Easy Decluttering Tips for Dummies and Beginners

a decal that spells newbie in black and white

I love being a beginner! It makes me excited I get to learn new things and it takes the heat off of having to be good at the subject I am learning.

Is the clutter in your home out of control? You are not alone! If you’re a beginner looking to create a more organized living space, you’ve come to the right place. If you want a clutter-free home read on.

These easy decluttering tips will help you take control and transform your space, regardless of your experience level.

But where do I start?

Start by setting achievable goals and breaking the process down into manageable steps. Remember, you are a beginner, and decluttering your physical space is not a marathon. Take your time and don’t feel pressured to complete everything in one go.

Keep in mind and trust that these simple and effective decluttering tips will guide you on your journey toward a clutter-free lifestyle.

Recognizing the Need for Decluttering

Is your home filled with items you no longer use, need, or even remember owning? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of possessions taking over your space? If this sounds like you, I am guessing it is time for a decluttering project.

The first step is to make the commitment and plan your decluttering process.

Decluttering your home can provide numerous benefits for both your mental and physical health. A lot of clutter can impact your sense of well-being, stress levels, and overall happiness.

If you consistently feel overwhelmed and anxious in your space, it may be the clutter that is contributing to these feelings. By addressing this issue, you can create a more organized, relaxing, and functional living environment.

Taking the first step towards decluttering can be scary for a beginner. This is why I often hear people say they don;t know where to start. Start whereever you are is the answer. Pick up the item closest to you and decide if you will keep the thing or discard it. If you paln to keep it, put it away, now.

Discarding an item can mean throwing the object away in the trash, donating or selling the the item.

Here are a few simple questions to help you identify areas in your home that need decluttering:

Can’t find stuff?

If you often spend a significant amount of time searching for items in your home, it may be a sign that you have too much clutter.

Are you drowning in stuff? 

When your closets, drawers, and shelves are filled to the brim, it’s a clear indication you have too much stuff and that it’s time to declutter and reassess what you truly need.

Can’t let go of items for sentimental reasons or ‘just in case’ moments? 

While it’s normal to have emotional attachments to certain possessions, excessive sentimental clutter can make it difficult to live comfortably in your space. Don’t worry about the ever challenging sentimental stuff at this point. Let’s get some decluttering experience under our belts first.

Once you make a commitment to declutter your life it is time to create a vision and a plan. This includes designating time to work on the project, and deciding which areas of your home to focus on first. Are you planning to declutter the entire house or just the living room? 

With consistency, motivation, and a clear plan in place, you’ll be well on your way to a more organized and clutter-free home.

Starting Your Decluttering Journey

The First step is making a commitment

When I make a commitment to do something this means my decision has been made and barring the unforeseen I will honor my commitment no matter what. When the unforeseen pops up, and it will, I will pivot, deal with whatever obstacle has presented and then continue on my path.

Step 2 – make a plan

Before you embark on your decluttering journey, it’s crucial to create a plan to help guide you through the process. Start by identifying the areas in your home that need the most attention. Once you have a list, break it down into smaller tasks that can be tackled in short, manageable sessions.

To maintain focus and motivation some folks have great success setting a timer for each decluttering session.

The Pomodoro Method of timing is:

  • Select a single task to focus on.
  • Mark the territory where you plan to declutter.
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes and work continuously until the timer goes off.
  • Take a 5 minute break to walk around, get a snack, relax 
  • repeat the process

This method works great because you have a limited amount of time so you will work faster to get the job done. It is like being ready to leave the house to get to an appointment and you are a few minutes ahead of schedule so you quick quick take the opportunity to load the dishwasher and wipe down the counters.

pomodoro method and 25 minute timer

Developing a decluttering schedule is equally important to ensure consistency in your efforts. Decide on the frequency of your decluttering sessions, whether it’s once a week or once a month, and stick to it. What is your time limit for each decluttering session?

By incorporating decluttering into your routine, it becomes a habit, and over time you will notice great progress. Mark your decluttering schedule in your calendar with alerts and treat these appointments with the same commitment you keep all your other appointments.

If it works best for you to just remove one item on a daily basis, then do this. Always choose the easiest way that works for you. This will give you much less stress! The good news is if you declutter 1 item a day consistently you will get to the same level of success as if you hired a team to come do the entire house in a day. What is the rush?

Step 3 – gather your minimal supplies. 

Whether you have a huge physical space to declutter or a very small space, I like the heavy-duty black contractor style bag. Label the trash bags. Follow the suggestion in the photo or label in a way that works better for you.

The three categories are Discard, Donate, and Sell. Some call the fourth category Keep. I find this unnecessary because we are simply going to organize the items we keep. The items I keep are things I use regularly, I do not want to have to be diving into a bag every time I need something.

Beginners summary


Write out your commitment and sign it as you would a legal document. Set clear goals with your intentions and a timeline. Use either a pen and paper or a keyboard and printer. Hang your signed document where you will see it regularly during your day.

I, your name , commit to following the clear and concise plan I have written out. In this plan, I have included a timeline. My plan includes scheduling my time in my calendar. I will honor this appointment to work on my decluttering plan the same way I would honor any appointment.

your name

Hang your signed document where you will see it regularly during your day.

This post may contain affiliate links for which I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.


Using either a pen and paper or a keyboard and printer write your clear and concise plan including a timeline that is easy for you to honor.

Add your decluttering appointments with yourself to your calendar and be sure to turn on alerts.


Gather your trash bags

Whether your aim is creating more space or minimizing distractions, having clear goals will keep you on track and help you measure your progress.

Questions to ask before planning

Will you involve family members?

Will you tackle the whole house or one small area?

A tip

An easy and great place to start is the junk drawer because few of us are emotionally attached to the bits of broken twist ties and elastics we’ve thrown in this drawer for some silly reason.

Stay flexible

Be open to pivoting. Life is life and stuff pops up. As you encounter different challenges, make modifications. If an emergency pops up – take care of it. When things calm down make up the lost time and continue. You will, in a very short time, see (and feel!) the progress and this will propel you to continue.

Decluttering requires you to ask the tough questions. You need to be painstakingly honest when answering. Decluttering is a journey that takes time. Be patient with yourself, after all, you are a beginner.

Decluttering Room by Room

Family Room | Living Room

When decluttering the family or living room, I like to start by finding the flat surfaces first by removing everything off all the table tops and coffee table and removing any items that don’t belong there. After you have done that and sorted the objects into the trash bags pick an area to focus on.

  • Books
  •  Magazines
  •  DVDs
  •  Decorations
  •  Games

What is worth keeping, what is good enough to sell or donate?


The kitchen counter can be a challenge to declutter. I like my kitchen counters bare. You may like a number of items on your kitchen counters. Whatever your choice begin by clearing off the countertops and sorting items into proper cabinets and drawers.

Don’t forget that nowhere land under the kitchen sink.

Next, evaluate the items you use daily, occasionally, and rarely.

For better organization, consider:

Daily items – Use your cabinet space with the easiest-to-reach shelves for daily used items.

Occasional items – Fill the higher or lower shelves with the kitchen you use but don’t use daily.

Rarely used items – Finally after you get rid of the stuff you will never use put the things you may use a couple of times a year in your storage area.

Here is a Kitchen Declutter Checklist | 24 Things to Toss & Organize to get you started!


My bathroom has open shelving for towels and linens that I artfully arrange and under the shelving is my large bathroom cupboard I keep all the overflow in like extra paper goods and daily user toiletries. Under the sink is where a couple of cleaning products live. There is only a bottle of soap on the sink counter and nothing else in sight.

My way works for me. Before you decide what works best for you start by removing all your items everywhere and categorizing them into:

  • Personal care (toothbrushes, razors, etc.)
  •  Medicines
  •  Towels and linens

Throw away any expired medications or products with just a drop of stuff in them, and consider adding storage solutions like shelves or hooks for a tidy space.


The key to decluttering your bedroom is to address different areas separately:

Bed – Opt for minimal, functional bedding items, and limit decorative pillows.

Closet – Remove all the contents of clothing from your closet. Get rid of stain and torn pieces first. Consider selling and donating good quality gently used clothing. If you haven’t worn clothing in a year, with the exception of special occasion pieces, you probably won’t wear again. Get rid of these things.

Consider a capsule wardrobe to cut down on the number of clothing pieces you own.

Drawers – Organize drawers to store smaller items conveniently, using dividers if needed.


It’s time to tackle your office area. Has it been a long time since you have seen your desktop? Let’s change this. Remove everything from the desk. Yes, everything including the piles of paper clutter. This way even if you put all the stuff back the desktop will be clean! Create a system to keep your space manageable, like the following steps:

Designate a spot for incoming papers or mail, or go paperless! Check out these paperless tips!

Organize your desk so every item has a specific place.

Evaluate the office supplies you have and discard any duplicates.


I love books and must say as much as I love books I do read almost everything on a device. I still have to keep certain books and like my linens I artfully arrange books. That said I have given lots of books to my local library.

Decluttering books can be like visiting with best friends if you are an avid reader and book lover. I wrote an article solely about decluttering and organizing books.

Sentimental Items

Last but not least are the hardest things to declutter, sentimental items. Decluttering sentimental items is usually everyone’s biggest challenge.

Many folks have a hard time getting rid of sentimental items so they keep procrastinating going through these things which are often tucked away in boxes taking up precious space. I wrote an article about the best way to declutter sentimental items.

Decluttering and organizing each room is crucial for maintaining a clutter-free home.


All the old family photos, what can we do with these? People seem to have an impossible time getting rid of old photos of family and friends and photo albums. The sentimental aspect of old family photos makes it very challenging.

Lot’s of people are scanning, saving and sharing old photographs today with family members and friends. Scanning pictures is a relatively easy thing to do.

Donating items

You have no doubt got a lot of big black trash bigs in addition to a lot of big stuff you are wanting to get rid of and don’t know how. Yeah you! Take a bow!

Download a copy of my Free Resource Guide, which shows you how to donate almost everything with ease and often free of charge, including home pickup, no matter the size.


You have worked so hard to honor your commitment to yourself. You are no longer a beginner, and also, I suspected from the beginning you were never a dummy!

I know you are feeling lighter because you got rid of so much stuff. Consider now continuing with a plan to stay clutter-free. To stay clutter free I start the process before I make a purchase. Nothing gets in my home that is not needed, functional or so awesomely beautiful I simply need to have it.

Minimalist lifestyle

I love reading real estate listings and stories about trends in real estate. The minimalist experience is growing. It is not exclusively younger people who are choosing to fill their lives with experiences rather than stuff.

Some new apartment complexes with ‘tiny’ apartments offer rental and loans of things people living in 300-plus square feet apartments can’t store. I love this idea! It is sustainable, far less stuff going into our landfills and this just strikes me as smart.

I often wonder why neighbors don’t share big expensive things that need to be maintained and stored. It seems wasteful for every home to own a snow blower and lawn mower. Of course, why folks grow green grass instead of vegetables has always been one of life’s little mysteries to me.

My way works great for me. I lean toward a minimalist lifestyle in all areas of my life. I have every confidence in you, even if you don’t, that you will continue to learn and grow as you answer the tough question ‘What is important to me?’

author pic

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

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