Declutter Once and For All

Declutter Once and For All
As we walk through the steps of how to simplify your home and turn it into a joyful space, the next step is to figure out what sort of decluttering system works best for you.
Do you do better with making your own list and guidelines? Or do you do better with a workbook you can follow and check things off, a video course that motivates or having someone on the phone with you each week asking if you got things done and wanting a specific amount of things committed on for next week?
We all have different styles; some do better reading, some do better listening, some need the accountability of a group.
It doesn’t really matter which way you go, as long as you do one of them.

Complete DIY:

DIY takes more work up front, which is not really a bad thing, but you have to know yourself enough to know if you are willing to do the work, or if that will prevent you from actually starting your simplifying process.
If you want to do a complete DIY declutter, you need to sit down with some paper or a computer and start writing: Start with the room you need to begin with. (I recommend the kitchen because it’s more utilitarian, so decisions aren’t as difficult, you already know what you use on a regular basis and most people don’t have many sentimental items in this room.)
Write out your kitchen list: work around the room with your eyes and list every single area. For some spaces the list may look like this:

  • Counter to the right of the sink
  • Counter to the left of the sink
  • The drawer on the right of the stove
  • Cabinet above the fridge

But some things need to be listed in categories. If you know you have various items around the kitchen that all belong in the same category, write down the category instead of the cupboard. For example:

  • Glassware
  • Coffee mugs
  • Serving dishes
  • Food storage containers
  • Pots & Pans
  • Baking Dishes
  • Utensils

If you prefer, you can just leave it at that and list out the next room after this one is done. Or, if you love lists, you can do the same for the rest of the rooms in the house.

This is the order I recommend decluttering in:

  • Kitchen
  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Main bedroom
  • Main bathroom

After the main areas of your home are decluttered, feel free to pick where you would like to work next. It is important to get the main living areas in your home under control first, so you have calm areas to live in before you tackle the difficult and time-consuming areas.

Set up some guidelines for yourself

When you come to sentimental items, set them aside and wait till you’ve sorted all the main areas of your home before trying to make decisions on them.
Determine where you will put all these items until that time comes.
It’s important that you remove them from the room you are simplifying. Don’t worry- it doesn’t mean that you are going to get rid of them. But if you know it would be hard to decide on, remove it from the room and put it in your “sentimental items” areas until you’re ready.
This helps you with 2 things:

  1. It gets your room very simplified and you can see how you like it.
  2. When you go back to it later, you will have a clearer understanding if you really love the item and miss it where it was, or you enjoy your home better without it.

Most of us want to see results immediately, but be careful not to spend more than 3 hours a day working on this. The more you work, the more is it taxes your body and exercises your decision making power.
If you find yourself not making decisions and shifting things around, then you need to stop.
Working a bit each day prevents burn out. It doesn’t help us at all to work tirelessly for 12 hours and then not touch it for 3 weeks and let the rest of the house go because you’re so drained from working on it.
The point of working bit by bit is consistency. Slow and steady wins the race. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You can’t get into shape overnight, and that is O.K.

Follow a Guided Course:

Because I love lists I have spent so much of my life making lists and very little of my life working on things so I could actually check them off.
It was more fun to make a chore chart than it was to do the chores.
I struggled, but you don’t have to! I have compiled everything that I’ve used and that worked for me into an easy-to-use course. No more excuses for “I’m not prepared yet, I need to list out one more room”
I’ve done it all for you and if you know that you will do more if you just hunker down and start, this then good!
This course is for people who enjoy reading the task and checking off lists of what they have accomplished.
For more info on the workbook set, click here.

 Join a Video Course

There are many of us who would much rather hear a voice than read the task, especially if we can listen to it while we are rolling up our sleeves and pulling those pots and pans out of the cupboard.
The video course comes with both video and the written tasks with checklists, so you still have things to check off.
Also, because it’s interactive with comments and Facebook groups, it’s so much more encouraging to see others going through it with you and cheering you on!

I was hesitant to join the course as I was further along my decluttering journey than others and had already achieved a lot on my own but I got an enormous amount out of the course. It’s a wonderful course that supported me to make some lasting changes in my home and in my life. No matter where you are in your decluttering journey, I think you’ll find many gems and insights in this course. If you’re not sure whether to do the course, I’d say DO IT! ~ Em M.
The Decluttering Course provided me with the tools and motivation to de-clutter my home. The private Facebook group was a great place to discuss progress, ask for advice, and just gain momentum to keep on de-cluttering. I am sad the course is over, but very glad that I can access Rachel’s on-going advice through her blog. – Geeta Kadakia
“This is an awesome course! Rachel Jones leads you step by step. If you are decluttering in the 2015 challenge and unsure of your goals and aren’t sure you are making progress, this course addresses the underlying issues you are facing. With very doable daily course assignments, Rachel’s encouragement and the participants Facebook group support, I found a good basis to continue this journey towards my goal of minimalism. Go for it and improve your life free of clutter!” ~Kathleen Kocunik

Click here to learn more about the video courses


About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I created a FREE Facebook Group - feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group and I share videos each week on YouTube


  1. Bethany @ CuteCapsuleLife on 09/05/2017 at 7:21 pm

    I feel like I’ve been working on decluttering for three years so this post really rings true for me. We moved last year and I felt like I kind of started over decluttering but also felt like I had a fresh start for looking at each item with the “do I need it” lens.

  2. Dana on 09/19/2017 at 1:21 pm

    Such a great help to put aside and deal with ” I don’t know” items later. I’ve started in the kitchen. Now that it’s nearly all decluttered I Really want to go back through it now as I see more I don’t need. Is this ok or should I move on to the next room first?!? Thanks so much for your helpful ideas!

    • Zoë on 09/20/2017 at 10:39 am

      It often takes two or three goes through a space. If you are excited about a second pass through your kitchen then go for it! But if you have had enough then move on. Happy decluttering 😀

    • Rachel Jones on 09/20/2017 at 7:03 pm

      If you’re inspired to do it, then yes, go through the kitchen again first. 🙂

  3. Karen on 09/27/2017 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you for this article. I loved it for many reasons. It validated that there are many ways to declutter. This article also helped me to analyze what works for me and not to get caught up in what doesn’t. I often think a lot of life is learning what works for you, then giving yourself permission. Sometimes we need that validation from others to be who we are and go for it. Thank You!

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