Top 5 ways to tackle your decluttering

I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips for decluttering. These are the methods that have stuck with me during my minimalist journey.

I do a lot of these without even thinking about it now.

1. A place for everything and everything in its place

This is my mantra when I’m decluttering or even just tidying up. It runs through my head constantly!

Of course, to make this work, you need to have decided on one place for your items. This means one location for pens in your entire house. No duplicate locations. This way you always know exactly how many of a given thing you have. And you always know where to find what you are looking for. Sounds simple? It is. But it really works!

2. Give yourself 10 minutes to tidy

Pick an area to tidy up. Is there loads of stuff on your dressing table? Is your coffee table cluttered? Haven’t tackled the junk drawer in your kitchen yet?

Give yourself 10 minutes to do it. Set a timer! You’ll be amazed at how much you get done.

Get tidy by moving stuff to its rightful place (see tip 1!), throw out anything broken or unusable. Organise the stuff that’s staying. Stack boxes, use elastic bands to bind things together, or simply tidy up.

3. Not sure whether to throw something out? You must use it/wear it this week

It can be hard to make a decision about whether to throw something away or not. There’s the danger of keeping things ‘just in case’ of course. This leads to clutter straight away.

One way to tackle this, if you are really not sure, is to give yourself a week to decide. The catch is that you must use or (if it’s clothing) wear the item you are being indecisive about. If you struggle to use it, or hate wearing it, you know it was meant to leave your home.

4. Get rid of duplicates

You need to be in the right frame of mind for this. I’ve set myself a task on a given day of sorting out my shoes or clearing my kitchen. These are bigger jobs than clearing the coffee table for example.

In my head I’ve usually hit a point where the cupboards are bursting or I can’t find anything anymore. So my approach is to empty out everything in the category you’ve chosen onto your bed or living room floor.

Then group similar looking things together. I did this and discovered four pairs of black ballet-pump style shoes. I kinda knew I owned them all but had never put them all together.

I then asked myself the question “If you had to choose one pair which would it be?” My mind came up with an answer immediately. You know what to get rid of!

5. Aim for a desert island bookshelf

This is one of the first things I ever did in my decluttering! The idea is that you go through your bookshelves  (because I know they’ll be in the plural) and you are ruthless! Your aim is to end up with one shelf of books that you really, truly love: your desert island bookshelf.

I did this, and I still have five shelves of books. This is better than the nine I had previously. I’m just going to ignore the three shelves of books-to-read that I still have….

Share your tips

That’s it, they are my top five tips to get started with decluttering, I hope you found them helpful.

Why not share your tips in the comments? I’m always interested to know how others keep on their minimalist journey.



I could open my own branch of TK Maxx with what I’m giving away

Well I’m knackered. A day of decluttering really takes it out of you.

I’d been mentally preparing for this weekend. I’d planned to revisit my wardrobe – I had a massive clear out two years ago (over the Easter weekend) – but I was aware that I’d kept things that I shouldn’t have.

I started slowly with a lie in!

Horizontal declutter

Make up spilling out of the box on the right

I decluttered some make up while still in bed. This is clearly the way forward. Stay in bed, throw away old mascara, have another lie down.

Bag of old make up to be thrown out!

Folding Kondo style

I haven’t actually read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, but I have read articles about it.

Once I got myself up and showered, I decided to tackle my drawers. This is where I keep my underwear, nightwear and socks/tights. My approach to storage is broadly to toss the clothes into the drawer designated for them. It sort of works. It’s just a bit messy.

I don’t know why but I decided to see if there was a guide to Marie Kondo’s folding technique. I’d read about this before and decided it would be a total waste of time and not for me.  But today something sparked my interested. Armed with a nice summary provided by Goop, I started.

It’s so addictive! I can see all of the socks I own! My pants are no longer just a mass of black – they are neatly displayed in rows. I think I’ll keep this up!

A not very clear picture of my neatly stored tights.
A not very clear picture of my neatly stored tights.

Tackling the wardrobe

I got myself a bin bag and a bunch of old charity bags and started. I pulled all of my tops and jumpers and t-shirts off the shelves and onto my bed. There’s so much stuff. No wonder I couldn’t find anything! Most of it comes from TK Maxx – I bloody love that shop, this is why I’m in so much trouble.

A pile of tops, t-shirts, cardigans and ponchos!

I managed to fill two charity bags with tops.

Next I tackled jeans and trousers. I’m really bad at buying new versions of things and keeping the old. So I got rid of the duplicates that had crept in.

Next up, dresses. I wear a lot of dresses. I should have counted them. I think I must have had around 40 in my wardrobe. Some are worn to death, some still have tags, some are out of style/old, some will never fit.

I tried. I really tried. I probably got rid of about 10 or so. But I’ve still got ones that don’t fit because one day they might.

Everything has its own hanger now. There’s no doubling up. And at least now I can see the new clothes I have – so maybe you’ll actually see me in it at some point!


I ended up with one rubbish bag and four charity bags filled with clothes.

There’s still more to go. It’s a good start though and there’s still the rest of the long weekend yet!

Let me know if you are on a downsizing journey – any hints and tips gratefully received!

I’m rewarding myself with a glass of wine now. Cheers!