Well, well, well... maybe it is time I repeat myself again about that subject!
I have had quite a few people recently talking to me about de-cluttering their homes... their lives... and most of them had no clue where to start... I had no clue either back then! I only knew I could no longer breathe where I lived and decided to do something! Anything! Therefore, you can go with your gut feeling as to what needs to go ASAP and move from there... like I did... or...
there are a few more organized ways to do it! But all that really matter is that you find room to breath and pbe at peace in your own home again...
1) Room per room
Using this method, you would pick one room, empty it completely... of course this requires you have space to put all the stuff into... and then, clean it all up and put back only what you really love, really use and what really goes into that room. You have to be really picky.... and not hesitate to move something to another room or simply sell/give it away if it doesn't fit anywhere. Trick of the trade: if you put everything back into the room, you were not very successful at the exercise... start over!!! UNLESS, this room has already been minimalized!
2) Most clutter first
You can pick the most clutter area of your home. Doesn't have to be a room... could be a closet, an armoire, bathroom medicine cabinet, a drawer, a bookshelf... you see what I mean! Something or a place in your home where you can never find anything.... of course it may take longer but you will see results faster!
3) Less clutter first
If you are press with time, I would start with the exact opposite... something or a room that is almost perfect as per your minimalist standard. It will be quick and you'll be able to appreciate the results... and you can check something off your "to-do" list! And it will give you inspiration to find the time to proceed to other areas as you will love and live better in that area of your home.
4) Open area first
A sure way to obtain visible result rapidly is to go with what ever is an open area... kitchen counter, top of furniture, open bookshelves... anything you can see and is bothering you. You will still know the clutter is elsewhere but appreciating the space you created will make you want to move forward...
5) Easiest to most difficult
Some areas might be easier to clean up.... stuff you care less about... start there! Anything that has sentimental value, that you cherish a lot... anything that reminds you of something or someone will be harder to do... keep those for last when you have hours of de-cluttering up your sleeves!!! I know I kept all these things for last.. along with my clothes!
6) Fire - Alone
Now, ultimately, one thing that works really well for me to this day... one thing I wish I would have come across earlier in my process is this one question: Lets say your home burns down completely, nothing remains... all turned into ashes... what would you go and buy over again? And obviously answer this question VERY honestly...
Alternatively, if catching fire scares you... let's pretend you are all alone... no one knows you at all.... how would you create/design your home? How would it reflect who you are on the inside rather then what it should be or what people expect it to be? Once again, answer this VERY honestly or else there is no point....
But, in the end, no matter what "technique" you use or not, what matters most is that your home ends up reflecting who you are on the inside... you end up with stuff you use/love ONLY... no room for useless items... unworn clothes.... misloved sports equipment.... maybe-I'll-read-it-one-day books... gifts that you no longer love... something you keep in case someone ask you what you did with it...
Your home should not be a magazine picture... your home should reflect your life, your passion, your interests... and there is no way that could be exactly as picture in a magazine as those are made to please everyone.... and you are not everyone! Remember that it is your home, you get to live in it... not those people who visit you now and then... not your distant family... or close friends... It must be your refuge... the place you feel the best in!!!
And remember, someones "garbage" will be someones "treasure"... do not hesitate to give... you will never get back the monetary/snetimental value of anything... but just knowing someones happy to have it can make a big difference! If you are patient and have time to spare, you can try selling some stuff... you'll get some money back that you can use towards something else like paying off debt, a trip, a week-end getaway... but I have found over the years of doing this that selling the stuff I use to love, and think was worth so much, made me more sad then anything... because it is never really worth that much! Therefore I started not wanting to get rid of stuff... I wanted to keep it until I got enough moeny for it...and it doesn't make sense. De-cluttering is not about making mooney but about breathing better! Living simpler! When I give it, gratification is immediate.