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Your 12 Day Guide to Decluttering

Matt Paxton stands with two paintings in his hands, smiling
Matt Paxton in season two of Legacy List

Legacy List with Matt Paxton premieres on VPM PBS Monday, January 4 at 9 p.m. Watch anytime, anywhere on your favorite smart device through the PBS app or online at

When it comes to decluttering, where do you start? Legacy List host Matt Paxton recommends taking it one day at a time. By breaking up a big project into accomplishable tasks, downsizing becomes doable. 

Here’s your guide to declutter one day at a time.

Day 1: Establish WHY You Are Decluttering

Remind yourself why you are decluttering. Write it down on a whiteboard or post-it note. The more you see it, the easier it will be to stay focused on your decluttering goal.

READ: 7 Essential Tips for How to Start Decluttering

Day 2: Let Go Of Gifts (And The Guilt)

What do you do with a gift if you don't want to keep it? The sentiment is what's important. Free yourself from the obligation of keeping it and give the item a chance to be used by someone else.

READ: How to Declutter Sentimental Items in 7 Steps

Day 3: Pick One Room To Declutter at a Time

When you declutter one room at a time, you are able to see your progress and keep the momentum going. By breaking decluttering down into “parts,” an overwhelming and emotionally charged task becomes manageable.

READ: 3 Tips for How to Declutter When Overwhelmed

Day 4: Donate Books You Won’t Read Again

Are you saving books you really enjoy but are unlikely to read again? Free up space by giving them to someone who you think will appreciate the story as much as you! 

READ: 3 Options for Book Recycling

Day 5: Digitize Your Photos

Once you’ve sorted through all of the photos you want to keep, scan originals using a phone app or scanner, and then merge and organize all of your digital files. Matt Paxton recommends saving digital copies in two different places so you always have a back-up for your memories.

READ: Organize Your Photos in 5 Easy Steps To Preserve Your Family Memories

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