HOW TO MAKE DECLUTTERING FUN
Decluttering is a wonderful way of simplifying your home and life but it can be emotionally and physically draining. Here are some easy tips on how to make decluttering fun and help you declutter your home with more ease and enjoyment.
WHY DECLUTTERING IS DIFFICULT
Decluttering isn’t always easy. I think many of us who’ve tried it recognise that although a simplified home and life is lovely, getting to that point can be far from straightforward!
Decluttering can be time-consuming, overwhelming and difficult when you have young kids, a family who’s not on board with or understand what you’re trying to achieve. Decluttering can also require energy, motivation and courage to part with your stuff in the search for a fuller life, just with less stuff.
In this article I’m sharing some ideas on how to make decluttering fun!
HOW TO MAKE DECLUTTERING FUN
Let’s look at ways you can bring a little bit more joy, ease and excitement back into the decluttering process so you can enjoy decluttering, and perhaps even make decluttering fun for your family too!
1. Make it into a game
This is a great way to make decluttering fun if you have kids helping to declutter alongside you. Get some energy and enthusiasm drummed up by asking who can bag up 10 toys first. Raise the energy levels for your kids and set a great vibe for what you’re all trying to achieve together.
Another idea is to play a game with your partner. Hide an item or two and if they can’t identify what you’ve hidden within a given time-frame then maybe they don’t really need this item after all!
2. Make it into a challenge
Bagging up those 10 toys above is made extra-exciting if you say ‘who can be FIRST?’ to bag up those 10 toys. Many of us love a challenge, kids and adults alike and we might all be motivated to come first!
There are some great decluttering challenges around. Here are some you might like to try:
- 30-day decluttering challenge – Take my free decluttering challenge where you declutter one item, room or area of your life every day for 30 days. There’s a free printable to go with the challenge which you can print off and use to track your progress!
- Project 333 – This Minimalist Clothing Challenge from Courtney Carver at Be More With Less invites you to choose 33 items of clothing to wear for 3 months. A great way to declutter your closet and identify clothes that you really love to wear!
- 30-Day Minimalism Game – A free challenge set by The Minimalists which you take with a friend or two. On the first day you get rid of one thing, two things on the second and three things on the third and so on. It gets increasingly challenging as the days go by and whoever lasts the longest wins!
- No-spend challenge – One of the easiest ways of preventing clutter coming into our homes is to stop buying them. Try not to buy anything new (apart from life essentials like food!) for a whole month. What did you learn? You won’t be decluttering physical things, but maybe you’ll be decluttering a habit of shopping for things that you don’t really need?
3. Teamwork and accountability partners
Doing things alone is one approach and you may feel you work best like this. However, if you prefer the motivation and support of others, why not declutter with others too? You could even get your kids to work in pairs to declutter a book case or the bath toys?
Letting someone else know what you’re trying to do and telling them what you hope to achieve and by when might help you stay accountable. You can celebrate the wins together and they’ll be able to provide moral support if your decluttering progress stalls.
Get together with a friend, share your ideas on why you want to declutter and see if your friend wants to declutter too. Make a plan and decide how you’re going to check in on each other to assess progress, share successes and struggles!
4. Be aware of the language you choose
How we think about things has a big impact on how we feel about them. Use positive language in how you approach decluttering and you’ll feel much more positive about why and how you’re going to declutter.
If you use negative words or language such as ‘throwing away my favourite dress’ then you’ll hardly feel inspired. Replace the negativity with positive thoughts such as ‘I loved wearing that dress and it brings back happy memories but it’s time for someone else to wear and enjoy it now.’
5. Set a timer
Setting a timer is a great way of working in short bursts. These short bursts are helpful in making decluttering feel more possible and easier when you don’t have much time, energy or motivation. Big projects feel much more manageable if broken down into smaller steps.
Set your alarm clock or your phone for 10 minutes and tackle one of these projects until the alarm goes off. Decluttering doesn’t have to be big. Small projects and small windows of time can feel much more fun and exciting!
10 minutes to declutter:
- Mugs, glasses and plates in your kitchen
- Emails in your inbox
- Photos from your phone
- Shoes in your closet
- Books on your bookshelf
- Your purse or handbag
- The inside of your car
6. Create some decluttering goals
Similar to taking part in a challenge or setting a timer, decluttering goals encourage us to focus on a project and stick to it until completion with a realistic but clear target or objective.
Here are some examples of decluttering goals you could choose:
- Declutter your clothes in 3 days
- Declutter your kitchen one afternoon
- Declutter your garage at the weekend
- Declutter your beauty and make-up products one evening
7. Build your confidence
The other bonus of breaking down decluttering into bite-sized chunks is that you can build your confidence. Confidence is key to many things in life and often, once we feel more confident about something we can enjoy it more. Practice making decluttering decisions by starting somewhere easy where these decluttering decisions are simple and straightforward.
Further reading: How to declutter your bathroom
8. Leave difficult-to-declutter areas until last
Areas of our homes that have a lot of stuff aren’t fun to declutter. They require perseverance, motivation and a clear idea of what you’re wanting to achieve, why and how. If you’re struggling to declutter then go gentle to begin with. Leave the difficult or over-stuffed places and types of objects until last when your confidence has grown and you’ve got a track record of your progress to motivate and inspire you.
Further reading: How to find the motivation to declutter your home
9. Plan and prepare beforehand
It’s so frustrating when you’re half-way through decluttering and you run out of rubbish bags or donation boxes. Make sure you’ve got everything you need BEFORE you start decluttering so you don’t have to stop what you’re doing, lose the momentum and forget where you got up to. Grab your decluttering supplies beforehand to speed up the process and make it feel easier!
Further reading: Simple things to do before you start decluttering
10. Put some background music on
Listen to your favourite tunes and dance and sing along if you’d like to. Music can be a great way to feel energised and motivated or calm and relaxed and makes decluttering fun and less stressful!
11. Listen to an inspiring podcast or audio book
I love to listen to inspiring and motivating words as I declutter my home. Although I now have a very clear idea of what I’m hoping to achieve by decluttering and simplifying my home, it wasn’t always like that. I found it really helpful to read about (or, in this case, listen to) others who have decluttered and simplified and what benefits of decluttering they found for themselves. It’s good to get different decluttering tips and perspectives from others about how less can be more!
12. Clean as well as declutter
Ok, so I admit cleaning might not be fun for many of us, but I know I do get a sense of satisfaction and pride when I have a lovely clean home (even though it might not stay clean for long!).
If you’ve decluttered an area in your home, take a few extra minutes to give it a clean now that you have more space. Not only will that area smell and look clean and clutter-free but you’ll hopefully get satisfaction from knowing you’ve done the cleaning too! It’s not just one win, but two wins to you!
13. Follow a list
Some of us like to have a checklist to follow for some extra guidance and to track our progress. If you love lists then why not try these decluttering checklists?
- 100 things to get rid of right now – A full list of 100 things to get rid of right now, 10 items from 10 areas of your home. There’s a free printable checklist which you can download and tick off to track your progress.
- 50 easy things to get rid of right now – A quick list of super-easy things to kick-start your decluttering.
14. Take before and after photos
A picture is worth a thousand words. Take a photo of your room before you start decluttering so you can compare it with the same room after you’ve decluttered.
Next time you’re losing motivation or decluttering doesn’t feel fun anymore, look back on your photos and you’ll be reminded of what a difference decluttering can make and your why (see below). Not only will you hopefully see the transformation that clearing your clutter can achieve, but you’ll be impressed with yourself about what you can achieve if you put your mind to it!
15. Make it easy
Decluttering isn’t just about setting aside chunks of your precious time and summoning up energy to part with your life’s possessions. Decluttering is also about everyday choices and habits that help you become and stay clutter-free as part of daily life.
Here are some examples:
- Try these 20 habits for a clutter-free home
- Try getting rid of one item a day for the next year. That’s 365 items over the course of a year. Or if you do 2 items, that’s 730 items, or 10 items a day is 3650! Small, even tiny, objects count too so it could be paperclips, rubber bands or even apps on your phone!
- The key to making decluttering fun and easy is to make it part of your normal routine and habits rather than a mammoth task that’s going to suck your time and energy. Pop an empty box by the front door, in your entrance way or somewhere you’ll see it regularly and commit to putting something in there every day this week or month.
Being consistent is far more effective than decluttering a room this weekend and doing nothing again for a year. That clutter will soon build up and it won’t feel fun having to declutter again, only for the clutter to mount up once more.
16. Get clear on your why
I think most of us do things better when we have a clearly defined reason for doing it. This could apply to losing weight, getting fit, dealing with debt, giving up a bad habit or making a change in career. Knowing WHY we want to do something helps us find the enthusiasm and motivation to keep striving for it, particularly when the going gets tough.
So, if decluttering feels overwhelming or less-than-fun, try getting clear on your why and what you want to achieve at the end. What do you want your home or life to be like after? Have more time, energy, space and freedom? These are good reasons why it’s worth putting up with some short-term decluttering problems for some long-term life-changing gain!
Further reading: The benefits of decluttering your home and life
17. Declutter somewhere it will make you feel good!
There’s a reason why decluttering is powerful. There have been many research studies about the psychological benefits of clearing clutter but this impact is even more profound when you’re looking forward to a clutter-free space for other reasons.
Make decluttering fun by starting somewhere you’re actually excited to declutter! It could be decluttering your bedroom so you’re creating a calm, inviting sanctuary away from the rest of your busy household. Or, it could be your decluttering your clothes so you can enjoy choosing what to wear and dressing so you look and feel great each morning. Declutter somewhere that makes you feel good and decluttering will be much more fun and enjoyable as well!
18. Sell your unwanted items
One way of making decluttering fun is to see if you can make a little money from selling your unwanted items. Although donating is by far the easiest and least stressful way of getting rid of items you no longer need, want or love, making some money is a great challenge in itself.
You could hold a garage sale, car boot sale or sell your items on Facebook Marketplace and contribute towards an experience or activity instead of stuff in your home.
What experiences do you and/or your family enjoy? How much money do you need to make to do one of these? Set yourself a target and be creative as to what and how you declutter to try and make this money! You could go to the cinema, a meal in your favourite restaurant, a day out with the family? What would you like to do?
19. Reward yourself
We all need an incentive every now and then. Whether that’s a sticker on a wall chart, a piece of chocolate, a cup of coffee or a movie night, a reward for a job well done will carry us through difficult times. Make decluttering fun by planning your reward beforehand. Discuss it with your family, make it enjoyable and easy to carry out!
A little side note about rewards – When I say rewards, I’m talking about rewards that won’t add to your clutter. Going shopping to buy new stuff to sit in a cupboard or closet, for example, isn’t a reward (unless what you’re buying is going to replace something that you’re getting rid of!).
20. Plan what you’re doing with your unwanted items
Decluttering can be tough, not just physically draining but emotionally too. We struggle to choose what to keep and what to get rid of but it’s even more difficult when we feel like we’re wasting money or giving it away to some unknown person.
I find it helps to re-frame how you think about where your unwanted items are going. Instead of saying you’re wasting money getting rid of that sparkly silver dress in your closet, think about what joy and fun you could bring to someone else who would love to wear it!
Giving away stuff needn’t be a negative experience, instead it could be about breathing new life into the item and giving someone else a chance to make more use of, and get more enjoyment out of, something that never sees the light of day in your own home.
When you start to think differently about where your unwanted items are going, you might find that decluttering is more fun!
Further reading: What to do with unwanted stuff you’ve decluttered
MAKING DECLUTTERING FUN
Decluttering is a powerful way to free up your time, space and energy. A home with less stuff is calmer, easier to look after and often, more restful. There are many other benefits of decluttering your home and life which I hope can make life easier for you, like it did for me.
I hope the ideas I’ve given above will help make decluttering fun. I know it can be daunting knowing where to start, especially if you’re new to decluttering, you don’t have much time or your partner or spouse isn’t on board with what you’re trying to achieve.
It’s also tough when you have a lot of clutter, or struggle with sentimental clutter and a lifetime of memories entwined in your belongings. Our stuff holds emotional attachment and letting go of it is physically and emotionally draining.
So, I hope the little tips I’ve shared make decluttering fun, less boring, overwhelming and less stressful.
If you’d like to know more about decluttering, here are some additional articles and resources which you might find helpful:
- Types of clutter and how to deal with them – A look at the different types of clutter in our home and life and ways to manage these different sources of clutter
- How to declutter when you feel overwhelmed – Ideas to make decluttering feel less scary
- How to declutter fast – Helpful tips for decluttering when you want to see decluttering progress, fast!
- Declutter Starter Kit – A free workbook with tips, advice and projects to help you get clear on the what, why and how of decluttering your own home
- Simplify Your Home – A guide, workbook and checklists to help you clear your clutter and keep it away.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
I’d love to know what you thought of the ideas in this article? Do you find decluttering fun, or do you find it difficult? Have you got any tips to share that might help others who are struggling to declutter, either on their own, or with family? What’s been your favourite tip to make decluttering fun? Let me know in the comments below!
Monday 28th of March 2022
Hi Antonia, Wow, fantastic and inspiring advice on creating and declutter in this e-mail.
Very happy to share that your advice on clothes in the wardrobe has been invaluable to me; I have always loved clothes, realising this is from my childhood of always having second hand clothes, Antonia. Have packed away my classic style clothes for now; Creating a more relaxed style, my lifestyle is very different now. It is a journey, one that I am finally enjoying with your support for myself, finally.
Have a beautiful week with your family filled with many Blessings Janney??
Balance Through Simplicity
Thursday 7th of April 2022
Hi Janney, Thank you for your lovely comment. I'm so pleased you're enjoying my site and it's helping you, in turn, to enjoy your current journey (and your clothes!). Antonia