How to declutter – where to start & how to beat the overwhelm

Did you see my post about how decluttering has changed my life? It’s no joke – it really has but and it’s a big one, learning how to declutter can feel a tad overwhelming when faced with twenty years of junk, memories and inexplicable pieces of chewed plastic (still no idea what these were).

I get it I really do. I was right there with you standing on my precipice of stuff and wondering whether a cup of tea and a chocolate hobnob might be more my thing than wading through the stuff mountain.

You can watch my attempts at decluttering on YouTube these days if that’s your thing and you can see for yourself what I was dealing with and how I manage to keep the declutter up.

But when I first started, in amongst the general busy-ness of family life, I just would stare at my stuff mountains and wonder what was the point? Occasionally I’d pick things up and amble aimlessly to another room before placing them on a different stuff mountain. I couldn’t find anything I needed, I was buying more and more things because I thought I needed them (FYI I didn’t) and yeah, well you get the point.

Regardless of the daunting nature of the task ahead, you do need to crack on so here are my top tips on dealing with the declutter in a manageable and waaay less scary way than it first looks.

Here are your six easy peasy steps to a new you, new home and new mindset. Let’s go.

How to declutter. Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering? It can seem like an impossible task! Beat the overwhelm and declutter with this easy six step strategy and you'll be living in a clutter free home in no time at all

  1. Start small when learning how to declutter. Pick one room or even one area in one room if that feels too much. Completely dedicate a set period of time to decluttering this one area. In the beginning I just focused on one room that annoyed me the most (my bedroom) and I did maybe two rooms a week. I am not a machine and neither are you. Figure out how much time you realistically can devote and crack on to step two with that in mind.
  2. Take a picture. Honestly this works. When you are so used to seeing your home in a certain way then you cannot truly be objective about the clutter. Taking a picture and really looking at it can help you see it in a more impartial light and that is just what you need.
  3. It’s a two rule deal. If you pick up an item and it isn’t seriously beautiful or useful (ie you have used it in the past two months) then it needs to go. End of. It is that simple and that brutal. You’ll thank me later.
  4. Start with three bin bags; one for tossing stuff out, one for recycling and one for the charity shop. Having that system in place will stop you carting random objects from room to room with no purpose and helps you sort through items very quickly.
  5. Don’t overthink it. Seriously do not spend ages agonising over every little item. No you don’t need seven spatulas – you need one. One that’s it. The rest can go. Do not over complicate it – go with your first instinct and refer back to point number three.
  6. Remember why you started. Maybe the most important pointer of them all. Faced with rooms of clutter and seemingly endless bags of stuff can make the whole project feel a little deflating. That’s why it’s important to tackle it in bitesize chunks and think carefully about the reasons you started in the first place – ie to improve yours and your family’s life.

So good luck, don’t forget to head on over to my YouTube channel for a bit of motivation and to follow my own decluttering journey and say hello. I would love to know how you get on learning how to declutter so leave me a comment.

And definitely, most definitely remember that once you’re done on that first area – that chocolate hobnob has your name all over it.






  1. Julia
    November 11, 2017 / 07:02

    Excellent advice. I’ve sat down & cried ( In the past!) over the overwhelming clutter facing me, but the rewards for getting off my backside & tackling it were so worthwhile!

  2. November 12, 2017 / 21:11

    I seriously need to declutter! I’m going to set some time aside tomorrow to focus on my bedroom… and then I shall reward myself with a chocolate hobnob! 🙂

  3. November 13, 2017 / 22:47

    I am awful at decluttering, and I really need to! The thought of moving house actually scares me with the amount of ‘stuff’ that we have and probably don’t even need. Thanks for the tips.

  4. July 9, 2018 / 06:24

    I am very bad a decluttering, every time I make my mind to declutter my space I just couldn’t make it happen, cuz of all the attached emotion and memories. But, after reading both of your posts I feel more motivated than ever to make the move. Thanks for sharing the step-by-step tips, I especially liked the 6th one.

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