Top Tips for Decluttering :: cluttered home collage via Joe Eitel

Tackling a cluttered home can be quite a stressful and seemingly impossible endeavor for many but with a few simple tips, the job can become much more manageable. The key is to prepare for the task at hand both mentally and physically. Depending upon how much clutter is taking over your home, you may want to enlist the help of family and friends to help speed up the job and for emotional support along the way. After all, it can be difficult to part ways with some of the “stuff” cluttering up your home, but loved ones can help keep you focused on the goal.

Divide Spaces into Smaller Chunks

Cleaning and organizing large spaces or severely cluttered areas can be quite overwhelming. The single solution is to divide the space into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, divide a cluttered dining room into four equal sections, and tackle each section one at a time until the entire room is decluttered. This process can occur over the course of a day, weekend or week depending upon the size of the job, but it is one of the single best tips for decluttering the home.

Rent a Dumpster or Donate

Clutter Buster Roll Away Dumpster image via HomeTownAlthough it may be difficult to swallow, most clutter is simply unnecessary junk, so treat it as so. Renting a dumpster is a quick and easy solution if you have lots of clutter in your home. A 10 or 20-yard dumpster will often be adequate for cleaning out an average sized home. Dumpster rental companies will allow you to throw out most household items with the exception of toxic materials like paint, flammables or tires.

Editor’s Note: I myself am a big fan of the Bagster Bag for this purpose. (On sale for $28 on Amazon.) We have converted them previously on the blog here.

If you come across items of value you no longer use or need, consider donating them to local charitable organizations. Goodwill  and The Salvation Army are two great examples of national charitable organizations that accept donations of household goods.

Pace Yourself

Be realistic about decluttering your entire home; it may take more than a day, weekend or several weeks. Write out your cleaning schedule and stick to it. For instance, if you only have 30 minutes per day to declutter due to a busy work schedule and kids, choose a time each day to spend that half hour tackling an area of your home. Again, divide your space(s) into smaller chunks and approach the cleanout process that way. You’d be amazed what 30 minutes per day spent decluttering can do to a home.

Don’t Ignore Smaller Nooks and Crannies

It may be a good strategy to declutter the larger rooms needing the most attention first, but don’t ignore the smaller spaces. This is especially true when decluttering prior to putting a home up for sale. Potential buyers will inspect every nook and cranny, so it’s important you do as well. Common problem areas include kitchen and bathroom cupboards, pantries and storage areas.  As a general rule, keep kitchen and bathroom cabinets no more than two-thirds full for a more spacious appearance.

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Prevention and Maintenance

Your work doesn’t end once you finally achieve your goal. It’s critical to prevent the clutter from accumulating during the subsequent weeks and months. Remind yourself about what your home used to look like by taking before-and-after photos. Periodically look at the photos and compare your cluttered home to your new clean and organized home, and use this as motivation to keep it clean.

You can also use the one-in-one-out rule to prevent clutter from accumulating. For example, when you bring home a new toaster, get rid of the old one. A final tip to help maintain a clean and organized space is to set aside 15 minutes a day, such as while your dinner is cooking, to declutter small spaces like countertops, cabinets and bookcases.


Editor’s Note: Joe Eitel is a web content writer for Hometown Dumpster Rental, the leading online resource for finding local dumpster rental and junk removal service providers nationwide. Check out the Hometown Dumpster Rental Blog for industry news, tips and tricks.

Storage and Decluttering have been frequent topics on Building Moxie. Decluttering is a perfect project for College Students home on break. Tons of additional resources regarding strategies online. Here, in fact, is a series from HGTV – Easy Ideas to Declutter Your House. ~jb

All images via Joe Eitel on behalf of Hometown Dumpster Rental.