Home Decluttering Checklist: How to Get Organized in 5 Steps

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated September 9, 2022
Young woman sorting her wardrobe clothes
Photo: Halfpoint / Adobe Stock

A decluttering checklist can help you quickly organize every room in your home

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

The decluttering process can be intimidating, especially if you only purge your home once or twice a year. With this decluttering checklist, you can efficiently declutter your home and learn how to keep organized moving forward. From the floors to the closets, learn how to organize your home in five easy steps. 

How Often Should You Declutter?

First things first: How often should you be decluttering your home? If piles of mail swarm the dining table on a weekly basis or the thought of tackling an annual spring cleaning guide haunts your mind year-round, you might not be handling this task as often as you should.

How often your home accumulates clutter will vary depending on household size and lifestyles. Regardless, everyone could benefit from small decluttering tasks daily or at least weekly to keep things from piling up.

If you have the budget for it, you might look into the cost of hiring a professional organizer. These pros will help you finally weed out the clothes you never wear that take up precious closet space or finally turn that junk drawer into a regular, functional drawer.

Plus, they can equip you with the knowledge of how to keep these spaces organized far into the future with just a little bit of regular upkeep.

Take It Room by Room When Decluttering Your Home

Whether the laundry room looks like a basket of clothes exploded or the living room is filled with children’s toys, breaking up the decluttering checklist by room will help keep you on track.

  • Review the checklist room by room (don’t forget to declutter the basement and the attic!)

  • Skip steps that apply only to certain rooms, like bathrooms and kitchens

  • Once you’ve completed the checklist, start fresh in the next room

Don’t get discouraged if this takes much longer than a day or a weekend. Schedule times through the week or plan ahead for a long weekend to declutter as much as you can. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Ultimate Declutter-Your-Home Checklist

Now that you have a method to the madness, you can dive into this checklist for each room in your home.

1. Pick Up Items off the Floors

One of the quickest, most impactful ways to declutter a space is to open up that precious floor space. Take a look at each room and declutter the floor.

  • Are the floors covered in toys that your kids love to dump out every morning?

  • Did the dog pull out all of her chew toys and leave them for you to step on later?

  • Are there shoes or dirty clothes in random spots throughout the home?

Pick up these items and put them where they belong, whether that be a designated basket, shoe rack, laundry hamper, or pet supply organizer. If you’re picking up items that don’t have a designated spot, take a moment to set something up with any extra boxes or baskets you have on hand.

2. Clear Surfaces

A tidy scandinavian kitchen on a sunny day
Photo: sweetlaniko / Adobe Stock

If you are decluttering before guests come over, steps one and two should be top priorities. Clearing floors and surfaces will visually make a huge difference in helping your home look organized and clutter-free.

Your decluttering checklist should include the following tasks:

  • Pick up the pile of mail on the dining table

  • Shred papers you don’t need

  • Organize other papers or mail in a mail holder or file folder

  • Pick up house keys and return them to the key holder

  • Clear off the coffee table, leaving only decorative items

  • Put away any lingering skincare or beauty items on bathroom counters, again leaving space for essentials like hand soap

3. Set Up “Keep,” “Toss,” “Donate,” and “Misplaced” Boxes

Once you’ve done the surface-level purge, it’s time to go deeper. A deeper decluttering will help banish clutter once and for all, at least when paired with an organizational system.

  • Before you start dumping out drawers, set up four baskets or boxes, and label them as “keep,” “toss,” “donate,” and “misplaced”

  • As you go through each room, place items in one of these four bins

  • Donate items that are in good condition

  • Put misplaced items back where they belong

  • Throw out broken or stained items

When it comes to deciding what to toss or recycle versus what to donate, keep in mind you should donate things that can truly be used again and are in good condition. Otherwise, items that are broken, stained, or generally not in good shape should be thrown out or recycled.

4. Go Through Drawers and Cabinets

Detail of an organized closet with clothes
Photo: Africa Studio / Adobe Stock

Now that you have a system ready to go, you can start emptying out drawers, cabinets, and closets in each room. Remove everything you can, then organize what you find into your four bins. Once each drawer or cabinet is emptied, you can start returning the items in the “keep” box.

5. Go Through the Boxes

The surfaces are cleared, the drawers have been dumped, and you have four giant boxes in the middle of the room. The “keep” box should be handled at the end of step four.

You might be tired at this point, and it can be tempting to push these bins to the side or move the donate box to the trunk of your car and leave it there for months. Push through this last stretch.

Finish off your decluttering checklist with the following tasks:

  • Start with the “trash” box, and throw out or recycle everything in there

  • Work with the “misplaced” box, and return those items to where they belong

  • Schedule a time within the next couple of days to donate unwanted items

5 Tips to Stay Organized

5 way to staying organized, including setting up a shoe rack and adding drawer dividers
Photo: Kilito Chan/Moment/Getty Images

Decluttering is only half the battle. Now, you need tips for how to get and stay organized. New things are coming into our homes almost daily, whether it be mail, children’s school projects, or groceries.

After decluttering each room, review the space. What would make sense to add to the room to keep things organized? 

  • Mail: Add a mail holder in the dining room or kitchen to keep tables and counters clutter-free

  • Shoes: Place a rack or bin beside the front door

  • Toys: Put a couple of decorative bins or baskets in the living room to store and hide small toys

  • Drawer dividers: Add drawer dividers to keep everything from makeup to socks looking tidy

  • Baskets: Use baskets to designate an efficient and organized “home” for various items, from medicine in the bathroom closet to games in the hall closet

If you don’t have the time or patience to set up an efficient organizational system, consider hiring a local professional organizer to help you. Following a decluttering session with mindful organizational tactics will make future decluttering sessions faster and easier.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.