Learn the secrets to decluttering your house in record time and how to ensure it stays clutter-free and organized in the future.
One question that I’ve been asked MANY times is how to deal with clutter. So many of you say that you have so much “stuff” that you can’t seem to part with, mostly because you have spent good money on it and feel guilty throwing it away.
Let me give you all some advice. Your “stuff” is indeed just that – “stuff”.
When we were preparing to sell our house we had to unload a lot of items. I really realized how many things we had accumulated over the 4 years that Brian and I had lived together.
Saying this, decluttering really is a very emotional process. It’s not just about getting rid of stuff, it’s about making difficult decisions related to important things in our lives.
If it were easy, you’d be done by now and you wouldn’t feel such angst over the whole process, right?
BUT there is something strangely cathartic and freeing about getting rid of unused items. Don’t feel guilty about it. Sell them at a yard sale (the Facebook yard sale groups are awesome!) or donate them to charity.
Your house will thank you and you will feel like a huge weight has been lifted.
There’s really no secret to decluttering your home. You just have to purge. Once you adapt the right mindset it is a game changer. However, getting to this frame of mind can of course be difficult. You just have to commit to letting things go. It’s really that simple.
Simple Decluttering Rules
I have a few simple rules that I follow that allow me to keep the clutter (mostly) at bay:
It must have a CURRENT purpose or be something you love
Marie Kondo, in the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, tells us that everything you own has an intended purpose in your life. Once that purpose is fulfilled, you may not need that item any more. Just because an item was a gift does not mean you still have a purpose for it. If an item no longer has a purpose in your home, get rid of it!
When you decide to get rid of something, get it out of your house QUICKLY
If you put it in a box to donate and it winds up sitting in your garage for 6 months, you haven’t really decluttered–you have just moved the clutter. As soon as you have bagged your items, list them on a Facebook group, on Craigslist or make the phone call to the donation center. Many charities allow you to leave your donated items on your front step and they will pick them up for you. How easy it that? Plus you can deduct it as a charitable donation on your taxes :-)
Don’t confuse organizing with decluttering
Your clutter can be organized but organization will be so much easier if you get rid of what you don’t need (i.e. declutter!). Otherwise, you’re just reorganizing and rearranging and not really changing your clutter situation.
Ask Yourself This One Question The Next Time You’re About To Buy Something…
Finally, when you’re out and about and tempted to buy something. Stop and ask yourself – Do I really love this? Do I really need this? Do I have a real need/purpose for this? If the answer is no, put it down and walk away!
Efficient and Easy Tips To Begin Decluttering
Start by taking a moment to identify the areas in your home that are the most cluttered or difficult to navigate. Consider the spaces you use most frequently and where your mind first wanders when you think of disorganization.
The key is to tackle these rooms and zones one at a time so you can maximize your productivity while minimizing your stress.
As you begin decluttering, remember to sort through your belongings thoughtfully, and don’t be afraid to part with items you no longer need or use.
By focusing on one area at a time and making quick decisions, you’ll be amazed at the transformation you can achieve in just one day.
Your home will soon be a clutter-free, inviting space that you can truly enjoy.
Set Realistic Goals
When it comes to decluttering your house in one day, it’s essential to set realistic goals. A friendly reminder: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for tackling clutter.
By breaking the process into smaller, manageable tasks, you can focus on one room at a time and achieve a decluttered home without feeling overwhelmed.
Break It into Smaller Tasks
Instead of trying to declutter your entire house in a single day, focus on taking small steps. You can do this by dividing the task into smaller, more manageable parts:
- Start with one room: Choose a room that’s particularly cluttered or one that you use frequently. This way, you can see immediate results and feel motivated to continue.
- Divide the room into sections: Within the chosen room, break it down further into smaller areas or zones (e.g., closets, shelves, or drawers). This will help you stay organized and make the task seem less daunting.
- Use a timer: Set a timer for 15 to 30 minutes to work on each area. This not only helps you stay focused but also prevents you from getting burnt out.
- Keep things moving: Once you’ve finished an area within the room, move to the next and keep the momentum going. Before you know it, you’ll have made significant progress in decluttering your house.
Remember, when it comes to decluttering, small steps can lead to significant results. By breaking the task into manageable parts and focusing on one room at a time, you can make your house clutter-free in a realistic timeframe without feeling overwhelmed.
Gather Essential Supplies
Before starting the decluttering process, it’s important to gather the right supplies. This will make the task of decluttering your house in one day much more manageable. Here are the things you’ll need to have on hand for a successful decluttering day:
Determine Necessary Containers
Garbage Bags: You will need plenty of garbage bags to collect discarded items and trash. Choose large, durable bags that will hold a good amount of items for disposal.
Trash Bags: You’re probably going to need a lot of these.
Boxes: Whether for donating items or temporarily storing items, cardboard boxes are essential. Collect a variety of sizes to accommodate different types of belongings.
Baskets: These can be helpful for organizing smaller items or grouping similar items together. Baskets are especially useful when organizing your wardrobe or storage spaces.
Storage Space: Before getting started, make sure you have adequate storage space available to store or display your items once your house is decluttered. Ensure that shelves, drawers, and closets have ample room to accommodate the items you will keep.
Don’t forget to gather a few additional organizing tools to help you in the decluttering process:
- Label maker: A label maker can greatly assist you in sorting and organizing your items. They come in handy for labelling boxes, baskets, and shelves, making it easy to know what goes where. (I love this affordable bluetooth version)
- Closet organizers: For decluttering clothes, invest in a few wardrobe organizers like hanging shelves, drawer dividers, or clothing racks to ensure that your clothing is properly organized and easy to access. (These acrylic shelf dividers have been a game changer for my closet).
Armed with these essential supplies, you’re now ready to embark on your one-day decluttering journey.
Plan an Efficient Schedule
Decluttering your house in one day can be a breeze if you plan an efficient schedule. By establishing clear time limits, setting breaks and rewards, you’ll be able to tackle the clutter while minimizing stress.
Establish Clear Time Limits
Start by breaking down the tasks into manageable chunks or zones. For example, you might focus on your kitchen cabinets, the living room, or the bedroom closet.
Set a specific time limit for each zone to help keep you on track and maintain momentum. Use a timer or an app to remind you when it’s time to move on to the next zone.
Remember, the key is to stay focused and work efficiently within the time constraints.
Sample Schedule: - Kitchen Cabinets: 60 minutes - Living Room: 90 minutes - Bedroom Closet: 120 minutes
Set Breaks and Rewards
Incorporate breaks into your schedule to ensure you avoid burnout and stay motivated. Taking a short break after completing each zone will allow you to relax, catch your breath, and refocus.
Consider setting a reward system for yourself as you progress through the decluttering process. When you reach a milestone or complete a major task, treat yourself with a small reward, like a tasty snack or a short walk outside.
This will help keep your energy up and make the entire process more enjoyable.
- Breaks: Allow yourself a 10-15 minute break after each zone.
- Rewards: Small treats or activities to celebrate milestones.
Tackle One Room at a Time
When decluttering your house in one day, it’s important to focus on one room at a time. This method helps maintain your motivation and ensures each room’s organization is thorough.
- In your kitchen, begin by emptying the cabinets and drawers. Group similar items together, such as cookware, utensils, and dishes.
- Review each item and decide whether to keep, donate, or discard it.
- Once you’ve sorted everything, return the items you’re keeping to their designated spaces in a well-organized manner.
- Address other areas such as the pantry, countertops, and appliances similarly.
- For your living room, start by decluttering the main seating and entertainment areas.
- Remove unnecessary items, especially those that have accumulated on tables or other surfaces.
- When it comes to books, decor, or electronics, consider keeping only the essentials and storing or donating the rest.
- Make sure everything that remains has a designated place, keeping your living room clean and organized.
- In the bedroom, tackle your closet first, sorting through clothing and accessories to determine what to keep, discard, or donate.
- Store seasonal clothing to save space. I recommend vacuum storage bags for this task.
- Organize your dresser drawers, bedside table, and under-bed storage similarly.
- Don’t forget to declutter any bookshelves, desks, or other storage spaces.
- Start with the medicine cabinet and vanity in your bathroom.
- Remove all items, disposing of expired medications and products properly.
- Group like items together and only keep what you use regularly and is in good condition.
- Don’t forget to declutter and organize the shower and under-sink storage areas.
- Your entryway is the first impression of your home, so it’s important to keep it tidy and inviting.
- Remove all unnecessary clutter, such as shoes, coats, and accessories.
- Organize frequently used items in designated spaces like a coat rack, shoe rack, or bench.
- Address any other storage areas, such as closets or drawers, to ensure they’re decluttered and organized as well.
Organize and Declutter by Category
Books and Papers
- Group books by genre, author, or size to help you effectively organize your collection.
- Decide which books you no longer need or will read again, and donate or sell them.
- For papers, separate them into categories, such as bills, receipts, and important documents.
- Create a filing system to keep them organized and easily accessible. Scanning paper items into an app like Evernote will cut down on clutter in your home.
- For kids artwork, I have everything photographed and put into a hardback book, and then all the originals are recycled. That way I keep the memories but not the clutter.
- Remember to recycle any unwanted paper, shred sensitive documents, and clear your coffee table of any clutter.
- Address sentimental items, such as photographs, heirlooms, and mementos.
- Organize these belongings into categories or themes (e.g., travel memories, family events), and decide how you want to preserve and display them.
- For example, create photo albums or scrapbooks to cherish these memories.
- Determine which items you can part with by focusing on their emotional value or necessity.
- Evaluate fixed items, such as furniture and appliances.
- Consider if they still serve a purpose or provide function in your home.
- If some items are in need of repair, decide whether it’s worth fixing or better to replace.
- If you don’t need it, consider selling or donating it through Facebook Marketplace or a local yard sale group.
Lastly, deal with your unwanted items pile. Separate items to be donated, sold, recycled, or discarded. Plan a garage sale, list items online, or simply donate them to a local charity. By removing these unwanted items from your home, you’ll create a more organized and clutter-free space.
Decide on Keep, Donate, or Toss
When decluttering your house in one day, you need a clear strategy to decide what to keep, donate, or toss.
Implement the Marie Kondo Method
Use a straightforward and effective approach like the Marie Kondo Method. The method encourages you to evaluate each item in your home and decide if it truly sparks joy in your life. Follow these simple steps:
- Gather all the items in a specific category, such as clothing, books, or kitchenware.
- Hold each item in your hands and ask yourself if it sparks joy or has a meaningful purpose in your life.
- If it does, it’s a keeper. If not, decide whether to donate or toss the item.
Opt for donation when an item is in good condition but no longer suits your needs or taste. Donating is a terrific way to give your items a second life and help others who might need them. Remember that your donations can make a difference in someone else’s life.
Toss items that are no longer useful, such as broken or expired things. Be mindful of recycling and proper disposal methods to minimize waste and keep our environment clean.
By applying the Marie Kondo Method, you will not only create a clutter-free space but also cultivate a mindset of organization and mindfulness in your daily life.
As you continue with this process, you’ll gain better control over your possessions and feel less overwhelmed by clutter.
Enlist Help from Family or Friends
When decluttering your house in one day, it’s essential to enlist the help of your family and friends.
Not only will they provide extra hands to make the process more manageable, but they can also offer moral support and motivation to keep you going.
Bringing in others to assist you can help speed up the process, allowing everyone to pitch in and tackle different areas of your home together.
Divide tasks among your helpers fairly, assigning them to areas they are comfortable handling. You can decide to create teams and assign each team a specific room or space to declutter.
Create Long-Lasting Organization Systems
Once you’ve decluttered your home, it’s important to keep it that way.
Creating long-lasting organization systems in your home can make a significant difference in maintaining a clutter-free space.
Taking the time to set up proper storage solutions and consistently using them will help keep your house organized and easy to navigate.
Label and Store Items Properly
Start by labeling and storing items properly in their designated spot. This is an essential step to ensure you can easily find and return items to their proper place.
Use storage containers with clear labels for items like clothing, accessories, or kitchen utensils.
Try organizing your drawers with dividers, so each item has a specific spot. This can be especially helpful in places like your wardrobe, where all clothing items can be easily seen and accessed.
When it comes to your bookshelves, consider organizing books by genre, size, or color to create a visually appealing, organized space.
You can also incorporate decorative items to create a stylish and functional display. For other miscellaneous items, designate a specific space or storage container to keep them organized.
This can include a junk drawer that houses items like tape, scissors, and pens or storage bins for seasonal decorations.
Keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free by investing in shelving and storage units to help you organize your pantry and cabinets. Put away items like pots, pans, and dishes in their designated spots, making it easy for you to access them when needed.
Here are some key tips to create long-lasting organizational systems:
- Use clear labels for storage containers
- Implement drawer dividers for items like clothing and accessories
- Organize bookshelves by genre, size, or color
- Create designated spots for miscellaneous items
- Utilize shelving and storage units in your kitchen
Remember, maintaining a clutter-free space starts with giving everything a designated spot – and sticking to it.
Make Decluttering a Routine
Keep a Clutter-Free Home
Maintaining a clean and organized home can greatly contribute to your peace of mind and overall well-being.
By making decluttering a routine, you can enjoy the benefits of a clutter-free home and a minimalist lifestyle.
Here’s a simple action plan to guide you in keeping your home clutter-free:
Start with the entryway: The entryway is the first impression guests have of your home and sets the tone for the rest of the space. Make it a habit to keep this area tidy and free of unnecessary items.
Have a designated spot for shoes, coats, and keys to prevent them from piling up.
Organize your closet: To maintain a clutter-free home, pay attention to your closet.
Regularly go through your clothing and accessories, and remove items you no longer wear or need. This will free up valuable space and make finding what you need much easier.
Commit to regular decluttering: Occasionally, designate a day (or a weekend) to decluttering your home .
This means tackling all the areas prone to clutter in a short amount of time. This intensive session will help you maintain a clean and organized living space.
Create a daily action plan: Develop a daily routine that involves tidying up your living spaces, putting items back in their designated spots, and maintaining your clutter-free home. This habit will ensure you’re consistently working towards keeping your home orderly and clean.
Embrace a minimalist mindset: Adopting a minimalist mindset can contribute to a clutter-free home and promote peace of mind.
Emphasize quality over quantity by surrounding yourself with items that bring you joy and are purposeful.
This approach will not only make decluttering easier but will also improve your overall well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions
The fastest way to declutter your house is by setting a timer and working in short, focused bursts. Start with one room or section at a time, and sort items into three categories: keep, donate, and toss.
Remember to stay focused on the task, and avoid getting distracted by sentimental items or memories. AARP recommends beginning with a small area like a drawer to make progress quickly.
The 20-20 rule of decluttering suggests that if you can replace an item in less than 20 minutes and for less than $20, you should consider letting it go.
This rule helps you make quick decisions about items that you might not need or use frequently, allowing you to declutter more efficiently.
To drastically declutter, start by setting aside dedicated time and energy to tackle your space.
Break down the task into smaller, manageable parts, such as individual rooms or even specific sections like kitchen cabinets.
As you declutter, be ruthless about what you keep and remember the ultimate goal is to create a more organized, functional, and peaceful living environment.
When you feel overwhelmed, start with just one small area and focus on progress rather than perfection.
Break the task into smaller steps, and set realistic expectations for how much you can accomplish on a given day.
Remember to take breaks and celebrate your achievements along the way. Having a checklist to declutter your home can also help prioritize clutter areas and keep you on track.
A good decluttering checklist outlines each space that needs to be decluttered and provides a clear plan to tackle each area.
Divide the list into sections such as individual rooms, closets, or storage areas, and assign separate tasks within each section.
Make sure your checklist is realistic and reflects your personal decluttering goals.
To declutter quickly and efficiently, focus on the most visible and frequently used areas first.
Work in short, focused bursts, and use a timer to encourage fast decision-making.
Communicate your goals with family members and enlist their help in the process.
Remember to sort items into three piles (keep, donate, and toss) to streamline the process and make organization more manageable.