Declutter your home in 5 steps

Without knowing how to declutter your home, you won’t be able to stop cleaning up all the time, get and stay organized, or be able to feel at peace in your home. Instead, you will continue to clean up pointless messes, feel frustrated that your family doesn’t help you enough, and feel stressed and burdened in your own home. 

You’re in the right place! I created this proven, 5-step process to help you declutter your home based on my research and experience over the past 11 years.

We’ll cover everything from how to start decluttering to getting rid of it once and for all. I’ll also give you some things to look out for along the way, mistakes I made before I worked out this system, and ones I still see other moms with kids still at home making.

Just follow the steps, and by the time you finish Step 5, you’ll feel like a pro and enjoy peaceful, fun AND easy to clean up home.

Ready? Let’s go!

Step #1:Surface decluttering

In Decluttering Simplified I have moms do a surface declutter. It’s a set of strategic decluttering projects and checklists that will take you throughout your entire home and declutter the simplest things first. Think trash in the bathrooms, clothes that don’t fit, and long forgotten, unuseful and ready to declutter items buried in closets. 

This not only gets the ball rolling with your decluttering, in a very non-threatening way. But it also gets you deeply familiar with what you have in your home, and how much. 

Before you can declutter your home entirely, you’ll want to take your time with this critical first step.

So, the first thing you need to do is create your very basic and surface level decluttering projects room by room and create a simple checklist to follow. Or you can get mine inside Decluttering Simplified.

Here are some examples

  • Your spice cabinet. This is good because it will get you into the kitchen, you likely have a lot of expired or duplicate spices to declutter and you will naturally find it simple to complete, satisfying and likely to continue declutter under the sink, random tupperware, etc. The key here is to keep it simple, make progress and take mental (or literal) notes on bigger projects you’re excited to do in the kitchen next. 
  • The hallway closet. This is good because it is likely full of a lot of clutter. Closets are meant to hold our overflow, but I am guessing your closet has overflow already and so the overflow in the main areas of your home have nowhere to go. Clearing out these closet and storage spaces sets you up for success as you move through and declutter the deeper layers of your home

For example:

If you try to declutter your kid’s bedroom, you will likely find that the closet needs to happen before you can do the living space. That can quickly become a chicken or the egg scenario where you just end up shifting things from the closet to the room (or tighter into the closet), or from the room to the closet and never really make decluttering progress. 

What to look out for:

Many people skip this foundational step and then wonder why they’re not able to declutter their home. Don’t let that be you!

This is a crucial foundational step that will set you up for success later on. And each step is a building block for the next, so don’t even try to jump ahead! 🙂

All done with your surface declutter? Great job! Let’s move on to Step 2.

Step #2: Active decluttering

At this point, you’re probably thinking that this is going to take you forever. That you wasted your time doing, or trying to do a surface declutter. And you should actually just stick to trying to organize your clutter instead. Or wait until your kids move out.  

You may even be wondering, “Can I actually declutter? Can little ol’ me really declutter my home? ”

If you hang in there, it will gtt easier and you will see HUGE results, promise. What we’re doing is pulling this all together into a truly sustainable clutter free home for you. It took you time to accumulate all that clutter, and it’s going to take a little bit (not a whole lot in comparison) of time to declutter. 

One thing that may help is to  track your decluttering progress as you go. I give several ways to track and document your progress inside of Decluttering Simplified. 

Now it’s time to declutter the deeper layers of your home. 

The reason this step is important is that it will help you declutter your home start to finish, and make it easier to make your home a peaceful, fun, creative AND easy to clean up space for your whole family. 

Plus, you’ll have a system for keeping your home at a manageable amount of stuff that will be easy to organize, and keep organized. Plus it will be easy to get your family to know what they are responsible for, and keep up on that as well. 

Here are some tips to help you move through this step quickly:

  • Create bit-sized decluttering projects for yourself by room and/or by category. 
  • Decide what order you will complete those decluttering projects.
  • Set flexible deadlines for when you will complete those projects and decide when and where you will be taking your excess stuff. 

What to look out for:

When I first started decluttering my home, I hilariously thought it would be best to get rid of the big things first. That was a disaster. 

I’ve also had the opportunity to peek under the hood at other mom’s decluttering process (before they got my help) And in the process, I’ve seen common mistakes people make that hold them back from decluttering their home. 

Many of them relate to this step:

  • Decluttering sentimental things first. Instead of going for the things that are the hardest to make decisions on and are NOT the things overwhelming you in your day to day life,  you should declutter the stuff in your daily life that is in the way – think laundry, dishes, toys. Make room for your sentimental items and get practice in decision making. Decluttering is a skill so build up to those harder decisions like sentimentality. 
  • Thinking that something “declutter the kitchen” or “declutter the house this weekend” is a good enough plan. You’ll get better results if you break each room and category down by project. “Declutter the kitchen (or house)” is your end result, NOT your plan. Your plan should have small enough projects for you to do in the cracks of your day like “declutter the tupperware, then pots and pans, then pantry”. As a mom you need to be able to do this slowly and over time. 
  • Not setting a flexible due date or scheduling in time to declutter.  If you find it hard to commit to decluttering at regular intervals, try setting a deadline of say 4-6 weeks so that when inspiration, and timing hits you can easily get back into decluttering. This is why it’s so important to have your projects mapped out so that when you DO get time, you aren’t wasting it trying to figure out what to do. 

Just keep making progress on your decluttering projects as much as you can, and consistently as you can and you’ll be on the right track.

Step #3: Take a break from decluttering

Are you starting to get excited? I hope so. We’re just about there. 

You may be feeling a bit skeptical of the process, and that’s perfectly normal. Any time you’re trying something new, it takes a minute to process it. Just be patient and stay with it. 

Next, I want you to take intentional time to NOT declutter, or worry about decluttering.

While you’re doing this, make a note of how often and how much you are bringing back into your home. 

There are many moms who declutter, but REclutter just as quickly and so they think decluttering won’t work for them.

Also take note of how much clutter actually left your home. Another reason moms think decluttering doesn’t, or won’t work for them is because they aren’t actually decluttering. They are cluttering shifting and moving things from place to place inside of their homes. 

Take this time to enjoy the work that you have done, and notice what is and isn’t working for you in your home. 

For example:

Maybe you decluttered half of the Tupperware in your kitchen and were feeling SO relieved. Now you realize that you still don’t use most of it and want to declutter more Tupperware during your next big active decluttering stage. 

If you want, you can join Decluttering Simplified. I created it to help you declutter your home without getting stuck in the clutter shifting, or REcluttering cycle

Click here to Join Decluttering Simplified so you can get started today!

What to look out for:

It may be hard to stop decluttering. Once you start and feel the relief it can almost become addicting. But I often see moms replace the overwhelm and distraction of clutter with the distraction of decluttering. Don’t let that be you. 

The point of decluttering is to enjoy your home and your life with your family.

Step #4: Prepare for your next round

We’re just about done. There are just two more steps. And these are actually the easiest!

Here’s what to do next:

You’ve taken some time to live with the level of clutter in your home, post-decluttering. By now you should have a good idea of what is working for you and what is not. And an idea of what would be good to focus on next.

Maybe you majorly decluttered toys, but your kids still are not playing with most of them and you can do another pass of them.

Or maybe you thought you really needed all of those clothes in storage. Now you see most of them don’t fit and are not the right season or style for anyone in your home any more. So, you are ready to declutter them.

And my favorite, maybe you were holding on to things for “just in case”. You now realize those potential scenarios are never going to happen and if they do they are just minor inconveniences anyway! Now you can declutter them. 

What to look out for:

No matter what you do, don’t stop and think that you only need to declutter once and you’re done forever. 

If you do, you’ll only risk becoming another mom who does a lot of work to get her home under control and then feel bad that it never really worked. So just trust me that getting ready for your next active round of decluttering is important and will be so much easier the second time, and eventually this entire 5 step process will become second nature. 

Keep going! You’re nearly there.

Step #5: Repeat the process

This is the last step. And really it’s just step one again! 

But you might find that you can just skip step one entirely. The surface decluttering phase is often the hardest the first time, and not always necessary to do again. But for many moms it’s also a really great way to get back into decluttering if it’s been a while or you’re out of a particularly demanding season of life. 

Here’s how to get the best results with step 5:

  • Be flexible with this. Decluttering really is a skill and the more you go through this cycle, the easier it gets and the more you can bend the rules of each step. 
  • Celebrate the way you are creating an entirely new lifestyle for yourself and your family. 
  • Look forward to the process and how you feel once it’s done and you get to step 4 when you get to recover and rest.

What to look out for:

The first time I did this to post-decluttering regret. I used to move with our family once or year or more. And I had a really good system for packing up each room of our home and every time I got to the kitchen, I would have to decide what to keep and not keep, and every time the pie pan would not make the cut.

I make a pie about once a year, maybe. But it never failed that I would say, “the pie pan does not stay”. I would donate it or gift to a friend, and when we would get to the new home for some reason we would need a pie pan.

I never really learned my lesson, but also at the moment, the pie pan didn’t fit. 

Some people might get to stage 5 and think they have made a mistake by decluttering something and I just want to encourage you and say you know what? You might. But it won’t be that big of a deal. Every time I was able to find or buy a new pie pan, and nothing bad happened. 

Many more good things happened when I decluttered. Like not having to spend all day every day cleaning up pointless messes, shoving things into cabinets that don’t fit and feeling chronically frustrated in my own home.  

What am I saying? It actually worked out even though it was minorly inconvenient.

I want you to know that decluttering your home is one of the best decisions you can make. Especially if you’re struggling to keep up. And the net positive is SO big in comparison to one little mishap you might come up against. The biggest lesson for me in all that was that I am resourceful and always have what I need, when I need it. And I can get it if I need to. It’s been a really great lesson in self trust.

Bonus! Enjoy the decluttering process, and include your family

And finally, here’s a Bonus Tip just for you! 

I just had to include it because it can really make or break decluttering your home. 

Include your family. Lead by example. Show them that you are leading them toward a life that is simpler, more fun and easy for everyone. A life with less stress, overwhelm, confusion and frustration.

And as much as possible learn how to enjoy it. I know, it’s ultimately still just a chore and not really fun, but it feels SO good to have done. So focus on what feels good to have done, not only what feels good to do 



Key Takeaways

Congratulations! You just learned how to declutter your home. Follow the steps above to have a peaceful, creative, fun and easy to clean up home, instead of a home that makes you want to run and hide. 

I’ve given you all my best tips, tools, and techniques to help ensure your success. Just knowing them isn’t enough, though. It’s time to act and get the results you’ve been dreaming about! 

Click here to join Decluttering Simplified.
You can watch this free training first to learn more about how to create your very own decluttering plan as a mom and then hop into Decluttering Simplified to start taking action on it! 


Even if you have little time, energy or day to day support