5 TIPS TO QUICKLY DECLUTTER YOUR HOUSE
Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Whether you're doing a quick edit of your sock drawer or tackling a whole-house purge, the task of decluttering can feel overwhelming and time-consuming. Over the past two years of decluttering close to 90% of our family's stuff, I've learned a few valuable tricks that I'm excited to share with you.
Click below to download a free printable of this list to keep with you when you tackle your next decluttering project!
1. IGNORE THE MESS and DISORGANIZATION
Here’s a quick tip that can make all the difference when you’re decluttering!
It can be super tempting to “get it all done” but if we’re trying to maximize our time with decluttering then we need to focus on doing JUST that!
Ignore the crumbs, grime and fingerprints and resist the temptation to alphabetize and organize what you’re working through. We can do cleaning and organization on a different day!
With less stuff in our way, cleaning and organizing will go way quicker and smoother when that time comes!
2. SET TIMERS TO STAY ON TRACK
This is one of my favorite “hacks” to a successful decluttering session. It can be easy to get overwhelmed, especially if we’re attempting to get through our whole house in short time. We can enter a disaster of a room and assume it will take forever to complete the task of finding what we can get rid of but in my experience it ALWAYS goes faster than I think!
The way I have discovered just how fast it can go is by setting timers for myself to keep track of how long I’ve been working and to keep me on task to beat the timer I’ve set. Some rooms take 5-10 minutes, others I can spend 30 minutes to an hour in them.
BONUS TIP: Timers don’t always have to be the clock on your phone or egg timer on your stove! One of my favorite ways to set a timer is to put on a youtube video or podcast and try to get XYZ done in that set amount of time! Entertainment, companionship AND getting crap done? Win Win.
If you’re looking for something to watch/listen to while you’re decluttering, here’s a link to my Messy To Minimal playlist. Come join the fun!
3. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS:
I’d say the hardest part of decluttering is all the decision making that happens while you’re looking for things to get rid of. Decision fatigue is a real thing and this is definitely something we need to be ready for and have grace with ourselves on (especially if we’re just starting out on our decluttering journey!)
Something that has helped me when I’ve been choosing what stays and what goes is to really ask myself “WILL I use this item?” Notice how I didn’t say “CAN I use this item?” Switching up one little word in that question packs a huge punch to make these decisions a bit more clear.
For example: “Can I use these extra towels in my linen closet?” The answer will almost always be “YES!” leading us to keeping more items than we ultimate need.
Instead, let's ask the question “Will I use these extra towels in my linen closet?" Sometimes it’s helpful to add a scenario or timeframe here i.e. if I have guests within the next 6 months or year etc…
The difference between the “WILL” and “CAN” of these questions can make ALL the difference when it comes to being realistic about the inventory in our home.
4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET RID OF PART OF SOMETHING
Along with asking the right questions to help us be realistic about our inventory, changing the way we look at sets of items can really flip the script on all the decision making during a purge. This tip applies greatest in our kitchen where sets of things are most likely to be found.
Think about what’s in your kitchen cabinets (or better yet, get up and open them and take a look!) Chances are we have a small baking dish that came in a 3-piece set that is collecting dust. We might have an oddly-shaped spatula that we never reach for over the better one that came along with it. Don’t even get me started on those crazy knife sets with more knives than even professional chefs would use!
I’ve regrettably held onto things because they came together in a set only to have them get passed over time after time. Free yourself of the clutter that comes with the supposed obligation of keeping a set together.
5. REMEMBER: “Progress Over Perfection.”
Decluttering can be a messy and emotional process. Have grace with yourself and don’t expect perfection. Sometimes we don’t feel as if we’ve done much when, at the end of a day of decluttering, our house still looks messy. I’m here to tell you that ANY time spent finding things to pass on from our space is worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears we put into it!
I’m not much of a mantra person, but if I could pick one for decluttering it would be chanting “progress over perfection” 1,027 times until I truly realize it for my own space. I can have perfectionist tendencies and listening to this phrase helps me actually get the ball rolling instead of waiting around until the time is "right" to get started.
If I wait until my space or circumstances are perfect, I’ll truly never get going. Embracing the imperfect and deciding that progress is more valuable has changed the whole game.
If you ask me, decluttering is ALWAYS a good idea. From the quickest pass through my junk drawer to a total closet overhaul, getting rid of unwanted or unused things makes room for the stuff in my life that’s truly important.
A couple of mindset shifts (asking the right questions or letting go of perfectionism) and keeping ourselves on track (hello, timers) can really help us get rid of what is weighing us down in our home and spaces!