Declutter your life and space (3 ways to get started)


If you don’t use it or need it, it’s clutter, and it needs to go!


For this blog post in video form, please head to my YouTube channel or check the bottom of this post.

Are you stuck on the often overwhelming task of starting to declutter?

The hardest part is starting and that is something I can help with. I’m also giving away a free chapter of my book that provides more organizing motivation.

Start with a room or a goal

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, and I know you’re thinking it’s easier said than done, but de-cluttering your space can help de-clutter your brain, making you less stressed and more productive. To begin de-cluttering, you need to make some hard decisions about what items are practical necessities, what items are emotional necessities, and what items are just plain trash. Everyone’s definition of what is clutter and trash will be different, and there are no set rules about what items fall into what category. Going back to my organizing mantra: the most important thing is that the items you keep need to fit your lifestyle, and if they don’t, they’re better off somewhere else. Start small and give yourself a goal for each room or part of your life. Some de-cluttering gurus suggest tackling categories instead of rooms—for example, starting with all of your clothing, or all of your books. Regardless of where you start, if you’re surrounded by clutter, whether it’s in a work area or a leisure area, then stress will always be lingering. 

My signature organizing e-course helps to really break down some key motivations of your goals and fitting them into your lifestyle and getting digital organized.

Declutter daily

Try downsizing by one thing each day, either by donating it, selling it, tossing it, re-gifting, etc. If you do this, by the end of the year, you’ll have de-cluttered an awe-inspiring 365 items. 

Keep your closet decluttered

Buying fewer items that last longer, and planning your wardrobe efficiently, prevents the build-up of clutter in the form of fast-fashion that you’ve probably only worn once, if at all. Especially after the holidays, many people actually buy even more items to store or organize all of their new gifts or purchases. I’m all about organizing, but having a pretty system of colour-coded boxes with things inside you’ll never use is also a waste of space. 

As a general rule, I would advise that you re-organize and evaluate your closet twice annually; this will help you to stay fully in control of what you have, and knowledgeable about what you need, while ensuring that no excess clothing outstays its welcome. To begin the organizing and evaluating process, I would get several large bins, or even bags, and label as following: 

  • Tailor/Clean/Iron—Often you will have items that need to be hemmed or dry cleaned. 

  • Toss—Anything with stains, rips, or is too worn to donate. 

  • Donate—Always pass along clothing that’s still wearable. 

  • Consign—If you have many items that are true designer pieces and all within two years of purchase, this is a good option to make extra cash. 

  • Storage—For clothes you cannot part with for some reason, but that you know you’ll never wear again—think a wedding dress, a cheerleading uniform, or even a sentimental T-shirt. 

If you choose a rainy day, and get a friend to help, evaluating your closet can be a lot of fun. I guarantee it will also turn into a fashion show, in which you try to justify why you need to keep a cocktail dress from Marciano circa 2004 that you barely fit into. Friends are often good judges of what looks good, and they’ll have less emotional attachment to your clothing. After several hours—or, depending on your taste for fashion or hoarder instincts, several days—of going through your entire clothing collection, from pant suits to crop tops to evening gowns, you’ll probably have a lot of clothing piled up in the labelled bins or boxes. Immediately discard the items in the “toss” bin, and donate items as soon as possible—before you try to sneak something back into your closet. Pre-arranging a pick-up might be a good idea, as about 40% of people who de-clutter never manage to get the stuff out of their homes. This statistic comes from organizing expert Julie Morgenstern, the author of Shed (2009); Morgenstern drew her conclusions after polling 23,000 people about their de-cluttering habits. If you don’t know where to donate, try finding a non-profit such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill or Excess Access that can connect you with local schools and charities in need of specific goods. 

The bottom line is, if you do not use it or need it, it’s clutter, and it needs to go!

Now you my quick decluttering tips. Next week I will be sharing my requested business organizing tips, including how to manage the financial side even for a non-finance person like myself.

Ready to get organized?

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jane stoller