How To Declutter Your Home: Stop Hoarding For The Future And Let Go Of The Past

A lot of my professional training is about how to declutter or as we call it filter software engineering data and scientific articles. The same idea translates in the home where clutter can sneak in regularly without notice.

Getting started on decluttering your home is a lot easier said than done!


Because, while going through my whole minimalism project, I realized that while it is very easy to buy or get stuff, it can be difficult to get rid of them both physically and emotionally.

I can provide some practical advice to get rid of some of your stuff. However for sentimental clutter which causes an emotional reaction, but don't work for you in some way, you're on your own.

Sorry! )-:

I still have stuffed pandas which serve absolutely no purpose in my home. I just keep finding new places to put them. One of them is actually a cell phone holder.

My sentimental clutter. One is a gift from my first visit to China, the second I picked up in the airport while transiting through China.

But I'm not totally useless - here's what I can share with you...

  1. Pay attention to how clutter flows into your how.
  2. Use a categorization method.
  3. Declutter Inspiration from Jean X.

Pay attention to how clutter flows into your how

Clutter isn't static. It sneaks in as presents, bulk buying, mail, kids artwork, hobbies long forgotten, souvineers from trips and on and on. Once you figure out how clutter flows into you home, think of ways to stop the flow or at least reduce the traffic.

For instance, determine when you usually get gifts and from whom and request that the giver donate the gift money to your favorite charity instead. When buying in bulk, make sure that its useful items which will eventually get used. Toilet paper is my usual goto and you should forget about that giant jar of pickels.

Use the Categorization Method to Declutter Your Home

I've mentioned the categorization method before here and here. So you have an idea of how it works.

I decided to actually give you a small example to get you started. One of the side effects of using this method is that once you're done you have a list of everything you own.

Some might say that this is a bit to obsessive but I like knowing what I have. This way I don't waste money on repeat buys and it helps to keep stuff accumulation at bay.

Okay, enough of my rambling, here's how to declutter via the category method.

First determine the categories of stuff in your home. Then list all the items you have under that category.


Cleaning ToolsOwnUse


Pay attention to the "Own" and "Use" columns. This is the number of these items you own and how many of them you actually use. I'm sure you see by now how helpful this exercise can be for decluttering your home (just get rid of the unused stuff).

One word of warning though before you start- do one category at a time- do one item at a time. This will avoid any confusion and also avoids creating to much of a mess while you're trying to declutter.

If nothing I've shared with you so far is enough to get you started on decluttering your home, try out Maria Garcia's Goodbye Clutter. If you have clutter, Maria can help you. She has devoted her life to busting clutter and is on a personal quest to help as many people get rid of it so they can live more organized, stress-free, joyful lives.

According to Maria,

Clutter actually invades your life in FOUR forms...
  1. Physical Clutter
  2. Paper Clutter
  3. Digital Clutter
  4. Emotional Clutter

And once it's there, it begins to wreak all sorts of havoc. Before you know it, your current clutter is breeding more clutter.

Don't you want to say goodbye to your clutter?

Declutter Inspiration from Jean X

In 2008 I held a cleaning competiton for subscribers of 'The Saturday Morning Cleanup'. In the end, Jean X (not her real name) won with the amazing transformation of her dining room. This is what it looked like before...
See what Jean's dining room looked like after some decluttering, cleaning and decorating.

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