Organization & Cleaning

How to declutter your entire home

By: Robin Stevenson and Yuki Hayashi

What's your decluttering style? Author: Robin Steveson and Yuki Hayashi Credits: Illustration by Christopher Corr

Organization & Cleaning

How to declutter your entire home

By: Robin Stevenson and Yuki Hayashi

There's more than one way to purge, so we asked three home-organizing pros to weigh in on three popular approaches

Purge style #1: A little at a time

Expert: Susan Portnoy, founder and CEO of Montreal-based Organized Success

Approach: Don't overwhelm yourself with a whole-room cleanup, advises Portnoy; instead, tackle it space by space. Big projects feel manageable when you break them into smaller efforts.

Expert assessment: "Let's say you want to organize a messy bedroom, but you feel like you can't even look at it. Sometimes, by changing the scene a little, you're more able to follow up, using the same system. You can do a little bit of task A on Monday, a little bit of task B on Tuesday and some of task C on Wednesday—for example, the floor space, then the surfaces (nightstands, bookshelf), then the floor space of the closet, until you're done."

Best for: Anyone who's easily overwhelmed by their stuff

Purge style #2: Category by category (The KonMari Method, as outlined in Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo's bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up)

Expert: Paula Blundell, professional home organizer and owner of Calgary's Room to Breathe

Approach: Methodically purge and organize one category of items at a time. If you start with clothing, attack that project in its entirety (emptying closets, drawers, wardrobes and so on throughout the entire house) and place the items in one spot. Assess how each piece makes you feel (Kondo asks if it "sparks joy"). If it makes you happy, keep it; if it doesn't, place it in the discard or donate pile before moving on to, say, footwear, books or keepsakes.

Expert assessment: "When you approach organizing in a way that deals with all the items in one category, you're ensuring that every single item has a home, you're considering the quantity of stuff you actually own without missing any pieces and you're beginning the process of setting up your home into zones. When you bring a new item into your home after going through this process, you'll ask yourself which category it belongs to and, with that, you'll notice how much easier it is to put away."

Best for: Anyone yearning for a self-sustaining organizing system—and those who want in on pop culture's trendiest decluttering ethos

Purge style #3: Room by room

Expert: Hellen Buttigieg, Oakville, Ont., life coach, certified professional organizer and founder of We Organize U

Approach: Tidy one whole room before moving on to the next trouble spot.

Expert assessment: "This approach makes for a dramatic transformation and provides immediate gratification. Having an entire room organized, and maintaining it as a 'clutter-free zone' while tackling other areas  of the home, gives homeowners  at least one serene place to relax in and enjoy."

Best for: Deadline-driven types such as expectant parents and home sellers

For more organizing tips, check out these organizing tips for the messiest rooms in your home.

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Organization & Cleaning

How to declutter your entire home

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