5 decluttering methods (you may not have heard of)

The word “minimalist” has quickly entered our collective vocabulary over the past year, in part sparked by books such as “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Mario Kondo - or her new netflix series “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” and documentaries such as “Minimalism” by The Minimalists. All of these have gained a lot of traction and have inspired many people to live more intentional lives, with less possessions.

Regardless of whether you want to pack up all your belongings into a van and hit the road or simply come home to a less cluttered space after a long day of work, taking the time to review whether the things you own are truly serving you (and discarding them if they aren’t) is a valuable step towards a more purposeful life.

  1. The KonMari Method

Popularised by Marie Kondo as a result of the success of her book and TV Show, the KonMari method states that you should categorise your belongings into 5 sections (clothes, books, papers, “Komono” (miscellaneous) and sentimental). Kondo advocates gathering all the items of a particular section into a pile, to give you a true sense of how much you own, before sorting through them - only keeping the items that “spark joy”.

  1. The “Packing Party” Method

Introduced by “The Minimalists” Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, this method is perfect for people who are moving and have cause to pack up all their possessions in boxes. The idea is to only unpack the items you use everyday and leave the rest of the boxes sealed. As soon as you need an item one of the boxes, you can go and retrieve it, but after 3 months (or 100 days), any items still in the boxes must be discarded. This method leaves you with all the items you actually use, and helps relieve a common fear when decluttering: “what if I need it in the future?”.

  1. The 12-12-12 Challenge

This is a simple and quick one, that can be made into a competition with a roommate, spouse or child. Simply find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate and 12 items to return to their correct place. This won’t have the same long-lasting effects as the methods above, but requires a lot less time and effort whilst still producing results.

  1. “Trash Bag Tango”

From Peter Walsh, author of Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight, this method entails getting 2 bin bags and setting a timer for 10 minutes. One bag is for items to donate and the other is for things you just want to get out of the house. It is very similar to the 12-12-12 challenge, but with added time pressure and is very easy to incorporate into a routine.

  1. Oprah clothes hanger method

 The only method on this to be endorsed by Oprah, this specifically targets clothes hanging in a wardrobe. The idea is to reverse all the hangers, until you have a worn an item of clothing and are then able to turn the hanger around when you put it back in the wardrobe. This, similar to the Packing Party method, gives you an idea of what proportion of your clothes you actually wear frequently. Then, after a pre-set amount of time, discard all the clothes on hangers that haven’t been turned around. This is probably the easiest of all the decluttering methods on this list as it requires the least change in your lifestyle, merely the commitment to turning around clothes hangers.

Those are all the decluttering methods I have to recommend for today. Comment how you found them if you try any - or if you have any methods of your own, we would love to hear them!


  • We’ve just moved I think we’ll try the packing party a try, got a spare room full of boxes at the moment!!! Check back in 100 days

    Joanne Mcelderry
  • Reading this actually made me feel queasy; I think I must be a secret hoarder. I like the idea of the Oprah method. I think it will show me how much I actually dont wear or no longer need. Watch this space…

  • For a long time I have done the turn the hanger around for 6 months thing and if I’ve not worn, get rid. But I didn’t realise until now it was an actual method that others did!! I have tried the KonMari Method but I was scared at how much I had!!
    I am now going to have a go at the others though! Thanks for the tips!! X

    Kerri Jameson
  • I like these ideas!! They make it very easy to see that’s theres some simple ways to declutter! Just wish I could teach myself its possible now!! Haha

  • I often use the trash tango type method for the house, except for when sorting my sons possessions.
    I find ‘just close the door on the cupboard, pretend you didn’t look in there and try again when he’s out’ method works best for me!

    Mrs H

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