Do you find yourself struggling to declutter your home? Have you been trying for months or years and feel like you’re making NO progress and it’s taking FOREVER? Nope, you don’t need to hire a professional organizer because I’ve got you covered!
Let’s dive into my top ways to declutter faster.
First things first, grab your boxes!
The easiest way to start your decluttering journey is to grab 4 boxes and label them:
Recycling – Check your local government or recycling centers for what to recycle and where
Garbage – for trash or things that cannot be repaired or recycled
Donation box or sell – Donate things in good condition or sell things that have a bit more value (I like to sell things for 20% of their original value and usually only things over $30)
Bring Home – these are the things that are in the wrong spot, but have a home in the rest of the house.
Whatever you do, do not, I repeat, do NOT get stuck looking for the right boxes…
Which brings me to:
Don’t get stuck in perfectionism.
A lot of people get stuck because instead of grabbing some boxes or trash bags and getting started, they end up getting stuck trying to find the “perfect decluttering process”, the “best way” to make decisions, the “perfect” charity, the right boxes, etc.
I hate to tell you this Linda, but that is your subconscious trying to trick you into procrastinating. Why would it do this? It wants you to stay right where you are because it views that as safe (I’ll get into this more in the future) even if the mess is making you nuts.
There is no such thing as perfect. Nothing will EVER be perfect. Just go for it!
So, the best thing to do is to JUST START. Get your boxes, choose your space and start going through piles of stuff.
Which brings me to…
Get a quick win and choose the right room.
I always get the question “Where’s the first place I should start?” This can be different for a lot of people. Just make sure it’s an area where you can get a quick win!
A quick win is an area (quite often a small space) that won’t take too long, and maybe you can even do it in one session. Then you can walk by it and pat yourself on the back. I seriously walk by my junk drawer and fawn over it any time I declutter it (which is often because it’s a junk drawer and it gets messy!).
Sometimes I tell people, to just start with the junk drawer (no surprise there), laundry room, or in an easier room like the living room. Somewhere that has less stuff, and where you can make some quick decisions. Maybe it’s even just clearing off your kitchen counters or flat surfaces in the entryway.
Sometimes people wonder about the home office, garage, storage space or kitchen. I often leave those rooms until later because they can be FULL of indecision and a large number of items. Hellooooo paperwork.
Ask the right questions
Clutter is a representation of indecision. A great way to tackle that is through asking the right questions:
1. Do I use this?
2. Do I like this?
3. Does this fit?
4. Do I need this?
Do I use this?
This is easy. Do you use this item often? Maybe you don’t use it often, but whenever you use it, you’re SO grateful because it’s so handy and saves you so much time.
Do I like this?
I love this one for things like artwork and clothing. Sometimes we keep things around that don’t make us feel great and we don’t even like them that much, yet we keep them because we always have. Time to let them go!
Does this fit?
This is super helpful for clothes. Quite often we save clothes because we hope to fit into them again.
This can be a mistake for a few reasons:
-they continue to clutter your closet
-they might remind you that you aren’t the size you want to be
I love this strategy instead: if you are actively working to change your size (maybe you’re working out, watching what you eat, weightlifting, etc.), then maybe hang onto some things you think you’ll fit into soon.
I also like to only keep a size up or down because realistically, by the time we CAN fit into something, we might not even like it anymore.
Do I need this?
So, if you’re not using it, you don’t like it, and it doesn’t fit, do you need it? Sometimes we do “need” certain things. Knives (I don’t know why those always come to mind first, but whatever, haha!), couches, plates, doors, etc.
We do need some things for utilitarian purposes, but a lot of things can just go!
An easy way is to check out this handy decluttering checklist to help you through my simple steps.
Work on the entire room until you’re finished
One of the most important things to avoid is moving around from room to room like Tinkerbell. We pick something up and bring it to the proper place. No, just put it in a “bring home” box and keep working on that room. You can bring things to their own home when you finish that room.
I GET it though, decluttering involves a LOT of decisions and when we pick up something and we know where it goes, our brain says “Yay! I know where this goes, I’m going to take a break and bring it there.” We can waste a lot of time wandering around.
The best way to get a clutter-free home is to work through each room FULLY until it’s done. THEN move on to the next room.
Start with the easy stuff.
I don’t want to be controversial, but I think Marie Kondo had it wrong in one big way. She would suggest taking everything out of your kitchen cabinets and then working through unwanted items. Yikes.
The problem is that a pile of stuff is overwhelming. What we want to do is to keep the stress level down, so we want to do this until the job is done.
Just like we are starting in an easy room, a great idea is to start with the easy things. And one at a time. Not a big ol’ pile.
Start grabbing garbage, throw some recycling in the recycling bin, and find any dishes (teenager rooms anyone?). This is one of the only times I break my rule of returning things home early, BUT save it for the end of the day.
After you’ve done the trash and forks, move on to old mail, or grab a box and just go through it.
Pick up your item, and ask yourself the questions listed above, and decide quickly. If you stress about every single item, it’ll just take too much time and it’ll take forever to reach your decluttering goals.
I tend to leave paper clutter for a wee bit later in the process. That’s a spot where you need to make sure that you’re rested and hydrated!
And, I suggest leaving sentimental items until wayyyyy later. Once you’ve built up those decluttering muscles, go for it!
Focus and put the time in.
One of the things that can make decluttering take such a long time is when we are inconsistent. Doing even a little bit every day can have the biggest impact! If you declutter for only 30 minutes per day, that’s 182.5 hours in a year! Do you think that’s enough time to declutter your entire house? I bet it is…or at least close!
You might groan and say “Don’t say a year!”, but really, how LONG have you been wanting to declutter your whole house?
One of the reasons people have such a hard time decluttering their homes is they declutter for a week or two and run out of steam. OR they decide they really just need to organize, so they buy some storage bins throw in some things, and wonder why there’s still so much stuff left over.
One of my favourite things to do is set small goals for the day and work quickly to see if I can reach them.
I also am OBSESSED with timers, I like to use this time timer because I can see how much time is left even without my glasses on!
Seriously, even 15 minutes each day is over 90 hours in a year!
Sure, at times it’ll be hard work, but other times you’ll declutter fast and be proud whether you declutter a small space or a whole room.
Staying consistent is the easiest way to spend way less time decluttering your home.
Keep your eye on the prize!
I want you to sit back and close your eyes (after you’ve finished reading this of course).
Picture your gorgeous, tidy home.
Imagine walking through the front door and feeling like it’s a new home. There’s nothing on the surfaces. The coffee table is clear, except maybe a cup of tea (you know I’ve GOT to get a tea reference in here somewhere!).
You walk through the kitchen and everything is in its place. Maybe there are flowers on the counter, or maybe not!
Your wardrobe is nice and tidy. Your shoes are neatly tucked away.
The powder room is fresh and clean.
You open the closets and everything is in its place.
It feels amazing!
You can do this!! You just need to put in a little time, be consistent and the good news is, you can HAVE IT!!
If you struggle to be consistent, try this
I like to give myself stickers every time I work out. Yep, I am JUST like a kindergartener. So, you can download my Shining Star sheet, or just throw some stickers on the calendar. Hack, just give yourself a checkmark!
Anything to acknowledge that you are doing the work and you’re getting it done!
If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up, but get right back to it!!
You can do this, and it’s going to be amazing!
Here are some resources to help you out!
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