Preparing for a Decluttering Project

Before you start to declutter your home, read these pointers to make sure you are prepared.

What you need before you dive in:

  • Boxes and/or trashbags
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Vacuum
  • Understanding of local donation centers accepted items policy
  • Understanding of trash/ recycling accepted items policy

Label boxes and bags:

  • Donate– Most of the stuff you decide to donate from one area should be able to go to the same donation center but make sure to have an understanding first so if you come across something your local donation center does not accept you can set it aside or have a separate box ready. (Examples: larger appliance, pillows, stained garments) Many times you can find other donation homes for these items with a quick google search.
  • Sell– Only try to sell your items if you already have a system for getting things out of you house quickly and if you have a place to store the items in the meantime. I’ll go into detail on this in a later article. If you don’t have a system, it is wise to donate theses items or else you’ll just be moving clutter from one place to another in your home and wasting time and space.
  • Trash– This is anything that you can’t donate, sell, or relocate. I make as much as an effort as I can to recycle or give my unwanted items a home but in the beginning stages of a decluttering project you will find a lot of things that simply need to be thrown away. Forgive yourself for adding more to landfills and pledge that you will be more mindful in the future about what you choose to bring into your home.
  • RelocateThis is where you put the items that you find that belong somewhere else in your house or need to be returned to their rightful owner.

**At the end of each session all of these boxes/bags need to be dealt with so they don’t just become clutter somewhere else. Donations can be dropped off immediately if convenient. I also like to put them in my car so I can drop them off the next time I’m out. Either do it or schedule it so it happens. If you decide to sell items, they should be posted online and stored out of the way. Trash should go right out to the curb. Last but not least, items in the relocation box need to be returned. If they belong in your home, take them there. If they belong to someone outside the home, contact that person to make arrangements to pick it up. If they no longer want it, add it to your donation pile.


  • Identify your local donation centers or charities and find out what they accept.
  • Start collecting boxes if you want to use them. There are a lot of free ways to get them.
    • Save them from deliveries
    • Ask your neighbors to save their boxes for you
    • Stop by your local liquor store and ask for boxes
  • Decide where you want to start in your home and set aside some time on your calendar.

You are on your way to clearing some clutter! Check back next week for more details on the steps to take to declutter a space, questions to ask yourself to see if your items deserve a spot in your home, and some tips for keeping the process rolling.

What area in your home do you think would be easiest to tackle first? Why?

Decluttering: Now or Never

At some point, you may have taken a look at your stuff and felt overwhelmed. It could be because you were searching through piles of stuff for a missing item, you feel like you’re always cleaning your house, or you don’t feel relaxed in your home. The list goes on and on.

Instead of dealing with the issue, many people find band-aid solutions. They buy expensive organizational systems, rent a storage unit, or just dump boxes of stuff in their garage, attic, or basement. Don’t do this!

It may make you feel a little better at first but if you want to stop having your stuff stress you out for good, you need to remove the things that don’t serve a purpose in your life.

I suggest starting in a small area of your home that has items that don’t hold any sentimental value. The idea is to just get started. Once you start you will gain momentum and each project will get easier and easier.

5 minute Challenge:

Step 1: Pick your junk drawer, a bathroom drawer, your purse, or something of similar size and dump everything out into a pile in a clear space (like on a table or on the floor).

Step 2: Clean the space with a damp cloth or handheld vacuum. Take a second to enjoy the clean empty space!

Step 3: Quickly (don’t overthink it) sort the items in your pile into two groups (keep and remove). While you are doing this be sure to inspect your items for stains or damage. Also, be aware of the amount of something that you have. For example, if you have a box of 500 paper clips and you do all your “paperwork” online, maybe consider just keeping a couple.

Remember- You are not looking for perfection, so don’t stress out about individual items. The goal of this challenge is to practice the basic idea of decluttering and to get started.

Step 4: Return your keep items to their home and trash/recycle/donate the items your chose to remove. If you found items that don’t belong, ask yourself where you would go to locate that item if you needed it and take it there. For example, if you found a tool in your junk drawer, you can relocate it to your toolbox.

Congratulations, you started! If you continue to pick one small space a day for a week you will start to see the benefits! Check back next week for my post about preparing for a bigger decluttering project.

Be happy!