Decluttering Strategy 101: A Tongue-in-Cheek Take on Tidying


We recap the cleaning and decluttering strategy from Sarah Knight’s latest self-help parody, Get Your Sh*t Together.

This book won’t make the NYT Best Sellers list, nor will a friend suggest it for the next book club read. All the same, we welcome its fresh (even if satirical) perspective on streamlining life and concise decluttering strategy. Rather than review the full book, we’re focusing on the most salient takeaways with respect to decluttering and organizing your home.

In this book, Knight’s key insight on any tidying method is that, simply put, it’s really quite hard to consistently follow through (beyond the honeymoon, that is). Given this, she argues for a practical-over-perfectionist approach to keeping a tidy home.

Knight’s approach hinges on the following four steps:

  1. Set a Reasonable Goal. “Ever-ready for a TV commercial” is not a reasonable goal. Nor is having a P-Touch-labeled drawer for every single category of minutiae in your house. Instead, set your sights on an attainable goal that will bring you peace of mind without constant effort to maintain it. Knight’s suggestion of a tidying goal: 

    Not only clean your house, but keep it clean for unexpected company, impromptu dinner parties, and your own general sanity.

  2. Strategize. Knight suggests a very pragmatic decluttering strategy: Start with a one-time cleanup. Perhaps not a KonMari-quality purge, but something that would do if a neighbor were to stop by on short notice. Then, divide your routine into categories of mini-goals (rather than items, per KonMari ). For example: picking up toys, folding laundry, vacuuming. The key is to dividing into tasks small enough (aim for ~20 minutes ) that you can tackle one or two every couple days.
  3. Focus. Now that you have your list of ~20-minute mini-goals, the next part of the decluttering strategy is to carve out the time every couple days to focus solely on getting them done. Picking up toys is not so hard if you are fully-focused on it (it’s the distractions that can turn a ~20-minute task into an afternoon). Some mini-goals, like vacuuming, are more time-consuming and best reserved for weekends.
  4. Commit. Now you’ve set your mini-goals. You’ve determined how much time it takes to complete each of them. And you’ve carved out the time every (other) day to focus on completing them. The final part of the decluttering strategy is to commit for the long run. In Knight’s own words (and inimitable style:

    …you’ll have no more excuses for not keeping the house clean. You built the time into your day; now all you have to do is use it. You’ve effectively backed yourself into a corner with your own Swiffer.

We have covered the cleaning and decluttering strategy from Knight’s book, but it’s packed with many other great insights. If you like her no-nonsense, satirical tone, consider picking the book up below. 

Get Your Sh*t Together - Decluttering Strategy Book Review

Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do

GoodReads: 3.7 of 5 stars
Amazon: 4.3 of 5 stars
304 pages, published December 27th 2016
Purchase at: Amazon |  B&N 

If you enjoyed reading Get Your Sh*t Together, we would recommend the following books (click each to view at Amazon):


If you enjoyed this post, see this review of a more traditional approach presented in Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

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