Archives for December 2014

A Bag A Day Keeps The Clutter Away {12 Months of Decluttering}

A Bag A Day Keeps The Clutter Away {12 Months of Decluttering}

Are you ready to take action and get serious about eliminating clutter in your home? I am! Did you read my secret to organization post, yesterday? Today, I’ll tell you more details on HOW I’m going to tackle it once and for all (or at least, how to make some great progress!). It doesn’t matter how much or how little clutter, time or money you have, or whether you have toddlers or teens, this plan will work!

After downsizing from a house twice the size six years ago, I’ve been on a mission to transform and streamline our home top to bottom, so it could be a refreshing place for our family to recharge and reenergize.

Don’t laugh or panic about the six years it took me to get to this point, just know that it’s not always an overnight transformation when you have a lot of other things going on at the same time! If you are like me and are a wee bit busy in life, you’ll relate to my slowness. Going slow doesn’t mean you are a hoarder, but even if it does, you can make progress every day so that’s a good thing. :)

I can tell you for sure, slow and steady gets you there eventually! If I can do this, you can too. I have several techniques for making progress on my home and they all inspire me to keep on going! Each step of the way has been so rewarding, but the more you do to transform your home, the more exciting and rewarding it gets to see the progress and how far you’ve come!

A Bag A Day Keeps The Clutter Away {12 Months of Decluttering}

Last year I was on a mission to organize and beautify each room. I made so much progress, as you may have seen on the blog over the past few months. Room by room, I thought about what we needed (and didn’t need any longer!) and made many changes to furniture, rearranged things, decluttered and any thing else I could do to feel more at home in each space.

Best of all, I’ve gotten rid of so much unnecessary stuff! I love having rooms with only things we love and actually use. And I resist bringing in more clutter because I’m so happy with how my home feels without it.

While the transformation been a slow and steady process, it’s been worth it! My home feels so much lighter, fresher and tidier than ever. I’m pleased with how far I’ve come, even though I didn’t get as much decluttering done last year as I had intended (I had to set aside some projects to work on book deadlines). But I know what I need to do next!

I’m giving myself grace for what I didn’t get done last year or the year before, so don’t be hard on yourself for how you got to this point or what you didn’t get done yet! Don’t give up before you even begin. Just start now!

A Bag A Day Keeps The Clutter Away {12 Months of Decluttering}
This year is a fresh start for all of us, I’m ready to tackle the rest of my clutter and excess, focusing in on each type of clutter and going through every closet and drawer.

I know what a difference decluttering has made already in my life. The more you declutter, the less you want to keep clutter in your home, and the easier it becomes to let things go.

A Bag A Day Keeps The Clutter Away {12 Months of Decluttering}

Kitchen Details

Would you like to join me in transforming your home by decluttering? After hearing from so many of you on this journey wanting the motivation and inspiration to take action, I realized I might as well have company along the way so I’m inviting you to be a part of it. You can see the plan I’m using, below!

By breaking down the areas of clutter into manageable bits (and by donating what I don’t want, one bag at a time), I know I can deal with eliminating the clutter and then I’ll be able to reorganize my closets and drawers over time.

Depending on your particular trouble spots, some of these areas I listed below in my helpful list might take an entire month or even more to tackle. Some might take less. Some you might be able to cross off the list entirely, or you might need to adjust them to meet your needs. Or add to or change order of the list! Your list can be unique, but the result will be the same if you focus on progress.

A Bag A Day Keeps The Clutter Away {12 Months of Decluttering}


A Bag a Day Keeps the Clutter Away…That’s my mantra for the year!

1. Pick whatever clutter category (sample categories I plan to use are below) you are most inspired to work on first. You don’t have to follow the monthly format, choose whatever works best for you.

2. Each category also suggests an area of the house or room to focus on, but adapt it all to suit your home and needs.

3. Tackle each area/category by filling up at least one bag per area and donating it (or dispose of trash.)

4. Keep on going every day, each month, even into the next year, eliminating the excess, until your home is clutter free! Keep up the bag per day concept (even if your bag gets much smaller!) to keep any clutter from sneaking back in. :)

5. Just say NO to more clutter coming in. You will get better at saying no to clutter as you see the results of your hard work! Be firm about it so you can break the cycle of TOO MUCH STUFF.

Here are a few decluttering tips:

1. The important thing is identifying the clutter hot spots that you need to focus on with “gazelle intensity” (a good ol’ Dave Ramsey phrase) each month– and then make it a mission to get it done! Even if you only have a few minutes a day to declutter, it all adds up.

2. To reach your organizing goals, you’ll have to commit to consistency in decluttering.  Make it your goal to get rid of as much as you can in each category, donating at least one bag of stuff at a time, can until there is NO clutter left like it. Then you can move on to the next category! Don’t worry about organizing it as you go, just get rid of stuff. Organizing can happen along the way if it makes sense, or save it for later, just try to stay focused on ridding your home of a bag of clutter a day.

3. Only keep what you actually use or need. Be ruthless and focused on the end goal, a clutter-free home and the peace that will come with knowing where everything is and having nothing in your home you don’t use or love!

4. Even if you think you *might* need something down the road, just let it go unless it’s precious to you. If it’s not precious, it’s not worth keeping for “just in case.” Only keep what you really love or actually use on a regular basis.

5. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. It might take you a year, or more, or less, depending on how far along you are in the decluttering journey already. But you will see progress!

This “Bag a Day” plan isn’t a declutter project that you start on New Years and work on for a few weeks and then quit, it is about developing the habit of finding joy in a clutter free home.

A bag a day keeps the clutter away!

So where should you begin decluttering? Here’s a year long plan, choose what works for you!



Clothes, bags, shoes, accessories {including seasonal items}, dressers, closets, nightstands, Master bedroom.


Papers, files, calendars, office drawers, command centers. Home office.


Beauty products, medicine cabinets, bathroom cabinets. Bathroom.


Linens (towels, sheets, blankets) and cleaning supplies. Laundry room and linen closets and under sinks or anywhere you store cleaning supplies.


Pots, pans, dishes, kitchen electronics, pantry items (spices, food, baking items), kitchen cabinets. Kitchen and Pantry.


Books, magazines, DVDs, electronic devices, games. Family rooms.


Tools (yard tools, ladder, power tools, hardware, cleaning tools), project materials and supplies on garage shelves. Garage, tool bench and storage areas.


Keepsakes (sentimental, photos, albums) and kids’ drawings and mementos. Closets and bookshelves, anywhere mementos are stored.


Other family members’ clothes and kids’ toys.  Closets, bedrooms, playrooms, school supplies.


Hobby supplies (sewing, crafts, gift wraps, gift cards, etc.). Craft cabinets or closets.


Decorative items {seasonal, decorative, furniture, extra items you don’t need}. Wherever you store excess. Garage, Basement.


Christmas and holiday items, entertaining supplies. Basements, cupboards, garages.

Happy Decluttering! Come back and share in the comments how things are going for you, or post updates on your blog so we can see! You can share the link to a post in the comments, too, if you want to share your own journey.

A Bag A Day Keeps The Clutter Away {12 Months of Decluttering}

>> Need more organizing ideas? Check out my books on organizing, Simple Organizing and Make Room for What You Love!

The Secret to Getting Organized

The Secret to Getting Organized

Recently my daughter and I went through my laundry room linen closet and removed everything we didn’t need or use anymore. I was amazed (and mortified!) by how much stuff was in there just taking up space! We got rid of about six garbage bags of miscellaneous old flat lifeless pillows and grungy old linens! Yikes! Why in the world was I keeping all that stuff?

But the other surprise was how many usable things we had, when I thought I was probably in need of new linens! I bought a few new pillows and a couple of new blankets for extra guests to use over the holidays, but we already had way more sheets and pillowcases than I realized. I just couldn’t tell what we had because our closet was too stuffed!

Here’s the real secret to getting organized:

When we feel overwhelmed and think we need to get better organized, usually what we really need to do first is declutter.

The less we have, the easier it is to find what we need.

The less we have, the less time we will spend maintaining and cleaning things.

The less we have, the less money we will spend buying new things we don’t need that will end up cluttering up our closets and cabinets even more.

The less we have, the more we will enjoy what we do have.

The less we have, the less “organizing” we actually have to do.

So while it’s probably the least fun part of organizing and the most stressful, decluttering is really the most rewarding and important step of all.

Ready to get started? Find my Decluttering Calendar and simple tips to get started!

Be sure to check out my books on organizing!

The Secret to Getting Organized

Order my brand new book!

Simple Organizing

Amazon // Barnes and Noble

The Secret to Getting Organized

Make Room for What You Love {Your Essential Guide to Organizing and Simplifying}. Order Make Room for What You Love at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

What types of clutter most overwhelms you in your home?