One of the biggest problems with decluttering your home is getting started. Too often, by the time we realize we need to do something about the clutter there is enough of it that we don’t know where to start. And we get the idea in our head that we have to declutter our whole house—all at once.
You don’t have to declutter your home in one fell swoop. Your home didn’t get cluttered in a day. And it’s not going to get decluttered in day. Trying to do it all at once is a sure recipe for defeat and failure. Dividing your decluttering up into short, simple tasks will help you to stay motivated and lead you to uncluttered bliss.
And to help you get started on the path to uncluttered bliss, here are six quick and easy ways to declutter your home.
Stop Acquiring Stuff
This is a huge first step for decluttering. Clutter usually means you either have too much stuff and not enough places to put it away. Unless you’re a rare breed, chances are that if your counters and dressers and desks are cluttered, your closets and cupboards are too. So, buying more stuff isn’t going to make your home less cluttered—even if you’re buying storage containers. After all, where are you going to put all those storage containers?
Start with one week. Other than essential groceries, go for one week without buying anything—this means, of course, if you shop for a hobby, you need to find a new hobby. How about decluttering? After a week, extend it to two—and when you do need to go to the store, make a list before you go and stick to your list.
Do a 10-minute Tidy
Set a timer for 10 minutes and have everyone at your house pitch in to pick up and put away in their proper place as many things they can. I came up with the 10-minute tidy when my kids were little. There was a TV show at the time called “The Big Comfy Couch” and at the end of each show, the lead character Molly would have a ten-second tidy to clean up her playroom.
Obviously, 10 seconds isn’t quite enough time in the real world, so I dubbed it the 10-minute tidy. Most days we were done tidying up before the timer went off. The key here is getting everyone involved and putting things where they belong. No stuffing everything under the couch cushions like Molly did.
Declutter One Space at a Time
Choose one space at a time to declutter. Make a list of the spaces in your home that need decluttering, whether you want to divide by rooms, closets, drawers, counters, shelves, storage containers, where ever the clutter lives in your house, and then tackle those spaces one at a time.
When you are finished with one space, stop for the day. Even if you have more time, just stop. Focus on your one space, which can be as big or as small as you want. Completely declutter it. Focusing on one space at a time will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and getting burned out.
Take the 5-5-5 Challenge
Don’t have much time for decluttering? The 5-5-5 challenge is an easy way to begin cutting through the clutter. Find five items to toss, five to donate, five to put where they belong. Make sure those five “toss” items go directly into the trash or recycle bin, take the five “donate” items directly out to your car to donate on your next trip out, and put those last five items away where they belong. And you’re done for the day.
Does the thought of choosing items to donate fill you with anxiety and dread? Create a “maybe” box. Put your five items in the box. Don’t remove them unless you specifically need that item for something. Anything that’s still in the box after 30 days, you’re ready to part with it.
Would I Pay to Move This?
This is always my final step in deciding whether to keep or toss something when I am decluttering. I don’t apply it to things I use on a regular basis, but more to those family “treasures” and knick-knacks we all manage to acquire over the years.
I ask myself: if I were moving across country, would I be willing to pay a moving company to move this? If I don’t love it or need it so much that I would pay a professional moving company to move it across country (have you seen the cost of household movers these days?!), then I don’t need to keep storing it at my house now.
These are six of my favorite quick and easy ways to declutter your home, and strategies I recommend to my organizing clients. What do you do to help make decluttering your home easier? Are you stuck in clutter mode? Let me know what has worked or not worked for you in the comments. And let me know how I can help you live a clutter-free life.