Embarking on the decluttering journey transforms spaces and minds. It’s about making room for more of what matters. And there are lots of approaches to accomplish that.
But we’ve taken the time to identify the 20 greatest, and most helpful tips ever.
These twenty tips have shaped the modern approach to organizing and simplifying life:
1. Declutter Your Fantasy Self – Francine Jay champions the idea of letting go of items that represent who we think we should be, rather than who we are. Learn More.
2. The 20/20 Rule – The Minimalists offer a heuristic for easily replaceable items: if it costs less than $20 and can be replaced within 20 minutes, let it go. Discover More.
3. Project 333 – Courtney Carver’s minimalist fashion challenge encourages people to live with 33 items or fewer for 3 months. Try the Challenge.
4. Does It Spark Joy? – Marie Kondo’s simple yet profound question to decide which items to keep has changed the world. Find Joy.
5. Practicality Over Use – Joshua Becker encourages reflection on necessity versus frequency of use with his oft-debated phrasing, “Just because you use an item doesn’t mean you need to keep it.” Read His Insight.
6. The Sunday Basket – Lisa Woodruff’s weekly routine for paper clutter management. Organize Papers.
7. One In, One Out – A simple rule to maintain decluttered spaces, ensuring that for every new item brought into your home, one is removed. Learn the Rule.
8. The Four-Box Method – A sorting system that forces decision-making with four categories: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Start Sorting.
9. The Closet Hanger Experiment – Popularized by Peter Walsh in Oprah Magazine, it’s a test to determine which clothes you actually wear by turning all your hangers backward and only turning them back after an item is worn. Try the Experiment.
10. The Toy Rotation – Reducing children’s overwhelm by cycling through a limited number of toys available for play. Rotate Toys.
11. Digitize Your Memories – Proven by science, a suggestion to take photos of your sentimental makes them easier to remove. Preserve Digitally.
12. 40 Bags in 40 Days – Ann Marie introduces a simple idea: A forty-day period where you go through your home and declutter one area a day. Remove 40 Bags.
13. Seasonal Swap-Outs – Switching out clothes, decorations, and other items seasonally to keep only the relevant items accessible. Swap Seasonally.
14. 365 Less Things – Popularized by Colleen Madsen on her blog of the same name, reduce stuff one day at a time. Read More.
15. The 12-12-12 Challenge – The 12:12:12 challenge comes from Joshua Becker and entails locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper place. Burst Through Clutter.
16. The One-Minute Rule – The term is something Gretchen Rubin came up with, and the idea is super simple: If a task will take you a minute or less to complete, do it as soon as you realize it needs to be done. Take Immediate Action.
17. Quieting Your Space – This approach to decluttering involves removing everything from a room (quieting it) and then returning only the items you want to remain. Quiet Your Home.
18. Declutter for 15 Minutes Daily – FlyLady encourages everyone with this helpful approach: Set a timer and spend 15 minutes a day decluttering. Make Daily Progress.
19. Question Quantity – Asking “How many do I need?” to limit excess and focus on the essentials. Maybe the most famous example of this is Rose Lounsbury’s TEDx talk: How Many Towels Do You Need? Limit Excess.
20. Ask “Would I Buy It Now?” – Declutter lots of items from your home with this simple question, “If I was in a store, would I buy this item right now?”
As you’ve journeyed through these 20 decluttering tips, you may feel the urge to overhaul your space all at once. However, lasting change is a gradual process. The secret isn’t in embracing every single strategy today, but in finding the few that resonate deeply with you and your lifestyle.
Start by picking two or three tips that feel manageable and align with your decluttering goals.
Maybe it’s quieting a single room, or perhaps it’s implementing the one-minute rule to chip away at small tasks. Focus on making these practices habitual before adding more into your routine. This isn’t a race; it’s a path to a more intentional and peaceful living space.
Remember, decluttering is less about the quantity of items you remove and more about the quality of life you’re creating. Each discarded item is not just making room in your home, but also making space in your mind for clarity, peace, and joy. Embrace this journey step by step, and let each chosen practice guide you towards the serene home that you deserve.