The Declutter Project: An Update

Since I posted two weeks ago about tackling the clutter in our home area by area, I’ve been able to get through over half the list! I thought I would share a quick update of my progress to let you know what’s working and what’s not working with my strategy. I’ve taken a lot of ideas from Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’, but have tweaked her approach to make it work for me. Here are a few of my tidied up spaces.

homework area declutter
Kid’s Homework Area AFTER: I forgot to snap a before picture, but this entire table was covered in their work from school. I emptied out each and every drawer to declutter.
What I’ve Accomplished So Far

I have been squeezing my declutter session into Brynn’s nap times, so I’ve started with the smaller jobs around the house first. The biggest areas I’ve tackled have been the pantry, the kids’ homework area (and everything they brought home from the end of school), and our ‘mudroom’ entryway.

Kitchen Pantry- BEFORE
The kitchen pantry is one are where I do a lot of small cleanouts, but rarely empty it out. I found a lot of expired items hiding in the hard-to-reach shelves and corner.
What Is Working

Having a list to refer to has been a great way to keep myself on track. When I find myself with some downtime I glance at the areas I have left to tackle to see what I can accomplish. It’s worked out well to have larger jobs like the pantry and smaller jobs like the junk drawer so I can pick and choose what fits into our schedule for the day.

What I’ve Learned
declutter organization project
This is one of my snaps from snapchat. Here is the mess from emptying out all of the drawers.

Start with an empty space: I will probably say this 1000 times, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for me to empty out the space I’m working on first. There have been a few areas I have started decluttering without emptying the space first and I realize very quickly that I’m not being as thorough as I should. Starting with a clean, clear space and having to address every item that I’m putting backing in forces me to really think about if it’s adding any value to our household. This is also a great reminder to me that I’m not organizing my spaces, but decluttering my spaces, which leads me to…

Don’t organize: That sounds contrary to what you would think should be happening here, but organization is different than decluttering. As I am de-owning items, I am ending up with spare baskets, bins, tubs, and other various organization items. When we add organization pieces we’re enabling ourselves to keep more. Instead, try owning less. As I’m ridding every area of unnecessary items the organization happens naturally.

Don’t keep items because you can: So far every area I’ve decluttered has felt much emptier after I’m finished. I keep finding myself thinking ‘maybe I should keep that extra _____’ because I have the space. It has really made it obvious that we ended up with so much excess because we had the room in our house. I’m having to retrain my mind to not feel the need to fill every space or talk myself out of purging because I have a spot on a shelf that is open.

Give every item a ‘home’: Within our kitchen/living area I was keeping pens and pencils in four different places (3 of which were within 5 feet of each other). I chose the best place to keep them which rid the other areas of the clutter. Giving every similar type of item a ‘home’ within your home helps prevent the clutter from spreading across other areas.

kids desk drawer organized
The After: all broken crayons, dried up markers, scrap papers, and trash has been cleared
What Is Left To Do

Our biggest ‘trouble’ areas are still on my to-do list – all three kids’ rooms and closets, basement play area, family room toys, and garage. These are areas that will take longer than a nap time, so I’m going to have to plan ahead to make sure the kids are busy so I can do the job thoroughly. I also plan to go through my entire wardrobe (yet again) once I’m a little closer to thinking about my back-to-school ‘core’ wardrobe.

I also need to train myself and kids to put things away as soon as we’re done with them to maintain our tidied up spaces. Taking that extra 30 seconds to put something where it belongs saves a lot of pick up at the end of the day or end of the week.

I have been sharing more of my declutter process on snapchat if you’d like a ‘real-time’ look at what I’m doing. My name is @stylethislife over there too.

family room declutter
Our “mudroom” entry was was filled with kids jackets, sweatshirts, and backpacks before. I purged the items that didn’t fit and now everything fits in the drawers below.

The areas of the house I’ve finished have a different feel…almost empty…which is different. But, it’s also like a weight off my shoulders. I think as I finish the job and get used to the new, less cluttered home it’s won’t feel that way any more.

I plan to keep plugging away bit by bit until I’ve addressed close to every item in our house. It can be a bit exhausting and extremely overwhelming, but it is so worth it. I cannot wait to settle into our decluttered space where every item has a place and every item has a purpose. 

I will share another update soon. Until then, how are your summer projects coming along?

More about Paige


    1. Thanks for your post. I did a major decluttering two years ago, but doing a refresh decluttering is perpetually on my to-do list. Getting motivated is tough! One strategy that helps me stay on top of things day-to-day is asking myself if something needs to be done or put away or cleaned, can I do it in two minutes? If I can, then I do it right away. Larger jobs require scheduling but I do the under-two-minute jobs right away.

      1. Kim,
        I LOVE the two-minute job idea. Right now the newness of the project is making it easier to be motivated to do the small daily pickups, but I know that will wear off. The two-minute job is a great way to make it seem less overwhelming. I’m totally doing it!
        Thanks so much,

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