When my husband and I decided to downsize and move into a much smaller house, we knew we needed to eliminate everything we no longer needed. But we weren’t really sure how to go about it. We knew we needed to find an efficient way to declutter your home fast.
Decluttering an entire home can be a daunting task, especially when you’ve been married over three decades and have raised two kids. We had accumulated a lot of stuff!
Needless to say, it was overwhelming. We weren’t sure where to even begin, and I admit we procrastinated getting started. We didn’t have days, weeks, or months free to devote to doing only this. We had to do it a few minutes at a time.
So that’s what we did – one area at a time, a few minutes each day. It started slowly, but the more we decluttered, the easier it got. We started with the master bedroom closet. When it was finished, it felt so good to have our clothes, shoes, and accessories organized and easy to reach. It motivated us to immediately start working on the next area.
And that’s how it progressed. From one closet to the next, from drawer to drawer. Little by little, we got rid of the clutter. And along the way, we developed a system to speed up the decluttering process.
Quick and Easy Step-by-step System to Declutter Your Home
The first step is to gather everything you need for your decluttering sessions. You’ll want to keep all these items together in one area, such as the garage, closet, etc. That way, when you have a few minutes to clear out another drawer, shelf, or space in your house, everything is ready for you to begin decluttering.
Here are the Items You Need to Declutter Your Home
Three containers (box, basket, laundry basket, etc.) to be used for the following reasons:
- The first is for anything that doesn’t belong in the area and will be returned to its proper place at the end of the decluttering session.
- The next container is for items that need mending or repair.
- And, the third container is for things to be returned to the place you are organizing.
A Cardboard Moving Box – for items to sell or give away.
Trash Bag– for items you want to throw away.
Kitchen timer – for timing your 15-minute declutter sessions.
Pen and Paper – to write reminder notes about anything you need to do at a later time.
Garage Sale Price Tags – to price items before putting them into the sell box.
Packing tape and Scissors – to seal your give away and sell boxes when they are full.
Cleaning supplies – to clean the area after you’ve decluttered and before you return the things you are keeping back to their place.
Where Should You Begin?
Now that you have everything you need ready to declutter your home, where should you begin? Anywhere! Just choose an area you would most like to see clutter-free and organized.
Another idea is to pick a spot that is easiest to organize. Someplace you won’t have to make difficult decisions on what to keep or not keep.
But don’t obsess or spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect place to start. Just get started!
Choose your room and then choose a small space in that room. Someplace small enough that you can sort and organize in 15 to 30-minutes. Another option is to start on the left side of the room and work in a clockwise direction around the room. Whatever works for you. Again, don’t overthink this. Just do it!
The Decluttering Process
Next, set your timer for 15 minutes, take a deep breath, and jump right in. Pick up one item at a time, decide where it should go, and place it in the appropriate container or in the trash bag.
Here are the Options for where the item will go:
- Sell/Donate – Items you want to sell or give away. If you plan on having a garage sale, price the items as you place them in the box. When the box is full, tape it shut and store it in the garage until the day of your sale. That way, when you have your garage sale, all you’ll have to do is open the box and place the already priced items on the table.
- Elsewhere – For anything, you want to keep but that does not belong in the area you are currently sorting.
- Mend & Repair – Any items that need to be mended or repaired. Also, anything that is missing parts or pieces that you hope to find elsewhere in the house.
- Keep In This Area – Items which will be returned to the space you are working after the area has been decluttered and cleaned.
- Trash – Throw everything that doesn’t belong in one of the above four categories into the garbage bag.
Remember, the clock is ticking! Try to make your decisions quickly and finish the area before the timer rings.
And, If you have trouble deciding whether to keep an item? Ask yourself these questions:
- • Have I used it in the past 12 months? If not, then you probably don’t need it.
- • If I needed this in the future, could I easily replace it at that time? If you can, then remember the old adage, “If in doubt, throw it out!” If you need it sometime in the distant future, then you can replace it at that time. Don’t hold on to something just because you might need it one day.
- • Does this item serve a useful purpose in my life? If not, then why are you allowing it to take up space in your home.
If you can answer no to these questions, then place the item in the giveaway box, sell box, or in the garbage bag.
Still can’t decide whether to keep something or not?
If you’re still unsure about parting with something, even after answering no to the questions above, grab a box and label it undecided. Place the item in question inside the box. When the box is full, seal it and mark the date on it. Store it in the garage or attic for six months. If you find you need something in the box, then retrieve the item. After six months, get rid of everything left in the box.
But only consider using the “Undecided” box idea as a last resort. It is for those times when you really can’t decide whether to keep something or not and it’s stressing you out and slowing you down trying to decide. Remember, you are trying to eliminate clutter, not store your clutter.
Once you have cleared all items from the drawer, shelf, or whatever spot you are working on, clean the area. Then return everything from your keep box to their now uncluttered designated space.
If you have more time to spare, restart your timer and begin working in the next area you want to declutter.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be amazed how quickly your home will become clutter-free.
You may also be interested in 5 Reasons We Hang on to Clutter & How to Let It Go.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how to declutter your home fast. Please leave a comment below. And, be sure to subscribe to the free newsletter and get instant access to the exclusive LifeReEnvisioned Resource Library!