How to declutter your home fast
Clutter is utterly overwhelming to me.
Unfortunately, my family does not feel the same way.
And, women’s stress levels are directly proportional to the amount of stuff in their homes. (mother.ly)
So, if you’re overwhelmed, you are not alone! I’ve found ways to stay on top of the clutter without spending hours. Read the 20 best tips on How To Declutter Fast. After, you’ll feel so much better in your home.
This post contains affiliate links, and we may earn a commission at no cost to you. See our disclaimer for more.
Where To Start When Decluttering
First, I came across some startling decluttering statistics.
- 80% of the items we keep are never used. (pickupplease.org)
- Paying to store unused objects contributes to a $154 billion dollar industry.
- 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of clutter they have, but 78% have no idea what to do with it. (prnewswire.com)
So how can we get rid of the clutter quickly?
The key to decluttering fast is to make small habits that are motivating to keep. That’s how you see results.
If you are wondering how to declutter fast, start with these tips and ideas.
1. Make a goal
Decide on your unique goal.
- Are you needing to do extreme decluttering?
- Do you want to declutter your house in one day? a week? a month?
- Are you wanting to declutter a room in 30 minutes?
Set a SMART goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
I will improve my mental health by decluttering the main floor of my house. I will complete one room a day using the four box method (below) for the next 5 days.
2. Four box Method
There are many strategies decluttering experts use to get rid of the mess. The four-box method is simple and easy for anyone to start.
First, gather four boxes and label.
TRASH: This box includes anything you do not want, but is not worth donating or selling. Broken or damaged items go in this box.
DONATE/SELL: Decide before you start decluttering if you want to sell items or donate. Then you need to have an immediate plan. If you are donating, schedule a pick-up or load the items into the trunk of your car to take immediately. If you are selling, you should have a garage date set or immediately post the objects on an online marketplace.
STORE: These are a few items that you do not use regularly, but you still use. i.e. seasonal decor, waffle makers, etc.. Or they may have sentimental value that you are not ready to part with.
PUT AWAY: This will be your smallest box. These are things you use regularly and they already have a proper spot in your house.
3. Handle papers only once
Designate a place for important papers to go after school. Immediately recycle the rest. Yep. You read that correctly. Look at the paper, acknowledge it, wait until your kids are not looking, and get rid of it.
This may sound extreme, but after school today my kids brought home 16 pieces of paper (between the two of them). In one day. I cannot possibly display or keep all of that paper.
Use the same strategy when it comes to mail. Sort it daily. Have a spot for bills or mail that require a response. Then, recycle what you don’t need.
4. pretend you are moving (How to Declutter Fast)
Do you remember the challenges of moving with too much stuff?
Go through the rooms of your house with the mindset that you are moving in the next month. And when you move, your goal is to only take what you absolutely use and love. (It also helps to imagine you will be doing all of the moving without any help from others!)
*This free declutter your home checklist can help too!
5. envision someone dropping by
Another mindset strategy is to pretend that someone could stop by your house at any time. Or envision that someone may need to come into your house while you are gone. What will they find?
If your focus is on how to declutter fast, focus on the key surfaces that will significantly make your home look better.
- kitchen countertops and island
- entryway benches and floors
- floors and furniture
6. one in-one out rule
In order to declutter fast, each purchase you make has to be a conscious one. For every new item you bring into your house, make an effort to get rid of one item. This works well with house decorations, clothes, books, and kids’ toys.
Before birthdays and Christmas, have your kids go through their toys and donate several items. This will make room for new toys and also declutter their rooms of things they have outgrown.
7. Broken? toss it.
Unless you are super handy and motivated, that broken blender you have is likely going to stay broken. So, if you know you won’t fix it, and it’s been unusable for months, it’s time to go.
8. if you haven’t touched it for a year, get rid of it.
A good rule is if you have not used an item for a year, it’s time to donate it.
After every holiday or season, go through your seasonal decor, clothing, etc, and get rid of anything you did not use.
After Christmas last year, I donated two boxes of Christmas decorations I hadn’t used for years. This year, it felt amazing when I took out my Christmas decorations and found everything organized and downsized.
9. declutter main areas in 10 minutes every day
Take 10 minutes every day to declutter the kitchen, living room, and entryway. This works best for me if I do it immediately before or after dinner. Don’t forget to enlist your family to help!
- Clear off flat surfaces in the kitchen.
- Put away shoes, backpacks, coats, etc…
- Pick up the living room.
- Have kids put away the things that go in their rooms before bedtime.
10. declutter Kids rooms fast
Use these tips to keep up with the clutter in your kid’s rooms.
- Keep an extra storage bin in your child’s closet. When you notice that they have outgrown an item of clothing, place it immediately into that bin. When that bin is full, it is ready to give away or save for a younger sibling.
- Toss out socks with holes immediately.
- Toss out clothes with non-removable stains.
- Get rid of used-up arts and crafts.
- Trash broken toys or toys with missing pieces.
- Teach your kids that although you love their cardboard box creations, we simply can’t keep everything.
If needed, declutter while they are gone! If you are worried about this approach, stick items in a bag and if they don’t notice the items are gone in two weeks, donate them.
Check out this list of non-toy gifts to give to kids to save on clutter!
11. don’t let items pile up in a spot
If you have a chair or countertop that always seems full of stuff, make it a no-pile zone. Stop putting stuff there.
For your house to stay decluttered, you have to continually work to put things away. Your family can abide by and respect this rule.
12. if you don’t love it, get rid of it.
As Marie Kondo would ask, does this item spark joy? If the answer is anything less than an enthusiastic yes, it’s time for it to leave your house.
Other great questions you can ask yourself:
- If I didn’t own this item already, would I buy it again?
- Does this item have sentimental value?
- If I didn’t own this item, would I miss it?
- How much could I sell it for?
- Have I used this item in the past 6 months?
13. clear out things your family has outgrown
I recently cleared out a cup cabinet that had sippy cups still sitting in it. My youngest child is 5! I realized I was holding on to quite a few items that we no longer needed.
Give yourself permission to let go. It can help to find a family in your neighborhood that has younger kids who may benefit from your unused items.
14. involve the entire family in regular clean sweeps
In my house, the kitchen countertops are where all the stuff lands. Everything from Lego pieces to sunglasses to craft supplies accumulate here.
Have I mentioned how important it is that everyone helps declutter on a regular basis? This can include a pre-dinner clean sweep or a weekly one.
You can even have the four-box method available as they sort through the odds and ends left lying around.
*Check out these great decluttering books to help get your family motivated to help with the clutter.
15. Think Before you buy
Don’t buy it if you don’t intend to use it or if you don’t really need it.
This sounds like common sense, but the Target dollar spot can get you every time!
Ask yourself these questions before you buy:
- Do I own something similar?
- How will I use this item?
- How often will I use this item?
- Where will I store it?
- Could my money be spent better elsewhere?
16. time yourself
If you are wanting to declutter faster, set a timer and go!
Another variant of this is to use the time-lapse on your phone to record yourself going super quickly.
This is a GREAT and motivating way to get kids excited about cleaning up the clutter. They will love to watch themselves moving so quickly in the video.
17. stop saving stuff you never use
Even with great intentions, there are things I save that I never use. They just add to clutter. Get rid of it!
- old technology cords
- brands of items you don’t like
- vhs tapes (I know you still have some)
- expired medicine
- mostly empty cosmetic bottles you have stopped using
- lidless containers
18. Get rid of things you have in excess
Over time, we tend to gather more and more of the same type of items. Have you ever needed 20 mugs? If not, it’s time to donate.
- Plastic cups
- Plastic or Reusable bags
- Worn towels
- Winter accessories
19. what to do with sentimental items
I recently decided it was time to get rid of the tubs of baby clothes in my basement. I had already gotten rid of other baby items, so I figured this wouldn’t be too painful.
I was wrong.
As soon as I opened the first tub, the smell of baby hit me and I wanted to keep it all.
I decided to sort out one box of items that were really special to me. I saved these. And because I started with an absurd amount, going down to one box felt like extreme decluttering.
I then donated most of the items to children in foster care. While it was emotional, I felt relief when I was done. I had decluttered, plus I felt good about where the clothes were going.
- Ask friends where they have sold or donated sentimental items.
- Consider taking a picture of the item to keep instead.
- If you are still too emotional, store the item temporarily until your next big decluttering sweep. Then make it a goal to get rid of it if it’s not in use.
20. be clear about things you don’t want to receive
My husband likes to bring me flowers and I love this. But I eventually told him he could buy me flowers without a vase to save on the money and the clutter. I have plenty of vases. He jumped on board when I mentioned saving money (and he still brings me flowers).
If you have close loved ones that continually buy you something you don’t want, ask them to stop. Be kind and explain. Examples include:
- Request chocolate from a trip or to see pictures instead of receiving knick-knacks.
- Ask for useable gifts such as lotions, lip gloss, and favorite snacks or drinks.
- Enjoy more experiences with your family for gifts.
- Request non-toy gifts for your kids (Ex. alarm clock, flashlight, etc.)
Next Steps For Fast Decluttering
Decluttering is an ongoing process. If you are wanting to declutter fast, make a goal, and ask a friend or loved one to hold you accountable.
Make a plan
Get the boxes you have from decluttering out of the house now. Put it in your trunk to drop off at a donations center, recycle it, trash it, schedule a pickup, or post it to sell immediately. (If it doesn’t sell, have a due date for a back up plan).
Give yourself grace
You live with other people. And you love those people. They come with stuff. Although you can declutter, your house won’t be clutter-free all of the time.
Let go of areas you can’t control
Ultimately, there are a few areas of my house that are out of my control when it comes to clutter. Mostly, because it is not my stuff. This includes areas of the garage, my husband’s medicine cabinet, and his office.
Benefits of Decluttering
Even if you aren’t someone overwhelmed with clutter, getting rid of extra stuff is healthy for you!
- Getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework in the average home. (prnewswire.com)
- People are more productive, while less irritable and distracted in a clutter-free space. (mother.ly)
- Relationships with the people you live with improve with less clutter.
- Decluttering can increase confidence in your decision-making skills.
- It can lead to reduced anxiety. (Psychology Today)
- Increased financial savings is a positive benefit to decluttering.
To Consider With How To Declutter Fast
My hope is that you can take some of these tips and turn them into new habits! They will help you quickly manage the clutter in your house.
Next, look for additional Ways To Collect Moments Not Things.