The 12-12-12 Decluttering Method: Your Roadmap to a Clutter-Free Haven


Ever find yourself entering your home after a challenging day, yearning for tranquility, only to be met with overwhelming clutter? The 12-12-12 decluttering method might just be the answer. Picture piles of miscellaneous items scattered across surfaces, turning your once serene haven into a chaotic obstacle course. Your kitchen counter disappears beneath unopened mail, the closet becomes a jumbled puzzle of clothing, and the notorious ‘junk drawer’ transforms into an abyss of forgotten odds and ends. The peace you crave seems buried beneath layers of chaos. How did it get this bad?

Believe me, you’re not alone in this battle against the ever-encroaching tide of clutter. Many of us have experienced the frustration of living in a space that feels more like a storage unit than a sanctuary. But fret not, because I’m about to introduce you to a game-changing strategy that promises to be your knight in shining armor – the ingenious 12-12-12 decluttering method. Prepare to bid farewell to the disorder and chaos that have overstayed their welcome, and say hello to a home where peace and order reign supreme.

Imagine this scenario: you open your front door after a long day, and instead of being met with chaos, you’re welcomed by a serene and organized space that instantly melts away your stress. No more stumbling over misplaced items, no more searching high and low for that elusive remote control. Instead, you step into an oasis of calm, a refuge where you can unwind and truly savor the comforts of your home. It might sound like a dream, but with the 12-12-12 method at your disposal, this dream is entirely within reach.

What is the 12-12-12 Decluttering Method?

Sara Tramp

The 12-12-12 decluttering method is a straightforward and systematic approach to tidying up your home. The concept revolves around selecting a total of 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper places. This method not only helps you clear out unnecessary clutter but also encourages a more mindful and intentional approach to the items you choose to keep.

Related Post: Step-by-Step Guide to Declutter Your Home

Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

  1. Find 12 items to throw away: Look for items that are no longer useful, broken, or simply cluttering your space.
  2. Locate 12 items to donate: Identify items that are in good condition but are no longer needed. These can be clothes, household items, or other possessions.
  3. Select 12 items to be returned to their proper places: Identify items that have migrated from their designated spots and need to be put back where they belong.

By following the 12-12-12 method, you declutter a total of 36 items in a systematic way, making the process more manageable and less overwhelming. It’s a great way to simplify your living space and create a more organized and serene environment.

“If you are looking for a way to style your space with wall art without breaking your piggy bank, then I recommend reading10 Surprising Benefits of Printable Wall Art

Who’s This Method Best For?


The beauty of the 12-12-12 decluttering method lies in its universal applicability. Whether you’re a busy professional juggling work and family, a student trying to maintain a clear study space, or someone simply seeking a more organized living environment, this method has something to offer.

“Decluttering isn’t just about getting rid of things; it’s about choosing to live with things that spark joy. When you surround yourself with objects that you truly love and appreciate, it can transform your life in amazing ways.”

Marie Kondo, decluttering queen and author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

It’s perfect for those who are new to decluttering and looking for a manageable starting point, as well as for seasoned organizers aiming to maintain their clutter-free status. The 12-12-12 method adapts to your needs, lifestyle, and the size of your space, making it a versatile solution for anyone seeking a clutter-free haven.

The Lowdown on the 12-12-12 Method

Werner Straube

Now that you’re on the edge of your seat, eagerly waiting to learn the secret to conquering clutter, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of the 12-12-12 decluttering method. Think of it as a decluttering dance, where you’ll waltz your way through your home, saying “goodbye” to the unnecessary and “hello” to the harmonious.

Here’s the scoop

the 12-12-12 method is all about tackling clutter in a structured and efficient manner. The concept is beautifully simple – you’re going to find 12 items to toss, 12 items to donate, and 12 items that need to find their way back to their proper homes. It’s like a decluttering triathlon, and you’re the champion poised for victory!

But why 12, you ask? Well, think of it as a golden number – not too overwhelming, yet not too minimal. It strikes the perfect balance between making a noticeable dent in your clutter while ensuring that you don’t burn out before the finish line.

Picture this: you’re in your bedroom, facing your closet, which seems to have taken on a life of its own. You pull out a faded T-shirt you haven’t worn in years, a pair of shoes that have seen better days, and a pile of scarves that you forgot even existed.

“Decluttering isn’t a one-time event; it’s a practice of living deliberately. By regularly checking in with your belongings and letting go of things that no longer serve you, you create space for new opportunities and growth.”

Joanna Gaines, co-founder of Magnolia Market and TV host

As you go through these items, memories come flooding back – that T-shirt from that unforgettable concert, those shoes you danced the night away in, and those scarves you bought during a spontaneous shopping spree. Each item carries a story, a memory, a little piece of your history.

Now, armed with your three trusty bins – one for “Trash,” another for “Donate,” and the last for “Return” – you embark on a decluttering journey that’s both practical and nostalgic. It’s like embarking on a treasure hunt through your own belongings, rediscovering the gems while letting go of the excess.

So, are you ready to reclaim your home from the clutches of clutter and embark on a journey towards serenity? The 12-12-12 method is your map, your guide, and your compass – all rolled into one. It’s time to roll up your sleeves, channel your inner decluttering warrior, and let the adventure begin.

Let’s Dive In, Shall We?

Tasmin Johnson Interiors

Step 1: Choose Your Battlefield

First things first, pick a spot to conquer. It could be that closet you’re afraid to open, your kitchen counter that’s lost under a pile of who-knows-what, or even that drawer that’s become a black hole for random odds and ends.

Step 2: Gather Your Weapons

Equip yourself with three trusty bins: one for “Trash,” another for “Donate,” and the last one for “Return.” We’re about to Marie Kondo our way through this!

Step 3: Unearth the Treasures

Now, start digging! Pick up an item and think, “Do I really need this?” If it’s a resounding “no,” toss it in the trash bin. If it’s got life left in it but you’re just not feeling the love, pop it into the donation bin. And if it’s wandered away from its rightful spot, make sure it gets back home.

Step 4: Pace Yourself, Warrior

Don’t go all ninja on your decluttering mission. Keep a steady rhythm – 12 items for each category. This way, you’ll avoid burning out faster than a shooting star.

Step 5: Let the Stories Flow

As you sort through your stuff, you’ll stumble upon items with stories. Maybe it’s a T-shirt from that epic concert or a quirky souvenir from your last vacation. Remember, it’s not just about getting rid of things; it’s about cherishing what truly matters.

Step 6: Revel in Your Triumph

You did it! Your cluttered battlefield is now a zone of triumph. Bid farewell to the trash, send your donations on their way to making someone’s day, and watch as your items find their way home – it’s like a reunion of old pals!

Why This Method Rocks

Aerin Lauder

Now, you might wonder, “What’s the fuss about this 12-12-12 thing?” Well, let’s break it down:

“Decluttering is like giving your home a breath of fresh air. It opens up space, both physical and mental, allowing you to focus on what truly matters. It’s a chance to create a home that reflects your current needs and aspirations, not one burdened by the past.”

Emily Henderson, founder of Emily Henderson Design

1. Stress Be Gone

Picture this: you come home, and instead of battling clutter, you’re greeted by calm. That’s the magic of decluttering. Less stuff equals less stress – it’s like a spa day for your mind.

2. Hello, Productivity!

A tidy space means less time hunting for things. Imagine getting ready in the morning without rummaging through a chaotic closet. You’ll be out the door in no time, ready to conquer the world!

3. Creativity Unleashed

A clear space equals a clear mind. With clutter out of the way, your creative juices can flow freely. That novel you’ve been meaning to write or that painting you’ve been putting off? Consider them back on your to-do list!

4. Time Savior

When your stuff has a designated spot, you’re not wasting precious minutes looking for lost items. Time saved equals more moments to do the things you love – whether it’s binge-watching your favorite show or tackling a new hobby.

5. Aesthetic Vibes

Who doesn’t love a beautifully organized space? Your home will become an Instagram-worthy haven that’s both inviting and impressive. Guests will marvel at your clutter-free prowess!

10 Surprising Benefits of Printable Wall Art
15 Must-Have Accessories For Styling A Coffee Table
How to Choose the Perfect Interior Color Scheme for Your Home
Expert Guide On How To Buy A Rug For Each Room


So, there you have it, the 12-12-12 decluttering method – your ticket to a clutter-free paradise. No more battling the chaos, no more stress-induced headaches. It’s all about finding joy in the things that truly matter and creating a space that reflects your awesomeness. Ready to conquer the clutter and reclaim your space? Go forth, my decluttering champion, and embrace the magic of 12-12-12!

The 12-12-12 Decluttering Method(FAQs)

Q1: What is the 12-12-12 decluttering method?

The 12-12-12 decluttering method is a systematic approach to tidying up your living space. It involves selecting and dealing with 12 items to discard, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their rightful places. This method helps you clear out clutter and create a more organized and peaceful environment.

Q2: Why should I use the 12-12-12 method instead of other decluttering techniques?

The 12-12-12 method is simple, manageable, and efficient. It sets a specific goal for the number of items you’ll address in each category, preventing you from feeling overwhelmed. This method also encourages a mindful approach to your belongings, allowing you to make conscious decisions about what to keep, donate, or discard.

Q3: Can I use the 12-12-12 method for larger areas, like an entire room?

Absolutely! While the 12-12-12 method is often used for smaller areas, you can adapt it to larger spaces. Break down the room into smaller sections or zones, and apply the method to each zone. This way, you can tackle even the most cluttered room in an organized and systematic manner.

Q4: How do I decide which items to keep and which to donate or discard?

As you go through your belongings, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I use this item regularly?
  • Does this item hold sentimental value or bring me joy?
  • Will I realistically use or display this item in the future?

Based on your answers, you can decide whether an item stays, goes to the donation bin, or is discarded.

Q5: What if I’m emotionally attached to certain items?

Emotional attachments can make decluttering challenging. However, the 12-12-12 method encourages you to consider the value and relevance of each item in your present life. If an item holds deep sentimental value, you may choose to keep it. Just be mindful of striking a balance between sentimentality and maintaining an organized space.

Q6: How often should I use the 12-12-12 method?

The frequency of using the 12-12-12 method depends on your needs and preferences. Some people incorporate it into their weekly routine, focusing on different areas of their home. Others use it as a seasonal or annual decluttering ritual. Feel free to adapt the method to suit your lifestyle and maintain an organized living space.

Q7: Can the 12-12-12 method help improve my mental well-being?

Absolutely. A clutter-free environment can have a positive impact on your mental health. Living in an organized space reduces stress, promotes relaxation, and enhances your overall sense of well-being. By decluttering with the 12-12-12 method, you’re creating a harmonious space that supports your mental and emotional health.

Q8: How long does it take to complete a 12-12-12 decluttering session?

The time required for a 12-12-12 decluttering session varies based on factors such as the size of the area you’re tackling and the number of items you have. Some sessions might take just 15-20 minutes, while others could stretch to an hour or more. The key is to maintain a steady pace and avoid rushing through the process.

Q9: What do I do with the items I’ve designated for donation or disposal?

Once you’ve completed your 12-12-12 session, take action promptly. Dispose of trash items, gather donation items in a designated area, and make arrangements to drop them off at a local charity or donation center. Returning items to their proper places ensures that your space remains organized.



Steal These 15 Expert-Approved Decorating Secrets

Let's be real, home decorating can feel like navigating a Pinterest board maze blindfolded. ‍ Tiny, big spaces, tight budgets, ...

How To Accessories Your Living Room

Hey there! Ever walked into a room and felt like something was missing? Well, chances are it's missing some accessories! ...

Small Space? 10 Ways To Make A Room Appear Bigger

A very common question online is "How to make a room appear bigger?" Does this resonate with you? Do you ...

Make Your space Look Expensive

Unlock the secrets to make your space look expensive without breaking the bank. In this guide, we will get into ...


18 Fresh Decorating Ideas To Update Your Fireplace

Are you yearning for a fireplace that not only warms your space but also wows your guests? Look no further! ...

How To Create An Art Gallery Wall

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like something was missing? Maybe it needs a splash of personality, ...

How To Decorate a Living Room With White Walls

Don't make your all-white space boring, here are some great tips on how to decorate a living room with white ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *