Where to Start: Decluttering for Beginners and Advanced

While there is an order to the Marie Kondo method, there’s nothing that says you must follow it. I trust you have the book and can see the order of categories: clothes, books, papers, komono, sentimental. My guess is you’re either wandering lost through uncharted komono jungles or you’re surrounded by foothills of clothes and books. Here’s how to jumpstart the process.

Where To Start When You Don't Know Where To Start

Think of your house as a bunch of corners and walls. The point is to break up rooms into small chunks.

Pick a corner that feels do-able.

As in, I can declutter this! Maybe it’s the corner next to your front door, or a corner of your bedroom, or the kitchen. Pick a corner that feels enticing. One you feel excited to work on.

Now, draw an imaginary boundary.

Decide where your corner starts and ends. See an invisible line on all sides. This is your work area.

Touch everything.

Now that you have your work area pick up (or touch) each item inside the boundary of your work area. Nothing's off limits. If it's not part of the house, touch it, pick it up.

Does it spark joy?

Don’t worry about categories here. Just work within your area. Pick each item up and zero in on how it makes you feel. Not sure if it sparks joy? Read my post about that whole spark-joy thing.

Dirty Decluttering

Maybe you’re feeling stuck because you need to do some basic housecleaning. If you’re anything like me, I need to clean first before I can really get into decluttering. While cleaning does some manner of decluttering - throwing away garbage, wiping away dust, tossing mail into the recycling bin - it’s difficult to get into the process until my space feels clean.

I like to get out my Tabata timer for those times when I’m particularly overwhelmed with the need to clean and declutter. Maybe you can employ this method also to get through some basic housecleaning, and then onto decluttering.

Whatever You Decide To Do, Just Start.

Can you declutter 10 things today? 20? How about a kitchen drawer? Or one bedroom corner?

Just start. Little by little. We're building a habit. Baby steps turn into miles over time.

Happy Decluttering!