Articles Home Tips and Advice The Art of Decluttering: 5 Methods for Work-From-Home Upkeep

The Art of Decluttering: 5 Methods for Work-From-Home Upkeep

Need to free up space at home? Not sure where to start? Explore the different styles of tidying up and find out what decluttering methods work best for you.

Decluttering is probably one of the most exhausting tasks you can do at home. Whether you’re a hoarder or a minimalist, a clean-freak or a messy person, decluttering can feel like such a chore.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with what you collected through the years. Should you keep your printed reports? Should you get rid of pieces that aren’t beneficial anymore? Should you just give most of your things away? Ultimately, the one who holds the answers is you.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to ways of tidying up. Whether you like having fun when you organize or you stick to just letting go of clutter, it’s your call. Waste no more time and find out which decluttering methods you should go for.

Quickest and Easiest: Hide in Box Method

True to its name, this method tells you to hide in boxes whatever you don’t use everyday. The books you don't read, old papers, products, electronics, and non-functional items must be stored neatly in boxes.

Most people use this method without even realizing that it’s called the hide in box method. You probably tried this method at least once in your life. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s convenient, especially if you have no time or patience to sort your things out.

People with a box labeled books.


It’s a visual method: what you see, you use. This is helpful to those who get confused and tired with having to dig into piles and stacks of home office items. If you don’t like looking for an item and ending up with a ransacked room, the hide in box method is your best friend.


This method can distract you from truly getting rid of what you don’t need. Months can pass and things just continue to get stored in boxes. This method might take up more house space than free it up.

From the bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”, tidying expert Marie Kondo introduced the term “spark joy” to the world. If your belongings spark joy in your life, then great!

But more than the catchphrase is its essence: keeping what makes us happy and letting go of what doesn’t. The KonMari method also teaches us to be grateful for all the things we’ve ever owned, even if we don’t use them or find them beautiful anymore.

Woman in pink sweater having her hand over her chest where her heart is.


For items that spark joy in your life, you are free to use this rule. This style is helpful to those who like trinkets and desk displays like pictures of loved ones or pets.


Contrary to popular belief, this is not a minimalist method. The KonMari method can encourage hoarders and packrats to hold on to belongings that they don’t need, just because they think these things spark joy in their lives.

Strictest: One In, One Out Rule

If you want to discipline yourself on spending and storing items, then this is for you. Basically, for every item you buy, you give away another item that you already own. It may take some time to see the results, but it works for some people.

The one in, one out rule is especially created for impulsive buyers. If your urge to shop for office supplies or clothes persists, then give this method a shot.

A woman in a muted orange sweater choosing between a knitted sweater and a striped polo.


If you feel the need to detach from your belongings, then this method will serve you well. It can teach you how to be less materialistic, and it can limit your impulsive shopping habits.


It starts out fun, but it can feel like a waste of items eventually. You might actually be shopping for essentials and get forced to throw out other necessities.

Most Practical: Four Box Method

Plain and simple, the four box method tells us to neatly label our things and follow through with what we’re supposed to do with them. All your belongings must fall under one of these four categories: sell, donate, trash, relocate.

The four box method can be likened to an art critic picking which of their pieces should they move to the living room as a highlight piece, which to make a quick buck from, which to give away, and which have gone past their prime.

A women labelling a cardboard box and a man sealing another cardboard box with tape.


If you like putting things in fixed categories, then go for this. The four box method is efficient and helpful in making systematic decisions.


Your number one enemy is overlapping categories. If you’re indecisive, then the four box method would consume your time. Skip this one and explore more options.

Best for Clothes: Oprah’s Closet Hanger Rule

Especially made for wardrobe decluttering, this closet hanger rule was created by well-known TV host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey. This method makes us realize that you have clothes that aren’t part of your rotation.

Open your closet and scan your clothes. If you spot those that you don’t usually wear, turn their hangers in the opposite direction. Keep the clothes you regularly wear in the normal direction. After six months, know which ones to get rid of, or put in storages.

A woman in green sweater fixing her hangered clothes.


The principle can apply to other storage areas as well. Be it your file cabinets in the home office, girls’ makeup drawers or boys’ gaming stash.


It might take more time than simply laying all your clothes out and choosing which ones to keep and give away. If you don’t like waiting for months, this rule is not for you.

How Would You Declutter?

You don’t have to follow these methods strictly. You are free to go at your own pace and tidy up your work-from-home setup depending on your mood. As much as decluttering can be a pain in the neck, it’s up to you to make it enjoyable and fun.

Be it for seasonal upkeep or everyday maintenance, decluttering sure helps with making your home office be a more organized one. What methods have you picked up?  Which rule is your favorite? Did you come up with your own style? This list hopefully helped you figure things out.


Aguirre, S. (2020, December 11). Here’s How to Conquer Clutter With the 4-Container Method. The Spruce.

KM Editor. (2021, June 22). Rule 6: Ask Yourself If It Sparks Joy. KonMari | The Official Website of Marie Kondo.

Minimalist Living: One In, One Out. (2009, October 7). Miss Minimalist.

Walsh, B. P. (2012, February 7). Organizing Tips from Peter Walsh - Declutter Your Home.

Williford, T. (2019, September 26). Try the “Box and Banish” Method to Handle Your Toughest Clutter. Apartment Therapy.