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How To Build an Effective Decluttering System

Jul 23, 2023

Read time: 6 minutes

Following a proven, systematized action plan is a great way to build self-confidence and momentum on your decluttering journey, especially as a minimalism newbie (or overwhelmed personality type).

It can also feel like an incredibly daunting task.

Although, in fairness, decluttering your LIFE is not an easy feat.

But it’s possible.

And that’s why I’ve spent the last four years creating a formula that helps me declutter all aspects of my life while minimizing overwhelm.

Today, I’m sharing my formula (in 6 parts), so decluttering life can feel approachable for you.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1: Build A Project Bank

The hardest part of decluttering is determining where to start. It’s ironic because we notice the clutter we live with every day and often comment on the frustration and chaos it causes. But if we wait until we have the time to focus and start clearing things out, suddenly, we have no idea where to start.

It’s hugely helpful to capture all of your decluttering projects in one place, in real time, as they occur to you or you experience friction because of them.

So my first tip is to build your project bank.

It’s like a savings account for the decluttering projects you want to tackle. This will keep you from ever asking, “Where do I start?” when it’s time to declutter.

Spend a few minutes every day highlighting the clutter you want to conquer throughout your life—scan your home, observe your thoughts and feelings, and consider your commitments.

If you aim to jot down 1-2 decluttering projects every day, you’ll soon have 10+ new projects a week to choose from. That’s plenty of runway to build momentum and produce results.

Step 2: Select Just One Project

Familiar decluttering advice is to focus on one area at a time.

This is a simple method to prevent overwhelm when you have many areas to declutter throughout your life.

But it’s not just selecting one area or project that matters.

It would help if you also considered that your decluttering projects are dependent on one another—you can’t start the next project until you finish the one you’re working on.

This can be achieved by determining a timeline for the project you selected.

  • What date do you want to start this project?
  • How long do you expect it will take you?
  • By what date do you realistically want to complete this project?

Every project that follows will be dependent on the one before it.

This approach ensures you never divide your attention and attempt to declutter too much at once.

Step 3: Break It All The Way Down

After selecting one project from your project bank, it’s time to break it down.

  • Invite others to help you
  • Assign tasks
  • Pick a strategy

Follow this framework for every project you have in queue.

Invite others to help you

Look at the scope of the project you selected to tackle. If completing this project would benefit from more people helping or involves sorting through someone else’s stuff. Invite them to the party.

Assign tasks

Here’s where your action plan for this particular project begins to form.

Think through all the steps (in order) that would need to be completed before you can deem this project “decluttered.” Give each task a Do Date and note any additional tools you need.

Don’t stress if you miss something; you can always add more tasks as needed.

But what about using a free decluttering checklist I can download online?

You could.

But I recommend creating a personalized action plan versus using a predetermined decluttering checklist.

There are two important reasons for doing this:

  • Your action plan (or list) should reflect what matters most to you. What you need to “let go” of will differ from others depending on your values and priorities.
  • Writing an action plan is an essential part of the decluttering process. If you want to achieve less clutter and more clarity (for good), then you have to tackle the thoughts and beliefs that led to clutter in the first place. This can only happen when you take a hands-on approach to creating your own “decluttering checklist.”

Pick a strategy

YouTube and Google are your best friends here, and I wouldn’t overcomplicate them.

Look for a video, book, tweet, Instagram post, or article that offers sound and easy-to-implement decluttering advice.

These information snippets offer diverse perspectives toward decluttering and are a backup for when you feel stuck.

Step 4: Tackle One Task At A Time

Now it’s time to buckle down and begin checking things off on your action plan.

Every task you assign to your active project should have a “Do” date—the date you plan to do said task. These dates should fall within the project timeline window (see step 2).

If you schedule a task outside of the project timeline, you have two options:

  • Adjust your task “Do” date
  • Extend the decluttering project timeline

Keep in mind that you can schedule as few or as many tasks per day as your time allows, but you must tackle one task at a time to prevent overwhelming yourself and dividing your attention.

Following this process ensures that your decluttering efforts produce tangible results without wasting time or energy.

For every task you successfully check off, you move one step closer to completing the assigned project.

Step 5: Use Momentum To Conquer More Projects (Mindfully)

With your first decluttering project complete, it’s time to ride the wave.

Use the self-confidence you gained and the momentum you’ve built from the last project to carry you through to completing another.

The more you declutter, the more momentum you build.

But you still have to manage that momentum properly so you don’t become addicted to decluttering.

The solution? Slow down.

Not in your efforts or regarding the change occurring in your life.

Slow down in your approach and use your momentum mindfully.

In other words, keep going on your journey but don’t turn it into a race to zero.

Step 6: Reflect On Your Progress

This step is my secret sauce for faster results—reflect and align.

On a weekly or monthly basis, reflect on your decluttering success so far. Celebrate your wins, acknowledge the lessons you’ve learned, and observe how that’s made you feel.

When you’re done reflecting, the step is to check your alignment.

My alignment?

Stick with me.

Review your why statement, core values, and goals to ensure that you are on track, staying true to the vision you established for yourself, and prioritizing the values you’ve selected as most important.

If you believe you have lost sight of either of these areas over the last week or month, zoom out and determine why.

Spend some significant time adjusting your focus and writing new intentions.

Successfully decluttering areas of your life is a fantastic accomplishment, but if your efforts aren’t consistently pointing toward clarity and alignment with your life’s vision.

Then it’s best to make adjustments now rather than later.

In Summary

Decluttering your life might seem like a daunting task. But breaking it down into manageable steps makes it not just possible but efficient and enjoyable.

And the best part about decluttering is that you reach a new level of self-awareness: “A deep understanding of self.”

At this point, you can create a life filled with all the things that matter.

Remember, your life can only be as grand as the quality of things or people you fill it with.

Now, let’s amplify that clarity by getting clear first.

 This Week’s Action Step

If you don’t have one, start your project bank, and capture 1-2 decluttering projects you want to tackle every day.

If you already have a project bank, consider creating a simple action plan template you can build on every week and start producing tangible decluttering results.

That’s it for today!

Keep growing on your journey, and I’ll see you next week.


Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you:

If you’re looking for clarity and traction on your journey, I’d recommend starting with an affordable course:

 The Decluttering Starter Kit: Skip the overwhelm and jumpstart your decluttering journey. This comprehensive course will teach and guide you through the system I used to transform my life from clutter to clarity. Get access here.


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