How to declutter a whole room at once

Moving boxes

How to declutter an entire room in one go

by Leo Babauta

My family is moving to another house this coming weekend, and to prepare for the move, we’re going through the entire house and getting rid of stuff we don’t need.

The new house has much less storage, which I’ve decided is a blessing: it means we have to cut things down to the essentials. I’m pretty good at keeping things simple, but things tend to accumulate over time (especially in the kids’ rooms!).

Moving day, btw, is a wonderful time to declutter. I often advocate decluttering in small steps, but sometimes it can be fun to do an entire room at once.

So here’s the method we’re using to declutter each room, one room at a time:

1. Clear a working space, probably in the middle. We’re using our beds in the bedrooms.

2. Start on one side of the room and work to the other.

3. Do one drawer or shelf or spot on the floor at a time.

4. Pull everything out of the drawer or shelf (or section of floor or what have you), and pile it in the working space. Clean out the drawer or shelf.

5. Sort the pile into two piles: 1) what you use regularly and love, and 2) what you’re going to get rid of. Pick up one item at a time and make an instant decision — when was the last time you used this? If you haven’t used it in a few months (6 months at the longest), get rid of it. This excludes seasonal stuff like winter jackets or what have you.

6. When you’ve sorted through the pile, put back the stuff you love and use, neatly. Put the other pile into a box to be donated or recycled or given to friends and family.

7. Move on to the next drawer or shelf or section of floor. Repeat the process until you’ve worked your way across the entire room. Do the same thing with closets: one section at a time.

Working like this, we were able to do each room in a couple hours. If it’s really cluttered, it could take 3-5 hours. Set aside some time on the weekend to do a room.

It feels amazing when you’re done.

Now sit back and enjoy the simplicity.

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