Clear the Clutter – How to Declutter Your Space

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This is the second part of a three part series to help you with your decluttering projects while you are home during this crazy social distancing time. In part one, I talked about how to decide where to even start. You can read Part 1 here.

If decluttering is on your radar, and it’s time to dive in, here is a little info to help move the process along. It is really helpful to know what your time constraints are before you start. If you only have thirty minutes…emptying your closet may not be the best use of time.

Gather Your Supplies

You can help the process move along a lot smoother by gathering up some basics before you start. Depending on where you are working will dictate this step, but the general idea is the same.

○ Gather some boxes or bins to help sort

○ Cleaning products to wipe the area down

○ A trash bag

One method I use with sorting is – Trash, Keep, Donate/Sell, and Elsewhere. I like having an “elsewhere” bin because it saves time going from place to place to put things where they belong during your sorting session. However, be sure to leave yourself time at the end of your session to do just that…by putting the stuff away you don’t create a new area that will need decluttering.

Tip: When purging clothing, having two types of trash bags can help move the process along. Use regular heavy duty (brown or dark green) bags for trash, and white bags for items to donate. By doing this you lessen the risk of throwing away the wrong bag.

Start With an Empty and Clean Space

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Removing everything from the area that you are decluttering helps to create a clean slate. Plus, sorting becomes easier by moving it to a space that gives you room to sort. Note: if you are taking before and after pics, snap that before pic now! For clothes, use the bed; for kitchen drawers and cabinets, use the counter or table. Remember, this is why you really need to make sure you give yourself enough time to complete the area you are working on. Once the space is empty, give it a good cleaning – wipe it out, vacuum, sweep, whatever suits the space you are working on.

Sort it All Out!

Using your bins or boxes start sorting. Depending on the level to which you want to declutter really dictates how difficult or easy this will be. Ask yourself some basic questions while sorting:

○ When was the last time I wore/used/saw this?

○ Do I really need/want this?

○ Am I keeping this out of guilt or obligation?

○ And for clothing: Does this fit? Or, is this still my style?

Often when sorting clothing you may find yourself undecided on what to do with an item. This might sound silly, but I put this item on “probation.” I will put it in the closet in my spare room (you can also turn the hanger around in your closet), and after a certain amount of time – 6 months, a year, a season – I revisit whether I really do have a place in my life for that item.

Finishing Up

Once you have established your keeps it’s time to put them back into their space. You can organize, categorize or arrange in a way that works for you. Hopefully there is less! Get rid of the trash bag, move the donate items to a designated space until you can drop them off (more on this step in Part 3), and put away any items that belong in other areas of your home. Wipe down your work area if necessary and put your cleaning products away. And don’t forget to take the after pic!

Tip: If you are on a mission to declutter multiple spaces you may want to make yourself a caddy with the items you gathered above. Next time you already have your cleaning products, paper towels, and trash bags ready and waiting for you.

This post on how to declutter is the second in a three part series on Decluttering. Part one focused on deciding where to start your decluttering project. Part three will give some suggestions for getting rid of what you declutter, and how to stay clutter free in the future.

Part 1 – You Want to Declutter. Now What?

Part 3 – Clear the Clutter – What to do After you Unclutter

Published by Jenn DePauw - Organized Priorities

Jenn is the owner of Organized Priorities, a Colorado-based company specializing in Organization, Productivity, and Operations. As an organization and productivity professional, Jenn specializes in individual and team productivity coaching as well as organization for both individuals and small businesses. She is also the author of The Organized Priorities Blog (, an organization and lifestyle blog that focuses on making life more organized, more productive, and a little easier. For helpful tips on everything from weekly planning to home organization, and daily celebrations to words of encouragement you can follow @organizedpriorities on Instagram.

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