Decluttering never ends.
While daily habits are key to keeping my home under control, decluttering makes real progress possible. A daily pick-up can only help so much when there’s just . . . too . . . much . . . stuff.
Below, I’ve shared links to posts about the decluttering strategies I’ve developed over the years by working to declutter my own cluttered home. If you’d prefer that I talk you through the process in your home, check out my books: Decluttering at the Speed of Life and How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind
As I’ve decluttered (and decluttered . . . and decluttered some more), I’ve found strategies that work well for my Slob Brain.
(Click on the pink or underlined links to get to corresponding posts.)
My two decluttering questions keep me focused. No big list of things to think about. There is just too much stuff, and too little attention-span on my part to do that much analyzing.
Decluttering supplies for sorting clutter? I have some different-than-what-the-experts-say thoughts on that. Oh, and a black trashbag is also one of my very best friends.
When I stand in the doorway of an out-of-control room and feel overwhelmed, I’ve learned to do the easy things first.
I’ve had to accept that other people’s memories are not my responsibility.
I’ve learned that establishing limits is key. I finally understand how to properly use containers, and the One In One Out Concept no longer boggles my Slob Brain.
I have finally realized that contrary to my natural slob-inclination to declutter a closet that no one ever sees . . . it’s better to prioritize decluttering projects by visibility.
And most of all, I’ve realized that it is okay (and home-changing) to JUST declutter. To stop worrying about getting organized and just declutter.
And finally, re-decluttering is a thing. And it’s okay.
How to Get Rid of Clutter
How to Have a Great Garage Sale (A Series)
Why I Don’t Care Who Sells My Stuff
Having a Garage Sale or Donating it All – A Declutterer’s Dilemma
Decluttering Room By Room
Organizing the Bathroom for How We Really Live
4 Easy Steps for Tackling the Overwhelming Mess Under the Couch
Oops. I Think I Just Decluttered Something.
The Garage (The Big Mama of all Decluttering Projects)
Decluttering Strategies You Can Implement Immediately that Won’t Overwhelm
Day One: Decluttering Tasks that Won’t Overwhelm
Day Four: Down and Dirty Decluttering
Other Posts Related to Decluttering
Organizing Products (And Why They Scare Me)
You can go here and see ALL of my decluttering posts. There are tons, as it’s my biggest category!
Visit my Youtube channel to see my Decluttering Webisodes!
Or if you love podcasts, I have those too!
Alana in Canada says
This is wonderful.
Shannon L says
I was inspired by the post in which you had visited a museum. There you and the fam learned about a people that lived out of a box. Then you told the kids that they had to put their most precious toys in a box and everything else would be up for decluttering.
I hope I got enough of that right so you know which one I’m talking about.
Feel free to delete this post if I’m totally wrong and confuse people. 🙂
Rebecca Burgener says
I remember that one!
Lyndsay M says
I’ve just found you by accident and spent about two hours reading everything.
I too, am a slob. Our family of four live in less than 600 sq. foot and I happen to go by the mantra “If something looks hard to do, it’s not worth doing – Homer J. Simpson” – that is, until now.
I’ve just printed off my own checklist and starting Friday morning I am going to nail this place!
Thanks for sharing your madness, it mirrors my own…:)
Welcome, Lyndsay, I’m glad you found me!
Cyndi Obregon says
I just wanted to say THANK YOU for doing a break-out session at our church day — you were GREAT! Thank you for giving inspiration and giving hope to those of us that have felt overwhelmed! I can’t wait to read all your stuff and see how you impact my life!
Thank you so much for commenting, Cyndi! I really enjoyed being there today. Thanks for being a great first audience for me!
I didn’t see a decluttering area for the living room. That’s my biggest problem…..it’s not only a living room but half is office….the couch dividing the room. It’s about a 20 x 20 room with two very big entertainment centers, three big desks, couch, chair with ottoman, one rocker with ottoman and another rocker. Only one solid wall with a huge opening on one wall into the dining room (small wall between it and the corner fireplace), another small wall (which one entertainment center is on between the corner fireplace and the entry hall opening, and the other wall has a big bay window. *help*. It’s hard to declutter when everything is so big and overwhelming….not to mention dusting….ugh….I say why disturb it and break into a fit of sneezing…lol. Too bad you don’t have an area for picures and I could post it and get suggestions.
Bobbie, your problem sounds similar to what I did in my gameroom.
That room was a total enigma to me but slowly I got it to the point where I’m now happy when I walk into it!
Just find this site….love it and your great sense of humor! Lots of laughs as I read and learned new things….I am a slob who needs all this wonderful advice. Love the video too. Great site…blog on!
Just found your site…not find….speaking of find, i have to go find my glasses so I can actually see what I am writing.
I just read the decluttering book. (Darn, I didn’t know there was a 2-for special when I bought the other book a few days ago). Anyway, I have to get rid of stuff like old TV’s and computer equipment. We aren’t supposed to put that stuff in the trash, right? That means hauling really heavy stuff (not the nice new flat screens that are easy to move) to some official ewaste event or lugging them over to Best Buy with my fingers crossed that some young employees will carry it to wherever IF they accept that stuff at that particular store. My husband is funny about moving heavy stuff. In his 20’s he suffered some pretty bad injuries, fractured his hip socket and threw his back out. Both times triggered some debilitating major depression. True depression is not something people who are biochemically prone to experiencing that is easy to “snap out” of. Once it’s triggered it can take months to get back to normal. When his father died, I felt absolutely helpless as his wife. Therapy and medication plus about 6 long months is something to be avoided even if I have to live with this junk. He’s absolutely wonderful about keeping our cars running, the plumbing and electricity in working condition, the tackling the routine yard work, etc. But he won’t move heavy items without becoming a martyr which makes me feel like a horrible person for asking.
If anybody has some ideas for how I can get rid of some of this stuff without relying on my husband to even help me lift it, I’d really appreciate it.
Thanks for helping people like me. The price of your e-books is extremely reasonable. The information is worth far more than the few bucks you charge.
Thanks for giving me some hope!
Old TV’s and computer equipment that is even too obsolete for pawn shops can be donated to certain organizations that accept old electronics and gives them to schools and such in third world countries. I have a problem throwing away technology because I know how many people need it.
Old cell phones can be donated to some cell providers who give them to battered women in domestic violence programs.
Love these ideas. Thanks!
You can also advertise it as FREE on Craiglist (which is Free to do also). Make sure someone is home (another adult) with you when the “customer” comes to pick up the merchandise. Normally, I would suggest you meet in a public place only for the transaction – but what you are giving away is large and heavy.
I should have read better, but this is probably too late, anyway.
My family and I do volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity. Many times we have taken our own vehicles and trailer to homes and moved/loaded anything they were willing to donate. Give your local Habitat shop or warehouse a call 🙂
My biggest problem are magazines. I can’t get rid of them. I buy knitting magazines, and if I had the time to knit every project in every issue that I found interesting I would have to live to be a very old woman. I also have a problem getting rid of things that can be turned into something else, “the possible” like the old pair of jeans turned into an apron. UGH.
so true I love the ideal of a zero waste society total hippy but a lazy one no I am not going to make a rag rug well ever but I thought I would. the thing that helped me I got engaged I had a wedding date and a length of time that we planned on waiting to start a family and a length of time before we moved and I knew the a mount of work I would work in that time frame at my job. all my dates were actually wrong and they were guesses but it helped me let go of all things I couldn’t get done while planning a wedding or working full time before having a baby or moving and I didn’t want to bother moving or was just stupid trying to finish with a baby or a small child. it mentally helped me if I could find a happy home for it some stuff was easy to give to a second hand store other things I knew a second hand store wouldn’t keep or would have a hard time selling like a tote full of quilt scraps. I had in fact cut cloth into thousands of 2 1/2 inch strips and really wasn’t close to finishing when I realized I really was only going to do about 4 quilts in the next ten years and non off them were strip quilts I had to give those to a friend who made log cabin quilts only she would truly appreciate the hours I had already put into the projects I am guilty of keeping more than I actually will do in the time frame I set but I narrowed it down to an amount that theoretically was possible which downsized the biggest amount of clutter by more than half soon I will be going back through everything now that the baby is on the way estimated duedates are still more accurate than making plans
I am sure Nursing Homes would enjoy your knitting magazines! It will give them project ideas and different things to look at while they are there. Call ahead to make sure they accept donations. Yarn, needles and craft supplies you want to get rid of may also be accepted for their daily senior programs.
I have this problem. I also have a laser printer/copier combo. I go through the magazine, photocopy the pattern (I figure I already paid for it), and then get rid of the magazine. We have a Half-Price Books near me that will take them–even if I don’t get much back, the magazine has become their problem, not mine. If you sell on Etsy, that’s another potential outlet, because a knitting magazine has patterns in it and therefore counts as crafting supplies.
*photocopy the patterns I like
I got a little ahead of myself there. In these magazines there are always patterns I really like and patterns I couldn’t care less about. I keep the ones I like. I have this gigantic 3-ring binder that was lying around the house doing nothing (it wasn’t originally mine, I have adopted it now) and with some page protectors and some page dividers I have a nice little pattern setup now. I use the patterns, too.
Nursing home patients love and appreciate all literature. I bet your magazines would be a great thing there.
I just stumbled upon your website from a pinterest post to a link to another link all the way through to here and I cannot tell you how wonderful the last hour of blog post reading has been!
I’m a senior in highschool and I’m starting to get ready to leave for college in the summer and over the last three years with my older siblings moving out and my parents taking on more at work we’ve let the house slip into even more of a chaotic state than when my sibs and I were kids!
So I’ve decided over the last two months that I need to help get the house clean, ESPECIALLY since a lot of it is my “too busy to pick up right now” mess, and figure out a bit of a cleaning routine to leave with my parents so I don’t just take off and leave them drowning in the mess that three crazy teens left behind.
You’ve already encouraged me to go ahead and start with the little messes and get a move on towards the big ones! Thank you so much for sharing your journey.
Dana White says
Emily, you sound like a wonderful daughter!! Welcome!
I just found your blog. I try so hard to keep a clean house but my husband and I have too much stuff. I am an art teacher turned stay at home mom and love to keep things for projects, he just likes to keep things incase he needs them. Then there are the two little kids and all their stuff. When my 7 month and 3 year old will actually let me do some of these things I plan on starting with your tips on decluttering. I think this will make organizing easier. Thank you for your honesty it makes me feel like I’m not a failure.
Lorian Rivers says
I finally hit rock bottom. I am a terrible pack rat/clutter keeper. But also a less than minimum housekeeper. There I’ve said it. My husband and I live in piles, around piles, thru piles. Everytime I look at the different areas I get this knot, and that is as far as it goes. I have health issues and can’t really bend over much, or squat. So anything below the waste just stays there.
But my son and his girlfriend announced TWINS on the way, and have a 3 yr old daughter too.
To say my house is not baby-proofed is the understatement of the century.
They stop by yesterday and on their way out of the front door, the “threenager” as my son calls her says “this place is dirty”. I said yes it is. 🙁
I can’t remember how I found your site, but I believe everything happens for a reason. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!
Lorian Rivers says
Actually, everything below the WAIST just stays there. lol But WASTE pretty much says it all too!
Dana White says
Oh, how I understand those moments when kids speak such things! I’m glad you found me! Do you have my e-books yet?
Brittani A. says
My cousin came over Tuesday and I was decluttering my desk. While she may have thought it rude, I would grab something and walk into the kitchen. Or turn around and pick up something off the floor and take it to the bathroom. All the while i was holding a conversation with her and she was not her usual self. She told me I’m just moving crap from one place to another. I told her I was putting things where they go. She finally had enough and left. I think she is not ready to see me getting my stuff together, mentally. She has always liked having her house cleaner than mine. She has done the whole shove~everything~I~own~in~a~box and put them in my garage. It makes her feel better to “rescue” me from myself. Not anymore!
Joyce B says
I *just* found your blog and I’m so thankful to read that there are others like me! I’ve never known anyone else who has a cluttered home, so it gives me a bit of comfort to know I’m not alone. I know I’ve had ADHD since I was a kid, and luckily, it’s not sever…but it still causes me to get so distracted that I can’t complete a cleaning project! I clean/declutter the master bedroom, go to the guestroom to thrown out old magazines there, then go to the kitchen to return spices to the cabinets, etc, etc. by the end of the day I’ve really done a lot, but nothing stands out to look like it! 🙂
I appreciate your blog and all the commenters. Helps me to continue my “quest” for a manageable home.
Dana White says
Brittani A. says
I found this and thought of how you said we must become ruthless with the clutter of every kind.
The truth is, neither our love for the person, nor their love for us, nor our memories, are in the possession. The love is in us, and so are the memories. Letting go of the possession doesn’t mean we lose the love or the memories.
Hi Nony, I’ve owned up to myself for being a slob recently, after I became mildly depressed from visiting the neat and tidy home of a friend. I didn’t even feel like visiting other people any more for fear of feeling terrible about myself, let alone having these same people come over to my place. That’s why I’m glad I found you!
I’ve been listening to your podcasts with my earphones while cleaning and decluttering. It’s like listening to a good friend as I’m doing my chores. Since I’d be so ashamed to have anybody over while I tackle my messes, your podcasts are just the solution to keep me motivated, and they make me feel I have someone who understands me.
There used to be an obstacle course of clutter leading to my study desk (LOL). Now that I’ve cleared off the bags of clutter from the floor, I finally feel like I can be productive in my own study room. I’m still chipping away at clutter elsewhere, but there is hope.
Thank you so much!
Dana White says
I love hearing this! Thank you so much for this comment!
Wow!!!! I have been listening to your podcasts and your “slobstory” is so similar to mine! I have never been tidy, but always thought it would happen magically. I’m sure you know how well that has worked for me. . .
I married the love of my life and, five children later, I’ve still not figured out how to keep a house organized between family events. I can entertain, but I need warning and preparation. I don’t want to live like that either. I’m following your tips and seeing progress. Woo-hoo!!!
Thank you SO MUCH for being brave enough to share your your journey! I am very thankful I found your site! I think we must be sisters. Well, it feels that way, anyway. 🙂
Dana White says
I still find myself hoping for the “magical” thing to happen. Meanwhile, I just keep doing the dishes!!
Welcome! I’m so glad you found me too!!
OK! Some of ya’ll might laugh at me or think I am double doing things. But when I walk into my childs room and it is out of control. I first go get some big boxes from the store. The ones they usually throw away. I start putting everything in the boxes except for the washables. I throw them in the hallway to be washed. Then when I am done putting everything in the boxes I mean everything I vacuum and dust and move furniture. Then With the full boxes lined up against the wall nice and neat I start putting stuff up.. Maybe 30-60 minutes a day. Some ppl ask y don’t u sort when putting all the stuff in the box and I tell them that takes too much thinking when u are overwhelmed. atleast with the stuff hidden in the box ppl don’t tend to ask and the place looks nice until u get it all put up again.
I just started with podcast 1 today and all I can say is THANK YOU, your podcast and now blog is such a blessing in my life. Very thing you say I have lived ( and I’m not playing) really EVERYTHING! I’m excited to get some e books!
I love that!
“Other peoples memories are not my responsiblity”.
A Powerful statement!
Take a picture of it – or a video of it and donate it to someone who can use it, appreciate it, or love it more than you right now.
I too, just came upon your blog, wow! My story is a little different, but my struggle & guilt are similar and sends me into daily depression!
I grew up in a messy, disorganized home. Although my mom did the best she could, I was always embarrassed by the state of it. I tried many times on my own to try to organize things, but usually failed! I had my own little room, and I kept it as clean and straight as I could, I’d lock myself away and imagine my whole house was clean & tidy with beautiful furniture etc. When I finally had my own home and even with a slob husband and two small children, I kept it as close to perfect as I could. About 4 yes ago now, my husband & I bought a fixer-uperfixer-uper and I’ve gone downhill ever since. My husband c& I have done a lot of fix it jobs together, and we did well, but the jobs were almost always for someone else and, we were healthy! About 10 yes ago, we bought a brand new home, and I lived there pretty happy with the inside & out, that 1st summer, we built a garage (very little land, so one just big enough to hold my husbands Harley basically, we put in a ton of landscaping, to me it all was perfect, and so easy to maintain! At the end of that summer, I was in an accident and destroyed my back, my neck & my knee. My husband went to work for NATO for the next two years, he came back a little mentally damaged. Since our home was a semi detached, the neibour boy would jump, all over his place, and every single time, I’d see my husband winch, loud noises, quick movements, and overwhelming neibours, who stopped by 24/7, he needed to move. We found a place that seemed perfect, in the country, but 5min from the town, close to his work (I’m medically retired because of my injuries) this house was only 10 yes old, was on a huge over an acre lot, and had a huge brand new garage. The house itself was built well, 12 blocks high basement, framed straight, brand new windows & a newer metal roof! The inside was a different story, finished by the couple that owned it, was horrible, a complete gut job! Horrible layout, stairs in the middle of the house, wainscoting pine, made into the bathroom door, I could go on & on with what was wrong with the place! But it had enormous possibilities! We bought it, we were moved in Oct and because I was at the other end making sure everything was taken, my husband just let the boys pile boxes anywhere, so many in the garage too! It was a nightmare, I had worked so had when packing to organize, and number all the boxes, I had printouts made of the list that corresponded the numbers with the room it belonged and what was in the boxes, that didn’t even get a second look! Anyway I’m going on….my point is, I am OCD and I need organization to function and I now had none! My husband got to work taking down walls, stairs, everything, and building new walls stairs, everything. But we managed to realize i am not capable of helping like I did once, so he worked hard but overtop of furniture and boxes, piled stuff out of his way, damaged a few things in his path etc….so here I am now, everything we own is in piles, lots are still in boxes, he has managed over the past 4yrs to redesign and build the entire main floor, and has done a beautiful job, but he’s also left a million unfinished details like painting doors and trim, he built me a wonderful walk in 4×8 bedroom closet, but no doors, so I wake up every morning to a cluttered closet! He’s rewired the whole house so he tore the ceiling in the basement to run the wires etc but never picked up any mess he made along the way, then we had installed a complete new furniuce & AC system & ducting (there was never anything intalled prior) so everything down there is piled unsafely and is covered in sawdust and bits of wire! It is about 1000 sq feet but we managed to get two bedrooms, however the smaller of the two is really our office (or should be) so unlike our previous home, we have no guest space, and so I use the closet in the office to house our grandkids things I like to have on hand here for them. Of course he thinks that is a complete waste of space but….Again I’m running off, sorry. Now you have a background, I’m living beyond a normal cluttered slob mess, and its making me physically sick and he starting to get mad about stuff, cause I keep bringing in more things, hoping that will give me incentive, but it just adds more! I don’t know how to start or where to start? I’ve ran up my credit buying stuff, I don’t even know what I already have? I shop partly to find incentives and partly just to avoid being home in the mess! I’m home all day, every day, just drowning in the mess and clutter, and I have no family close by to visit, so I hit the stores! Help me please, anyone who relates, anyone who has come out from under their mess and cleaned it up, any advice, I’ll take it, please & thank you! PS… I’ve become an emotional eater over this as well, I’ve put on too much weight, I sit and eat chocolate etc, hoping it’ll give me the boost I need, but it only gives me fat! Signed HELP!!!!
Dana White says
Chichi, do you have my ebooks? If you can’t afford them, email me.
Chichi, so sorry for your struggles. Don’t know if this suggestion will help, but it’s a thought. Consider returning everything you can (most stores have a 90 day return policy, and many will return without a receipt). Using the money you get with the returns, hire someone to help you clean the construction messes (sawdust, wire bits, etc.) and if possible to help move some of the bigger stuff into the correct rooms. Maybe that will be enough to start getting you over your hump.
Additionally, consider counseling to help you in dealing with your feelings and needs so you can start the process. Your doctor should have a list of sliding scale therapists in your area that you should be able to afford. As you wrote this post several weeks ago, I do hope you have found the strength to make the changes you desire, but if you haven’t, please don’t give up. You can do it.
Rachel Hodnett says
Wow! I love this. I have read many articles, blogs about decluttering my home and usually I just roll my eyes and think “yeah right” In what world do I have time to do all that with the fancy baskets and labels. It is so nice to read realistic ideas for a real world. I am in the middle of a major declutter and downsizing as I am looking to move from an 1800 sq ft home to an apartment. So far I have managed to make a huge mess. I look forward to reading your ideas. They are both informative and entertaining.
Hello Dana! I’m a big fan and your counsel has helped me over the years. I’ve looked but have t found a post related to: regret. How do I get over feeling regret about things I’ve given away/got rid of?? There’s a handful of items that linger in my head that I regret getting rid of. Do you have any advice to get over this? Because I think this regrets slows down my whole decluttering process sometimes.
Dana White says
Regret (and FEAR of regret) definitely is a problem!! I totally understand. Here’s one post where I talk about it. http://www.aslobcomesclean.com/2016/09/dealing-decluttering-regrets-ill-need/
You are a STAR!! Thank you!! Have a delightful 2017!!!
Eileen Douglas says
My best advice: JUST START!!!!
Susan McVicker says
I’m crocheting as I’m binge-reading Slobby stuff. The second I read the word ‘procasticlutter’, I remembered that it’s time to switch my laundry over. Thanks!!!!! 🙂
While I’m up, I’ll dry the dishes, take the cardboard to the van for recycling, and then come back.
Oh…and I asked Hubby to bring me home some donatable donation boxes today.
All good on the Home-front!
Mary Jo says
Reply-Responding to Ester’s comments about magazines from 26 Sep 2013.
For magazines that are still in good condition – especially those for crafters, etc. Consider donating the magazines. There are some organizations that will pick up your donated items without you having to drive somewhere. My favorite organization is the Vietnam Veterans of America. They will take magazines, books – all types & kinds. The donated items are then “sold” and then the proceeds are used for the Veterans. It is also a 501(c) organization – so any/all of your donations are tax deductible. All you need to do for your recordkeeping process is to “catalog” what was donated. e.g., for instance when I donate books – I create an Excel Spreadsheet and record the title, author, ISBN, price of book and copyright. It can be tiresome…but at least you have a “record” of everything you have donated. I do this for clothing, household goods, etc. Instead of trying to rely on my memory. The Vietnam Veterans of America website is https://vva.org/ Just go out on the website, enter your zip code, fill out the required information and select a date for your pickup. All the drivers are very friendly and will load their trucks with your items. I tend to box up my items and then I label the boxes. e.g. Box 1 “Kitchen items Box 2 Jeans, etc Several years ago, I must have donated at least 30 pairs of jeans that were taking up space in my bureau drawers. After I decided, that I might as well let someone else wear them…as they didn’t fit. They were the nice Lee Jeans.
My sister is a quilter and went thru this exact thinking in getting ready for her latest move. Good thinking, both of you!!!!