How to use the "Snowball Decluttering Technique" — It Might Actually Help you Organize Your Home in 2024

Discover what it is and how it can help you get organized for 2024

A cozy minimalist living room
(Image credit: Nune)

The start of every year starts with a strong desire to declutter and stay organized. Once you start the task, however, this vigor can quickly fade. It can be easy to become overwhelmed by the task in hand and not know how to begin. That is why it can be useful to use a specific method to help you on your way. One like the snowball method.

Being clutter-free is the easiest way to make your modern home look more luxe and design forward. However, this is easier said than done, especially after Christmas when we all have more stuff than usual. Using an organization technique such as this can help you to get the job done more efficiently. 

The snowball technique has been going viral for how to declutter your home that people swear actually works. Here we spoke to professional organizers to discover how this technique works and if it's worth the hype.

What is snowball decluttering?

'Snowball decluttering has taken on a few meanings over the years,' says professional organizer Ben Soreff from House to Home Organizing. 'The most prominent being you start organizing something small in your space or breaking up the tasks into smaller “snowballs” and then as you move through the house the project snowballs into bigger and bigger areas and items,' he explains.

The process of breaking down bigger decluttering projects into more manageable tasks is something that is frequently recommended by organizing experts. Facing one smaller task makes it far easier to know how to start decluttering. It also ensures you complete one task fully being overwhelmed and moving on.

a dining room with natural wood walls

(Image credit: Anna Design)

How to use this method

Although this method has a specific name, it is a technique professionals have been using for a long time, according to Ben. 'We always tell clients organizing is not about stuff it is about time and manual labor,' he says. 'Snowball decluttering is another way to say it. Decluttering means reviewing and that takes time. Starting small is the only way to do it,' he explains.

The best way to start decluttering is by starting small, with one specific space or thing. Professional organizer Sara Bereika explains how this can work. 'For instance, let's say you decide to get rid of a craft item because you have lost interest in doing the craft, you likely have other items that you have also lost interest in,' she says. 'In essence, you are using your motivation to declutter one item and using that motivation to declutter other items, and in theory, you create a snowball effect and end up with a large pile of items you can remove from your home,' Sara explains.

And if you suffer from decision fatigue, you can combine this technique with other methods to help you be efficient in your decluttering.

A living room with mixed material

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen. Design: Emerson)

Is it useful?

You have probably heard about a tonne of different decluttering techniques in January. It can feel impossible to cut through the noise to find out how a method might work for you. And the reality is not everything will work for everyone. we all have different needs and situations. So we asked the experts what they think.

'Snowball decluttering is a method that can have a significant impact when decluttering,' says Sara, 'but it tends to work best when items are already sorted and relatively organized.' Meaning it will not be useful if you need a total overhaul. In that situation, something like the move-out method or spontaneous combustion rule might be more useful.

'If you can't find a reason to declutter an item that applies to other items, don't get discouraged,' she says. 'Remember, snowball decluttering is just one of many tools you can use to declutter your space,' she explains.

There are other methods out there that might suit you and your home better. However, for some of you, this technique will be transformative and extremely beneficial on your journey to a clutter-free space.

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.