How to Declutter Ruthlessly — Professional Organizers on the Steps to a More Minimalist 2024

What is it we need to do in order to live with just the essentials in our home? A ruthless declutter may be just the thing, by clearing your home and setting it up to push forward once and for all.

a modern cream bedroom
(Image credit: Lis Staton)

'Organizing isn't about stuff, it is about time,' says Ben Soreff, Professional Organizer at House to Home Organizing. Nowadays, people are too busy with their everyday lives to be able to catch up on things that really need organizing, especially when there’s an entire family to take care of, as well as a job and general life interruptions.

'The first thing that happens when you have to clean up in a hurry because you have house guests or have no place to sit, you turn to the ‘make it go away’ areas – places like the attic, basement and garage,' Ben says. 'Then you turn to drawers and closets. Once those fill up, the rest is the stuff of hard core clutter nightmares in which you start closing the doors to rooms and simply do not go in there. This doesn’t make you a bad person, we’re just all busy with life and you may not have a systematic philosophy and method for dealing with clutter.'

So how do we change these habits? We asked professional declutterers how to declutter your home with a ruthless mindset, to make changes once and for all.

1. Dedicate the time

An open closet with white shelves and organized clothes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Try setting yourself a certain amount of dedicated time one day to tackle a specific area in the home. The next step is the review. 'It’s not about throwing things out. That leads to regret, anxiety and judgment. Instead take time and consider what we are keeping and how often we use it. Once you have managed the quantity, you can decide on the best storage solution and the best place in your space for it to live,'encourages Ben.

The categories you don't use frequently such as keepsakes and holiday necessities should live more remotely, and items you use often need to be accessible.

2. Follow a rule

a modern neutral living room

(Image credit: Lis Staton)

One of our biggest struggles with decluttering is that items can take on a sentimental value. 'To combat this, my number one tip to declutter ruthlessly is to set two time constraints on your decision making,' advises Amanda Wiss, founder of Urban Clarity. 'First, give yourself an hour one day, for example – whatever it is, set the time limit so you know there's an end to it. Secondly, decide on a certain amount during which the item must have been used. If you haven't used an item for, say 6 months, it's got to go.'

'I often say a year because different seasons require different items in our homes, but six or even three months would be a way to ruthlessly declutter,' Amanda adds. The time limits set a rule in place, making it easier to stick to a decision and giving you a clearer view of whether or not you need these items in reality.

3. Honesty is the best policy

A bathroom with vertical storage

(Image credit: Caroline Sharpnack. Design: Well x Design)

Lastly, honesty really is the best policy. Robyn Reynolds, Owner of Organize2Harmonize encourages a strict rule of being honest with yourself, resulting in the best possible outcome.

'Do you really need it? Are you using it, does it serve a purpose, when is the last time you used it? While we all love our stuff, we should only keep what will comfortably fit in our homes without housing things in an outside storage facility,' Robyn asks. Afterall, we don’t want to feel uncomfortable in our own homes. It may be tricky not to fool yourself into thinking you may need certain things, but in reality, it makes perfect sense to clear your space for a clear mind.

Portia Carroll

Portia Carroll is an interior stylist, writer, and design consultant. With a background in interior architecture and design, she has a plethora of creative experience in the industry working with high end interior brands to capture beautiful spaces and products and enhance their qualities.