At least twice a year I decide that I want to declutter my house. It isn’t that my home is particularly cluttered. There’s plenty of room, and things don’t fall out of the closets or cupboards when I open them. But I do find myself frustrated by the lack of clear surfaces, and the piles that slowly grow on every countertop. I’ve tried dozens of different approaches to decluttering my home, and many did not work. But these four decluttering tips resonated with me. Hopefully they’ll work for you, too!

Box it All Up

I originally read about this method on The Minimalists, a website devoted to minimalism. But don’t worry: it works even if you’re not a minimalist. With this approach, you box up everything in a room. Take what you need out as you need it. Whatever you don’t use in six months or a year (the amount of time is up to you) gets donated. If boxing up a whole room seems too extreme, just box up the contents of your closet or your dresser.

By the Calendar

This decluttering method is a little less strict, but it forces you to keep a steady decluttering pace. Each day for a month,  you get rid of a certain number of items. On the first day of the month, you get rid of one item. On the fifteenth of the month, you get rid of fifteen. By the end of the month you’ll have made a lot of progress.

Kon Mari Method

This is the decluttering approach that has worked best for me. You gather like items and hold each item, keeping only those that truly bring you joy.  For example, collect all your books—from everywhere in the house—in a pile. Pick up each book and determine if it makes you happy or is meaningful to you. Donate the rest. This approach ensures that you’re keeping only the items you really value.

Hire a Professional

If all else fails and you just cannot seem to get rid of all the clutter, it’s time to get help. A professional organizer will help you develop tips to declutter your home and routines to keep it decluttered.

What method of decluttering works best for you?