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How to Declutter Quickly (Small steps)

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Before I discovered the life changing act of decluttering, I felt like I was constantly cleaning. I was so frustrated about things not having their own place, odd ‘bits and bobs’ scattered over the surfaces in my kitchen, tons of products in my bathroom that just took up space, throwing everything into the junk drawer (we all have one!) just to get it out of the way and never feeling truly ‘zen’ in my home.

Then I listened to a podcast about how decluttering your space would change your mindset and, in turn, your life. This seemed dramatic and very overwhelming, especially when starting from scratch but I decided to give it a try and WOW, was it worth it!

There are so many resources to help you get started with decluttering. Play a podcast while you’re doing housework or watch Marie Kondo on Netflix. These actions can really get you in the motivational mindset of decluttering. You’ll discover so many new ideas from people who have done this already and live this clutter free lifestyle. Hopefully you will be as inspired as I have been!

3 podcasts about decluttering:

Give them a shot, they truly changed my life and how I see my material belongings more than I thought possible.

Decluttering has so many benefits. There’s no better time to start than now!

how to declutter your home quickly and simply

Benefits of decluttering:

  • Quicker and easier to clean your home
  • Live in a less stressful environment
  • Be able to find things quickly
  • Have more space
  • Gain clarity and a sense of control over your surroundings
  • Reduce anxiety
  • You will finally LOVE your home!

So how do you tackle what seems like a mammoth sized task? The same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.

Make a plan

Start with the room that you spend most of your time in. Is that the kitchen? Living room? Office? Wherever it is, we’ll start there.

Why? Once you’ve finished decluttering the busiest room in your home, the sense of well-being you’ll get will be so great that you’ll be driven to get the rest of your home decluttered – fast. Okay, so it’s not always quite as magical as I just made it sound but think of it like the snowball method of decluttering. Get one room checked off the list and you have the motivation to move onto the next.

Block off some time.

Even if it’s just 20 minutes at a time, working in small chunks keeps me on track. When you can really focus on the task at hand without getting distracted, everything moves faster. If you have little ones under foot, this may mean cleaning up a little at a time after they go to bed. You can enlist the help of the kiddos, but sometimes that makes a bigger mess than you started with!

how to declutter your home quickly and simply

The 4-bag hack

Many years ago, I read a blog post titled something like How to Clean Fast When Company is on Their Way Over. I read about the “four bag hack” and adapted it to make it my own. I use totes for belongings we are keeping, a box for belongings we are donating, and one trash bag for trash.

  1. Things to go in the trash

Broken things, sentimental items that you’ve been hanging on to for years, expired food, junk mail, clothes that don’t fit anymore – you get the idea. All things trash go in the – you guessed it – trash bag.

  1. Things to recycle

Do your part to save the planet! What can you recycle instead of throwing out? Look around and I’m sure you’ll find something. Then, give yourself a pat on the back for going the extra mile rather than taking the easy option of putting them all in the trash.

  1. Things to give to charity

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? The beauty of giving things to charity is that there might be someone out there who couldn’t normally afford quality clothes, furniture, or books, and because of your donation they’re able to buy it at a reasonable price.

If you need extra cash, take the items you could donate and sell them instead. This requires a little extra work but can pay a bill or two if need be – or the cash can go straight into your savings account.

  1. Things you want to keep

If the item you’re keeping doesn’t bring you joy or make you feel fantastic when you’re wearing it, do you really want to keep it? Be ruthless here. The aim of the game is to declutter and get rid of everything that isn’t currently necessary in your life.

how to declutter your home quickly and simply with the 4 bag method - keep, trash, donate, sell

Finish the job

That wasn’t so bad, was it? But your job isn’t done just yet!

  1. Put the trash bag… in the trash!
  1. Take the recycling to your local recycling center
  1. Contact charities close to you who would be willing to take or even collect your things, then list the things that are worth selling on eBay (for example)
  1. Find a home for all the things you’re keeping or put them back where they came from.

Now you can use this exact set of actions on the rest of the rooms in your house. Simply rinse and repeat! Don’t feel like you must do all of this in one day, but if you do feel like you can – that’s great, go for it!

When you’ve finally finished this task, the next habit you need to get into is not reversing all of your hard work. How can you keep your house clutter free? What systems can you put in place to ensure the clutter doesn’t stack up again?

Keep a small box in each room for clutter. It will accumulate quicker than you think! You will start looking around like “how did all of this new stuff get in here?” At the end of every week, you can go through this in just a few minutes and figure out where all these things belong.

Invest in the right kind of storage for your space. Once everything has its permanent place, you’ll find it far easier to keep on top of things and you’ll never have to go hunting for something you need.

If you live with other people or have children, show them around and explain where things go now. Getting everyone involved will make this way of living simpler and less of a chore for you all. Especially with kids, making it fun and clear (using pictures or pretty letters) is key to keeping everything in its place.

Studies have shown if you repeat an action over the course of two months it will become a habit. I know, I know, two months seems like a long time, but it will have long term benefits – so stick to it!

If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, remember why you’re doing this in the first place. You’re on a journey to a much simpler, stress-free life where you can reclaim your time to do the things that matter the most to you. 

Your home should feel like a sanctuary, not another chore to add to your list. So put your favorite music on, turn up the volume and let’s get to it!