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“Decluttering”. When you say it like that, it sounds like such a chore, doesn’t it?

And like all chores, if you don’t go into it with a good plan and the right attitude, you’re probably not going to get too far. One method we’ve found of helping to stay focused on your decluttering is to make it something of a game: by setting little challenges for yourself, you can get things done much more quickly (and cheerfully) than you could otherwise.

Sounds like just the thing you need to get yourself in gear? Here’s four of our favorite home decluttering challenges to help move things along:


Make a list—and stop when you’re done

In too many cases, we consider decluttering to be one major all-day project that needs to be tackled at once, but that’s an easy way to burn yourself out and lose motivation to finish. Instead, make yourself a list of one project or room and get them done one at a time. You can either go room by room (living room, laundry room, bedroom) or go project by project (clearing out your bedroom dresser, putting up those closet shelves, getting rid of all the holiday decorations you’re not going to use anymore). It will make your accomplishments feel much more tangible if you’re keeping track and knocking steps off as you go.


Try the “Closet Hanger Experiment”

You may have seen this mentioned on a few daytime talk shows, but if not, this is a great method for anyone who specifically wants to focus on decluttering their excess clothes. Turn around all of your clothes hangers so they face the same direction in your closet, and as you wear them, put them back in the closet with the hangers facing the opposite direction. After doing this for four-to-six months (factoring in things like seasonality), you’ll have a good idea of what clothes you can pretty safely get rid of because they’ll still be facing the other way and left unworn that entire time.



A popular method of decluttering frequently suggested by home organization experts, the 12-12-12 game involves entering a room (limited to one room at a time, to keep everyone focused) and finding 12 things to throw away, 12 things to donate, and 12 things that just need to be put away in their proper home. The first 12 things can be taken out to the garbage so they’re no longer in the way, the next 12 should be driven to the local thrift store or consignment shop as soon as possible so you’re not tempted to keep them, and the next 12 just need to be put away appropriately on whatever available shelves or other organizational options you might have. This is a good one for families to get in on so every room can be tackled at different times.


Get four boxes

Similarly, another popular decluttering challenge is the “four box method”. Take four boxes (cardboard boxes, clothes hampers, plastic storage bins) and set them in a room. Each of these boxes should be appropriately labeled: one to keep, one to give away or donate, one to throw out, and one to relocate to somewhere more appropriate. Every time you go into the room with the boxes, put one more thing into each box. Don’t stress yourself out, but try to set a time limit: after a week or a month, or maybe after the boxes are just plain filled up, take everything to its final destination and notice how much cleaner that room is. Find another source of clutter and repeat as necessary until you don’t need all four boxes anymore.

Do you have a decluttering method you’ve tried at home? Leave a comment below!

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