Inside: Are you looking for ways to speed up the decluttering process? If so, here are 10 of my best tips for getting rid of household clutter in a short time!
Whether it’s old clothes you no longer wear, expired pantry items, or just too much stuff in general, clutter can be overwhelming and stressful. And with social media showing us perfectly organized homes and minimalist lifestyles, it’s easy to feel like decluttering should be quick and effortless.
But the reality is that decluttering can be challenging for many reasons. Maybe you have an emotional attachment to certain items or worry about “what if” scenarios that may never happen. Whatever the reason, I want to remind you that it’s okay to go slowly.
Contrary to what you may have seen on Instagram, there’s nothing wrong or shameful about taking your time to declutter. It’s important to go at your own pace and not compare yourself to others. (And FYI, it took me several years to make any significant progress with my own decluttering!)
Having said that, if you’re feeling motivated, here are 10 creative ways to jumpstart your next decluttering project. These tips will help you get rid of clutter quickly and easily without feeling overwhelmed.
How to Get Rid of More Clutter in Less Time
1. Close your eyes and picture how you’d like to be living in five years
This tip involves flipping time on its head. Instead of thinking about what to get rid of, start by thinking about the end result: how you want to live.
Imagine you’re in the future, living in the decluttered home of your dreams. What will it look like and, more importantly, feel like?
Once you have that vision, have a look around your entire home (and maybe bring a trash bag with you!). Does anything stand out as not belonging after doing this exercise? When I’ve done this, there are usually a lot of things that jump out at me because I have this fresh perspective.
Then, after removing these obvious things, take a closer look at the remaining items and ask yourself if they align with your vision. This will help you identify what to let go.
2. Start with the obvious: garbage, broken or expired items
Starting with the obvious can often be the easiest way to begin decluttering your home. Take a look around and identify any items that clearly belong in the garbage, such as old cosmetics, random condiment packets, or broken electronics. By getting rid of these items, you’ll free up space and immediately feel more organized.
However, if you find it hard to let go of these items, it may be because you’ve convinced yourself that you’ll repair or sell them someday. If this sounds familiar, try setting a deadline for yourself to sell or fix the items or pass them on to someone who will.
Another reason you may struggle with letting go of items is the stress of figuring out how to dispose of them. It’s understandable to want to be environmentally conscious, but holding onto unwanted items isn’t the solution.
Instead, set a timer for a reasonable amount of time and research the best way to dispose of your items. Remember that there are no perfect solutions, and focus on doing better next time by buying less stuff.
By taking these small steps, you can create a home that brings you joy and peace of mind.
Related Post: How to Declutter When You Regret Spending Money
3. Pretend you’re moving overseas
As someone who has moved overseas several times, I assure you this is a powerful way of forcing decisions. Trust me, those random household items that feel so important now become much less essential when you have to pack and ship them!
Of course, this is just an exercise, and I’m not suggesting you should live or declutter as if you’re about to move. But again, it’s a perspective shift. Imagine you’re going through a big life change—what deserves to come with you, and what should you leave behind?
4. Challenge yourself to have one clear surface in every room
A great way to start your decluttering journey is by challenging yourself to have one clear surface in every room.
We all know that clutter tends to accumulate on flat surfaces like countertops, desks, and tables. By focusing on keeping just one surface clear in each room, you can create the illusion of a clutter-free home without feeling overwhelmed.
This impactful project will inspire you to continue decluttering, one small area at a time. So, whether it’s your kitchen table or your bedside table, choose one drop zone to keep clear and enjoy the feeling of a more organized space.
5. Do you struggle with keeping items “just in case”?
This is a common problem that can lead to a cluttered house and a lot of unnecessary stress. If you find it hard to let go of old items because you believe you might need them someday, try changing the question around.
Pick one unused item and write a list of 5 things you would do if you needed that item but didn’t have it.
This exercise changes the narrative; by focusing on solutions rather than problems, you can feel more prepared and let go of the fear of not having something you may never use.
And if you enjoyed this tip, I invite you to download my free Mindful Decluttering guide! I share the secrets that helped me go from shopaholic to minimalist, and I troubleshoot a lot of decluttering challenges like this. Simply fill out the form below to get instant access.
6. Imagine your home is your personal legacy
Imagine your home as your personal legacy, a reflection of who you are and what you want to leave behind for future generations.
Contemplate the message your home would convey if it were to speak to those who come after you. By framing it in this way, we can gain valuable insights into what to keep and what to declutter.
7. Get clear on what you don’t like
When it comes to decluttering, knowing what you don’t like is just as important as knowing what you do—so try this exercise:
Pick one thing that you don’t want to keep and write a list of three reasons why you’re getting rid of it.
This helps you identify patterns and preferences that can guide your decluttering process.
For example, when I decluttered my closet, I discovered there were a lot of yellow things I never wore. Although I liked the colour, I didn’t like how it looked on me. Once I realised this, I was able to clear all my yellow stuff quickly and easily.
8. Pretend you’re giving a gift and shop your home
Sometimes we forget about the things we already own because they’ve been tucked away in a closet or drawer. By pretending we’re shopping for a gift and looking through our own belongings, we can rediscover items that deserve a new home.
Bonus tip: try contacting charities such as local churches and or a homeless shelter and ask them what items they most need. This might inspire you to let go of things you’ve been holding on to.
9. Decide how much is “enough” for you
Having too much clutter can lead to a sense of overwhelm and make it difficult to find what you need. By deciding how much of a certain item is enough for us, we can create boundaries and guidelines for what we want to keep.
You can apply this to anything: coffee mugs, blue jeans, beach towels … the possibilities are endless! Set a limit (such as two sets of bedding per bed), and then declutter until you reach it. This will help you get rid of clutter faster and keep your home free from clutter in the long run.
The Simply + Fiercely Show is a podcast for women who want to clear their clutter and create space for freedom and joy. If your life keeps getting bigger—but not better—then it’s time to declutter from the inside out. LISTEN NOW
10. Practice owning one less
The idea of owning one less is powerful but simple enough to get family members on board.
Go through specific areas of your house: your laundry room, closet, toy storage, junk drawer, etc. and challenge everyone to get rid of just one item. It’s not as stressful as decluttering an entire room, but little by little, it adds up (and probably faster than you think!).
The Best Way to Get Rid of Clutter
Remember that for almost everyone, decluttering your home is an ongoing process. “Stuff” is just a part of daily life, especially when you have a family.
Having said that, if you’re going to invest time into decluttering, you want to balance that with buying less—because the best way to get rid of clutter is to never own it in the first place.
As a reformed shopaholic turned minimalist, I’ve written a lot on this topic and shared a lot of good advice in these articles:
- 4 Reasons Why You Can’t Stop Shopping + What To Do About It
- How to Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need (Real Tips That Work)
- How to Stop Online Shopping (Tips From a Former Shopaholic)
How do you get rid of clutter? Let us know your top tips in the comments! x