11 Top Tips For How to Start to Declutter a Room

If you find yourself wondering how to start to declutter a room so you can get rid of your overwhelming clutter, you’re going to want today’s top tips along with my other decluttering tips to help make getting started easier.

text simple tips for how to start to declutter a room on white background over image of white and clutter-free living room

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Do you find yourself feeling like you’re surrounded by STUFF? You want to be able to see your counters again or find your lucky pair of shoes but you can’t seem to find a way to make it all less overwhelming.

You know it’s time to declutter, but how do you get started? You find yourself asking, ‘Where do I even begin?’ 🤷 

When you find yourself in that place, it’s time to start decluttering a room!

How to Start to Declutter a Room

How do you even begin to declutter when you don’t know where to start? 

If you’ve ever found yourself feeling completely stuck and not sure how to begin (or overwhelmed by the process), these strategies to help you know how to start decluttering a room will be ‘gold’ for you!

Start With a Vision

This step is ESSENTIAL. You need to think about your goal for the space before you can start tossing items in trash cans or shoving other items in boxes or on shelves.

Really take a moment here. Close your eyes and visualize what you want that space to look like when it’s done. Where’s all your stuff? How do you use the space? How do you feel when you’re in that space?

Use that dream or visualization to help you focus your decluttering efforts.

Gather Your Supplies

Here are a few things you’ll need to have ready to go when you start to declutter a room: 

  • Black trash bags — so you can’t see through them and second guess what you put in there.
  • Donation bag or box — go donate immediately so they don’t sit around and tempt you to pull things back out.
  • Box for items to sell — I don’t recommend selling your clutter, but if that’s what works best for you, go for it!

It shouldn’t take you long to gather these supplies. This doesn’t involve much planning or preparation (just use what you have) so just go get this part DONE! 

Don’t Bring Anything Else into the Home 

What benefit is waiting until after your decluttering work is done to avoid bringing new stuff into that same space? 

There’s no benefit — only more to declutter. And you have enough to deal with, so just start not bringing in anything new now.

Prepare Yourself Mentally

Before you even begin, take a little time to realize that you won’t get this project done today. Or tomorrow. Or even the day after that. 

Well, unless you have multiple hours each day — and the motivation — to dedicate toward the job. But who has that? 

This job will be challenging, and it’s not a race. It’s more important to take baby steps and remember that the clutter didn’t appear overnight — and it won’t disappear that way either. 

TIP: Don’t spend days or weeks in this mental preparation stage. It won’t help inspire you or motivate you anymore. Spend a little time mentally preparing, then start taking action — because THAT’S what will really inspire and motivate you!

clutter-free white living room with simple and neutral decor

Change Your Mindset

Ok, here’s a little tough love: the clutter did not just happen to you. You are not a victim. 💗

Part of preparing yourself mentally is changing your mindset around clutter and Stop Being a Victim of Clutter. Moving from a victim mentality into a positive mindset is essential when figuring out how to start to declutter a room.

If you find yourself making excuses for your clutter, utilize these 4 Mindset Shifts to Help Clear Your Cluttered House to help you work through some of the challenges you may be facing.

Schedule the Time

If you don’t schedule in time for decluttering, you’ll probably never start actually doing it. There will always be some excuse or reason not to!

Instead, keep it simple but make it part of your day — even put it in your calendar! Find a short window of time that works well for you and just do it for a few minutes. 

Those baby steps make a huge difference in helping you to reach your goal without being overwhelmed! 

Start in the Area That Bothers You the Most

It doesn’t matter where you start, but I like to recommend starting with the part of your home that causes you the most anxiety. The reason for that is two-fold:

  • Tackling the biggest problem first will give you a huge amount of motivation to keep going.
  • After you get done with the biggest problem area, everything else will seem easier.

OR, tackle the area that would make the biggest difference in your life if it were clutter-free and organized!

Start At The Door

Sometimes, making the decision of where to start when decluttering a room simply takes too much brain power because the clutter stress keeps our brains from operating at peak efficiency.

You may find that you absolutely can’t pick one area that bothers you more than others because every. spot. bothers. you. If that’s the case, one way to dive in is to start at the door and work your way counterclockwise around the room.

Why counterclockwise? Well, because most people are right-handed. That means when you work a room in a circle from right-to-left, it’s much more efficient to hold a box or trash bag in your left hand and pick things up with your right hand. Your decluttering will go more easily and more quickly! 

Don’t let yourself get tripped up or spend too much time figuring out where to start. More important than where you start is that you start. 

Truly, getting started is the hardest part. Once you get going, you’ll find that it gets much easier!

If you find that you need a plan of action: check out my Declutter Plan of Action which will give you simple steps you can take to deal with clutter — including a free printable quick-start mini declutter plan.

Tackle What You Can See First

Once you’ve decided where to start, tackle those visible surfaces first: counters, desktops, shelves, tabletops, dressers, etc.

Then after those areas are done, you can start working on the drawers and cabinets.

simple and clutter-free kitchen counter with white tile backsplash

Focus on One Item at a Time

Looking at the entire room — or even an entire tabletop — may be too challenging. When deciding how to start to declutter a room, take it one item at a time and make a decision about what to do with that item.

Then move on to the next item. Clutter is basically a lot of postponed decisions. Start making those decisions, but keep it small by doing it bit by bit rather than all at once.

The Power of Ten

I highly recommend sticking with the power of ten. Put away 10 items or declutter for 10 minutes at a time every day. That’s really ALL it takes! 

Deciding to declutter does NOT commit you to hours of work, stress, and exhaustion. Take it in small chunks and you’ll quickly see a big difference. 

TIP: If you really have no clue about what kinds of things to declutter or worry that you will be ‘missing out’ on the stuff you get rid of, you definitely want to read 62 Things to Declutter and use the free printable list you toss clutter without missing it one bit.

More Helpful Decluttering Resources

How to Start to Declutter a Room — Final Thoughts

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your clutter and wondering how to start to declutter a room, try to focus as much as you can on taking action instead of planning or mentally preparing. Those are necessary parts of the process but action is the KEY to decluttering and getting started is truly the hardest part. 

Once you get going, you’ll find that it gets much easier!

You’ve got this! 🙂 

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1 thought on “11 Top Tips For How to Start to Declutter a Room”

  1. I need this so much!
    I’ve been listening some to Clutterbug! Your advice reminds me of some of the things she says, and the FlyLady too. It’s nice that there are people good at this. Certainly not me! But I’m trying!!!!

    Thanks for sharing this at the Homestead Blog Hop!

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