10 Lessons I Learned After a Year of Decluttering

10 lessons I learned after a year of decluttering

Here are 10 lessons I learned after a year of decluttering. Yes, It took us over a year to declutter our home.

I had never heard of the word “declutter”, until a few years ago.  I must have been living under a rock!  Today I am sharing 10 lessons I learned after a year of decluttering.

Yes of course we cleaned out our “stuff” when we didn’t need it anymore, but I had never analyzed everything in my life before.  In 2011 I moved from New Zealand to California.  We whittled all of our items down to four pieces of luggage.

I had debated shipping some items to California, but the price to ship the items outweighed the item’s worth.  I guess we were minimalists and didn’t even know it LOL.

The clutter started to arrive when we had kids.  We moved into our condo and started decorating. 

At the time I felt the more decorations I have the nicer my home will look.  Then we added kids and the next thing you know we had a lot of clutter.

By the time our second child arrived, I started to feel really overwhelmed, but I couldn’t quite figure out why.  As a stay-at-home mom, I felt a large part of my day was picking up toys.  Also, organizing toys became my new hobby.

In 2016 I happened to watch the documentary Minimalism.  This struck a chord with me and immediately I realized I had too much stuff. 

After a year of decluttering, I learned quite a few lessons.


Decluttering Lessons Video


Active Decluttering = Time

I don’t care what anyone says, deep decluttering takes a lot of time.  When I first started decluttering I got rid of the obvious things.  As time went on I realized I could get rid of more and more.

The only way you realize this is with time.  I am in that financial category where I don’t want to have to replace things I realize I needed.  As the decluttering process went on I would be very aware of what I was using and what I wasn’t.

My process was to go room by room and closet by closet to figure out what I needed.  I didn’t want to rip the whole house apart in one weekend, become overwhelmed and quit.  Slow was the way to go.

If you have a lot to declutter pick out one item to declutter every day.  By the end of the year, you will have 365 items less than the year before.

Here is the exact decluttering process I used in an actionableDecluttering E-Book.

Check out my Get Things Done Printable to stay organized and on task.



By decluttering we gained a lot of space!  I had people walk into my house and say, “wow it looks a lot bigger in here”.  It was true there was more space to move around.

It can take a little while to adjust to having less.  I was used to having a lot of furniture. 

More furniture, allowed more items to be put on that furniture.  Once I started eliminating furniture we didn’t need, I was able to eliminate the “decor” that went on that furniture.


Less Time Cleaning

When I first decluttered I thought I would never have to clean again!  Well, I was WRONG!  You will still have to clean your home, but the cleaning process will go a lot faster.

I realized having less decor meant fewer items to dust and move around. 

I still decorate because that makes me happy and makes our home cozy, but I don’t have a lot of decorations.

minimalist living


Less Pick Up

The less we have the less I have to actively sort and pick up.  This was especially true with toys.  Toys can take over your home.

When we first started our decluttering journey we kept toys in our living room. 

Looking at a wall full of toys made me feel like my house was a daycare.  No matter how I organized the toys they would end up everywhere.

I would put them away in bins and next thing you know they are dumped all over the living room.  Once I started eliminating a lot of excess toys my home started to look a lot nicer.

I decided I was only going to keep the number of toys that would fit into our boy’s room.  Anything that couldn’t fit into their room would have to go.


Minimalist Kids Room Organization


Not Buying More aka Becoming Minimalist

The more I decluttered the less I brought into our home.  I immediately made the connection between decluttering and shopping. 

The last thing I want to do after decluttering is shop for a bunch of stuff that I am going to need to declutter again!

I have become extremely aware of what enters our home, this includes; clothing, toys, furniture, papers, and especially items that can’t be used all the time.  Also known as seasonal decor. 


Decluttering Gave Me Time

Once the majority of our decluttering was finished I realized I had a lot of time on my hands. 

All the time I use to spend shopping and organizing left me with some extra time on my hands.  With this time I decided to start a YouTube channel and start working more on this blog.

I also started to look at how I was spending my time. 

decluttering clothing easy way


No Autopilot

I no longer live on autopilot.  What I mean by this is I question why we do certain things or feel we have to do certain things.  For instance, I always felt every season I needed some new clothes.

Now instead of buying new clothes every season I actually look at what I have and see if I really do need anything. 

This last summer I realized I didn’t need any summer clothes because I had enough.  Another example is birthday parties.

I use to put pressure on myself to throw a themed birthday party for my son every year.  Now I remove the pressure and I only do a party if we are up for it.


More Organized

By having less I can stay more organized.  It is kinda obvious, but getting rid of the stuff you don’t use frees up space for the items you need.  I have also assigned every item in my home a place to live.

Before decluttering there were always items that would float around our home.  For instance my husband’s lunch box!  He would come home from work and the lunch box would be shuffled around the kitchen.

I finally realized EVERYTHING needs a spot, even items that come and go from our home.

organized closet


Live in the Now

More than ever I am trying to live in the present moment.  I think it is so easy to be caught up in a race towards something, having more or wanting more. 

Yes, it is great to have goals and things I want to achieve, but I have realized it is very important to enjoy the moments we are in right now.

When I had my first son I was always looking for the next milestone.  Through the decluttering process, something clicked and I realized I needed to really enjoy every moment for what it is right now.

There is a saying “these are the good old days”.  This saying can’t be more true.  It’s easy to look to the past and say it was so much better or think it will be better when I have …


Movements Towards the Future

Decluttering led me to think about our future differently.  Instead of getting overwhelmed by the thought of our future and where we will be in 5 or 10 years.  I started making achievable goals for our future.

Again with the saying, “a wall is made by laying one brick at a time”.  This saying stuck in my head.

It really worked for decluttering especially when I was overwhelmed. 

Decluttering one item, one room, or one closet at a time really helped.  The same applies to how I think of our future now. 

I try to only think about the current steps I need to take to head in the right direction towards my goal.

I have learned so much from decluttering!  My life looks completely different than it did two years ago when our journey began.



If you are spending a ton of time continually organizing the same area, check out The Declutter Your Home Minicourse.  I created this course for anyone who is sick of all the time wasted tidying their home. 

This course is easy to follow and helps you figure out a decluttering schedule so you can declutter your entire home.

This is the perfect course for you if:

  • You worry about your home before having people over (aka shoving things in closets).
  • Things are always “missing” in your home.
  • You wonder why your home doesn’t ever look clean or tidy, no matter how much cleaning you do.

If you need direction on how and where to start on your decluttering journey check out The Declutter Your Home Minicourse!


Read More Decluttering Tips:

How to declutter without Feeling Guilty

Decluttering Help – Helping a Friend Declutter

Decluttering your Home With Kids

What Changed After I Decluttered the Kid Stuff


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10 lessons I learned after a year of decluttering

9 thoughts on “10 Lessons I Learned After a Year of Decluttering”

  1. Kathy

    Good information, nice to see the results.

  2. Sarah

    These are great lessons! I always have trouble keeping my kitchen and living room free from clutter, it always seems to be the place where my kid’s toys, homework, and crafts end up. I’ve been trying to spend a few hours each week decluttering before the beginning of the winter season. I had a local cleaner come and that was really the cherry on top to make these two rooms look clean! I’m hoping the longer I declutter, I learn more of these lessons, especially the one about becoming a minimalist!

    1. SHANNON

      That is a great idea to declutter before the winter! Then you will be ready for the holidays. =)

  3. Cheryle

    I feel like I’m always decluttering, we’re having a baby this summer so I want our house to be as decluttered and organized as possible. Thank you so much for sharing these tips, we’re doing a huge cleanout of things we don’t need and I’m pretty sure we have a full of junk to get rid of. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  4. Annie

    This is a great article. I agree that avoiding becoming overwhelmed is key. Sometimes it feels heartbreaking to give up stuff, but later you really understand life is creating your memories not bits of paper or baby clothes. Thank you for this article 🙂

  5. Linda Griffith

    I have been watching you on Utube, and your mom. I thoroughly enjoy your advice and I listen to you for hours while I declutter. Thank you for all you do. Linda

    1. SHANNON

      Thank you Linda! I really appreciate you sharing this with me because it makes what I am doing worthwhile. I love that you are able to declutter while listening =) I hope you are having a good weekend.

  6. Dina osullivan

    Frustration to the max in trying to de clutter. I am definetly a pack rat.I save every little piece of fabric for using it on something which I seldom do.I am an artist and having so many art supplies is so distracting because I can’t stay focused on one method and have a lot of unfinish work. I live with my daughter and have my own area, but it is not a large as my previous townhouse so I am constantly saying I have to get rid of these clothes which I never will wear, but I never do.I can’t find a way to just pitch things I don’t use.I want to clear out my space, but somehow it is difficult to do so I live in this frustrated world.Dina

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