• Laura Brooke - Professional Organizer & Owner

How TO: Instantly Declutter

It is common to goals but not really know where to start. I would say it is a lot more common when it comes to your own home. Most of my clients claim they just don't have the vision. Maybe due to that, I often get asked for easy tips for de-cluttering or more specifically, “What’s the best way to get started?” That’s not always an easy question to answer for many reasons. The main reason being that there is no “one size fits all” de-cluttering method. People often struggle with clutter because they’re already dealing with outside issues that make it feel impossible to de-clutter and get organized. On top of not knowing where to start, the de-cluttering process can surprise people by being both emotionally and physically draining which contributes to giving up and then THAT leads to more frustration and stress. PRO TIP: YOU JUST HAVE TO DO IT. Easier said than done, right? WRONG! Set your goal, set a time frame and STICK TO IT. There is no reward without putting some elbow grease into it and you can apply that to anything in life.

Here are some items I can almost guarantee you haven’t touched recently!
  • Old papers, magazines and documents (recycle if possible).

  • Did you know the average American only uses 20% of the papers filed (at home OR at the office).

  • Recycle manuals and documents you can easily find online such as manuals, instructions and/or recipes.

  • Clothes or shoes that you no longer wear or that no longer fit. (Donate shoes and clothes in good condition)

  • Expired food in the pantry and fridge.

  • Half finished craft projects.

  • If you didn’t even remember that you owned that item, it should go!

  • Kitchen utensils or small appliances you don’t use anymore.

  • Mugs, glasses, plates, silverware etc that outnumber the number of people you’d ever have eating or drinking in your home.

  • Old computers or electronics.

  • Make sure to destroy the hard drive first and dispose of these electronics according to your local recycling or trash laws.

  • PRO TIP: Check your local city, borough, or township's website!

  • Toys your kids no longer play with.

  • Cds or DVDs.

  • Books you haven't or you'll never read.

  • Old receipts.

  • Memorabilia that doesn’t hold the same value that you that it used to.

  • Bad photos.

  • OLD MAKEUP and skincare items.

  • REFER HERE for a simple expiration guide!

  • Old cushions and pillows.

  • Blankets you never use.


  • Kids artwork.

  • If this is sentimental for you but you don’t have the room, consider taking a photo and storing on your computer.

A great general de-cluttering rule is the “untouched rule”which states: If you haven’t touched an item in a month, or especially 6 months to a year, get rid of it. When I say "get rid of it" I ALWAYS mean donate (if you can) but don’t donate items that are in bad condition or should be discarded in the trash. As for your clutter, start by separating your clutter into piles, bags or bins. Common categories are: Trash, donate, keep, storage, and maybe. But, how will you actually TACKLE the clutter? While de-cluttering, you can go space by space or category by category. You can try by seeing what works best for you. PRO TIP: I recommend organizing by space THEN by category. For instance: Start in a closet and then de-clutter by category, such as shirts, shoes, ties, etc. After you declutter you are free to clean and organize your new and fresh space. WOW… that feels good, right?

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