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How to Declutter Your Home When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Need to declutter your home, but have no clue where to start? Follow these simple steps and you’ll be purging like a boss in no time!
How to Declutter Your Home When You Don't Know Where to Start

Over the years, I’ve shared tons of tips and hacks on decluttering the home, so when it was time to make a move 1,000 miles away, I was pretty confident in my ability to get ish done and purge our entire home within a matter of weeks.

In case you need some more context on the severity of my decluttering situation, let me enlighten you –

  • We were preparing to move 1,000 miles away with zero help. Nada.
  • We did not hire movers since we planned to replace most of our furniture. 
  • We had to fit all of our personal belongings in one tiny 5×8 trailer. 

I came up with a plan (and said a prayer!) because I truly had no other choice other than to face this head-on. It was truly a sink or swim situation. I mean, I tend to thrive when I’m under pressure, but this was an entirely different beast.

Clearly, I survived moveageddon, so today I’m sharing how I managed to completely declutter our entire home (ALL 3 levels) in just a few weeks.

Make a plan (or plan to fail)

Figure out how much time you will dedicate to each space and what supplies you’ll need to accomplish each task. It seems simple, and even unnecessary, but trust me on this. 

If you need boxes, trash bags, cleaning supplies, a torch…or whatever it is that you need to get things done, grab it before you even begin. Create a plan, grab your supplies, and you’ll be a step ahead. 

Be ruthless

Don’t overthink the process. Knowing that I did not have the luxury of being able to keep things stashed in a closet, or in my basement, forced me to be extremely picky about the things that would make the cut. That meant that I had to remove myself emotionally from the things we owned and purge ruthlessly. 

Work in short bursts

Maybe it’s my short attention span, but I can’t dedicate multiple hours to the same task. I get bored and start to lose steam after a while.

Instead, I like to set a timer and allow myself short blocks of time to handle different rooms or areas without any interruptions. Start out with 20-30 minute increments then add on as needed. 

Focus on one room

This step allowed me to stay on task and it’s the reason I was able to make a lot of progress. Knowing I was working in one room for a specific amount of time forced me to get laser-focused.

Once I finished purging a room, I would pack up what was left, and move on to the next room. I also started with the basement which was the most cluttered room in our home at the time. Tackling that room, motivated me to keep going and move on to the next space. 

Don’t overthink it

Now is not the time to think about your stuff. If it’s been sitting in your closet for months, or years, it needs to go. I’ve shared these before, but here’s how I determine what stays and what goes:

  1. Did you use it in the last six months (or year if seasonal)? No? It’s time to let it go. 
  2. Will you use it again in the next year? No? Get rid of it. 
  3. Can you live without it? Yes? Say goodbye and kick it to the curb. 

Be generous 

If you can’t sell it, then give it away. Detach yourself from the price tag or what you perceive as its value. This was hard for us because we had a lot of larger items that were valuable, but I simply couldn’t justify the cost of moving them.

As our deadline started to creep closer, I stopped worrying about how much we paid for things and donated most of it to family or local organizations. I figured that they would be used and enjoyed by another family that probably wouldn’t store it for years like we did. 

Rinse and repeat

It’s not going to happen overnight. Our situation was out of the norm so I had to make things happen very quickly.

You didn’t collect those things overnight, so they’re not going to go disappear so quickly. Even with my somewhat minimalist lifestyle, I had rooms that required two or three rounds of decluttering because each time I was able to part ways with something new. 

Decluttering is not for the faint of heart, but if you focus on the end goal you will be decluttering like a boss in no time. 

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