The Do's and Don'ts of Decluttering as a Family

Organizing and cleaning your home together might bring you closer than you think. 

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Posted in , Dec 9, 2020

Mother and daughter decluttering; Getty Images

You’ve put it off for months, maybe years, but the dawn has arrived, and it’s time to thoroughly clean and declutter your house. Not alone, of course. Even better—with your family!

Whether you parent young kiddos to young adults, if your children live with you (or have recently moved back home) it’s time to declutter together. Get your husband or wife involved, too.

You made the mess together, and decluttering is a family affair.

Set Communal Goals and Deadlines

You didn’t create the clutter in one day, and you likely won’t conquer it in a single day either. Clutter, especially the kind accumulated over a number of years, requires strategy. Sit down with your family and, together, decide what you want to accomplish by when. Set reasonable goals and deadlines that work with everyone’s schedule. 

Maybe agree to make the kitchen tidy by next week, but donating old clothes gets until the end of the month? Whatever you decide, establish deadlines so is working toward the same ends.

Schedule Special Decluttering Dates or Times

You’ll be surprised what you can clean in fifteen minutes! If the prospect of getting started with the whole house sets your family ablaze with arguments, create designated times to tidy. Think of these tidy times as sprints, not marathons.

Set your phone timer (or kitchen timer!) for fifteen to twenty minutes every other day. While the timer is counting down, declutter. All hands on deck! Scrub corners, do dishes, toss things in the trash. When the timer stops, you and your family stop. Even if the decluttering isn’t finished, make the rule and stick to it. You’re in it for the long haul.   

Organize New Storage Systems

Part of the problem might be storage—you don’t have enough! Baskets, shelves, and plastic tubs are your new best friends. Discuss with your family what they want the house to look like. A super clean Swedish flat? And old English manor with many shelves? Figuring out how exactly you want the house to look can help guide your storage decisions.

Getting things out of the house is the ultimate good, but if you truly can’t bear to part with something, a new storage system is a good compromise.

Apologize for Whatever Was Said in Anger

Remember to be gentle, with yourself and each other. Decluttering might feel overwhelming, even impossible. The fact that you and your family are working together to clear the house is cause for celebration. You’re doing your best. There may be disagreements, and it’s important to apologize, but you’re all in this together. Take pride in what you’ve accomplished.

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