3 Essential Rules of Decluttering

3 Essential Rules of Decluttering - Natalie Walton

Decluttering is the process of removing what’s unnecessary from our lives to create more space for what’s important: physical space to rest and relax, mental clarity to focus on what we value, and freedom to choose how we spend our time. 

Whether you’re tackling your entire home or just the kitchen ‘junk drawer’, these three rules will save you time and energy, and help you maintain your newly simplified space. 

Don’t miss the full Decluttering 101 Rulebook! Click here to access your free copy.

Rule #1 — Edit, then organise

One of the most common decluttering mistakes is rushing in and trying to organise before you’ve edited your belongings. It feels like a shortcut to the finished product, but it’s essentially just a form of tidying up—you won’t have addressed the root of the problem. 

To maximise your precious time and energy, start by paring down to the essentials. Once you’ve completed the edit, it will be easier to organise what remains. You’ll save yourself time and frustration, and ultimately come up with better solutions.

Rule #2 — Avoid holding onto things ‘just in case’

Another decluttering trap is holding onto miscellaneous objects, duplicate tools, and other odds and ends ‘just in case’ we’ll need them at some future date—even if we haven’t needed them in years (or even decades!). 

What looks and feels like total preparedness can be a scarcity mindset in disguise. There’s a whole heap of psychology around this, but the bottom line is that holding onto too many things ‘just in case’ isn’t serving you or the home you want to create. 

Consider whether you could borrow, rent, or purchase these items down the road. In most cases, you will be able to find what you need if the need arises.

Rule #3 — Be the example

One of the biggest sticking points when it comes to decluttering is managing the habits of other members of your household. We’re talking about spouses, children, and even pets! 

You need their buy-in on improving the functionality and flow of the home, but you can’t expect other members of your family to declutter or get organised if you don’t make the effort, too. Ask yourself, 

  • Am I leading by example?

  • Am I taking responsibility for my own mess?

  • How can I cultivate better awareness of my own habits?


Before you dive into each phase of your decluttering project, come back to these three rules: 

  1. Edit, then organise

  2. Avoid keeping things ‘just in case’

  3. Be the example

The more you engage with this process, the easier it will become. Start small and celebrate your wins along the way.


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