HOW TO DECLUTTER FAST: 20 WAYS TO GET RID OF STUFF QUICKLY
One of the most common reasons that we find decluttering difficult is lack of time. When we look around our homes, surrounded by clutter that’s taken a while to build up, it can seem daunting or unrealistic to feel we can clear that clutter fast. However, with a few tips and strategies in mind, it is possible to get rid of stuff quickly. In this article I’m sharing some ideas on how to declutter fast so that you can declutter and feel the benefits of a clutter-free home even if you don’t have much time.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO DECLUTTER FAST?
Firstly, let’s explore why you want to declutter fast because this can impact on how you’re going to go about it. Let me give you some examples of common decluttering goals:
1. You want to declutter fast because you have visitors coming over
Presumably you know when they’re arriving so you have a definite deadline in mind to declutter your home and make it presentable! You’ll probably have an idea of which rooms your guests are likely to see so you can focus on those, and which rooms they won’t be stepping into so perhaps you could leave those for another day.
The emphasis here is on being picky on which rooms to declutter and the deadline by which it needs to be done.
2. You want to declutter fast because you’re moving home
Decluttering before moving home can be a big job that requires more planning than anything. You might not be able to declutter your entire home in one day so you’ll need to break it down, room-by-room. Boxing up each room as you go and clearly labelling what’s in each box will require decluttering supplies such as boxes, bags, bubble wrap and packaging to keep your items from braking, a marker pen to label the boxes and so on. You might also declutter and get rid of some items as you pack up your stuff.
The emphasis here is on having a plan and having the right supplies.
3. You want to declutter fast because you’ve had enough of clutter and want it gone
I’m familiar with this one and it was why I first began decluttering my own home! This reasons for decluttering your stuff are all about understanding why you want to declutter, the benefits of decluttering and how it will improve and change your life for the better. It’s also about getting a good start but keeping up a realistic and practical momentum as life goes on. You don’t want to start strong and then dwindle off.
The emphasis here is on understanding what clutter means to you, defining your decluttering goals and clearing the obvious clutter so you can continue decluttering as a daily habit over the long-term.
These are just 3 examples of why you might want to declutter your home fast. As you can see, how you go about getting rid of stuff quickly depends a lot on why you want to clear your clutter now.
HOW TO DECLUTTER FAST
Here are 20 ways to get rid of stuff quickly. Keep in mind why you want to declutter fast and that will help you decide which tips below might help you the most.
1. Be realistic
Your clutter probably took a little while to build up, so planning to clear it all right now might not be practical. Setting up unrealistic expectations that you can’t meet will probably hurt your motivation. You might end up frustrated because you haven’t decluttered what you set out to. Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have available. If you only 10 minutes, you probably won’t be able to declutter your entire home.
2. Be ruthless
There’s no easy way to say this but to declutter fast you need to be pretty strict with yourself. There won’t be time for procrastinating or deliberating. You’ll have to make decisions quickly on what to keep and what to get rid of and avoid holding onto things for that ‘just in case’ or ‘what if’ situation.
3. Be in the right mindset
If you’re feeling anxious, upset, emotional or sentimental, now might not be the most productive time to be decluttering. Clearing clutter and getting rid of our belongings can bring up mixed emotions. It helps to be in the most positive and productive frame of mind to make decisions and have the energy and motivation needed to declutter quickly.
4. Snacks and music
Have some background music playing, a cup of coffee and biscuit to hand. You want to keep your energy levels high and enjoy decluttering your home. When we enjoy things, we usually do them better!
5. Take regular breaks
Decluttering can be tiring for both body and mind. You’re making decluttering decisions fast and your body is using energy moving and boxing things. Keep up those energy levels by factoring in regular little breaks. Don’t use these breaks to carry on decluttering. Use them instead to plan what you’re going to declutter next and reflect on your progress so far.
6. Decide on your decluttering goals
Think back to the reasons you’re decluttering right now and this will help you decide your priority on how to declutter fast. Do you need to focus on a particular room or set of rooms? Do you need to clear your home of obvious clutter (for example, if you’re selling your home and you have prospective buyers coming round)? If you want to declutter fast, you have to be crystal clear on what your priority and goal is.
7. Have supplies ready
It’s really frustrating when you have clutter ready to take to the recycling or donation centre, but nothing to put it in. It wastes time and breaks up your momentum as you have to stop decluttering and go in search of a bag or box to put it in. Have a good and handy supply of bin bags, boxes, marker pens and anything else you might need ready with you as you declutter.
8. Empty the bins and recycling
Practice decluttering and make a gentle but effective start by clearing the rubbish and recycling throughout the house. Trash is clutter and the act of binning this up and removing it from your home will start you off decluttering in an easy way. As starting is often the hardest part of anything, hopefully you’ll be able to build on this momentum as move onto getting rid of other items.
9. Use a timer
Set a timer for a certain amount of time and decide to declutter without stopping until that timer goes off. It focuses the mind to know that you’ve got a definite amount of time to achieve what you need. And, breaking down a big job into smaller chunks of time makes it feel more manageable and easier. Go for 10 or 20 minutes say and see how that works for you. Take a break in between to assess your progress and have a cup of coffee!
10. Use a checklist
If you’re not focusing on decluttering a particular item or room in your home but just want to declutter your home fast but more generally, then following a checklist might be helpful. You could try this list of 100 things to get rid of right now which you can print, follow and tick off as you go to track your progress and stay motivated.
11. Start somewhere easy
If you want to declutter fast then I would suggest starting somewhere you’ll notice a difference quickly. The bathroom is always a good place to start decluttering because it’s usually one of the smaller rooms in the home, has limited storage and you know what you use and what you don’t. There also won’t be any sentimental items for you to get stuck deliberating over. Start easy, build your confidence and practice making those important decluttering decisions. They get easier and quicker with practice!
12. Remove the obvious clutter
Decluttering is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Declutter the obvious stuff as the first layer and then come back again to remove the next layer. Successive waves of decluttering will help you see things to get rid of that you hadn’t noticed on the previous round of decluttering.
13. Remove all clutter from the floor
Apart from the stuff you’re sorting, the floor should be clutter-free. Take everything off the floor that shouldn’t be there. A clear floor makes a home instantly feel more spacious and with better flow. Not to mention you can walk room-to-room without tripping over anything.
14. Clear the flat surfaces
Declutter all table-tops, kitchen counters, desks and work-surfaces as these are clutter magnets. To declutter your home fast and make a visible difference to the look and feel, clear the flat surfaces. Your home will instantly feel more clutter-free without stuff on every table and counter.
15. Never leave a room without taking something with you
As you walk room to room clearing the clutter, aim to tidy or put back something each time. As you go from the living room to the kitchen, take that empty mug. As you go from the laundry room or kitchen to your bedroom, take the laundry with you. It saves time and is a good decluttering habit to help you stay clutter-free going forwards.
16. Decide on what to do with your unwanted stuff
Before you get rid of stuff, be clear on what you’re going to do with it. You don’t want to enthusiastically declutter your home and then get stuck on what to do with the items you’re not keeping. Think about what sort of items you’ll donate, recycle or throw away. These decluttering decisions are worth thinking about beforehand and will save you a lot of time.
You could consider: If it’s broken – throw it, if it’s someone else’s clutter – leave it for them to sort, if you haven’t used it in a year – donate it.
17. Create different piles
Once you’ve decided on what you’ll do with your decluttered items, one of the best tips on how to declutter fast is to put things in the relevant piles as you’re decluttering. If you pick up a book that you don’t want to keep, put it down in the donation pile straightaway. If you pull out a top from your closet that’s got a stain on it, put it in the recycling pile right now. All you then have to do is pick up the separate piles and deal with them. You won’t need to waste time sorting through them again.
18. Indecision clutter
I’m not usually an advocate of this but when it comes to decluttering fast, you don’t want to hinder progress if you get stuck on knowing whether to keep something or not. In this case, having a box for indecision clutter might be helpful. If you’re really can’t decide what to do with an item, put it in this box and come back to it when you have more time. Use this approach sparingly though or you might end up putting too much in there!
19. Deal with your unwanted stuff as part of the process
To declutter your home fast you need to complete the process. All those items you want to get rid of aren’t truly decluttered until they’ve left your home. Don’t pile up the donation bags by the front door. Instead, get them out of the home into your car and take them to the donation centre when you’re next out.
20. Get help and delegate
Perhaps an obvious one but not always an easy one! If you have other people in your home who can help out then many hands make light work. Even if it’s just to make you that cup of coffee every now and then.
BONUS TIPS TO HELP YOU DECLUTTER FAST
Here are 3 bonus tips to think about as you declutter your home:
Organising before you declutter is pointless. All you’re doing is organising your clutter. However, organising after you’ve decluttered is the perfect time to simplify and streamline your home a little bit more. Does current storage work for you? Do you need to buy internal drawer dividers, or storage boxes? Do you need to set up a system for your paper filing? Just some ideas to think about…
2. Speed clean as you go
When you clear a shelf, give it a little wipe down and clean. When you’ve finished in a room, give the floor a quick vacuum or sweep. A clean home might smell nice and sparkle more!
3. Reward yourself afterwards
Decluttering can be tough and having something nice to look forward to might be that little extra incentive you need to get you through. Plan a movie night, take away, glass of wine, slice of cake, warm bath – whatever a little treat looks like to you!
WHY WE FIND DECLUTTERING DIFFICULT
There are many reasons why we find decluttering difficult. It could be that our partner’s not on board with the idea, we don’t know where to start, we have hoarding tendencies, we don’t have motivation, or we haven’t worked out what clutters our life.
Lack of time is a common reason many people give but it doesn’t have to be that way. I hope you found these tips on how to declutter fast helpful and that they help you get rid of clutter quickly and easily so you can enjoy your clutter-free home (and keep it clutter-free)!
MORE RESOURCES TO HELP YOU DECLUTTER
Here are some other articles and resources to help you declutter your home and simplify your life.
- 11 things to do before you start decluttering – A little time spent planning and preparing can make life so much easier. Here are some things to think about before you start decluttering
- Simplify Your Home – A guide and workbook to help you declutter your entire home, step-by-step with checklists to keep you on track (and keep that clutter away for good!)
- How to decide what to declutter and what to keep – Make the decluttering process much easier by getting clear on what you will and won’t get rid of
- How to declutter your home and life – A complete guide to decluttering with plenty of links and resources to help you tackle specific problems
IF YOU LIKED THIS ARTICLE
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Earlier in the article, I talked about how having a decluttering checklist can help you declutter fast. It provides a list of projects and items that you can get started on without worrying about how and where to start.
For my free printable list of 100 things to get rid of right now, pop your details in the below and I’ll send you a copy direct into your inbox!