How to declutter your home — 9 tips and tricks experts live by

Learn how to declutter your home now, and you'll thank yourself later on

Learning how to declutter your home is always useful. Here are three pictures doing this - one of kitchen drawers, one of a person putting a box in a closet, and one of a clothes drawer
(Image credit: NEAT Method / Getty Images)

You might be wondering how to declutter your home if your place is giving you a headache. Getting rid of unwanted items and optimizing your space is daunting, but it’s always well worth the effort.

We've spoken with decluttering experts and home improvement specialists to find out what you need to do. From how to be ruthless to neat storage solutions, they've given us plenty of tips and tricks.

These organizing ideas are all easy to bring into your home now, so you can have super-chill surroundings. Your home will be looking and feeling like a well-oiled machine soon enough.

How to declutter your home

Whether you're decluttering a small space or a larger home, this guide will help you make your home sparkle.

Along the way we've also found handy storage and organization buys, so you can get everything looking neat and tidy.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Work out which room you need to tackle first

A cardboard box in a room with gray walls and a wooden floor

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may want to spruce up all your rooms. Trust us — you’ll get there. Working room by room is the most efficient way to start tidying.

“By planning what room to clean up first, you will have a set action plan to tackle things without delay,” says Tommy Mello, home improvement expert and founder of A1 Garage Door Service.

A picture of Tommy Mello, a man with short brown hair wearing a white shirt
Tommy Mello

Tommy Mello is a a home improvement and DIY expert, and the founder of A1 Garage Door Service, a $100M+ home service business. Founded in 2007, A1 Garage Door Service has become a home service industry leader.

He says letting go of things is a marathon, not a sprint.

Tommy adds, “Splitting it up and doing little things often instead of trying to do everything will stop you from giving up in the middle.”

Clearly, Tommy has seen us perform before — let’s just say we’re prone to getting distracted when we find something shiny we’ve forgotten about.

2. Set a timer

A silver clock on a countertop in a white kitchen

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As well as breaking down tasks by room, it’s also a good idea to break each area in the room down, too.

“When facing a daunting mess, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, but breaking it down into small, manageable chunks makes the process so much more enjoyable,” says Sam Thomason, design expert and founder of Simple Everyday Mom

This is part of Bobby Berk's decluttering hack, which involves splitting down each decluttering task into 10 minute chunks.

A picture of Sam Thomason, a woman with black hair wearing a brown shirt
Sam Thomason

Sam Thomason is a design expert and founder of Simple Everyday Mom. She shares educational materials and tips useful for parents with children. 

She explains, “I like to set a timer for just 5 minutes and focus on one drawer or shelf. Before I know it, I've made great progress without feeling burnt out.”

You can set a timer easily on the clock app on most smartphones. Make sure to put it away while decluttering so you don’t get distracted — bye-bye, doom scrolling.

3. Toss any expired items

A white kitchen with chairs, cabinets, and an island with a cat on it

(Image credit: @thatsophiahome)

Throwing away anything out of date majorly applies to decluttering your kitchen.

“In both your fridge and pantry, check expiration dates and toss any past their prime,” says Ashley Murphy, co-founder and CEO of NEAT Method

A picture of Ashley Murphy, a woman wearing a black top with blonde hair
Ashley Murphy

Ashley Murphy is the co-founder and CEO of NEAT Method. This is a home organization brand committed to creating simple and versatile organizational systems for its clients’ homes and lives. 

She suggests only making notes to replace items you use frequently. For example, if you’ve found jars of sauce you have never eaten, you don’t need to be buying them again.

This step also applies to decluttering your small bathroom, as well as being a key step in decluttering your makeup collection. On these, check for the little tub icon with a number on.

4. Say goodbye to unnecessary dupes

A wooden kitchen drawer with silver and black cutlery and utensils in it

(Image credit: NEAT Method)

We’ve all been to home stores, seen something clever we think we’ve already got, and then raced home only to find we’ve already got one.

If you haven’t got much room in your home, it’s especially important to remove any duplicates, though.

Ashley says, “This tip can be applied to any space in the home but is especially useful when it comes to the kitchen.”

She continues, “For duplicate items never used simultaneously, like pizza cutters and cooling racks, pick your favorite and donate the rest.”

Place everything you want to donate in a bag, and then you can set aside time to clean them up and drop them off at a secondhand store like Goodwill.

5. Prioritize everyday items

An open wooden drawer with sunglasses, keys, notepads, and hand sanitizer inside it

(Image credit: NEAT Method)

When you pull out items, sort them into piles of items you use every day, items you use less frequently, and ones you don’t use at all.

Ashley explains, “Place the most often used items in easily accessible drawers and shelves.”

She says this will support streamlined routines and prevent the need to shift between different cupboards. 

Apply this as soon as possible, and you won’t spend hours looking for your fave pair of sunnies ever again.

6. Add labels onto boxes

White shelves with white labeled boxes filled with toiletries

(Image credit: NEAT Method)

You may have seen labeled up boxes on Instagram and TikTok, and thought this organizing dream was out of reach for you. Thankfully, it's actually easy to do and super effective.

Ashley says, “Group like items together and label their containers whether it's a storage bin, basket or canister.”

She adds, “This will keep everyone in your home on the same page and make it easy to quickly locate items and put them back.”

We like using label makers to do this, as you can type out the name for each box, print them out, and get everything organized quickly.

7. File fold for a quick visual

A white drawer with an open drawer with folded neutral materials in it

(Image credit: NEAT Method)

When you move onto decluttering your bedroom, laundry room, or bathroom, make sure to re-fold all your materials neatly and keep them this way.

“I like to file fold for a quick visual, as this stops clients needing to dig through stacks to find what they need,” says Ashley.

This method involves folding clothing and linens upright in rows, which not only allows you to see everything you own at a quick glance, but also saves space in drawers and bins.

8. Keep a box in your closet

A person wearing a white shirt with olive skin putting a pink box into a wardrobe, with shirts hanging underneath the shelf

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After tidying up your bedroom, for long-term maintenance of your closet, one expert-approved tip is keeping a box in it to stash away clothes you aren’t into.

“This is one of my favorite tricks, as this in-the-moment method has been extremely effective for paring down my wardrobe,” says Sam Thomason, design expert and founder of Simple Everyday Mom.

Sam continues, “I simply toss any item I pick out but don't truly feel good in straight into a clothes storage container.”

Before long, it’s packed with clothes no longer worn, which makes it easy to donate the whole boxful in one fell swoop.

9. Keep on top of clutter regularly

A small living room with a wooden coffee table with decor on it and a gray couch with a yellow throw

(Image credit: @thatsophiahome)

Now you’ve decluttered your home, you don’t want your hard work going to waste.

Sam says, “Keeping clutter in check through regular purging and straightening is key for the well-being and ease of my whole family.”

She continues, “I have learned firsthand just how crucial decluttering is for preserving harmony in the home.”

If you do find yourself getting overwhelmed when decluttering, you can always create a cleaning checklist to stay on top of everything in the future.


Where do I start with decluttering my house?

When decluttering your home, it's best to start in the place you and your guests will see first, which is the entryway. Whether you go to college or have a job, this area sees a lot of traffic.

What is the fastest way to declutter a home?

The fastest way to declutter a home is to carry around a trash bag, open up closets and cupboards, and throw in any items you don't need.

Now you've decluttered your home, you may want to get your rubber gloves on clean it up to zhuzh it even further. We love these cleaning supplies for making our homes feel fresh and fab. 

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.

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