decluttering techniques

The 10 Best Decluttering Techniques For Beginners


Decluttering your home can seem like a simple concept, but when you’re a beginner it can be difficult to know where to start. Use these decluttering techniques for beginners to get you started on your decluttering journey.

There are so many benefits to decluttering your home and although the journey may start out rough, maintaining a decluttered home is much more manageable. To get to the manageable phase, you have to get through the first round of decluttering.

If decluttering seems overwhelming to you, start with only one of these techniques. Once you’ve mastered that technique, move on to another until you’ve mastered them all!

If you’re feeling bold, pick your favorite decluttering techniques and use several at once to really declutter your home faster!

1- Start with Only 5 Minutes Each Day

We all can find an extra 5 minutes in our day if we try. Set a timer and start decluttering!

5 minutes may not seem like enough time to declutter, but if you really commit to only decluttering for 5 minutes, you’d be amazed at what you can get done. 

It’s best to start in either the room where you can make the most impact (think high volume “things” just laying around) or the room that bothers you the most. 

Set a timer and for 5 minutes go through any item you see and decide whether to keep that item or donate it.

Continue this habit until you’ve made it through that whole room! You can use other decluttering techniques listed below to make more of an impact. 

2- Find 7 Things to Give Away Each Week

Sometimes it helps to put a number on it rather than a timeframe. So, find 7 things each week in your home that you can give away. That’s one item every day.

Put a box in your garage and as you find items that are no longer needed or no longer bring you happiness, throw it in the box until you’ve found at least 7 items. 

If you find more than 7 items each week, let it happen! That simply means you don’t need those items any longer. 

3- The Trash Bag Method

Who doesn’t love a good trash bag decluttering session? Grab a trash bag and don’t stop decluttering until you’ve filled it!

You can declutter one room, one drawer, or hit up all the rooms until the trash bag is full. 

Once you’ve filled the bag, tie it up and throw it in your car so the next time you’re out running errands you can drop it off at a local donation center. 

4- The Hanger Trick

This is one of my favorite tricks and it’s so easy!

Hang all of your clothes in your closet backwards on hangers so that you’re hooking the hanger on from the back. 

Each time you wear something from your closet, hang it up the correct way. 

After 6 months, any item left still backwards should go! Those items aren’t being used enough and clearly don’t bring you joy!

The key here is to make sure anything out of season or worn for special occasions aren’t being donated. Focus only on everyday clothing.

5- Use a Decluttering Checklist

Checklists are great for anyone who loves feeling like they are making progress. These checklists are also great for those who don’t quite know every nook and cranny to look at when starting their decluttering journey. 

Use this free decluttering checklist to walk you through each room in your home.

6- Take Before and After Photos

Progress not perfection. 

Always take before and after photos when you’re starting a project especially if it’s a project that can take time. For extra motivation, keep your photos on your family command center so they are visible!

It’s hard to see the day to day advances you’re making when there’s a lot of clutter in your home. 

Progress pictures are also great to keep you motivated. Take a before picture, a picture every few days depending on how much time you’re dedicating, and then an after picture to show how far you’ve come. 

If you don’t notice much of a difference in your progress pictures, it may be a sign that you either aren’t spending enough time or you aren’t actually getting rid of much. It may be a good time to re-evaluate your decluttering technique and try a new one!

7- Keep a “Giveaway” Box in Your Closet

It’s easy enough to keep a box in an area you frequent a lot so as you find items that you no longer need/want, you can easily toss them in the box. 

One the box is full, move it into your car and on your next errand run, stop by the local donation center. 

8- Practice The One-in, One-out Method

Begin to get in the habit of only purchasing an item when you give one away. If all you do is buy more and more items without proactively decluttering, your home will never get past the cluttered state. 

Now, this method isn’t to be used to say that if you give away 50 items in the beginning you can replace them all. Sorry mama, that’s not how it works and this isn’t a free pass. You need to declutter first!

This method is to stop you from purchasing more in the beginning of your journey and once you’ve gotten to the maintenance phase, you can use it again to maintain the amount of “things” coming into your home. 

9- Use the 90/90 Rule

Have you used the item in the last 90 days?

Do you honestly see yourself using the item in the next 90 days?

If you just answered ‘No’ to both of those questions, it’s time to donate or toss that item!

This is such a simple decluttering technique to use even for beginners! Now, you have to be honest with yourself, but if you are, I’m sure this technique alone would help you get rid of a bunch of stuff!

10- The 10% Only Method

Thinking of all the areas in your home to declutter can be quite overwhelming. So, start with a set of items and your goal is to decrease the items by 10%. That’s it!

For example, grab all your shoes and try to reduce the number of shoes you have by 10% in that sitting. 

You can use this decluttering technique for any set of items or any area. You can use it to declutter the kitchen junk drawer (yes, we all have them!), your winter coats, the bathroom drawers, etc. 

Get Started with These Decluttering Techniques

It doesn’t matter which decluttering technique you choose, the important thing is to just start!

Set a goal, make a plan and start decluttering!

Each decluttering journey is different and what works for you won’t work for someone else. Start with what feels good to you and build on those techniques only once you feel good about it. The idea is to get better each day even if you only have one small win. 

I’d love to know what has helped you in your decluttering journey or where you’re struggling. Let us know in the comments below!

Hi, I'm Ashleigh, a mom who is Already Tired Tomorrow! I'm a full-time, working and commuting mama of 2. I'm the youngest Director at my company and I've learned some amazing organization and time management techniques over the years. I am certified in Asana, Lucidchart, and Lean which has helped me identify and create home management systems for busy moms! Learn more about running your home efficiently so you have more time to do the things you love at www.alreadytiredtomorrow.com

18 thoughts on “The 10 Best Decluttering Techniques For Beginners”

  1. These are great tips! I always try to declutter and always get stuck on “what if I need it later…” which is silly. I’ve heard of that hanger trick but never actually done it before. I”ll have to give it a try!

    1. Thank you, Megan! I totally get that…sometimes it’s hard figuring out what you may actually need in the future and what we’re just hanging on to “just in case”. That’s definitely where the 90/90 rule helps. And yes, the hanger trick is one of my favorites! Good luck!

  2. Great ideas for decluttering the house. I am a big fan of decluttering, and I clean my house every moment I get a chance to clean. Thanks for sharing

    1. Yay, Shanna! I’m so happy to hear that and I’m glad they are useful. I can’t wait for you to try some of the tips out and see what works for you. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you, Suz! Yes that is such a great method and it works for so many of us who just can’t seem to find enough time in our day. I love it, thank you!

  3. I am SO good at not hanging on to things I don’t need or use. BUT… I have 7 children in a small 3 bedroom house. Plus, the children have all been in foster care for some period of time and losing their 1st family along with so much of their life has made their belongings more than just ‘stuff.’ It’s hard to de-clutter from an emotional standpoint. Working on it is part of the healing process for most of the kids that come.

    1. First off, Karla, how amazing you are to take those children into your home. And I 100% agree, those items become more than stuff to them and in that situation I would not suggest treating their items the same. When there’s emotion attached, those items become a necessity. When people hold on to “stuff” is where this helps and these tactics can be used when they just aren’t sure where to start.

      Thank you for the feedback and viewpoint. It’s important to remember not all tactics work for everyone’s situation.

  4. OMG! Even reading this gives a boost of energy. I LOVE to diclutter! So freeing! Thank you for creating this post! Brings me love! 🙂

    1. Larissa, I love that you share my same excitement for decluttering! Haha in fact, I just decluttered my “junk drawer” and it felt sooo good!

      Glad the post brought you joy!

  5. Even as a “seasoned” decluttered, I still LOVE the 5 minute technique. I also still keep a box in my closet for give aways. My rule is that if I go to try it on and it doesn’t fit right, it goes in the box.

  6. Cindy Moore

    Excellent tips! I hate clutter. It has a lower vibe energy. Keep clutter away and energy flows.

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