For most of my decluttering, I find it best to do it a little at a time. If you scroll through my blog, you’ll find declutter checklists for your entire house. However, there are a few seasons or unique times in our lives where it makes sense to do a deep declutter of just a certain category in one day. Whether you are spring cleaning or trying to get a certain space organized at the beginning of a new year, I can help. Today, let’s look at a few of those times and uncover how to do a 1 day declutter.

A few basic guidelines:

  • Don’t focus on the entire room.
  • We are going to start decluttering one category at a time.
  • Set a timer so you don’t get fatigued. This ticking will inspire you to keep going.

Decluttering in one day can be a manageable and satisfying task if you approach it systematically. Here are some tips to help you declutter your space effectively in a single day:

  1. Set Clear Goals: Define specific goals for the decluttering process. Focus on areas that are most cluttered or have the biggest impact on your daily life.
  2. Prioritize Areas: Identify the areas that need the most attention. Start with the spaces that are visible and commonly used, such as the living room, kitchen, or bedroom.
  3. Gather Supplies: Before you start, gather garbage bags, boxes, or bins for items you’ll donate or sell. Have cleaning supplies on hand, such as wipes, trash bags, and a vacuum.
  4. Create Sorting Categories: Sort items into categories like “keep,” “donate/sell,” and “discard.” This makes decision-making easier and helps you stay organized.
  5. Declutter One Space at a Time: Tackle one room or area at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Finish decluttering and organizing one space before moving on to the next.
  6. Start with the Easy Decisions: Begin with items that are easy to decide on. This helps build momentum and makes the process feel less daunting.
  7. Set a Timer: Set a timer for 15-30 minutes for focused decluttering sessions. Take short breaks in between to prevent burnout.
  8. Be Ruthless: Ask yourself if each item is genuinely necessary or brings you joy. If not, consider parting with it. Be realistic about what you need and use.
  9. Address Paper Clutter: Tackle paperwork and mail first. Sort through documents, file what’s important, and shred or recycle unnecessary papers.
  10. Digitize when Possible: If applicable, consider digitizing documents, photos, or other items to save physical space.
  11. Don’t Forget Storage Spaces: Declutter closets, cabinets, and storage spaces. Use bins and organizers to maximize space and keep things tidy.
  12. Involve Others: If you share the space with others, involve them in the decluttering process. Make joint decisions on shared items.
  13. Dispose of Items Responsibly: Properly dispose of or recycle items you’re discarding. Donate usable items to local charities or organizations.
  14. Finish with a Cleaning Session: Once you’ve decluttered a space, take the time to clean and organize. Wipe down surfaces, vacuum, and make the space inviting.
  15. Reflect on Progress: Take a moment to appreciate the progress you’ve made. Celebrate the achievement of a clutter-free space.
1 day declutter

Remember, the key is to stay focused, make quick decisions, and avoid getting bogged down by sentimentality. By the end of the day, you should have a significantly decluttered and more organized living space. Now let’s look at some great times to do a 1 day declutter.

Back to School:

One particular season where I like to do a 1 day declutter is the “back to school” season. For most of us, this season involves shopping for new school supplies, new shoes, and new clothes because the kids have outgrown the previous ones.

Often we find items from years ago that we’ve held onto for no particular reason. If you have a small home, space is at a premium. While this takes time, it can certainly be accomplished in a day. The best part for the kids particularly, is that they get motivated to help if they know they get to go shopping and replace those outgrown items.

It makes sense to me to do a 1 day declutter in these certain categories to make space for the new purchases. You can find a declutter checklist on my blog to help you get started. During the declutter, you can take inventory of what your kids need to replace and see what they have outgrown. This will also save money and keep you from buying more than you need.

While most of us can’t declutter a house in one day, we can tackle these smaller categories and get better organized. If you will get rid of what you don’t need, you will find you are building motivation to keep tackling other things in your home.

You will be amazed at how much you can declutter in just one day. You can also set goals for a few weeks and decide when you want to complete each category. With a little planning you can complete every category in your entire home.

If you need to declutter your home fast, recruit some help so you can multiply your efforts. All of your hard work will pay off when you see how much space you can free up in every part of your home. If it helps, you can set time limits and tackle your decluttering in small spurts of time. You can also read about the benefits of decluttering here.

I always involve the kids in this decision because it involves their belongings. If you involve them, it honors their choices and helps them to learn to declutter and to become more generous and thankful. It helps to share your decluttering goal. You may be surprised at how generous your kids are when it comes to donating.

I believe decluttering can shape your child’s heart to be generous. It gives us and them the opportunity to pass along some outgrown clothes or shoes to someone in need.

It also helps them to see everything they actually have which gives you, as a parent, a chance to talk about thankfulness. Enjoy this process of decluttering their things along with them and make it a growth opportunity. 


Christmas is another time where it makes sense to do a 1 day declutter. If you have children, this makes sense in particular. For our family, Christmas involves buying gifts for our children and for other family and friends. A 1 day declutter will help to create space for the purchases and gifts they will receive. You can find a declutter checklist on my blog to help you get started.

 Again, always involve children in this decluttering process. They may actually declutter more than you would have chosen. Encourage that spirit of giving and ask your children if they would like to pass these items along to anyone in particular. It is a win win for everyone. You may be surprised and proud to hear their responses. 

Christmas decluttering can also involve decluttering those Christmas decorations. One goal for this declutter is that I like to see what I have on hand when I am decorating. Often, you’ll find items that no longer work or are outdated that you will want to declutter.


Birthdays are another special time where you can do a 1 day declutter. Children, in particular, will be receiving gifts for their birthdays. Encourage and help them to declutter any outgrown toys or one item they no longer enjoy playing with. You can find a declutter checklist on my blog to help you get started and you can work at your own pace. Remind them that they will be making space for birthday gifts, and this will likely be the best way to motivate them to pass along their unwanted belongings.

When my own kids were younger, birthdays often involved the gifting of too much stuff. Much of it was ignored after a short while. If this is your issue, you can set up a toy rotation schedule and swap items out routinely. It makes it a lot easier to stay organized if all of the toys aren’t accessible all of the time. A little goes a long way. The first time I heard of toy rotation I thought it was a wonderful idea because it helps the kids to not grow tired of the same toys day after day.

Read about 14 things that make your home look cluttered here. It will help motivate you during your declutter.

After the passing of a loved one:

Another time when a 1 day declutter makes sense is after the passing of a loved one. This can be particularly challenging, so please take this process slowly. There is no need to feel pressured or pressed for time. Also, involve some support when you are ready to declutter the belongings of a loved one who has passed because of the emotional attachment.

Touching and handling the items of someone you’ve lost can be especially distressing, so ask for emotional support. Decluttering may also aid in your healing and provide a sense of hope. Give yourself time to grieve before you consider this decluttering process. It may take many months or even a few years before you are ready to take this challenge on. There are no quick decisions here. Speak to a grief counselor to discuss the matter and decide if you are ready to even tackle the entire process.


Supplies Needed:

1. boxes -preferably ones you can donate (Avoid plastic storage bins because you may be tempted to just store the items and not part with them.)

2. sturdy trash bags

3. marker/pen to label boxes

Decluttering Tip: Avoid using storage bins to declutter. Storage bins tend to tell your brain to “store” the items for later. That is just delaying decisions. If you aren’t getting rid of items when you declutter, you are not truly decluttering. This is why I recommend a trash bag, also. A trash bag tells your brain to “trash” the item that is no longer needed.

Obviously, recycle if you have that option. The boxes you use should be ones you are willing to part with, so I recommend sturdy cardboard boxes. As to donations, there are many charities that will come pick up your items for you at your home.

I use one in particular where you can book an appointment for pick-up online. This is so convenient, as it saves you the hassle of hauling stuff away yourself. Scheduling that pick-up also motivates you to declutter by a certain date.

How to Declutter:

1. Start by eliminating trash first- use a sturdy trash bag

2. Sort items by category if needed so you can see what you have

3.Get rid of duplicate items, broken items, outgrown clothes and shoes, anything you’ll never use again

4. Box up the donations and trash/recycle the rest

5.Select a charity like the salvation army or a thrift store to donate items and schedule the pick-up if that is an option

 I hope you have found this information helpful and now have a better understanding of how to do a 1 day declutter for one room or one category. Need more than a day? We do a year long thorough declutter each year to foster that clutter free home we all want. We complete one room before moving onto the next room.

If you have a large house, my declutter plan can be especially useful and will help you get your entire house decluttered. We declutter for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Find the video below. Subscribe to my blog for more tips and tricks for cleaning and organizing everything in your home.

2022 update: My year long thorough declutter series for the whole house is on video now. You can subscribe via youtube through the video shown in this post below.

Need to deep clean? I have lists for you to guide you along.

My How to Deep Clean Your Kitchen list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Bathroom list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Kids’ Rooms list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Living Room list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Bedroom list can be found here.

Also, to keep up the general housework, you may need to create a daily housekeeping schedule that suits your specific needs. To do so, I have created a helpful series you can read here.

Need to Declutter Every room? I have checklists to guide you along below in creating a fully decluttered home.

How to Declutter the Guest Room or Your Kid’s Room checklist can be found here.

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How to Declutter Your Laundry Room and Patio checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Coat Closet/Hall Closet/Linen Closet checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Home Office checklist can be found here.

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How to Declutter Your Attic checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Garage checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Living Room checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Kitchen Checklist can be found here.

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How to Declutter Your Entry/Foyer/Mudroom checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Clothing checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Bedroom checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Bathroom checklist can be found here.

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Happy Decluttering!

To Subscribe to my Year Long Thorough Declutter Series, drop me a comment below. Your email will be sent to me but will not be posted publicly. You’ll receive a daily declutter task via email for the daily task we are working on. You can unsubscribe at any time.

We declutter 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The Year Long Thorough Declutter Series is designed to help you declutter every room and every closet in your home. I’ll guide you through the process of deciding what you really need. When you subscribe you’ll receive a daily task in the room or area we are currently working on decluttering. To Subscribe, leave a comment below.