It’s easy to tell someone to do something. Parents do it all the time. “Clean up your room.” “Make your bed.” “Be nice to Jimmy.” But if they’re never given instruction on how to do what you ask, invariably they’ll get frustrated, angry, and never try again. I’ve seen this happen countless times at work. Employees are given a task without the proper instruction on how to do it effectively.

In my article, Declutter and Reduce the Clutter in Your Life, I told you what you had to do to help you obtain a more simplified life. Declutter! But how?

There are different methods to organizing your declutter project. Today I’ll share with you how I do it, borrowed from many hours of watching HGTV. Yes, I’m an HGTV addict; I admit it! But it works, and I doubt they’ll mind me sharing.

Start by lining up 4 boxes, or bags, or baskets, whatever is handy. Make them large. I actually use 3 boxes and one trash bag, so I can put the trash directly in the trash can. Label them this way:

  1. Keep elsewhere – items that you want to keep but actually go somewhere else
  2. Donate – you can donate to any charity, or have a fun Swap Party!
  3. Sell (if so desired) – ebay or a garage sale
  4. Trash – it is what it is

Start by removing the larger items. If it goes back into the closet or drawer, put it aside. If it goes into one of your boxes, put it there and don’t take it out! Keep going through all the items, down to the last paperclip. Don’t keep that outfit that you can fit into anymore. Are you really going to lose the weight before it’s out of style?  It’s broken, get rid of it. It’s downright ugly, no you don’t! Be ruthless! Be an organization Queen! You can do it!

It will make a mess…that’s all part of the process. But when the area is finally clear, you should have 5 piles…the 4 listed above and the pile going back in the area.

For those things going back in, group them by type. So for my closet example in my previous article, all the wrapping supplies went together, all the pet supplies went together, you get the picture.

Smaller items on shelves can be grouped into boxes or containers. You don’t have to buy pretty storage boxes, you can use what you have around the house. Label the shelves or boxes that you use to organize so you know what’s in there. I have an inexpensive label maker that I adore. Watch for store ads for sales, and you can snag one for under $10. It’s worth the investment.labelmaker-300x260-1random%


If it all doesn’t fit back into the area, then you need to try decluttering again at another time, but for now, that’s enough. If you can’t stand to part with certain things just yet, you can try this method:

Put them in a box with a label showing a date 2-3 years from now, but don’t list the contents of the box. Store the box in the attic or basement. Once a year, look at the label. If you run across a box with a date that’s passed, throw or donate the box without opening it. Since you don’t remember what’s inside, you’ll never miss it.

Now take care of the 4 boxes from above.

  • Throw the trash away.
  • If you’re really, and I mean really, going to go to the bother to sell your stuff, label the box with the date and store it…elsewhere. And if 6 months goes by and you haven’t sold it, donate it.
  • Put the donation box in your car right away and take it the next day.
  • And if the item belongs somewhere else, put it away in it’s proper place. If you’re like me, you’ll open that drawer and say, “Yikes! That’s my next decluttering project!”

And for goodness sakes, don’t show your wife, husband or kids, because they’ll want to put it all back!

Of course, if you train yourself not to start collecting in the first place, you won’t have to go through the decluttering process as often. When you start trying to find that nice dark corner to store something in, think, “Do I really need this?”