How to Declutter and Purge Your Home

Well… we all know why you’re here, so let’s just get down to it.  Decluttering and purging your home of years of collected stuff can be a daunting task.  There’s the emotional and monetary attachments to most of the things you have in your home.  There’s also a few of “who does this belong to?”, “where did this come from?” and “what the heck is THAT?”  This basic guide to decluttering and purging your home can help simplfiy the process of getting rid of all that stuff without losing your mind.  We aren’t talking going minimalist here, just less stuff to clean or clean around.

Tools for Decluttering & Purging

  • 3 bins for sorting: Donate, Sell, Other Room
  • 2 bins for storing: Donations, Selling (you’ll use these later)
  • Garbage bags
  • Handy dandy labels for your bins (below)
Declutter Labels - Organized Homemaker
To Print: Click image to open Full Size in a new window. (8.5×11)

3 Rules for Decluttering & Purging

  • You must LOVE/WANT/NEED the item you are keeping.  If you don’t love it, don’t want it or don’t need it, the item should be donated, sold or trashed (depending on it’s quality).
  • If it is broken and not fixable – it is trash (trash it or recycle it, if possible)
  • All items you LOVE/WANT/NEED must have a ‘place to live’ in your home where they are out of the way when not being used and can easily be found when needed.

Prepping for the Great Purge

  1. Set up a Donations & Selling area for items that will be leaving your house.  Use the 2 Storing bins. DO NOT put your Donation and Selling area in the room you are working in… preferrably it should be in the room closest to the front door or the garage, if you have one.
  2. Print the labels for your 5 bins and tape them on.

How to Declutter & Purge – The Basics

  1. Pick a room to start in… I usually start with my bedroom.
  2. Grab your phone and take a photo of your room from different angles.
  3. Put your sorting bins and garbage bag in the room.
  4. Grab a cup of coffee, sit down and look at the photos.
  5. Mentally throw away some stuff that you see in the photos. – This is important!!
  6. Finish your coffee.
  7. Go back to the room and sort through the items you have ‘mentally’ removed from your room into the appropriate bin: Donate, Sell, Other Room, Garbage.
  8. When your bins are full or you’ve finished, whichever comes first, STOP.
  9. Empty your Donate bin into the Donations box
  10. Empty your Sell bin into the Selling box
  11. Put away all the items from the Other Room bin.
  12. Empty the trash can.
  13. Repeat as often as needed and then move on to the next room. You do not have to do an entire room in one day.  You can do just one declutter session each day until you are finished.

Notes on Decluttering & Purging

  1. Decluttering and Purging is a process, an ongoing process that will happen for the rest of your life if you want to maintain a clean and organized home.  Get comfy with that statement.
  2. The first decluttering & purging session is the hardest and longest to get through.  It does get easier.  I promise.
  3. A few weeks to a few months after the first purge, you may find yourself looking at your home thinking, “I don’t need ___________.”  That’s ok.  It’s actually good!  This is a sign that you are becoming more comfortable in your surroundings with less stuff.