Purge & Prosper: SBP’s Essential Decluttering Guide

Tacos & Tequila


As the #1 real estate team on Los Angeles’ Westside, we at Smith & Berg Partners understand the excitement of buying a new home. However, in the rush to find your perfect property, it’s easy to overlook an essential preparatory step: decluttering your current space. We’ve hit this road block time and time again with both clients and ourselves, which is why we can’t emphasize enough the importance of decluttering. Years of accumulated stuff can be a recipe for stress and anxiety. Need some tangible tips and tricks to get an early start to spring cleaning or prep your home for sale or your next move? We're here for you. Read on…

Ask Yourself the Hard-Hitting Questions

Do yourself a favor and spend time rationally evaluating your possessions before touring houses or accepting an offer. Are you genuinely using and enjoying that item, or has it sat untouched for over a year? If you were to rebuild your home from scratch, would you actively choose to bring that piece along?

You may be surprised by what you discover during this process. Decluttering illuminates forgotten interests, frees up mental bandwidth, and carves out new space for what matters most. It also prevents the burden of excess stuff from spoiling the honeymoon phase with your new abode.

“Say no to the chaos of tossing items into drawers, your closet or the fridge; opt for bins, boxes and other organizational tools. This way, every item gets its own spot, and your drawers and shelves stay tidy and clean.” — Kirstin Alexander

Photo: Extra Space Storage

The Emotional Benefits of Decluttering 

On a psychological level, decluttering can provide a major emotional release. Parting with once-loved items can help you process the past and clear the decks for your next exciting chapter. Research also shows that excess possessions weigh on us mentally, increasing anxiety, overwhelm and depression. 

Conversely, decluttering and keeping your home tidy provides a calming sanctuary that benefits your mental health. Think of it as feng shui for your mind — you create outer order to restore inner calm and wisdom.

“After a long day at the office or dealing with whatever the day has thrown your way, going home to a clean and organized space can truly put you in a better headspace from the moment you step foot inside. If you’re someone who lives with anxiety and depression, this is an important factor in self care, in addition to helping you start and end your day on the right side of success.” — Natalie Gurevitch

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Tackling the Decluttering Process

Decluttering, SBP-style:

→ Work room-by-room. Focus your efforts systematically.

→ Handle items quickly. Does this align with my aspirations? If not, toss it.

→ Don't get sidetracked storing items. Bag it for donation or trash immediately.

→ Utilize the "one year" rule of thumb. If unused for 12+ months, declutter it.

→ Start decluttering as soon as you consider selling, and several months before your move date. This process takes time!

→ Consider an organizing service if you feel overwhelmed. Sometimes external motivation helps! Our friend Amy Suddelson at The Nimble Nest is a pro.

“We decluttered our home last month to list it for sale. Living in a house free of unnecessary ‘things’ and messes allowed me to enjoy precious time hanging out with my family rather than feeling the need to run around cleaning up. And as we pack this week to move into our new home, I can't tell you how much simpler the process has been.” Courtney Welsh 

Photo: Nimble Nest FB

We also recommend targeting some of the most notoriously cluttered zones like your office desk, kids' toy areas, kitchen drawers, and more. For example:

→ Office desk: An organized desk clears mental clutter so you can focus. Sort papers into action piles, file away documents, and only keep essential tech and supplies.

→ Kids' toys: Limit toy storage spaces and regularly purge what they’re not playing with. Fewer toys encourage more creative play.

→ Kitchen drawers: Toss old utensils, consolidate like items, and use organizers to neatly store what remains. An orderly kitchen minimizes stress.

“A clean desk can help you think clearly by reducing visual distractions, promoting organization, and creating a calm environment that allows your mind to focus better on the task at hand.” — David Berg

Ready for Your Next Chapter? 

Once you start purging with purpose, you may find it hard to stop. Bathroom drawers, kitchen cabinets, basement boxes, your car (!) — everywhere clutter tends to hide out. Finally let go of the tchotchkes and you'll breeze through packing to begin your next chapter with energy and clarity — not chaos. If questions arise during your purge, SBP is always here to help. And when you're ready to take the next step in the home buying or selling process, get in touch.

“Cleanliness = Godliness.” Words I live by (most days).” — Robert ‘Morty’ Morton

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