9 steps to a successful decluttering session

House silhoutte
Having thought of myself as a hoarder throughtout my life (only things of great importance of course, like cinema tickets and little notes of friendship and the odd piece of fabric or 100), the idea of decluttering did not come easily to me. Yet I did it, successfully, and I believe it to be useful to share this process with the world of Little Miss Joey.
Where it all begins
1. Accept the need to declutter
Believe it or not, decluttering starts from within. It took me a month of pondering and fiddling with ideas and where I should start before I actually got round to doing it. Why was this useful? Before, I would just start the declutter and get bored and annoyed half way through having to part with my cute treasures without an end in sight or a real aim. This time however, I thought about it, I knew how much stuff (space wise) I needed to get rid off and I had a plan of action.
Plan of action
2. First things first, second things second, and so on
Think about what you want to say bye bye to and make a list (yes, I'm a list lover!), even if just a mental list, of the order you'll be tackling your decluttering in. This is a huge time saver once you actually start going. You won't feel so lost underneath those charity bags working out what you'll do next, because you already know, oh yeah! For example, for me no1 were fabrics; this would make the most obvious difference and I could use this new found storage space in different ways but I needed to know how much space I'd actually have left to work with. Number 2 were clothes. I'll spare you the rest.
3. Start big
This is not just me thinking of world domination, a prominent theme of LMJ's blog. Seriously, start big. When you get rid of the huge sofa nobody sits on, you see the space left by it, everything feels spacious and nice, and you're encouraged to continue. If on the other hand you start with the smallest items possible, it will be forever until you see a difference and you'll just give up before you've even started. This is why I started with fabrics, as said above (no questions answered on the size of my stash, let's just say it is smaller than most and bigger than some).
4. Set aside the time
Decluttering feels good in the end (believe me, been there, done that), but it's a pretty boring and intense decision making process. Make sure you have free time, preferably a weekend, to dedicate to it. You really don't want to be fiddling with your things while preparing for a formal evening ball. Really! You don't want that!
5. Bye bye packaging
Bin bags are a lot of people's favourite. Personally, I'm not a fan. I never want my place covered in bin bags. But it's a good option nonetheless; simple, efficient and easy to get. I used big shopping bags which I tend to keep from previous shopping trips; I believe if they were good enough to get the clutter in, they are more than perfect to get the clutter out and in style! And a box or two.
Lights, ready, action!
6. The actual decluttering
Now you've accepted your need to declutter (breathe, it's ok, we've all been there) and you've devised your plan of action, you're ready to go. All set? Go!
7. Breathing exercises & hydration levels
While you should keep your trips to the charity shops and/or tip to a minimum, feel free to put the recycling and other garbage items you collect in the outside bins every now and again to keep the place livable and give yourself a bit of fresh air. Oh, and make tea. Plenty of. Or drink juice. Wine may be appealing but lowers your productivity for the task at hand.
The end
8. Never (but never!) go back on your decluttering bags
Once an item is in the bag leave it there. Imagine the bag as a black hole sucking in your stuff. Once they're there, they're as good as gone. Fair enough, it's a black hole you still need to carry to the charity shop or the tip, but a black hole to you it should be. Play with me here, for your own good! I speak from experience; two of my fabrics magically found their way back to my fabric stash when I decided to organise them better for the charity shop. Shiu… noone needs to know.
9. Look around and enjoy
This is possibly the most important step of them all. Look around your now decluttered space and enjoy! Really enjoy it! Why is this important other than for immediate joy and sense of achievement? Because it will keep you from cluttering up the place. Or that's the idea anyway πŸ™‚
And voilΓ‘, be happy!
Any other tips you have to help the decluttering process go smoothly? Feel free to share them, we never know when they might come handy!
Little note: the photo is not of my house, the photo is not of the inside of a house. The photo is of a happy new day beginning, just like the one after your decluttering πŸ™‚


  1. Plasma Engineer
    5 April 2011 / 21:49

    I did manage to start de-cluttering this evening too, although only a lot of very new cardboard packaging with no sentimental value whatsoever. However, productivity now lowered significantly – yes by Chardonnay as you predicted – so relaxing into a bit of blog time instead.

  2. elkecita
    5 April 2011 / 23:27

    Inspiring, very useful and -as always- nice and enjoyable reading πŸ™‚ You should really write a book and doing the photography as well. The world is gonna love it! x

  3. Dobbin
    5 April 2011 / 23:28

    Can I hire you to do my decluttering?

  4. Little Miss Joey
    6 April 2011 / 12:19

    Plasma Engineer: Im glad you decluttered somewhat πŸ™‚ Also good to know the steps are true, even if by stopping you from continuing :)elkecita: Good to know its useful and enjoyable! About the book… *blush blush blush* Im a long away from any book writing πŸ™‚ Youre too sweet!Dobbin: how would May suit? and Im bringing flowers for inspiration.

  5. elkecita
    6 April 2011 / 13:48

    @LMJ: you arent. I really think you should send (some of) your Historias to a/some publisher(s) together with some of your photos. @Dobbin: you lucky man! πŸ™‚

  6. Little Miss Joey
    8 April 2011 / 07:04

    Im lost for words… thank you elkecita :)Thats so sweet of you to think that…x

  7. Catherine
    10 April 2011 / 15:11

    Well done !!! Its exactly the way I fell about decluttering. And … an other important point is : know what to close the door to, in order to clutter less. Im getting very very good in this part too. This post gives me plenty of energy to get rid of some more crap ;o)

  8. Little Miss Joey
    10 April 2011 / 21:47

    πŸ™‚ Thats a really important point Catherine – leave it out to begin with. On that, I still need a lot of improvement :)Glad its making you want to get rid of things πŸ™‚ Let me know how you get on!

  9. Joana
    22 September 2011 / 09:52

    Muito bom! Tivesse eu coragem…

  10. Little Miss Joey
    22 September 2011 / 21:02

    Hahaha… forΓ§a!

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