Hmm — which room should I declutter first?

Messy gals, this one's for you.

A checked background with a picture of a kitchen pantry.
(Image credit: Future / Getty / Beth Mahoney)

Decluttering can feel like a mammoth task. And knowing where (and how) to start getting rid of the clutter without getting overwhelmed can feel like a lot. 

Whether you’re in the process of moving and want to have a clear out before you go or are simply trying to find ways to enhance the calm in your life (after all, everyone knows clutter causes stress), decluttering can be a great step to take. 

Obvi, knowing where to start — and how to achieve the best results — isn’t always as straightforward as you might like. But, in better news, if you can hone the method (it’s easier than you’d think) the process can actually be rather seamless, it’s simply a case of knowing where to start. 

So, which room should you declutter first and what method should you use? 

What order should you declutter in?

Truth time: It doesn’t actually matter which room you start with when it comes to decluttering your home. The most important thing is to focus on just one area, in one space at a time. Otherwise, you may find yourself getting overwhelmed

A #CleanTok hack that many cleanfluencers’ seem to swear by is to start with the first room that you see when you enter your home. So, this could be your entryway, for instance, or if you don’t have an entryway it might be your kitchen or living room. Either way, start with the first room that you enter and then move through your home in order, focusing on one room at a time. 

Oh and, whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of pulling everything out at once. Instead, focus on one area of the room at a time, and complete each task fully before moving on to the next or you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. 

What are the best hacks for easier decluttering?

1. Use the box method 

Before you start actually decluttering, make sure that you have containers for sorting out your items. For instance, you might want a box for items to put away, mend, throw away, donate, and store. Having these boxes ready to go should make the process of decluttering quicker and easier to manage. 

2. Be realistic

If you don’t have all that much stuff, it might be possible to get all of your decluttering done in one day or across a weekend. But if you have more stuff, then it might take longer to declutter your house, and it’s important to be realistic about that. Make sure to set realistic goals that are attainable. Take the time to break down the rooms (and areas within them) that you need to declutter and estimate how long the whole process will take. 

3.  Set a timer for each task 

Okay, so a great way to make the process of decluttering feel less all-consuming is to set a timer for each task or room. So, let’s say that you’re starting with your kitchen and know that you need to declutter your cabinets and pantry. Set a timer on your phone for how long you want to spend in each area of the kitchen. Get as much done as you can in that time — having a time limit should help to drive you to work quicker and more productively, and should limit procrastination. 

4. Create a checklist for each space 

Before starting to declutter a room, make a checklist of everything that you want to declutter and reorganize. This list will help to ensure that you remain on track and will make sure that everything that needs decluttering gets done. Plus, it's super satisfying to be able to tick things off as you go.

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.