06 Nov 2023

Finding the right decluttering method for you

4 minute read 

It’s National Organising Week and at APDO we can’t stop thinking about ways to make your place, your happy space

Decluttering is like hitting the 'refresh' button for your home, workspace and your life.  It enables you to let go of the things you no longer need and create space and time for what truly matters.   

However, we know that not everyone enjoys decluttering and organising as much as we do! APDO members understand what an overwhelming task decluttering can seem and we know how difficult it can be to get started.   

In this blog, APDO member Sue Spencer guides us through 5 of the most popular approaches to help you explore which decluttering method(s) might be right for you. 

1. The KonMari Method 

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© Image by Nati on Pexels

The KonMari Method, developed by Japanese organising guru Marie Kondo, is known for its "spark joy" philosophy.  It encourages you to start by focusing on your ‘ideal lifestyle’ - how you would like your home to look and feel and how you would like to spend your time.   It differs from many methods as it involves decluttering by category (clothes, books, papers etc) and not by room.  The Spark Joy philosophy encourages you to make positive choices about what you want to keep in your home by seeing if it’s an item you love/that ‘sparks joy’.  If an item doesn’t spark joy it's time to thank it and let it go.  


  • This method begins with simple categories, allowing you to see exactly what you own and therefore giving you the confidence to let items go.  
  • It encourages a more mindful approach to possessions. 
  • It aims for a lasting, clutter-free home.  


  • It can be time-consuming as this method involves evaluating each item individually. It may not suit those who prefer a faster decluttering process.  

2. The Mins Game: A Fun Decluttering Challenge 

The Mins Game was developed by The Minimalists to make decluttering more enjoyable.  The game runs over the course of a month and helps you declutter 465 items from your home.  It starts by decluttering one item on day one, two items on day two, and so on, up to day 30, when you declutter 30 items.  


  • This method builds momentum by starting small and gradually increasing the number of items to declutter. 
  • It’s a fun and motivating way to reduce a large number of items in a short time. 


  • Initially, you only declutter one item, which may feel frustrating. 
  • It requires more time as the month progresses.  

3. The 20/20 Just in Case Rule 

The 20/20 Just in Case Rule helps you let go of 'just in case' items by asking whether they can be replaced within 20 minutes, within a 20 mile radius, or for less than £20.  It gives you confidence to let items go knowing that you can relatively easily replace something should you need to.  


  • This method encourages you to part with those ‘just in case’ items you may not have used in ages, but which are cluttering up your home.  


  • You might need to repurchase items - however this should be minimised by the logical thought process of applying the rule. 

4. The 4-box Method  

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© Image by Gustavo Fring on Pexels

This method uses four boxes as you declutter; one for things to keep, one for items to donate or sell, the third for items to recycle or discard and the fourth for items to be returned to another room. 

Begin in one corner of a room and discard any obvious rubbish first. Next, sort the remaining items into the other boxes.  Having the fourth ‘other room’ box prevents you from leaving the room to put things away and therefore becoming distracted. This way, you remain focused on the task at hand. Once the area is clear, find homes for the items in the ‘keep’ box. 


  • This method focuses on a defined area and helps you make clear decisions that have an immediate impact on the space.    


  • Without guidance on how to make decisions you may end up keeping items just in case. 

5. The Backwards Hanger Method 

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© Image by Kai Pilger on Pexels

The Backwards Hanger Method helps you understand which clothes you are actually wearing from your wardrobe as opposed to those which you never wear.  Begin by turning all your hangers backwards in your wardrobe. As you wear and wash each piece, return it to the wardrobe with the hanger facing forward.  After a few months, review your wardrobe to see which pieces you’ve worn and which have stayed on the rail.  This method gives you confidence to let go of items you haven’t worn. 


  • This method simplifies decluttering your wardrobe as it’s clear to see which clothes you do and don’t wear. 


  • This is only useful for clothing that can be hung.   

One of these methods (or even a mixture) might be the key to getting your decluttering project underway. And remember, if you get stuck, you can use our Find an Organiser page to discover your local professional organiser. Our members cover a wide range of decluttering methods and can provide the guidance, motivation and accountability to help you reach your goals.  

Sue Spencer, founder of A Life More Organised, is a Master KonMari Consultant and has been a member of APDO since 2018. Sue lives in Hampshire with her husband, dog, and two lovely grown-up children. You can find out more about Sue by visiting her website, www.alifemoreorganised.co.uk 

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