Inside: Learn five quick clutter busters that make a huge impact on your home in a few short hours.
I’m going to be real with you. Decluttering takes a massive amount of time and energy.
Whether you get through it in a weekend like a speed-run game show contestant or go the Sunday driver approach and declutter for years (like I did), there’s no getting around it: Decluttering is a TON of work.
And to make it worse, it’s not something you do once and you’re all done. Unless you live in a bubble, chances are new things will eventually make its way into your home and you’ll have to decide whether or not to keep them.
This means you’ll do some form of decluttering for the Rest. Of. Your. Life.
But before you curl into a ball on the couch with a heap of chocolate, there are some clutter busters you can do that will make a HUGE difference in a short amount of time.
Decluttering is a life-long process.
When I started decluttering four years ago, my kitchen counters were so full of stuff, we couldn’t prepare dinner without shuffling things around.
Need that spaghetti pot? Well, it’s in the sink filled with a bunch of dirty dishes. First I’ll need to take out the dishes so I can clean the pot and cook dinner.
What’s that, there’s no room on the counter for the dirty dishes? Well, put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Shoot! I forgot the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, so I’ll have to empty that first.
Okay, the dishwasher is now empty and ready for dirty dishes. Let me just rinse off the dishes and get them in the dishwasher. Man, this leftover food is dried and caked on. How on Earth am I going to scrub this off?
Let me get my blow torch.
Half an hour later, the dirty dishes from the sink were in the dishwasher, the spaghetti pot was cleaned and on the stove boiling spaghetti. I spent over an hour to cook a simple dinner.
It’s been four years since I started my decluttering journey, and I hate to break it to you, but my house is not perfect. It is not “social media worthy” or “show ready”. Or even mother-in-law ready.
But the kitchen counters are relatively clear and the cabinet is filled with clean dishes.
Tonight, when I go to cook dinner, I can take the clean pot out of the cabinet and have spaghetti boiling within five minutes. Compare that with the 30-minute debacle I used to face.
What I’ve learned in the last few years is decluttering is a life-long journey. It’s a process. With each item you declutter, you build the decluttering muscle and decluttering gets easier.
But since this process takes a long time, I’ve compiled five quick clutter busters. These quick wins will get you off to a great start and motivate you onto bigger projects.
Learn more: If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of decluttering, read How to Build your Decluttering Muscle.
5 quick clutter busters that make a huge difference
It’s the first thing you see when you walk into your home. It sets the tone for how you feel about your entire home experience.
When I talk about the entryway, I’m talking about the first place you step into when you walk into your home. If you rarely use your formal entryway and instead come in through the garage door, then that’s the area you want to address.
Is your entryway cluttered with shoes that no longer fit your kids or out-of-season outdoor wear?
Are there things waiting to go somewhere else? (Like that book I have to return to my son’s preschool…you know, the one he went to..last year.)
My entryway is a magnet for things that need to leave my house but have no definite plan of when.
What about the things in your entryway that belong somewhere else in your home? Toys, undies, Halloween costumes?
Depending on your house layout, this could be a common bathroom or a master bathroom. If you have a master bathroom, work on that first!
My master bathroom is my decluttering sanctuary. I decluttered it early on and retreat there whenever I feel overwhelmed with the chaos in the rest of the house.
It is a breath of (metaphorical) fresh air to see the clear counters and organized drawers.
A bonus is that little fingers are rarely there to mess everything up, so it stays relatively clean without much work.
You don’t have to organize all the drawers, but clearing clutter from the sink and countertop is a great start.
Related: Melissa Maker over at Clean My Space has a great list of 10 things in your bathroom you can throw out right now.
For many of us, our kitchens are a massive decluttering project that might take weeks or months to tackle.
I’m asking you to tackle one small area of your kitchen, and that is the cooking area.
What are the pots, pans, and utensils you use regularly? Could you devote a cabinet or a section of countertop space to keep all of these things in one area?
I’m not talking about finding a place for that pie pan you use once a year to make pumpkin pie. I’m talking about the spaghetti pot you use almost nightly to cook dinner.
Find a place for those items to live close together for quick access.
You might have to evict some less used items. Take them out to the garage or the attic if that’s what is necessary to create the space for your frequently used items.
If you are storing books or mounds of clean laundry on your couch, now is the time to fix that. After a long, exhausting day, the last thing you want to do is shuffle stuff around so that you have a comfy place to sit.
Can you get rid of any of these items? Do any of the items belong somewhere else in the house?
I once bought toothpaste that sat in the living room for weeks until we needed it and it found its way back to the bathroom. Weeks! Taking the toothpaste back to the bathroom takes less than 2 minutes to do.
I admit it. For years, I would fold laundry, then set it at the foot of my bed. When I came to bed, I was too tired to put it away or had to tiptoe around a sleeping infant and so the clothes sat until the morning.
But the mornings were rushed and chaotic. I grabbed whatever clothes I wanted to wear and hurriedly put them on, leaving the rest at the foot of the bed.
The cycle would start over that evening and so often, I never got around to putting my clothes away.
If you are like me and using your bed as a storage facility, take action to fix it quickly.
Wouldn’t you love to walk into a bedroom that is so orderly and peaceful, it feels like a luxury hotel room? I would!
The first step towards that goal is creating a sanctuary for your bed.
Let’s set a quick ground rule
I believe that decluttering is a lifelong process. Just like you can’t lose 40 pounds and expect to keep it off by eating cake for the rest of your life, you can’t get rid of the stuff and expect to be done with decluttering once and for all.
As such, we’re not going for perfection like you see on the TV shows. It might be a nice fantasy to go from a “before” packed with clutter to an “after” that is vacation home worthy, but that’s all it is: a fantasy.
Whether this is your first time decluttering or you’ve been on this journey for years, focus on taking one step closer to your goal.
Here is my one ground rule when it comes to tackling clutter busters:
Focus on quick wins.
In the sections above, I walked you through the five clutter busters of your home where a quick decluttering session could make a huge impact.
But if you dive in with the intention that an area must be 100% perfect before you move on…well, you’re going to spend a lot of time in that one area. You might even get stuck there.
You might find your motivation waning and your attention starting to divert to something more exciting, like taking your kids to the park or watching a new show on TV.
Your goal is to get in and out in as little time as possible.
I can’t say this enough.
If you spend one hour per night in each of these five areas, you could have this challenge done in less than a week.
And believe me, one hour of focused, frenzy-inducing energy can make a big difference. A difference that you will notice, again and again.
Every time you walk into your entryway or past your bathroom, you’ll be reminded how amazing it looks.
And this energy will propel you to spend another week of intentional, focused energy diving deeper.
Little by little you’ll start to make progress.
If you want to get the most bang for your clutter-busting buck, focus on bringing intense energy for short amounts of time.
Focus on progress, not perfection.
You can do this!
One day someone will invent a decluttering robot that throws out old magazines and the free t-shirts we never wear.
Until then, we have our simple ol’ hands to do the work for us.
Decluttering is not rocket science. You don’t need a special degree or years of experience.
These 5 small clutter busters are tiny steps in your decluttering journey. But they will make a huge impact and motivate you to keep going.
Uncurl yourself from the couch (goodbye, sweet chocolate!) and take that first step. Be proud of that first step.
Even small, minuscule steps will get you closer to that dream of living in a calm, simplified home.
If you liked this post, you’ll love…
- 6 Secrets for Super Fast Clutter Removal
- The 4 Simple Decluttering Rules You Need to Know Before You Start
- Create a Decluttering Checklist in 4 Easy Steps