Large area declutter ~ Minimal disruption

This post is all about breaking down, into steps, the task of decluttering a large cluttered area of your home without causing undue disruption. I am going to use the kitchen as my example area, however these steps can be easily adapted to any space. I chose the kitchen simply because, in Western Society, this space usually has lots of divisions of space with lots of individual items in them. So without further adieu let us begin.

Step One ~ Setting up

If you don’t already have a space set up to store the decluttered items prior to complete removal from your home ~ I call this the transition point ~ now is the time take care of this step. Designate an area to move the items to that you wish to declutter. This is where you store them until you are able to get out to deliver them to the thrift shop, donation bin, sell them or pass them on to a friend or relative. You may want to set up individual tubs in order to keep these items separate depending on there intended final destination.

Step Two ~ Division of space

Choose one small space in your area to work on at a time.  Make it a small enough space ~ One drawer, one shelf, one area of the bench top… ~ that can be dealt with quickly and easily.

Step Three ~ Empty and choose

Remove everything from this small space, choosing which items to declutter as you handle each one. Move the decluttered items to your transition point. At this time you may also want to return misplaced items to their appropriate areas. However don’t be tempted to fine tune the space as that is much easier to achieve once the decluttering of the entire area has taken place

Step Four ~ Prep

If necessary, do any cleaning or maintenance necessary to prepare this space for the return of the keeper items. Also clean any keeper items that require it.

Set Five ~ Replace

Replace the keeper items to the space in the most sensible order to suit your needs. Now the greater area is tidy again.

Set Six ~ Repeat

If you have time at this juncture you can move on to the next small section of your area ~ starting at step two and follow through to step five. However if you have other things to do with your day you can walk away comforted by the fact that the area is tidy and you can return to the task when time permits.

Clearly the strategy is to break the large area into small sections that can be completed in a short period of time. Do one section at a time leaving no mess behind you as you move on. Continue section by section at your own pace.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something you have knowingly passed over during previous decluttering mission that you still haven’t utilised. I decluttered some cardboard boxes that I saved for mailing but haven’t been used.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Eco Tip for the Day

Only turn a light on when absolutely necessary.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • You can do things differently Doodles blog post yesterday got me thinking about how out of character my decluttering method is to my usual behaviour. Of the seven sabotaging behaviours Doodle mentioned in the post, I […]
  • To be perfect ~ By Andréia We all are taught that perfection does not exist. What we fail to do is to believe that. I don’t really know about the rest of the world, but I am tired of seeing in all places the […]
  • Sabotaging your efforts ~ By Doodle Are there things you do to sabotage your de-cluttering goals? I got the idea for this post after reading “No More Clutter” by Sue Kay. She suggests the following as ways we […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Great steps!

  2. Colleen, this is a really good explanation of the process for decluttering. I think we are going to do the kitchen this week. We have done a lot over the last year but we are down to where some final choices need to be made.

  3. This post is timely. I’m feeling a bit like “chicken with my head cut off running amok”. I’m getting nothing done and getting more frustrated as time goes along. I slowly started to go through the Christmas stuff again. A few ornaments, a couple of holiday coffee mugs, and a brand new set of lights that I’ve never used went into the donate pile. The tree is standing, it has lights and an angel, but I’m a wee bit slow on the decorating. hee hee Oh! I also went through the bookcase again last night (while I was sitting there doing nothing) and yanked out 3 more books to donate. 😉

    • It sounds like you are making plenty of progress to me Michelle. There is plenty of time left before Christmas to finish decorating the tree. Have a hot chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back for what you have achieved so far.

      • Thanks Colleen! I’d love a cuppa hot chocolate . . . with a shot of sumthin’-sumthin’ in it. LOL

  4. Colleen,
    You are spot on! As with any project, breaking it down into manageable tasks is the key to success. Your post is a good reminder for all of us.

  5. What seems obvious after you’ve been doing it for awhile may not be so obvious to someone starting out, so this is a great list of the necessary steps – including the second most important one, in my opinion. Obviously making the decision to get rid of the things that are no longer needed or wanted is the most important step. But I feel the step of limiting yourself to one small, defined area at a time is a hugely important one, if you are having trouble letting go or even if you are just having trouble finding time or energy to declutter. It limits the discomfort of decision making and keeps it from seeming overwhelming. It is easy to fit into even a busy schedule. It keeps the process from being too tiring, too messy, or too disruptive – all of which are handy reasons we may latch onto to avoid doing further decluttering.

    A bit off the topic, but I think this technique is also good for housecleaning. I can’t vacuum my whole house in one day, but I can do a room a day or even every few days. Just so long as progress is being made, the job will eventually be done. Maybe not to someone else’s standards, but our situations are all unique and I’m okay with that 🙂

    • Hi Jo H, there are so many methods of decluttering but, as you know, I like the slow and steady approach. No only is it doable but it gives a person more time to identify the same cluttering mistakes that have been made over and over in ones past. This way we are more likely to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Decluttering that lasts, although slow, is more permanent as far as I am concern so saves you time, energy, money and space in the long term.
      Oddly enough I am a bit of an all or nothing person when it comes to cleaning my house. For the entire 27 years of married life I have designated one day a week to clean the entire house (usually Monday). That is because I had the freedom to do so and because I just love to see it completely clean at least one day a week. In between times do extra cleaning tasks, like the fridge and freezer, organising, washing, decluttering etc. That of course doesn’t work for everyone because not everyone has that sort of block of time. So bit by bit is definitely the way to go when you can only find time to do a bit here and there.
      It is comments like yours that remind me how lucky I am. Although I suppose much of that luck is good priority planning and living within the means of that plan.