How to Stay Motivated while Decluttering

Decluttering your home takes time and effort, and can sometimes feel downright overwhelming. I’ve been decluttering my home for the past year and I’ve discovered a key to stay motivated while decluttering – the clutter free zone.

clutter free zone


The clutter free zone doesn’t have to be a large space. It can be one part of a counter, a shelf, or a coffee table. It should, however, be visible at all times and easy to maintain. 

The point of the clutter free zone is to be a visual reminder that there is another way.

Decluttering is a muscle that we are exercising and building up. The clutter free space is the daily exercise that is going to build up that muscle.

Clutter Free Zone – Kitchen Counter

I started out with a clutter free zone in the kitchen. It was a small part of our counter. The rest of the counters could be full of dishes – but this part of the counter was to remain clear of clutter and wiped down.

5 minute habits build on one another. Decluttering begins with committing 5 minutes a day

Our First Clutter Free Zone

READ: How 5 Minutes a Day can be Life Changing

Clutter Free Zone – Basement Stairs

As we’re decluttering the basement, we decided to make our basement stairs our “clutter free zone.” The basement may continue to hold too many items for the space, but the stairs are clear.

Basement Clutter Tour

READ: Basement Clutter Reveal

As we have been building our decluttering muscles, we have been slowly adding clutter free zones in each room.

Clutter Free Room

Our whole bedroom has become a clutter free zone. The basement and our bedroom used to be the rooms that we would “hide” our clutter, especially before guests came over.  I recently moved our desk out of the bedroom based on this book’s suggestion to only keep things related to sleeping and clothing in the bedroom.

Removing the desk has made a huge difference in making the room feel open and clutter free. The desk, and its’ flat surface, was a definite clutter magnet. The open space motivates me to make our bed in the morning to maintain that neat, spacious feeling.

the joy of less in the bedroom

READ: The Joy of Less…in the Bedroom

From Clutter Creep to Clutter Free Zone Creep

Have you heard of “clutter creep?” The idea is that if you let clutter start, it slowly spreads. The same principle holds true, however, about clutter free zones. If we maintain the clutter free zones that we establish, the habit of maintaining those areas can slowly spread to other areas in our home.

The key to staying motivated while decluttering is to choose a clutter free zone and maintain it on a daily basis. Maintaining that one space will build up our decluttering muscles so that we can tackle larger and larger areas of our home.

clutter free zone

Do you have a clutter free zone? Does it help you stay motivated? I’d love to know in the comments!

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20 thoughts on “How to Stay Motivated while Decluttering

  1. Johanna says:

    I love the idea of creating clutter-free zones. Now I’m inspired to declare a couple of zones, maybe even tonight! I think the staircase would be a good first zone, as it wouldn’t take a lot of cleanup and would be easy. to achieve. Another area that I would LOVE to keep clutter free is the top of my microwave–that may sound strange, but as far as my kitchen, it’s the first place I stick mail, napkins, and other clutter. I’m going to try this out–hopefully it’ll spark a fire to establish more clutter free zones. Love the idea!

    • Angela says:

      Hi Johanna! Thanks so much for your enthusiasm! The top of the microwave is a GOOD one! Mine actually has all our cookbooks, recipes, and cutting boards. Our kitchen is tiny and I haven’t found a great place for those things yet. Thanks for motivating me to think about a solution for that spot!

  2. Margot Peterson says:

    This is a great idea! My clutter free zones where we spend the most time are the family room, kitchen, and master bathroom counter tops. My ultimate goal will be to keep the bedroom and closet clutter free. One step at a time! :) Great post!

  3. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories says:

    I think the kitchen, family room and bathrooms should be clutter free zones. They are where we spend the most time sitting. :) When I have time to sit and notice the clutter, it overwhelms me so they are often the first rooms I declutter and clean. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup!

    • Angela says:

      Those are great areas to deem “clutter free!” We live in our family room and it shows! It doesn’t take long to clear though with a quick 5 minute family pick up

  4. Alicia says:

    Great tips. Thanks so much for sharing. I love the idea of “clutter free zones”. Kitchen clutter is the worst! Going to put this into motion today.

  5. Candace says:

    Keeping the kitchen counters clutter free is so hard! We use ours for “storage” and since there already appears to have objects there as well as being a flat surface, it quickly becomes a clutter zone. I’ve been working really hard to keep that and our dining room table clutter free. The moment I hit my living room – DISASTER! Right now, I have a huge clutter magnet that’s a hutch – anyone have suggestions on where to put things you have in hutch elsewhere so we can get rid of it? Great post – I love the clutter creep phrasing – so true!! #Inspriational Monday

    • Angela says:

      Hi Candace! I know – it is very hard! It sounds like your making some progress – keep it up! We got rid of our hutch and donated/got rid of most of the contents. Can you pare down?

  6. Stella Lee @Purfylle says:

    My first clutter free zone was a section of the kitchen bench too. It’s a hard spot to maintain because it’s always being filled up but it also helps to build the habit of re-clearing that space. And it’s the habit of putting things away that is so very important.

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