The S.M.A.R.T Plan For Decluttering Success

black background, colorful letters spelling out SMART and what each letter stands for

When all else fails follow the instructions! What is a S.M.A.R.T plan for your decluttering success? How many times have you said I’m going to clean out the garage, or the kitchen cabinets, and how many times have you followed through?

By following a S.M.A.R.T plan you at least have a fighting chance to get your garage, kitchen, or whatever decluttered.

The first letters of S.M.A.R.T stand for






Why does a S.M.A.R.T plan for decluttering work? This article will describe how to use the S.M.A.R.T plan to effectively achieve all your goals including your decluttering plan.

Example of the S.M.A.R.T decluttering plan

Jane is going to clean out the 4 shelves in the bathroom closet Tuesday morning before work. She has scheduled herself to get up 1 hour earlier before work to achieve this goal. 

Why the decluttering plan is S.M.A.R.T

Jane’s goal of cleaning out the bathroom closet is ‘S’pecific. The plan is ‘M’easurable – Jane will get up 1 hour earlier to allow for time. Her plan is ‘A’chievable because one hour is a manageable amount of time to get a few shelves cleaned. The plan is also ‘R’elevant because Jane’s overall goal is to have her home in move-out condition 6 months from now and ‘T’ime-Bound -Tuesday before work for 1 hour includes a concise timeline.


Specific: The first step to making a S.M.A.R.T. decluttering plan is to have specific goals.

You need clear goals; be as detailed as you can be to state your desired outcome, such as Jane’s four bathroom closet shelves decluttered and cleaned, is what is needed.

What specifically needs to be accomplished? Be as detailed as you can. Spend a few minutes to form a clear and concise plan and you will save time later. 

Does this plan align with your overall goal?

What steps need to be taken to achieve it? 

Jane’s plan is specific, she is going to clean out the 4 shelves in the bathroom closet.


the letter M in black and aqua glittering

Measurable: The “M” in SMART stands for measurable.

Jane has a way to track her progress. In a span of 1 hour Jane either will or won’t have the four shelves cleaned in her bathroom closet. This makes Jane’s plan measureable.

Jane is planning her decluttering success by choosing to declutter the 4 shelves in her bathroom closet. Jane thinks one hour is not enough time to declutter the entire closet so she decided to break down the goal of decluttering her bathroom closet by allowing her to do some decluttering in her available time. 


the letter A in bright blue

Attainable: Be realistic and make a plan that gives you a good chance of a win, a bit of challenge, and manageable, nothing impossible. Jane is not saying she is going to give up an entire night’s sleep to clean the closet. She is saying she will get up one hour earlier than usual this Tuesday. This is a reasonable and manageable amount of time.

4 shelves are reasonable for one decluttering session, especially for a busy lady like Jane. Jane will plan to do the other parts of the closet another day.


A white coloor letter R rests on a red background

Relevant: Jane has a relevant goal- having her home decluttered in 6 months. Getting up an hour early Tuesday to declutter and clean her bathroom closet is relevant to this goal.

Do Jane’s short-term goals align with her overall goal? Yes, because Jane needs her decluttering job to be done in full in six months time.

Make sure your smaller tasks are contributing to the achievement of your overall goal.


The letter T in sparkly magenta

Time-bound: Any goal you have without a time-line attached is not a real plan, it is more like wishful thinking. Jane scheduled a time in her calendar with an alert to get up an hour earlier on Tuesday to achieve this goal.

Jane’s decluttering session has a start and stop time. Having a timeline is necessary. Without a timeline, a plan is not a plan.

Some people find using a timer helpful when they have limited time.

When you have a big task that takes a longer period a timer is not as important. I know when time is limited and I am cramming in a couple of things before I leave the house my mind is much more focused on getting the job done.

Always plan a time frame including a day and a set amount of time.

Decluttering for Success Tips

Trash bags will be your best friend. I always have 3 heavy-duty black contractors’ trash bags at the ready when decluttering. I label each trash bag – Trash, Donate, and Sell.

When you have an entire house filled with too much clutter having 3 labeled trash bags makes the job easier. Another thing that makes the job easier is to gather your family members to join in and lend a hand to the decluttering process.


Donate is written on a blue color keyboard key

I am a big advocate of donating household items in good condition. Also, any unnecessary, unwanted items and duplicates you no longer use will be welcomed by someone when you donate them.

I made a 17-page Resource Guide that lists the best places to donate your stuff for free. Some charities, like Goodwill, will offer to pick up your goods.

I found the charities that will pick up items from large to small including treadmills for free, living room furniture, home office stuff, and sports equipment.

If you are working toward a clutter-free environment download my free Resource Guide

Check this out for 21 more Wicked Easy Decluttering Tips  and use the S.M.A.R.T Plan For Decluttering Success!

Happy Decluttering!


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.

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