over-categorizing everything. This involves making your organization a little too specific. Having too many categories (ex: using the four box method and making it the 12 box method) makes keeping up with your system harder to do. As the system starts breaking down, you may end up keeping more things than you intended to. Solution: categorize, but stick to no more than 4.

3) Failing to declutter before organizing things. It is easy to get swept up in the beautiful organized space that you desire and want to rush to this step of the organization process. When you do this, however, you may end up organizing items that were meant to be thrown away. This is a waste of time and energy. Solution: declutter first, once you are pared down to the items that you are keeping then begin organizing.

Use these decluttering strategies to start decluttering

It is a well-known fact that clutter negatively impacts, productivity, mental and physical health, and in some instances your relationships. If you are feeling the urge to declutter, there is no better time than now to start!

Which decluttering method are you ready to try? Leave me a comment below with your plan of action!

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