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

by | Dec 31, 2014 | Decorating Inspiration, Organization

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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!


  1. Laurie

    I recently read that Christmas items should be donated in October. Most organizations do not have long term storage for out of season items. I am going to fill a bin with Holiday items I no longer want and store in basement until October.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Good tip! Thanks so much for sharing, I suppose decluttering Christmas as you take stuff out early in the month would be much better than afterwards in January! Although if I have things to donate I need to just let them go immediately, otherwise it would get lost under my house, I think I would still take my chances haha.

      Thanks again!

    • Ruth

      If you don’t want to keep the stuff till October put it on Freecycle. I’ve used them and the stuff usually goes pretty quickly.

      • Cyndi

        That’s a really good idea. I know in my neighborhood, we have a Facebook Group and if a neighbor puts anything out that’s free, the post it in the Facebook group and tell us where to find it.

    • Rondell

      Thanks, that’s a great tip. I have to much Christmas stuff!

      • Linda B

        Me too! 46 years worth.

  2. Betsy @ Happily Ever After Etc.

    I love this! I feel like I’ve been “working” on de cluttering my home for years now… Unfortunately I have dozens of knock-knacks my mama finds and gifts to me. It’s the thought that counts but no one needs that many ceramic cat statues! I have to smuggle them out under the cover of night fall or she asks why I don’t love her gift… I loved the first one number 57 has got to go! Anyone else have this problem??

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Ha! I’ve heard that a lot so you are not alone! :-) Just remember that your home is YOUR oasis so if you enjoy the one cat statue, it can stay. But the other 56 might need to find a new home, without guilt. I’m sure your mama wants to bless you with gifts but maybe you could redirect her to things you need and tell her you just don’t have any more space for knick-knacks. It’s hard to make progress when new things you don’t want keep finding their way to your home! GOOD LUCK! :-)

      • cece

        sorry late to this convo…(on receiving knick knacks)…
        I am the recipient of many, and truth told, maybe given a few too many homemade gifts also. I have always thought of them as tangible long distance HUGS. I receive the hug, love the person back in some way,and pass the “hug” along. Recently this boomeranged on me…so I gave the “gift/hug” to someone I believe to be living on the street, and tucked in a note of encouragement and a bit of money.. Hopefully these hugs will start a different recycle program in my community as I look forward to the giving.

    • Julie

      My MIL has gifted us with a lot of knick knacks over the years. Even though she lives in another state, I felt badly getting rid of them. Each time we’d visit her, I would encourage her not to ever hang on to things we gifted her with, that it would not hurt my feelings. Eventually, she started offering up the same to us, so I was able to give much of it new homes with other people and sell a bunch at a yard sale. It was liberating!

      Recently, we sold some stuff thru a consignment store that deals with home decor and furniture. The sales lady there told me more and more people are bringing there stuff in to be sold because they want simpler lives, not because they’re strapped for cash.

  3. Linda

    Thanks for the fabulous tips!!!
    I’m going to start with a box for garage sale as I’m putting away Christmas.
    Then I will do the closets and studio……

  4. Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    Melissa, the bag-a-day idea is terrific… small measures yield big results. ;) I do okay with clutter. I’m not perfect by any means, but my greatest issue is having plenty of storage space in the basement and not getting rid of things. I’m not a hoarder… I trash or giveaway plenty. My parents have passed and as their very late in life only child … I have too many of their interesting things with all kinds of potential. All I can say is two people should not be able to fill a full-size professional moving van. :-/ Hopefully, I’ll be able to look at all that stuff with new eyes once I get it out of storage. My fingers are crossed. My husband’s are double crossed. teehee :)

    • Ann C

      Diane, of an Extraordinary Day, I am living in my parents home since they passed last year leaving me with a full house! My problem is I also owned a home full of belongings. I have moved allot of my own things in here, but now have to get serious about getting rid of stuff. I came from a family who saved things for future need, and it is hard to break that habit. the things I have are duplicate tools and small kitchen appliances,etc. it’s easy for me to dispose of clothing but difficult when it comes to decorative or useful items. Often have been able to help someone just starting out and in need of dishes, etc but it’s time…

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      That’s a big factor in the journey of life, many of us end up with things we didn’t buy but that we need to make decisions about. And many of them might be wonderful, sentimental or heirlooms even, so it makes sense to take the time to assess what is there and how they might fit into your life, without overwhelming it. It’s an ongoing process, but you’ll get there!!! Baby steps, right? Happy New Year!

    • Lois

      a good hint….take a picture of the object that is sentimental and taking up space.,Put the picture in an album and recycle the object!!

      • Janet Cucharo

        Better yet, scan the picture on your computer! One of my biggest and hardest decluttering obstacles has been getting rid of albums & photos no one EVER looks at!

  5. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

    Melissa, thanks for the tips! My big area of clutter is my work desk. This week I’ve been trying to clear it off. I love to write little notes to myself about blog post ideas, blog site changes, etc. They are all over my desk. So, I’ve made a blog planner binder this week. All my little notes are either transferred to the binder, or the blog post ideas are written on blog planner sheets that I have taped to my wall above my desk. Now I just write an idea for a blog post on my wall, instead of an individual note that gets lost on my desk. I’m hoping it will help me keep my work desk free of paper clutter.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      That’s a great tip, Jann! I’m not a very good planner so that’s a great idea to get organized with blogging. I did finally get ONE DRAWER in my office where I keep all my random notes so at least I know where to go to find them now. Ha! And my daughter got me some new notebooks for taking notes so I’m excited about that.

      The worst for me is that I keep a lot of information in my head so to be more effective I need to keep them elsewhere :-). Oh, I do use the notes section on my iPhone though. Now that I’m juggling writing several books at once, I get all these little ideas in my head on several topics so instead of losing them in my already cluttered mind, I have been writing them directly in the notes on my phone that I keep on upcoming books. That helps me so much when I need to refer back to an idea! The older I get the more I need to write things down or I forget things easily :).

  6. Joy

    Decluttering is an ongoing process for me, though I’ve hauled tons of stuff away! I’m one of those people that others like to give their “too good to throw away or give away” things to. I also like to make things and so have lots of “supplies.” But my biggest challenge is paper and clothes clutter. I made serious inroads on the paper when I bought two used file cabinets and quit trying to organize in lots of little file containers.
    I might suggest as someone else did getting rid of Christmas clutter before Christmas, that way others can make use of it. And also go through linens at the end of the year as most stores have white sales in January–that way if there really is something you need to replace you will find it at a good price.
    Your list of monthly tasks is great simply because it spells out categories to work on–I like that a lot!

  7. joanne

    what a great blog today. It is like having someone leading you every step of the way. I think one of the problems with decluttering when you live by yourself is you have no one to tell you ok its time to throw that out or donate, my 2 dogs are not smart enough to talk yet (give them time) so when I read your blog today, I was so inspired to start. I have started the process by giving stuff away and throwing out what I thought I would never use again, the problem the item that I did get rid of is something I had to re-buy (oh well) gave me a chance to go to Michael’s again (haha) I will try and follow the month by month whenever it applies to my home and I hope I will be clutter free soon. THANKS FOR A WONDER START. :)

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      You are very welcome. I think the need to re-purchase something happens sometimes but if all we have to re-buy is a few small things, at least we know in the grand scheme of things we have better control of our home and what we actually need after decluttering! Worth it, I think. Good luck and come back and let me know how it goes!!

  8. JessB

    The biggest and most important part of decluttering happens after the rooms are cleaned. You must refuse to bring things in the house, whether it’s presents you don’t want or need, junk on sale, etc. Otherwise, you are caught in a constant cycle of shifting things in and out of your house.

    • vikki

      How do you convince the rest of the family to go along with it.
      It feels like as soon as I clear a space it’s an invitation for hubby to lay something down in that spot!

  9. Melissa

    I love this! I just got rid of 9 bags this past week. It’s like losing weight – I feel so much lighter!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      I know, it’s awesome! I’m so much more content too once I get rid of things. Funny how that works!

  10. Wendy

    Happy New Year! I actually had already decluttered and organized some spaces (laundry/utility room, homeschool room and file cabinet) over the past few days and I feel so calm and happy now that I tackled those jobs. Once I read your post this morning I decided to tackle my clothing/closet as well and managed to get rid of quite a few things. One helpful hint that I read a couple of years ago and that really helped me is at the beginning of the year you turn all the hangers in your closet around so that the hook comes over from the back of the rod. Once you wear something you turn the hanger so that it is hanging from the front of the rod. At the end of the year you will know what you haven’t worn that year by seeing which hangers are still facing the “wrong” way. I hope that makes sense! :) Thanks for providing great ideas and inspiration!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Excellent tip, I’ve heard that one too and should try it. That would be so helpful when you aren’t sure if you’ll ever wear something so you keep it, and then sure enough, the proof you don’t need it would be right there in front of you! Although in my current mindset I’m planning on getting rid of SO MUCH in my closet that I hope I will be brave and strong enough to get rid of things I know never wear and not save anything for “someday”…. We will see how it goes. Ha. Thanks for the great idea!

      • Bev Myers

        It sounds like a good idea, but a message from my uncle, a retired fire chief. “Anytime it’s possible, firefighters will try to save some articles. If there is time, they’ll take a bunch of clothes out of the closet and throw them out a window, so that hopefully people will still have some kind of clothes to wear. If hangers are all facing the same direction, they can do this. If not, the firefighters will just skip it.”

        • JessB

          Wow, that’s an interesting tip about the firefighters. I hope I never have to deal with a fire, but it’s good to know.

  11. Shannon

    Will absolutely be decluttering this year – working on both finding my “signatures” and exploring the world around me rather than managing stuff. I want the things in our house to be thoughtfully purchased for the long haul – not just whats in this season or all over pinterest (which all end up in the goodwill pile eventually!) I want to be so clear on what my/our family’s signatures are that all the other noise falls away, which then frees my time for exploring – both locally and afar. Starting with the local since Seattle has so many amazing nooks & crannies.

    I’ve recently discovered “Buy Nothing” facebook groups and its a GREAT way to part with stuff & build community at the same time. I sometimes get palpitations when donating “good stuff” to charities and gifting them to members of my community takes away some of that.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Amen to that, I love exploring! We don’t need stuff we don’t want weighing us down so we have no room for what we really love. Enjoy exploring, let me know what awesome things you find!! I try to treat living here like a vacation and we love going on adventures. :-D

  12. Nancy

    I’m in! I started last summer when my daughter moved into her apartment and I am making progress. January is for my kitchen. Let you know how it goes!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Yes, DO let me know! I love being inspired by everyone else’s progress!! Enjoy this new season of life and making your home your oasis!!

  13. Marilou

    Hi, I love the idea of starting new habits in January, I feel the stress of spending too much of my precious time and energy looking for items that I know I have and can’t find! I am starting with magazines and catalogs, which I will recycle. I definitely will use your guidelines to keep myself on track, and thank you very much for your very convincing point that de-cluttering really will impact ones life in a big way. Can’t wait to get started!

  14. Paula

    So great!!! Totally joining you!

  15. sandyc

    Love the idea of focusing on one area per month – doesn’t have to be the exact schedule you give above. but I think it can really help with that overwhelming sense of depression that can occur when every room in your house needs work. As I mentioned in my response to yesterday’s post, my focus right now is finally getting my new D’office in order after two years of living in the house. I’ve been following the bag-a-day plan; I just need to remember that I don’t need to amass a garage full of bags before I can donate them. My two favorite donation sites are very close and since I don’t have enough of anything to itemize any longer, I don’t need to keep track of donations for tax purposes (actually a freedom in itself). It’s reaffirming that you talk about six years of work; I sometimes feel ashamed that after two years, I haven’t done much in comparison to all my new neighbors who went full speed ahead before they even moved in. But then I remember how lucky and blessed I was to be able to buy a home under the great conditions I got it and how my comfortable fixed income and financial situation simply means I think carefully, evaluate and reevaluate and take my time before I make permanent decisions. My new air conditioner, fridge and washer/dryer are completely paid for and I didn’t deplete my cash reserves to do that, and I know the funds to redo the floors will appear when the time is right, so I can just keep reading wonderful blogs and being inspired and making plans and know that I’ve got four more years to go.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Good for you! Everyone’s situation and circumstances are different so we need to not beat ourselves up if it takes us a long time to get where we want to go. Every time I’ve moved I feel like it added years to my work because it’s like starting over! We can only do our best and focus on what we can, right now, and commit to a new lifestyle of less of what we don’t want and enjoyment of what we keep. Things change as we move, life changes occur and we just have to go with the flow and make course adjustments as we go. :-)

      I’m rooting for you! I’ll be here for years to come sharing my journey, so we can keep on cheering each other on!!

  16. Sharon

    I’ve been following your blog for some time now, and just love what you’ve done with your home. And your blog about uncluttering (decluttering?) hit the spot. It’s just what I was searching for. I tend to look around and walk room to room with a basket and pick up things I’m either tired of dusting, or just plain tired of. However, they usually end up outside in the garage, packed away. I’m thinking now of letting them go for good, maybe consigning them at a local shop, where someone else can find them. Thanks for the tips, and I’m looking forward to what you’ll be up to next year! Happy New Year from North Carolina!

  17. Connie

    I sooo need this and am looking forward to the inspiration and the actual de-clutter.
    I’ve been working on it bit by bit but I think this will really give me direction. Hey, Dave Ramsey cleaned up our financial lives last year – I really get “gazelle intensity”

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Same, Dave has got the right attitude! I’m here cheering you on and thanks for being here motivating me to keep on going!! :-)

  18. Denise

    Thanks for the inspiration, Melissa! I’m in!

  19. Karen

    Love the idea if one bag at a time, it do-able. Can’t wait to start

  20. Patricia

    I’m in! But my goal is one box a week. I’m shooting for downsizing in six years as we’re planning on moving into a Senior Independent living apartment. I have a pretty good idea on what will fit into our future home and now just need to find a good or at least elsewhere home for everything we won’t need or want. My biggest commitment is to not shop! I’m shopping my closet for clothes and plan on a massive reorganization and sorting later this month.
    Maybe I need to step it up a little…

  21. Joanne A

    Magazines are my nemesis. I had every intention of going through the stacks before Christmas and tearing out only the photos that inspire and putting them in a file folder for reference. They are still there. Taunting me. Staring at me. Why can’t I just get on with it?!

  22. Vicki

    What a great article. Like you, I long for a decluttered, orderly home, that only contains things we use and love. My challenge is that my Dad moved in with us several years ago, and that doubles the stuff that needs to be gone through and culled out.

    Your monthly list is the perfect starting point for me. Thanks so much for organizing this task for me. I can do this!

    Happy New Year!

  23. Lisa

    Seems like “bite sized” portions of my home. I can handle that!

  24. Andrea

    Oh my goodness…..I am with you all in this. I began this journey last summer…..had hopes of moving to a smaller home, but I have not convinced my husband as of yet. I did begin the big purge and freed us of so much. We even had a garage sale and was able to put that money to better use while giving some of our stuff a new home. There is still so much that I need to do, but this is just the motivation I need. Hope to find more motivation here ….I’m sure I will need it (it’s a challenge to let go of the stuff sometimes!!!).

    Happy New Year!!!

  25. Kara

    Thanks for the inspiration. I just finished visiting family with “more” than I have and came back with the urge to shop BUT your post has reminded me to focus on what is important. I am starting my decluttering mission now!

  26. Winnie

    I’ve recently finished reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. If you are looking for inspiration to declutter – trust me – this book will do it. I’ve completely decluttered and organised my home. It feels wonderful.

  27. Lisa D

    great idea! I’m always getting rid of stuff. But never focused as much as a bag a day! I’m in. Happy new year!

  28. Eileen

    I love this!!!! I think with this list I can do it! I am certainly going to give it a try! Thanks for the inspiration!

  29. Terry

    Thank you for a very practical and do-able solution for clearing clutter. Reading through all the comments reminded me of a book I read years ago titled “Smart Women Keep It Simple.” Here’s to decluttering and simplifying our lives in 2015! Happy New Year, Everyone!

  30. Moriah C

    I am new to your blog and just love it! We will be moving in 5 months for a job relocation so this post couldn’t have come at a better time. I was just starting to sort through things as I pack the Christmas things away and realize I need “gazelle” focus. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  31. Debbie B

    I cleaned out the buffet in my dining room today and it was amazingly simple and yet it gave me so much hope. It took me no more than 20-30 minutes and it was so freeing. I can see how I can get the whole house done by just taking it one step at a time instead of being overwhelmed by all of it. Thank you for getting me started.


    loving these tips! I find paper is my biggest enemy – especially all the kid’s stuff from school that comes in by the ton. I need to get started :)

    • Ewinni

      Regarding get rid of kids papers, I used to have a collection place for their artwork, schoolwork, etc, and I would keep it one month, after that time I looked for the one treasure to keep till the end of the end year. I found that the less you keep of what they have done, the more likely you are to look at it later. Projects can be photographed and saved in that manner.

  33. Michelle

    This is such a beautiful and inspiring post! I’m in! This going to be freeing!

  34. Mary Lou

    Maybe this is just me, but now in my late 50’s, I look around and want less stuff in my life. One of my goals for 2015 is to make a real effort at de-cluttering and begin to get organized again. So, this comes at just the right time for me. I really like the idea of a bag a day. Thanks so much for taking the time to post these ideas for others.

  35. Jessy @ The Life Jolie

    Ok, this is really great. One of my big new years resolutions is to finally organize our horribly cluttered home. You actually make it seem manageable. I may have to try this. Thank you and happy new year!

  36. Judi

    This comes at a good time for me as well. My house needs decluttering so very badly. My first decluttering project is going to be my favorites bar on my computer and temporarily eliminate all the blogs that encourage the exact opposite….so many seem to encourage us to buy, buy, buy. It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to keep up with the blogs and constantly change our décor to match the season or the current trend that we end up with a home full of stuff. I keep thinking the next “thing” will make my house beautiful when really getting rid of al the stuff I’ve bought at Goodwill over the years will do far more to make my home beautiful than continuing to fill it to overflowing. Just need to not hyperventilate when I think about getting rid of a bag a day….I think that is a sign of a hoarder….LOL. Best of luck to you and everyone else starting on this journey!

  37. ali grace | cookies and grace

    Oh my goodness, this is so motivating. And helpful!! Our home is pretty small so it can get cluttered pretty easily. This makes organizing and decluttering much less daunting!
    P.S. Any tips on encouraing a hoarder husband to let go of a few things?? ;)

  38. Jana

    Thank you for this encouraging, manageable information. My husband and I have just last month completed the process of downsizing to a 1540 sq ft house w2car garage from 2200 w/3 car garage. Over the course of one month we donated at least 65% of our possessions (some we hadn’t even seen or used in the 15 yrs we had lived there!). It was SO hard but freeing! Now as we unpack and settle in its clear we still have too much so I have my work cut out in the next yr making this new place work for us. I have subscribed to your emails and anticipate much help by reading them and the archives I’ve just discovered. Thank you again!!

  39. Julie

    I recently started helping a family I met on a local Facebook Free site. The page is only for free giveaway items. Most people are in desperate need of items as they are starting over or just getting an apartment after being in a shelter. It feels so good to donate directly to these people that it has helped me get rid of not-so-favorite items that I may not have parted with originally. If you can’t find a similar page in your community it’s easy to start one up! I also feel like I am recycling in a way rather than adding to landfills.(one man’s trash is another man’s treasure)

  40. Francine from Callaloo Soup

    I’ve just declared a war on clutter for this year using your guide! Thanks so much for the push. My word for the year is healthy, which includes having a healthy home. I already know that having cleared out beautiful spaces makes me feel better, and will make us breathe better too!

  41. Lyn

    Oh my goodness this is brilliant I started today and I have four bags……not all full up, but it’s a good start. It felt so so good getting rid of it too. I have done so well I have made space in our walk in wardrobe. I may not be able to do as much every day but I’m certainly going to try and do a little bit. Thank you so much for the idea and inspiration to start.

  42. Christina Rodriguez

    I agree that you shouldn’t be hard on yourself for making changes in your home slowly. Sometimes that approach means you keep up those changes more easily. Plus, making decisions with deliberation and intention will mean that you are happier with the result for far longer than you might be with a snap decision.

  43. Ginger

    I really want to do this but wow, January looks pretty daunting!! That is my neediest area, though, so I guess I’d better get going…thanks for the inspiration.

  44. Shannon Porter

    You’ve encouraged me to begin decluttering.

  45. naomi

    I started decluttering after Christmas, We did my daughter’s and my son’s room. My house is lighter already! I love your list and will do my best to follow it. You are right! we don’t need to keep all these things we are not using.

  46. jodi

    I’d love a weekly place to check in with one another. This is right up my ally for my 2015 goal of being more organized and clutter-free!!!

  47. Victoria

    Great ideas here, but I must take issue with one thing. Please, do not throw out scrapbooks or keepsakes or photographs unless they have no connection to you or your family or anyone else you know. They always mean something. When a tragedy stricks that destorys a home, everyone says they are heartbroken that they lost their photographs. My kids know that if there is a fire, they grab the dog and the scrapbooks on the way out. I am not serious, of course, but after kids and dog, they are the only things that matter.

  48. Lindy

    THANK YOU!!!! I am terrible at staying focused and never end up decluttering because I can’t focus on a topic, or a room in order to finish. I have clear out so many clothes and accessories so far this year. Now on to the paper clutter.

  49. selina

    YES YES YES the clutter coming in! Good point.

  50. Ann Galassi

    I really love your bag a day idea and especially the notion that it’s not just a project but rather a process for keeping clutter at bay and creating a peaceful, purposeful home. I have been taking on purging and organizing of my home for the last couple years. It’s been a real evolution of my thought process about our family’s belongings, the environment I want to live in and my priorities. But I was always getting frustrated that as much junk & clutter I purged the same amount of new stuff kept coming in. I kept thinking “When will I be done with this?” I felt like i was just moving merchandise in & out and from room to room in our house. I’ve learned that you can’t just organize and say “Ta Da, done forever!” Because we change, our family’s needs change, life in general requires change. Your post helped me realize this too and relieved my frustration over this on going battle by making me think of it more as a process of maintenence than a “battle” I’ll never win and I’m not fraught with guilt anymore over getting rid of items I’ve purchased or that were gifts. I’ve used them, they’ve worn out, things have changed. They’ve served their purpose, and now I can let go because I no longer need them. I feel energized by your post, it was an eye opener and very helpful.
    P.S. I still struggle with paper clutter, it’s the bane of my existence. But I’ll get to my happy place with that eventually too. :)

  51. Heidi @ Decor & More

    Hi Melissa! I just found this post and it echoes my Lenten discipline for this year of decluttering and donating. 15 minutes a day for all of Lent — I’m off to a great start and so appreciate your inspiration to continue it once Lent is over.
    Have a blessed day!
    xo Heidi

  52. ardene

    Thanks for the inspiration. Now I too have a much more inspired foyer. Something about that picture of the front hall with the turquoise shabby chic shelf just made me snap into action, a bit of a rarity to have vision and drive like that. Now I have two Art Deco pieces together and a low-light plant that creates an inviting space. J’adore!!!

  53. Karren Haller

    I made my way to your blog from a pin about your Mason Jars. I would love to have you share.
    I just finished reading an article on downsizing where once they were done, they could pack in their car what they wanted to keep, took them 2 years.

    I like your idea of a “Bag a Day”. I keep running onto these decluttering and downsizing articles and I think they are trying to tell me something, duh I need to get started. Thanks for this inspiration.

    I think your post would be enjoyed on my Friday Feature Linky party,
    if you would like to share, I would love to have you stop by!!
    Have a great weekend!

  54. Janet

    Great month by month schedule, except I do the July tasks in March when I start spring gardening, plus the weather isn’t quite as hot.

  55. Loné Dann

    Thank you for sharing this awesome idea! We can all do with less clutter in our lives, I know I have way too much stuff and it’s just so easy to pile everything up! In our house instead of a bag we use a clutter basket, which also works pretty well. Let the decluttering begin…

  56. Jenny B.

    This bag-a-day idea has piqued my interest! I have a silly question… What kind of bag? I know that it’s filling the bag and getting rid of the clutter that’s the point, and any bag would work, but what did/do you use? A regular trash bag? A lawn size trash bag? A Walmart sack? A reusable bag? I’m just curious what worked for you. :)

    • Stephanie

      I think you can use any size bag – some days are going to be big, and some will be small!

  57. Stephanie

    I know I am very late to the party, but this post just popped up on my Pinterest feed and I have decided to go for it!

  58. Allison

    This is great! We’re planning a 2000 mile move at the end of the year and it’s going to be crazy! I have 6 months to declutter and purge as much as I can. This is a really good list to help me know where to start! Already we’ve passed on about 8 bags of baby clothes (and we still even kept some!) And I got rid of 3 bags of my own clothing. It feels good and is totally getting easier to let go of things. I’ll be referencing this list for help!

  59. Nelly Nazario the article. Can you tell me what I can do with around 30 artwork that I made. Honestly, my paintings are good and because I’m not famous I sell very cheap. All they are original. But this is my biggest clutter. The dimension are between 30 by 36 the bigger and 2″ by 2″ the prices between $20 to $200. They are oil paintings. It is hard because obviously I have sentiment feeling if I throw away. Do you have any advice? Please I need to recover my space. I have a website if you interesting in see it.
    Thank you

    • Penny

      You could try donating your paintings to charity event raffles, local library or school, nursing home, or a doctor who’s office is bare. That way they can be shared with the community rather than piled on a dusty thrift store shelf

  60. Peaches

    Love your ideas! Going to do this, starting today!
    Thank you!

  61. Linda B

    So do I! 46 years worth.

  62. Lisa

    I’m so glad I found this article… your words are so encouraging, especially the part about giving yourself grace about what you haven’t done yet. That choked me up a little, because I’m very judgmental of myself about the clutter and I tend to be pretty hard on myself, which does NOT help! Baby steps, slow but steady, one bag a day—I think I can DO this! Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  63. Wanda Conlin

    I would consider myself a cluster. My house is horrible. I have dishes that I’ve had for yearssss yes I’ve been wanting to get rid of them but my husband says no that we need to keep them. I don’t know what to do? I have Christmas dinner set that I bought years ago yes I may have used them twice they just sit up in my cabinet I know I need to get rid of those. I’m totally not able to organize anything!!! I don’t know how what goes where ect. I have a cabinet that has stuff that I can’t get to. Maybe once in a while I might need something out of there but other than that it’s full of stuff I don’t use. I have a kitchen aid that my son bought me I love it but I don’t use it. So do I keep it for sentimental reasons?? My whole house is a big clutter even outside which is my husbands stuff he won’t get rid of anything cause his motto is he might need it sometime down the road when I talk to him about getting rid of the stuff it ends up arguing so I give up. Please please I desperately need help.


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