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How To Declutter At The Speed Of Life

declutter at the speed of life

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I’ve been trying to declutter for some time so was very pleased to come across Marie Kondo’s  ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’  a couple of years back.

I started in earnest,  pulling everything out of cupboards and putting it on the bed.  Trying to decide what ‘sparked joy’ in me.

It worked to a degree.  Soon my drawers were full of neatly folded t-shirts.   I even folded my socks as Marie recommended!

Pretty soon, however, everything was out of control again and I had a massive mountain of socks who had lost their mates!

I continued to search for the answer to my cluttered home, all the while constantly buying new stuff.

Then I signed up for a free trial of Audible where I stumbled across ‘Decluttering At The Speed of Life’ by Dana K. White.  I loved it so much, I later also bought a copy on Kindle!

I found having to tackle a whole room or a whole category at a time as per Marie Kondo somewhat overwhelming

Dana’s approach was like a breath of fresh air.

She gives you a simple, step-by-step method which she explains works “whether you are planning to declutter twelve hours a day for seven days straight, or you only have five minutes today and seven minutes tomorrow”.

Dana’s main point is to get the clutter out of your home.  The book isn’t about cleaning, although she does say you can take a duster around with you if you wish to get rid of any dust bunnies!

Juggling a full-time job, a household and this blog, I’ve definitely found Dana’s ‘little bit at a time’  approach to work better for me.

So How Do You Declutter at the Speed of Life?

Dana gives you a series of simple steps which can be applied to any room in the house.  The book also has chapters with additional tips on how to tackle each room.

The book gives you a suggested order for tackling things but acknowledges that everyone is different.  It really doesn’t matter whether you follow the order Dana suggests or do your own thing.  As long as you apply her simple steps, they work no matter how you do them.

You still need to keep on top of it though.  Things had started to mount up again a little bit in my house of late.  So I’ve set myself a little project to do a little bit each week.

Here are the results of my tackling the bedroom and also the linen cupboard.

Decluttering the Bedroom

I’d recently rearranged the bedroom and seriously do need some new furniture for it, so excuse the shabbiness!

Although Dana’s approach is very much about making things fit into the space you have (she calls this ‘the container concept’) I’ve come to the conclusion that the random bits of furniture we have in the bedroom don’t actually work all that well as bedroom furniture!


I was struggling to get rid of that old mirror…I don’t want 7 years bad luck!  It isn’t in the bedroom anymore, but I’m still procrastinating, it’s in the garage waiting to go to the tip… 

Anyhow, that aside, I’ve still managed to make things look better I think.

decluttering at the speed of life - after

Ok, so I still need to find a home for the bag….

I don’t know about you, but one of my major frustrations with having so much stuff is that I struggle to find things!

The steps in Decluttering At The Speed of Life help massively with this.  First of all, you decide whether to keep something or not.  (Dana has some useful tips about keeping the emotion out of this decision.  Her tips combined with those of Maria Kondo have been life changing for me and I do now get rid of stuff with abandon!)

If you aren’t keeping it and it can be donated, you put it straight into a donate box.  Otherwise, it goes in the trash.

decluttering a drawer - before

Why is my make up drawer full of empty ziplock bags??!


decluttering a drawer - after

That’s better, I can find stuff now!

If you are keeping it, Dana gives you two questions to ask yourself.  Number one is to ask yourself where you would look for the item first.  Then you take it there.  (I did this in batches to save running up and down the stairs too much, although it is good exercise!)

If you can’t think where you would look for it then the second question is to ask yourself if you needed the item, would it occur to you that you already had it.  In the bedroom, quite a few items went into the donate box or the trash after I asked myself this question!

Declutter At The Speed of Life in the Linen Cupboard

This cupboard drives me nuts!  I tidy it all the time but then it gets crammed full again and stuff falls out on my head!

decluttering the linen cupboard - before

Yup, that is a kettle in there…. an obvious place for it 😂

So, I pulled everything out for this one.  (With Dana’s method, you don’t have to always pull everything out.  Instead, she suggests a principle of ‘one in, one out’.  This works well with wardrobes I find).

toilet rolls

How many toilet rolls do two people need?? (Please note this post was written way before people started building toilet roll fortresses…at least I didn’t have any need to stockpile!)

The main principle from the book which I ended up applying to this cupboard was the container concept.

There were a couple of things in there which belonged elsewhere (the kettle, a spare shower head plus I moved some of the toilet rolls into the bathroom.  Note to self, do not buy more for the time being!)  Then it was a case of thinning out the sheets and towels.  (Quite easy as there were some threadbare ones!)

Here’s hoping I can keep it under control this time around!

decluttering linen cupboard - after

Looking much tidier!

Decluttering the Kitchen

I don’t have any photos to share of this one as it is a while since I decluttered this room.  I had to share with you one tip from the book that I’ve found hugely effective.

Do you have a mountain of plastic containers and a separate mountain of plastic lids?  None of which match?  All of which fall out of the cupboard when you open it?!

This was me and I suspect many other kitchen cupboards across the globe are the same!

socks return as tupperware lids decluttering

So, in applying the container concept in this area, Dana says to store the boxes WITH THEIR LID ON.

Yup, you will need to get rid of some as there is no way they will all fit.

I got rid of the scruffiest, oldest ones plus the ones with no lids and the lids with no tubs.

I did this about a year ago and that particular cupboard is still pretty much under control.  And no more cursing when I can’t find a lid to match a tub.  Result!

So, would I recommend ‘Decluttering at The Speed of Life?’

Most definitely yes!  The book is practical and hands-on whilst also helping you tackle your mindset and emotions around decluttering.  It is also served up with a healthy dose of humour.

Have you read ‘Decluttering at The Speed of Life’ or do you have any great decluttering tips to share?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below 🙂

Other posts you may like:

Do You Need a Professional Organizer

Why You Should Read These 3 Self-Improvement Books

declutter at the speed of life

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  1. Geraldine

    I love the approached Dana took with decluttering your life and your house! It’s true, not everyone has a whole day or a whole week to declutter everything in one go and it can be pretty overwhelming. as long as we keep at it consistently, we are bound to get there some cow and some day! I love that you included pictures of your own experience with this, and it encourages me and motivates me to want to do the same! Thank you for sharing Alison ❤️

    1. Alison

      Glad you feel motivated now Geraldine 🙂 I have more to do, will try and get some more photos 🙂

  2. Denae

    Thank you for taking me through this step by step! It makes me feel more courageous to tackle my clutter, haha!

  3. Loniesha

    I need this! I need to read it, apply it, live it, just all of the things. I can’t tell you how many time I say to myself that I just have so much stuff. Decluttering is necessary for continued functionality, so I’ll def be adding this book to my read list.

  4. Chloe Chats

    I loved hearing about Dana’s de-cluttering method! I feel like my place gets messy a lot, especially the kitchen but its usually because I’m so busy with work and then the blog and wanting time to relax too it’s hard to find at least a few hours to go around tidying. I like the plastic container idea of putting them away with the lids, I could definitely do with getting rid of some, why are they so easy to collect a mountain of them haha! Great post <3

    Chloe xx

    1. Alison

      I’m the same Chloe, it’s hard to fit tidying up in! Another excellent tip Dana gives is to tackle the visible clutter first. I often do this in the kitchen and also the bedroom. Just 5 or 10 minutes makes things look a lot better 🙂

  5. hanmwill

    I love decluttering so much, its so therapeutic! My boyfriend hates mess and clutter so since moving in with him, I’ve gotten a lot better at doing little bits every day to keep on top of it and Dana’s approach seems much more manageable than having to set aside a couple of days to get everything done! Thanks for sharing, Alison!

  6. Rosanna Lundberg

    Hi Alison, I’m glad you shared this post and I can’t help but to comment, because decluttering is something I have to keep working on my life! Although I like to make things organize, but somehow when I get too busy, I didn’t realize my stuff are all messed up, so this is something I am trying to improve slowly. 🙂 Thanks for the book recommendation about ‘Decluttering at The Speed of Life’, I will definitely check this out!


    1. Alison

      Hi Rosanna, I’m the same, I have to really try hard to keep on top of it! The book has definitely helped me, I think because of it’s ‘bit at a time’ approach. Good luck!

  7. Annalise Seger

    I love this post! How great that you were able to find a method to declutter your home. Im always trying to get rid of stuff we have that we just don’t need. This was a great post that I enjoyed reading!

  8. Tiphany

    I feel like there is a constant incoming and outgoing in our house of seven. I’m pretty organized myself because I can’t think in messes. Though as my kids are growing up and their messes are getting well… messier its getting more difficult to stay ahead. Love the photos and post!

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