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Simplify Your Life: Decluttering Hacks for 2024!

Updated 1/17/2024. This post contains affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information.

Before I started my decluttering project in 2012, I assumed everyone had a junk room, closet, or drawer. But it doesn’t have to be that way! When I first started to clear the clutter in 2012 I had lots of free time, but in 2013 I had a surprise…A BABY. One of the best things I purchased was How to Declutter Fast! It works!

My whole world flipped upside down and decluttering my junk room went by the wayside. Then we had a new type of clutter invade our home– baby clutter. Bouncy seats, swings, toys, bassinets, breast pumps, and clothes (lots of clothes). The multipurpose room I decluttered in 2012 was cluttered again, as we pushed stuff out of other rooms to make room for baby.

So how do you declutter an entire JUNK ROOM when you’re super busy? Life can get pretty hectic, especially if you’re juggling a busy schedule. But fear not, because decluttering your life is still totally doable, even in 2024. Let’s dive into some updated hacks that will make your space more organized and your life more manageable.

How to Declutter Your Life

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RELATED POST: DECLUTTERING PROJECT

In 2014 I started grad school. I was also working full time with a young child. I WAS A MESS. I honestly don’t know how I got through it. My mom wanted to relocate to my area and she wanted to stay in my junk room (aka guest room). So I had to clean it out in a hurry. 


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Rule 1: Forgive Yourself for Disorganization

I knew something had to change before I started decluttering my junk room again. First, I had to stop blaming myself for allowing the room to get cluttered again. The first step was to declutter my own thoughts. I put aside all the guilt, frustration, and embarrassment. I needed a fresh start without the baggage. I couldn’t change the past. All I could do was look to the future.

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Rule 2: Just Start Organizing

I love planning. I love it so much that I sometimes forget to start. For me the planning is easy because I can focus on how I imagine the junk room to be. Then when I see the room, reality hits and I get overwhelmed. Now I had a hard deadline. My mom could not live in the junk room. I had to do something. ANYTHING. So I decided to start with ONE ITEM PER DAY. It was all I could handle at that point. I was so busy with other things that I couldn’t actively focus on decluttering an entire junk room.

RELATED POST: DECLUTTER YOUR HOME WITH THE “ONE ITEM PER DAY” METHOD

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Rule 3: Make a Daily Decision to Clear the Clutter

With very little free time I transformed our junk room into a guest room through my “one item a day” organizational method. Basically, I removed one item per day from the room. Once I selected an item, I made arrangements to dispose of it, sell it, or donate it. This meant, putting an ad on Craigslist (that day), putting it in my donate box (that day), or putting it in the trash (that day).

Organizer and author Christina Scalise said, “clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.” TRUTH. So the trick to clearing the clutter is to make decisions. The “one item per day” method forced me to make a decision every day, which enabled me to make more decisions.

Rule 4: You May Get Stuck (and that’s ok)

When I first started decluttering the room I chose the low hanging fruit– items I could easily discard, sell, or donate. The more I decluttered the harder it got. Now I had to deal with items I didn’t know what to do with, like old school papers, a broken chair that I loved and hoped to repair, a storage bin I could use, or a sewing machine I WANTED TO USE.

I quickly got distracted on the item I couldn’t make a decision on. I was procrastinating again. Then I decided to be kind to myself. If there was an item I couldn’t make a decision on, I moved on to another item. It gave me an extra day or so to think of what I really wanted to do with the item. Giving myself grace helped me move forward and continue the decluttering process.

Rule 5: Envision the Final Product

If you get stuck on a particular item think about what the room will look like when you’re done. Do you want a craft space? A reading nook? An office? Create a vision board with Trello or Evernote. Does that item fit that new space? Does it impede the process? If so, “Elsa” it and “let it go.

trello vision board

Rule 6: Focus on Giving

If you hold onto an item without using it, you’re keeping it from someone who could really need it. Focus on how someone else could benefit from the item you’re reluctant to get rid of.

Before taking my CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) television to the landfill I took a chance that someone (anyone) would want this thing. It still had a remote and was in working condition. After a few flighty emails from people who never showed up, a disabled gentleman emailed that he needed a television. He didn’t drive so he asked us to drop it off for him, which we gladly did.

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What I Decluttered

I listed a small sampling of the items I discarded to give you a glimpse into how I decluttered the junk room. All of the items listed below were advertised on Craigslist in the Free section. If you’re like me, perhaps you have a treadmill that has become a clothes horse in your house? If looking at the treadmill sparks “guilt,” instead of joy then get rid of it.

RELATED POST: SMALL KITCHEN REMODEL BEFORE & AFTER

I’m in no way advocating for less physical fitness, but as organizational guru Marie Kondo says, if something has outlived its usefulness it’s time to let it go. If your treadmill is not being used (or worse, it’s broken)–you can walk the neighborhood, do yoga, pilates, get a mini-trampoline, etc. There are other options.

  1. Item 1 – A well-used treadmill in poor to fair condition. It technically worked but I had to get a running start before it functioned. When I say “running start,” I mean RUNNING. I had to sprint to get it going. It was like having an old car that needed a jump every time you started it. Had it been in better condition I would have sold it for $50. Instead, I gave it away for free.
  2. Item 2 – GRE (Graduate Record Examination) study guides. Once I took the GRE I vowed never to take a standardized test again! So why keep them? There was no reason to keep these books for even one minute after I passed the GRE. These definitely do NOT spark joy.
  3. Item 3 – An old CRT television. After dropping off scrap metal at the landfill, I saw what became of old CRT televisions of years past. CRTs are sitting out in the open, exposed to the elements, not being recycled. Unlike newer electronics, CRTs are not a hot recycling commodity. You can read more about how CRT televisions have created a toxic problem for recycling. Most discarded CRTs are still languishing in landfills. I was relieved someone could use it!
  4. Item 4 – A blonde wood computer desk from the 1990s. I’m not sure how these desks were ever in style? Not only is it unattractive, but it was uncomfortable to sit at. I always found myself bumping or scraping into the metal legs. Amazingly someone picked this up. Evidently this color is making a comeback. I guess everything comes back in style if you wait long enough.

Before & After of Junk Room

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Why Decluttering is Crucial

Decluttering isn’t just about having a neat space; it can significantly impact your mental well-being. In 2024, the importance of decluttering remains high for several reasons:

  1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety: A clutter-free environment fosters calmness and reduces stress.
  2. Improves Productivity: A tidy space enhances focus and productivity.
  3. Saves Time and Money: Knowing where things are saves you time and prevents unnecessary spending.
  4. Creates a Positive Mindset: A clutter-free space contributes to a positive outlook on life.
  5. Improves Physical Health: Eliminating clutter minimizes allergens and promotes better health.

Getting Started in 2024

Before diving into decluttering, create a solid plan:

  • Identify cluttered areas.
  • Prioritize spaces causing the most stress.
  • Schedule dedicated decluttering time.
  • Gather decluttering supplies.

Setting Goals

Set specific, measurable goals:

  • Be clear on what you want to achieve.
  • Break down tasks into manageable steps.
  • Celebrate achievements to stay motivated.

Decluttering Hacks for Busy Lives

  1. Start Small: Tackle one area at a time, like a drawer or closet. Small victories lead to big successes.
  2. Use the Four-Box Method: Keep, Donate, Sell, Trash. Organize items efficiently.
  3. Declutter One Room at a Time: Focus prevents overwhelm. Start with the room bothering you the most.
  4. Set a Timer: Short bursts of decluttering, like 15 minutes, maintain focus and avoid distractions.
  5. Get Rid of Duplicates: Simplify by keeping only what you need. Donate or sell extras.
  6. Digitize Your Documents: Scan and store important papers digitally for space efficiency.

Maintaining a Clutter-Free Space

Daily and weekly habits to keep your space tidy:

  • Put things back after use.
  • Tackle small messes promptly.
  • Follow the “one in, one out” rule.
  • Set aside regular time for decluttering.
  • Manage mail weekly.
  • Clean out the fridge and pantry regularly.

Decluttering isn’t a one-time task; it’s an ongoing process. By incorporating these hacks into your routine, you can create a more organized, stress-free environment in 2024. Remember, start small, stay consistent, and enjoy the benefits of a clutter-free life!


I hope you’ve enjoyed my decluttering process. If you have any suggestions please share with me in the comments or on Instagram.

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