How To Declutter A Small House In 5 Basic Steps

Living in a small home and frustrated by clutter? Let’s talk about how to declutter a small house so you can enjoy your space without spending a gazillion dollars on storage solutions that either don’t work for you or aren’t really necessary.

I live in a fairly small home and used to be a borderline hoarder, so I know clutter! That’s why I love decluttering tips and EASY strategies to keep things under control.

If you’re facing the monumental task of trying to declutter a small home, using these tips will help. 

Text how to declutter a small house in 5 steps on white background over image of very cluttered closet.

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When it comes to living in a small space, most people concentrate on looking for organizing solutions. After a while, they end up with even more clutter because they keep collecting more things and attempting to find better storage solutions.

However, the key to a comfortable small space is making (and keeping!) it clutter-free. That doesn’t mean simply finding ways to hide the clutter.

No, we’re talking about how to declutter a small house.

If you’re trying to declutter a small house, you need to be strategic about how you approach it.

Let’s face it… In a small house, there may be fewer rooms to declutter, but it seems like there are more items to deal with.

For example, in a large house, you might have the living room, the bedroom, and the kitchen on separate floors, with plenty of space for sorting. You may even have a basement or unused bedroom to use as a ‘staging area’ during the decluttering process.

However, in an apartment or small home, everything is more compact, leaving you fewer options for decluttering methods.

You can’t just go through your belongings and make a bunch of piles that sit around waiting to leave. There’s no room for those!

You may be thinking decluttering just isn’t possible for you, or you’re afraid that you’ll have to get rid of your favorite things. Let me just say, you can keep the items you REALLY love.

Ready to give this a try? The best way to tackle clearing clutter from a small space is by using the following tips:

How to Declutter A Small House

Keep in mind: Life is easier when your ‘stuff’ fits comfortably into the available space!

The idea of an easier and more enjoyable life should be your number one concern when decluttering… which is the entire reason you’re doing the work to declutter and simplify!

1. Start with a plan

Woman making plan to declutter a small home.

Before you do anything, sit down and make a plan. Figure out what your goals are for decluttering and envision how you want your space to look when you’re finished.

Decide which area of your home MUST be done first. This should be a space that will improve your everyday life. We’re NOT talking about beginning with stuff hidden in the back of the closet when your counters are overflowing and you can’t use your kitchen.

You also want to look at how much time you have for decluttering. I recommend working in 10-minute chunks of time so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Be smart about where to begin and make a decision about how long you will declutter each day. This will help you stay focused as you work through your belongings.

2. Declutter in place

Extremely cluttered closet ready to be decluttered.

You may be thinking you should declutter the deepest parts of closets and cabinets first so that you have somewhere to eventually store all the stuff you end up keeping.

Here’s the problem… Doing that means making huge piles of stuff to sort. However, if your entire small home is cluttered, you don’t have space to ‘hold’ those piles and ‘eventually’ sort those things.

Hard truth: Most of the time we pull stuff out and never end up sorting, so it just makes the clutter problem worse. Don’t do that to yourself.

You’ll get to those deep places. But first, take care of the spaces you see and use every day… kitchen counters, tables, the area around your bed… wherever having a clearer space would help make your everyday life easier.

3. Be ruthless

It’s imperative to be realistic about how much storage space you have. You simply CANNOT keep everything — unless you want to end up on an episode of Hoarders. I certainly don’t want that for you!

It can be very difficult to change your decluttering mindset, but it IS possible. I’ve done it, so I know it gets easier the more you work at it!

William Morris quote to inspire decluttering a small home.

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”— William Morris

If you don’t love it, why keep it? If an item is taking up space and isn’t bringing you joy, put it out of its misery and send it on to its new home.

And when I say ruthless, that means you need to REALLY think hard about how much you LOVE your stuff.

There’s just no way you can LOVE everything. Let go of the things that are mostly easy. That will help you start making decisions. Then you can move on to decluttering sentimental items and keeping only the things you REALLY love.

4. Get rid of trash and decluttered items immediately

Clutter removed from small home and ready for transport in vehicle.

Remember, you can’t leave piles of stuff around to sort through ‘later.’ Putting off decisions about what to do with clutter won’t work when decluttering a small house.

After every decluttering session — whether it’s 10 minutes or 60 minutes and even if you have only one small bag of items to let go — get that bag out of your living space.

Take it out to your vehicle to drop off at the donation center the next time you’re out and about.

If you have something you’re absolutely convinced you should sell, list it right away and set a hard deadline. If it doesn’t sell after an hour, or a day, or the very short time period you decide, it needs to be donated… period.

*Note: I always recommend people declutter and donate, and even more so for people who live in small spaces.

Grab my free Quick-Start Mini Declutter Plan for questions to help you decide what to keep/toss, track your progress, and a starter list of things to let go immediately.

5. Use storage solutions AFTER decluttering

Woman organizing laundry room after decluttering.

Decluttering FIRST means you have a clearer picture of what solutions you actually need.

That means you will probably need to purchase fewer storage solutions. When you have fewer things to deal with, you can be more thoughtful about how you use your space.

Of course, there are always SOME clutter-y things you need to keep, so here’s a post that will give you some good ideas: Storage Ideas For Clutter: 8 Dynamite Ways to Organize the ‘Must-Keep’ Stuff

One of the biggest issues most people have is paper clutter. I have some recommendations for paper organizing tools, but I also strongly recommend that you consider going paperless. It really is possible, and can you imagine not having to deal with those endless paper piles?

The course Paperless Made Simple will walk you step-by-step through the process of organizing your paperwork mess into a simple, secure paperless system that will free up

More Inspiration For Decluttering And Organizing

62 Things to Declutter That You Won’t Miss at All

4 Mindset Shifts to Help Clear Your Cluttered House

The Ultimate Guide to Going Paperless – Just A Girl And Her Blog

33 ‘Too Much Stuff’ Quotes That Will Motivate You To Toss The Clutter

Concluding Thoughts…

Decluttering a small house can help you enjoy your space by allowing more room to breathe.

When you have less clutter around, your living spaces feel more open and inviting.

You’ll enjoy your house more and it will feel like a home instead of just a place you constantly have to manage by shuffling clutter.

Is the process easy? Not always… but it IS possible, and it DOES get easier to let things go when you’re able to see your progress and enjoy the results!

Happy Decluttering… You’ve got this!

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2 thoughts on “How To Declutter A Small House In 5 Basic Steps”

  1. With 4 boys, I declutter quite often and my biggest tip is to get it out of the house ASAP. I just remembered I need to make a drop before grocery shopping as I put stuff in my trunk and forgot about.

  2. These tips are so practical! Slowly I am learning this, but it’s really hard to put it into practice. Every time I get an area cleared, I do feel better.

    Shared on my Ridge Haven Homestead Facebook page.


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