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A cluttered home can cause strife in your physical space and your mind. But you don’t have to continue living that way! 

We know, though, that figuring out how to decide what to throw away when decluttering can be difficult. It can overwhelm you to the point that you never get started in the first place. 

Here are some easy decluttering rules and a simple formula to follow so you can declutter your house the way you want! 

A room is filled with items that can be sorted through with set rules for decluttering.

Why Declutter Your House

Believe it or not, having a messy home can negatively impact much more than just the aesthetic of your living space. Clutter can wreak havoc on your mind, and you may end up with feelings of anxiety and helplessness. 

You may also wonder, “will decluttering make a difference?” The biggest thing to note is when you declutter your house, you’ll feel less overwhelmed because you’ll have less to keep up with.

Decluttering Paralysis

A young man covers his face in frustration as he sits on a sofa with boxes everywhere while he faces decluttering paralysis

When you get ready to start decluttering your home, you may run into a sense of dread or defeat. We’ll help you tackle those strong emotions so you can be sure to organise your home the way you want.

What is Decluttering Paralysis

Decluttering paralysis is an overwhelming feeling of not knowing where or how to start the process. 

You may start thinking about all you have to do and each room you need to work through. And you get so overwhelmed that you never start at all. Instead, you continue to put it off. In the meantime, your house continues to accumulate clutter. 

If you think you’re experiencing decluttering paralysis, don’t worry. You’re not alone! Many people feel this way once they decide to start organizing and decluttering their living space.

How to Overcome Decluttering Paralysis

Just because you feel decluttering paralysis doesn’t mean you have to continue feeling it. The best way to overcome it is to start the entire process with a slow and steady plan. 

Clearing Clutter: Where to Start

A young woman in a white tank top carries boxes as she figures out how to decide what to throw away when decluttering

The most important decluttering 101 hack is to have a clear plan for decluttering that will help you with the entire process. You’ll be able to avoid or overcome decluttering paralysis and have set steps to take to get to your end goal.

So, when you’re ready to declutter your house, here’s your step-by-step plan:  

Start with Your Mindset

When it comes to figuring out how to decide what to throw away when decluttering your house, your mindset plays a big role. If you can get your mindset in the right spot, organising your living space will become so much easier! 

Here are our top two tips for a “decluttering your house” mindset: 

What’s your why

Before you get started, think of why you want to do this. Is it because you hate looking at a messy home? Is it because the clutter stresses you out and makes you anxious? Or is it because it makes cleaning up your living space overwhelming? 

Whatever it may be, keep your “why” close by as you start your decluttering process. Remind yourself of it as much as you need to keep you focused. 

Let go of the guilt

You need to know the decluttering process won’t happen overnight. You won’t be able to snap your fingers and have everything organised and in place immediately.

You also need to allow yourself to let go of any guilt during the entire process. Whether it’s feeling guilty for letting a house get messier than you wanted it to. Or guilt over removing things that were given to you by friends or family. Or even guilt over money lost, allow yourself to let go of any guilty feelings. It will make decluttering your house so much easier! 

Move one room at a time

Use a decluttering schedule, and map out one room at a time. With your schedule, make sure you only focus on that room. By doing that, you instantly minimise the idea that you’re having to declutter an entire house. Instead, you only have to focus on one space. 

Rules for Decluttering

A closet holds organised towels and baskets as a way to declutter a house.

With your mindset in place, it’s time to set rules for decluttering. This will keep you on track and consistent throughout your process. 

You should have rules for what you can toss out and rules for what you can keep. By having set ways to declutter, you’ll feel more empowered instead of like you’re being deprived of something! 

Here are our top 4 ideas for rules for decluttering: 

Ask yourself these questions

Keeping a list of questions nearby will help you as you sort through your items in each room. So, no matter what room you’re working on, and no matter what item you’re holding, ask yourself these three questions: 

Would you purchase it now?

If it’s not something you would purchase right now, is it worth keeping? Have you grown out of it? If your tastes and preferences have changed, then consider either donating or throwing out the item altogether. Odds are, if you’re answering “no” to this question, it’s clutter in your home now. 

Would you be willing to move it to a new home?

Moving into a new home is a large, challenging task. You’ll already be boxing things up and transferring them to a new location. So, whenever you’re holding an item, ask yourself “am I willing to take this with me to a new home?” When you do, you’re really asking yourself if the item is worth it to package carefully and ship to a new location. If you’re not willing to do that, find a new home for the item. 

Do you have duplicates?

Very rarely do we need duplicates of one item. So, if you’ve found more than one of the same item, ask yourself if it’s something you truly need multiples of. If not, it’s time to either throw it out, donate, or sell it. 

Remove rubbish

Your first rule for decluttering is to remove all the rubbish. It does nothing but take up space without adding any value to your life. So, it’s time to let it all go! 

Rubbish may look like: 

  • Old papers, wrappers, or similar things
  • Old items that have no use to you anymore
  • Broken items that can’t be repaired

Sort what you use regularly

As you move through all your rooms, start sorting your items into categorised piles. This is where you can keep track of what’s ready to be removed and what you want to keep! 

We recommend you have four categories: 

To Sell or Donate

If you come across items that aren’t ruined or broken, but just have no more sentimental value to you anymore, consider selling or donating them. 

We recommend trying to sell them first! If you can make a little extra cash while figuring out how to decide what to throw away when decluttering, it’ll make the process much more exciting. 

To Recycle

While some items can’t be sold or donated, many can be recycled. Even larger items like old televisions or computers can go in this pile! 


If you have family heirlooms, old items from your kids’ rooms, or anything else sentimental, put them in this pile. 

To Keep

Some items you may want to keep. That’s perfectly okay! Make sure you have a home for them, so they’re not just sitting out and causing clutter. If you want to keep items but don’t have a place for them, we recommend finding a self-storage solution

Digitize your nostalgic items

Sort through all your nostalgic and sentimental items. See if you can pull out anything in this category that can be digitised instead. 

If you digitise these nostalgic items, you’ll wind up with copies that are harder to lose or ruin. Plus, you can let go of the physical copies, which ends up taking up less space in your living area. 

Any old documents that you won’t need a physical copy for. Any old pictures that you want to hold onto but don’t want to take up more space. Any kids’ artwork you want to hang onto for the future. All of these can be scanned and uploaded onto a computer for you to keep!

A Simple Declutter Formula on How to Declutter Everything

A room is full of vintage hats and other items as a homeowner decides how to decide what to throw away when decluttering.

When you’re figuring out how to decide what to throw away when decluttering, you can easily become overwhelmed. Even with the rules in place, you might still experience a little bit of decluttering paralysis. 

If you feel that coming on, just keep this simple declutter formula in mind. You can even write it down to keep it handy whenever you get started! 

Your “Stuff” Spot

Have a designated place for all of your categories. You can just put your items in this place according to the category to get it out of your way as you declutter everything. 

Your “How to Declutter Everything” Rules

Keep those rules nearby! Make sure you have your mindset ready and your questions as you sort through each item. Be consistent and follow your decluttering rules so you can effectively declutter your house without the stress.

Your Timer

Keep a timer with you. All you need to do is schedule a time every day as a part of your declutter calendar. When it’s time to start decluttering, grab your timer and set it for 10 minutes. That’s all you need! For those 10 minutes, focus on the one room you’ve started in and follow these easy home decluttering tips. 

Your Self-Storage Option

Give yourself a self-storage option so you can put items you don’t have a place for in your home. That way, if you run across an item you’re not 100% sure you want to toss out, you can keep it without it causing extra stress. Whether it’s sentimental items, seasonal items, or anything else you’re unsure about, they can all have a home in a self-storage space. 

These easy rules and our simple formula help you when it comes to how to decide what to throw away when decluttering! They’ll help you live in a home that feels less cluttered both mentally and physically. 

Ready to take the first steps towards decluttering your house? Have everything ready to start by getting a quote for a convenient self-storage space near you!