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9 Effective Decluttering Techniques

9 Effective Decluttering Techniques

Table of Contents

Streamline your living space by starting with visible clutter. Use Round Robin for sorting and decluttering by category. Try the 12-12-12 Challenge, apply the OHIO method, and remove duplicates. Begin keeping items that spark joy, practicing Swedish Death Cleaning, and maintaining daily routines.

If you want to master these 9 effective decluttering techniques, read on.

#1: Start with Visible Clutter

Begin by cleaning up the clutter that’s right in front of you. Whether it’s a messy drawer or a crowded countertop, choose a small, manageable spot to start. This approach helps you build momentum early on.

start with visible clutter

Use Small Wins to Keep Going

The snowball method is all about using small wins to motivate you to clean bigger areas next. As you clear out one small spot after another, you’ll start to see big changes in your home, keeping you motivated to continue.

Sort Your Stuff

Instead of trying to tackle an entire room at once, sort your items into categories. Put all your books in one pile, clothes in another, and papers in a third. This makes it easier to see what you have and decide what to keep, throw away, or give away.

Keep What You Use Most

Think about what items you really use. We often only use about 20% of our stuff regularly. Focus on keeping these items handy, and think about getting rid of the rest that you use less often.

Make Decluttering a Habit

Try to make cleaning up a regular part of your day or week. By spending a little time on it regularly, you can stop clutter from piling up again. This helps keep your home neat and manageable in the long run.

round robin method decluttering

#2: Round Robin Method

Start by getting several boxes and labeling them with specific purposes, such as:

  • Trash
  • Donate/Sell
  • Put Away Elsewhere
  • Store Elsewhere
  • Back in the Space
  • Dirty Laundry

This setup allows you to quickly decide where each item should go without much thought.

Begin in one corner of the room, like the entrance of your living room, and tackle one section at a time. Check each item on tables or shelves and decide if it should stay or go into one of your designated boxes. This method ensures you don’t miss anything and gives every item a proper assessment.

Incorporate daily cleanup into your routine. As you sort items, handle immediate tasks like taking out the trash or setting aside things to donate. This keeps your area clear and manageable, reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed.

The Round Robin method offers a perfect blend of thoroughness and efficiency. It allows you to see immediate improvements in each section you clean, which can be incredibly motivating, especially if you prefer visible progress over complete overhauls. 

#3: Organize and Declutter by Category 

Managing clutter by category rather than by location can make your decluttering efforts more effective and prevent you from doing the same work over and over in different parts of your home. 

When you sort items this way, you get to handle and evaluate each one. Sorting by category also simplifies decision-making. It allows you to directly compare items. It helps you spot duplicates and things you no longer need. 

This way, each item you decide to keep either serves a purpose or makes you happy. This reduces clutter and improves the quality of your living space.

By adopting this method, you might realize that many things you’ve held onto out of habit don’t actually suit your current life or future goals. This insight can lead to a more streamlined, clutter-free lifestyle and make daily routines smoother.

#4: The 12:12:12 Challenge

The 12:12:12 Challenge, created by Joshua Becker, offers a simple yet effective way to manage clutter. The idea is to find 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate, and 12 to put back where they belong. 

This method breaks down decluttering into small, manageable tasks that can be quickly accomplished. This makes the process less overwhelming and more motivating.

This challenge is not only flexible but also practical. You can adjust the numbers to better fit your situation—if 12 items are too many, try fewer, or if you feel up to it, increase the number to tackle more clutter. The goal is to make decluttering a less difficult task that you can easily incorporate into your daily or weekly routine.


#5: OHIO (Only Handle It Once) Method

The OHIO method is a simple way to keep daily clutter under control. When you first pick up an item—be it mail, clothes, or anything else—deal with it right then. This prevents items from piling up and cluttering your space. It’s especially useful in places like the kitchen or office, where things tend to accumulate quickly.

Using the OHIO method can also help reduce the mental burden of remembering to handle tasks later. It encourages quick decision-making and helps you stick to those decisions. It keeps your living and working areas neat and tidy.

While this method is about dealing with things immediately, it’s flexible enough to adapt to situations where a task might need more thought or additional steps. In such cases, you can set a reminder or a note to come back to it promptly, still keeping the principle of handling things once.


#6: Eliminate Duplicates

Removing duplicates from your home can greatly improve how you use your space. By keeping only the items you truly need and use, you cut down on clutter. This makes cleaning easier and frees up space, both physically and mentally, as you have fewer belongings to manage.

When you have fewer duplicates, choosing what to wear or use each day becomes simpler. Your routines streamline, which makes everyday life smoother and less stressful. 

This approach tidies up your living area and encourages a more sustainable lifestyle. By avoiding unnecessary purchases, you support minimalism, which can lead to significant mental and financial benefits. This also reduces stress and improves your overall well-being, which contributes to a more organized and fulfilling lifestyle.

#7: Retain Only Items That Spark Joy

The KonMari Method, created by Marie Kondo, focuses on keeping only the items in your home that “spark joy.” This approach involves holding each item and asking yourself if it makes you feel happy and positive. 

If it does, you keep it; if not, you thank it for its service and let it go. This method goes beyond simple decluttering by building a deep emotional connection with your belongings. It ensures that your living space truly reflects your personal values and lifestyle.

By concentrating on joy, the KonMari Method turns the task of decluttering into a meaningful journey of self-discovery. It allows you to reevaluate what’s important to you and organize your home to better suit your ideal way of living. 

Through this process, you create a cleaner space while carving out a living environment filled exclusively with items that hold personal significance and bring genuine happiness. This cultivates a more mindful and joy-focused lifestyle. The result is a home that not only looks tidy but also feels deeply nurturing and inspiring.

#8: Swedish Death Cleaning

Swedish Death Cleaning, or “döstädning,” is a method that encourages you to declutter by removing items that won’t be missed or needed in the future. This approach asks you to think deeply about the emotional and practical value of your possessions. It helps you decide which items are important enough to keep for yourself and possibly for future generations.

This thoughtful way of decluttering is about more than just clearing space; it’s about preparing for a more organized life and easing the burden on loved ones who will handle your belongings later. 

It involves making deliberate choices to retain items that carry meaningful stories or serve a functional purpose. As a result, it reduces the emotional and logistical load on your family and friends in the future.

Swedish Death Cleaning goes beyond typical tidying up by integrating a mindful and purposeful approach to how we live today and how we want to leave things for tomorrow. It’s a holistic method that clears out physical clutter while bringing emotional clarity. It strengthens family ties by considering what legacies we choose to leave behind. 

By embracing this method, you can create a living space that truly reflects your deepest values and priorities.


#9: Maintain Organized Spaces

Establishing daily and weekly routines can greatly improve the cleanliness and organization of your living space. Simple daily tasks, like wiping down kitchen surfaces and picking up items around the living areas, paired with weekly activities such as vacuuming and dusting, can keep clutter at bay and make your home more welcoming and easier to manage.

Another effective strategy is the “One In, One Out” rule. This rule helps maintain balance in your home by ensuring that for every new item you bring in, one old item is removed. It’s a practical way to prevent your space from becoming re-cluttered, encouraging you to think carefully about what items you truly need and value.

By integrating these routines into your life, you create a self-sustaining system where your living environment remains organized through regular, manageable actions.


Let’s Help Make Decluttering EZ!

Decluttering your home improves functionality and reduces stress, but the process doesn’t end with just sorting items. The real challenge is disposing of unwanted goods, a task perfectly suited for EZ CleanUp

Whether it’s old furniture, construction debris, or general clutter, we have you covered. Call us to learn more about how we can help keep your space organized and clear.

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