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Learn all the tricks and tips to decluttering your home successfully - don't get bogged down and stressed - follow this simple step by step guide to rid your home of clutter



You don’t need much for decluttering alone (the gadgets, baskets, craft bits etc… can come when you are organising the space and know what you have to organise).

Basically – there are 3 things you will need:-

  • Category Labels and Marker Pen
  • Containers / Bags
  • Step Ladder or Chair (to get to the hard to reach places!)


Now, I have done a bit of decluttering in my time (!) and to save me the time of creating labels every time I do a project, I made some reusable category labels that are laminated. {LINK TO FREE PRINTABLE POST FOR THESE – CLICK HERE}

Decluttering category cards ready to use

They are easy to carry around – and I have a blank one for any categories I forget (and they are so pretty, they make decluttering much less of a chore!)

You don’t of course have to go to this much effort (I like them as they are clear and I can see whats what at a glance), and you can get the same effect with coloured paper or post it notes and a marker pen.

Whatever way you choose to write the categories down, think of what you need for the space you are decluttering.

Categories you may want to pick from include:-


For this project I chose the 8 categories below:-

Decluttering Categories via

I then gave each category a space in my working area, added the label to this space so I could see at a glance what was what, and then added in any bins bags or baskets that I thought may be useful.

Getting ready to declutter - space for categories Getting ready to declutter - space for categories Getting ready to declutter - space for categories


The trick is to make life as easy for yourself as possible both during and after decluttering.

TIP – Use a black bin bag for rubbish so that you can put in the bin straight away and don’t have to look at everything again – as this is where you may start to change your mind about things!……

TIP – Use a basket with handles for the category FOR ANOTHER ROOM as then you can easily carry it around the house when you are finished, and put things back where they should go.



Whatever you are decluttering, if you start at random, you may end up confused and overwhelmed, which we want to avoid at all costs!

What I suggest is to mark out the space you are decluttering into manageable pieces. I usually create a 3 * 3 grid of the space (whether its a drawer or an entire room), and I do each of the 9 segments one at a time, working from top to bottom of each segment, and from the far corner of the space to the door – working out of the room basically.


grid for decluttering via

So in my utility, the door is in section 9 – so I will work in this order – 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 5, 8, 6, 9 and work my way out of the room. This works really well as then you are not walking back over decluttered space, and possibly cluttering it up again as you go.

TIP – if you find yourself easily distracted, you could even physically mark out these areas with masking tape – this works well as you can see the progress you are making.



Go through the space in the order you have selected – and place each item into one of the category areas you have created, and work your way around the space from item to item until you have looked at everything.

Note – I don’t tend to have a “MAYBE” pile when I am decluttering, as for me this is too easy for things to end up in – and I have to then make more decisions and feel less happy at the end. I try and make a decision there and then, and stick to it. This is totally personal though, and if you are someone who needs the feel of a safety net like this, then you may want to have a box for maybes – one idea to minimise the effect of this is to seal it after decluttering has finished. If you don’t miss anything after 6 months then simply throw the box away without opening it, if you do miss it, then get it out!

TIP – Don’t move out of the space until you have finished – you have a category for “DIFFERENT ROOM” so don’t be tempted to wander off when you find something that goes elsewhere. Distractions means things will take longer and you are more likely to not finish.

When you have an item in your hand – ask yourself the initial question – do you want to keep it? Then ask the right sub questions to decide where it should go after that:-


  • Is it in the right room? If not, put in “DIFFERENT ROOM” category
  • Do you need it now? If not, put in “OUT OF SEASON” category
  • Does it need anything doing to it before it can go back in the space? put in “MEND” category
  • If none of the above, then simply add to the “KEEP” pile – Try and place LIKE WITH LIKE in your keep pile i.e. all trousers together, all pens together etc…. – this will help you in the next step.


  • Is it in good condition? “GIVE AWAY”, “SELL”, “CHARITY” categories are all options
  • Can it be recycled? “RECYCLE” category
  • If none of these, then “RUBBISH” category

You may have other questions, dependent on what you are decluttering. For example, when decluttering paperwork you need to shred papers that are confidential before putting in the bin.

If in doubt – go through each category and find the best fit for what you have.

TIP – Make it fun! – Turn on some music, watch a TV programme while sorting paperwork etc…. – it needn’t be a dull task!

TIP – Time it! – Why not race against the clock so you keep motivated and it takes you less time. I like to set the oven timer to go off after half an hour – its amazing how much you can get done, and you usually find you are happy to continue for another go!

By now you should have your working space fully stocked with the items from the space you are decluttering – I expect that the “KEEP” pile will be the biggest in most cases:-

Grouping everything in categories Grouping everything in categories

Learn the fail safe 8 step process to tackle your clutter in a way that works every time. Declutter like a pro!



This is usually the point that we stop, but there are a couple of crucial steps left in order to ensure that your decluttering is a complete success – want to find them out?…

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  1. Chrissy @ Organise My House Apr 6, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    You are more organised than you think! – you obviously have the ability to declutter without having to set things out too much, and I would always say that if it works for you, then don’t change it! x

    • James Bergman Apr 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

      Thanks for the confidence! 🙂 Great article, and thank you for replying!

    • James Bergman Apr 8, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

      Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.

  2. Tedand Nan Catmur Jan 2, 2016 at 2:51 am #

    ff to try the laundry!!

  3. Tedand Nan Catmur Jan 2, 2016 at 2:51 am #

    Hi!! Just de cluttered my linen closet… should see the pile ready for the local OP shop… they will be happy….

  4. Hannah@Seeingthelovely Dec 9, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    Wow, I love how organized this is! I’ve never seen someone break de-cluttering down into so many little steps and I can see how this would be super helpful especially when tackling a larger space. Thanks for the ideas!

  5. Laura Berryman Nov 5, 2015 at 1:18 am #

    This is the BEST down and dirty, clear and concise, micromanagement type decluttering post I have read in the past year! It’s everything I have known to be effective in the past, but because of my life going through a complete change, I had lost sight of. My brain has been like scrambled eggs when it comes to decluttering a huge house (with the belongings of my late mom-in-law, her 2 sons, ex-husband, my teen daughter, toddler son, and my own). Thank you for this, I needed this right now (quite literally… I am sitting down after a long day searching for motivation-which is right here!!!). You just re-opened my eyes. Thank you!

    • Chrissy @ Organise My House Nov 5, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

      Hi Laura – what a lovely comment to get – thank you! I am so pleased that this method has helped you, and wish you all the best with decluttering your home. I’d love to know how you go x

  6. Danielle Jun 8, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    Having just started applying for new jobs (my kids are all now heading to full time school), It’s time for me to de-clutter and organise my home……hopefully this will make the transition from stay a home Mummy to Working Mummy slightly easier, you have soooo many helpful hints and tips, all I need now is your determination (and a partner that isn’t a hoarder) and may house may well look as beautiful as yours 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration xx

    • Chrissy Halton Jun 8, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

      Hi Danielle – really please you are enjoying the site – good luck with your return to work outside the house

  7. Diana Westrup May 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    Excellent article, great help for the messy ones… like me….

    Thanks for this post!

  8. Jennifer May 1, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    Very good article… have figured out most of these things the hard way 🙂 I actually enjoy organizing, but I think this is extremely helpful for people who hate it and/or get too overwhelmed by it.
    Probably the only thing I would add is to do the sorting part as quickly as you can, because there is nothing worse than running out of steam after you’ve pulled everything out and made such a mess!

    • Chrissy Halton May 5, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

      Hi Jennifer – thanks for your comment – I totally agree, the quicker you can get through it the better for your energy to keep going. It’s one of those things that takes less time the more you do it, as you get used to asking yourself what you want to do with the stuff you have – at first it can feel really hard to make the decisions and this is when energy can lag….

  9. Emily Apr 26, 2015 at 1:23 am #

    I like these suggestions but my problem is a lot of the clutter is my husband’s stuff and I can’t ever get him to do anything with it. Any suggestions for that? If I start sorting his stuff into piles it will stay in piles forever.

    • Chrissy Halton Apr 27, 2015 at 11:57 am #

      Hi Emily. Other peoples clutter is such a difficult thing to deal with as it’s not yours so you can’t make the decisions for them. What I always suggest is that you lead by example. Take control of what IS yours, or that belongs to the home in general. Often seeing the transformation of not only the space but the general feeling of the house once decluttering has started is enough to get the other person/people to join in. It may well take time, but while this process is happening I also would suggest that you create somewhere that you can call your haven – a space that’s organised and looks how you want it to look – that you can escape to when you need to relax a little. Hopefully this helps x

  10. Cathy Thomas Mar 11, 2015 at 2:46 am #

    great ideas!! I have a whole house to do, and it feels overwhelming!! Just too much stuff, and trying to minimilize!! One question off the subject tho. I have the exact same kitchen floor and I’m wondering how you keep your grout so clean!! Mine looks so dingy, even with weekly mopping!!

    • Chrissy Halton Mar 12, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

      Hi Cathy – Glad that you got in touch and thanks for the comment. The grout on my kitchen floor seems to stay pretty clean without much cleaning fortunately so I am not sure whether they put a sealant on it when it was fitted. In my last house I did paint all the grout with a grout sealant myself that helped to repel the dirt and grime – a long job but well worth it! – hope that helps x

  11. Jemma Jan 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    I’ve struggled for years to organise my home and now I can see where I was going wrong! I’ve been randomly trying to declutter and organise the whole house at once…and not surprisingly getting totally overwhelmed in the process and then inevitably giving up….but this post has given me hope that I can achieve the calm and organised home I dream of…I just need to do it one step at a time!
    So thanks a million, here’s to decluttering first…..and once that’s finished I’ll move on to the organising… Wish me luck….any tips on letting go of all the things I keep “just in case”?!?

    • Chrissy Halton Jan 26, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

      Hello Jemma – thanks so much for a lovely comment – and I am so pleased that the post has made a difference for you – I really believe in my ADORE method which starts with Assessing and then decluttering – it takes a while before the organising can begin!

      In terms of letting go of things you are keeping “just in case” – this post will probably help –

      Hope it all goes well x

  12. Liz Jan 15, 2015 at 7:28 am #

    So glad I found this! In my last flat we had what my son called “the scary cupboard” I cleaned it out often but it was the only place to store things. In this flat there is no cupboard and we now have a scary room. Several attempts at decluttering and general tidying have failed., especially if I then have to look for something and it then looks like I have trashed the place. I am going to attempt it by adopting your methods. Do one section at a time and not get overwhelmed as I usually do. Great tips! Seems like common sense when you see it in black and white, but so easy to get overwhelmed with no plan. Thanks x

    • Chrissy Halton Jan 16, 2015 at 11:30 am #

      Hi Liz – I’m so glad this post has helped – and wish you all the best in your sorting! I’d love to know how you go following this method x

  13. Linda Schwendeman Jan 13, 2015 at 2:20 am #

    I like your post Chrissy! My biggest problem is distractions. I have ADD and have had to stop taking my medication. It’s a struggle but I might be able to use your system and get it done. Keep your fingers crossed for me, cause my house is a disaster!
    Thanks for the information and instructions!

    • Chrissy Halton Jan 14, 2015 at 10:59 am #

      Hi Linda – really glad the post has helped and given you a system that may work – I wish you all the luck and let me know how it goes x

  14. Alexys Jan 11, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

    Great post! I love the idea of zone cleaning. I tend to be one of those people who *tries* to tackle the whole room all at once and then I get overwhelmed and give up. I’m with you, I don’t have a maybe pile. It’s yes or no. If I think ‘maybe’ right now I know that my love/need for the item has already deteriorated since I originally said, ‘YES!’ and brought it into my home- soooo, OUT it goes.

    I’m super excited about this challenge!

    • Chrissy Halton Jan 12, 2015 at 11:14 am #

      Hi Alexys – I am so pleased the challenge has excited you, and that zones work for you too – Maybe piles are definitely to be kept clear of, and I wish you all the best of luck for the challenge x

  15. Antonia Ludden Jan 2, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Great article Chrissy, really good advice – thank you for sharing – and I am putting it into action today in our sons’ tip of a shared bedroom. Just given your article a mention on my FB page too so hopefully others can follow your method 🙂

    Have a great new year! Antonia x

    • Chrissy Halton Jan 2, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

      Hi Antonia – thanks for your lovely comment and thanks also for sharing on Facebook – really glad you liked the article! love your site as well and read it often x Happy new year to you too x Chrissy

  16. Ashleigh Sep 10, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    I love this website and I’m trying your method today as soon as I’ve finished this cuppa. No procrastinating and hoping that my 2 year old twin boys and 7 month old don’t distract me too much. This article was inspiring and showed me how easy it is to get started (I’m usually overwhelmed, my house is hectic). Thank you. x

    • Chrissy Halton Sep 10, 2014 at 11:59 am #

      Hi Ashleigh – so pleased this article has helped you – and I hope that the decluttering goes well today. I’d love to know how you got on…. x

  17. Julia Aug 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Deciding on what to declutter is the first and biggest step for many of us. I like how you are flexible in your scope and willing to start with a smaller area like a drawer instead of tackling a whole room. As a suggestion, maybe before going into step 2 to assess the space, you could take a minute or two to close your eyes and think back to all the times you’ve used that area. Doing this will show you why you even use it based on real life experience and this can help tremendously when deciding what to throw and where it’s better placed.

  18. garage storage systems Jul 10, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    great post

  19. jennys645 Jun 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    I pray that one day I could actually declutter my garage and my kid’s rooms! The problem is my kids (aged 21,24 & 27) live on their own (small apartment) and still don’t want we to get rid of their video games, wooden doll cradle, doll sets, books or train sets, etc. They have an attachment to these items and whenever I whisper the words sell or donate, its like being on trial!

  20. Sarah Apr 27, 2014 at 1:53 am #

    I just found your site via pinterest, great ideas! I’m sure you already know…but organise is spelled organize…

    • Chrissy Halton Apr 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      Hi Sarah – thanks for your lovely comment about the site – just want to say though that over here in the UK we spell Organise with an s – its only the US and Canada that spell it with a Z – confusing I know!

  21. Carol Apr 7, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    You give me hope, Chrissy! I was taken with your approach in how appealing and user-friendly it looks! Thank you for inviting us into your home to see the real workings of your method!! Who else does that? So often, I have just waded through wordy blah, blah, blahs that sound about as dry and inspiring as cardboard. But you have brought decluttering/organizing to life!! As soon as life permits me to try out your method, I am sure it will work for me!! THANK YOU!

    • Chrissy Halton Apr 7, 2014 at 8:38 am #

      Hi Carol – what a lovely message to get on a Monday morning! thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and I am so pleased that you have been inspired by my blog – Good luck with everything and keep me updated with how you are going! x

  22. Shirley Apr 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

    I love your blog. Can’t wait to try your system. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chrissy Halton Apr 4, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      Hi Shirley – thanks for your lovely comment – I’d love to know how you go when you try the system!

  23. Nicola Jan 29, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    I used this method to do my kitchen today and was amazed at how easy it was. Using the labels and working on one zone at a time made it quick and easy, and I managed to get the whole room done in just a few hours. This was with 2 young children aswell. Thank you for the hints and step by step instructions. I am doing my living room tomorrow with the method, I’m hooked.

    • Chrissy Halton Jan 30, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Hi Nicola – thats fantastic news! So pleased you are finding it a good way to do things – I would love to hear how the living room goes as well!

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