Decluttering seems to be getting a bad rap these days. It’s one of those things that everyone longs for, a decluttered and organized house, but it’s also that very same thing that very few people are willing to put the work in to achieve. If you’re looking for a way how to get rid of clutter in your house, you’re in the right spot.
We’ve talked about things you can declutter from your house starting right away, but what do you do when you don’t know how to start getting rid of clutter? What if you want to declutter, but any time you try you end up getting distracted and getting nothing done?
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How to get rid of clutter
If you get stressed out over the thought of delving in and decluttering your house, it’s time for you to face those fears and just start.
People tend to think of decluttering, especially when they live in a house that is absolutely bursting at the seams with clutter, as a task that is too big to handle. Something that is nearly impossible.
And thus, it gets put off. And put off. And put off yet again.
The problem is, the longer you keep putting decluttering your house off, the more difficult it is going to end up being when you finally decide to tackle the mess.
I’m sure you’ve heard the ever-famous saying,
Eat the elephant one bite at a time
Meaning, when you have a big job that needs to get done or a to-do list that will never end, how do you start? You start with one little thing, then another, and another.
Decluttering is no different.
When it comes to decluttering, instead of thinking that you have to get it all done right now, and you can’t rest until you have completely finished decluttering your entire house, a much more productive way to go about this big task is eating the elephant one bite at a time.
What happens when you feel like you have to do it all
If we are faced with a daunting task, like decluttering, and get stressed out by the very thought of it, what do we do?
Rather than feeling motivated to get the job done, we feel defeated, exhausted, and would rather just get it out of our minds than have to deal with it.
But, what if we could look at decluttering our house from a different point of view?
Instead of looking at your house as a whole, break it up into little, bite-sized, areas, and set a goal to have that little area decluttered within a certain timeframe.
Now instead of being faced with an impossible task, we have set a doable goal that we are motivated to complete.
How to get rid of clutter in your house starting now – no excuses, no procrastinating, no more putting it off.
HAVE A VISION OF WHAT YOU WANT YOUR HOUSE TO LOOK LIKE
Many people have an easier time working towards something when they know what it is they’re working towards. It’s hard to stay motivated and keep going when you’re not quite sure why you’re doing what you’re doing. But, if you have a vision of what you want your ideal house looks like, it will help you get started – and stay committed to – the process of decluttering.
Instead of wasting time by skipping this step and just winging it, why not start the decluttering process the right way?
Sit down and close your eyes and picture what you would like your house to look like. Don’t let the image of the current state of your house crowd your mind – get rid of that and picture what your house would look like if it were perfectly organized, cleaned, and clutter-free.
In your ideal house, are the rooms filled with clutter, or are they organized and cleaned just the way you like them to be? Are there kids toys scattered around the house, or is everything in its place?
Now that you have that picture of what you want your house to look like, it’s time to start taking the steps towards making your house look like that, or as close to that as you can.
MAKE A SCHEDULE
Creating a schedule to help you get rid of clutter is something that people often deem as a waste of time, but I truly believe it can significantly help you declutter.
If you are someone who doesn’t particularly do well with schedules, and you’re better at setting goals in your head and winging it, then setting a schedule may not be the biggest help to you – but if you are someone who thrives off of schedules, or if you haven’t used too many schedules but you struggle to get everything done in your day, then making a decluttering schedule will definitely be beneficial to you.
When you’re making your decluttering schedule, write down all the different rooms of your house that need to be decluttered – don’t leave any out.
Then, after you have listed off all the rooms in your house that need to be decluttered, write down a timeframe that you would like to get them all decluttered in.
Will your living room take you a day? Write that down. Maybe your bedroom is a disaster and is likely to take a couple days, while your bathroom may be as quick as half an hour. Write down how long you think it will take you to get rid of clutter in all these rooms.
Of course, this is just something to help keep you accountable, it is not something that is meant to discourage you. If you struggle with getting the rooms decluttered in the amount of time you’ve given yourself, stretch the time out a bit and create some wiggle room.
This schedule is just so you can have a physical list in front of you of all the places in your house that need decluttering – as you complete them, you can cross them off the list.
The timeframe you created is just to ensure you don’t spend a week decluttering one room that could have been done in less than a day, had you gotten rid of all distractions and fully focused on decluttering that room.
Again, if you end up going over your timeframe for certain rooms in your house, don’t get discouraged and give up – work hard until you have finished that room, then make yourself determined to complete the rest of the rooms in your house in the given timeframes.
It’s time to get started getting rid of clutter in your house.
Now that you an image of what your ideal house would look like and you have created a schedule and a timeframe for decluttering the different rooms in your house, it’s time to get started.
Below we will go over a few different decluttering techniques that will help you declutter your house as fast and efficiently as possible.
GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS
Before you start decluttering your house, let’s lay out an extremely important ground rule: decluttering doesn’t work when you are constantly getting distracted.
It is really easy to get distracted when you’re decluttering because you’re going to be going through every single item that you own – it can get pretty tempting to get sidetracked and end up down a rabbit hole only to notice that an hour has passed and you have gotten nothing done.
That is what we don’t want – ensuring this doesn’t happen starts with getting rid of the distractions that you can get rid of. This means your cell phone, computer, and any other items that tend to distract you on a regular basis.
If you are more productive while listening to music or a podcast you can, of course, turn something on. Just be sure you stay focused on the task at hand.
GET YOUR BINS READY
The point of these bins and bags is to be a place for you to place the items that you are getting rid of, rather than just in a pile on the floor.
You will want to have three bins or bags. One will be for stuff that you will be donating, the next will be for stuff that you are returning to its original place or owner, and the last will be for stuff that you are throwing out.
Move each of these bins with you from room to room, filling them up with stuff and emptying them out once they get full. As soon as the “toss” box is full, throw everything in the trash – don’t look through it again.
As soon as the “donate” box is full, take it all to a thrift store. As soon as the “return to original place or owner” bin is full, either return this stuff to its designated area in your house or bring it back to whomever you borrowed it from.
If you would prefer to bring the stuff from the donate and return boxes to their place in one go, after your entire house has been decluttered, place everything in a bag in your garage, somewhere out of the way, and keep it there until you have finished getting rid of clutter from your entire house.
As soon as you are done decluttering your house, load those bags right up into your vehicle and bring them where they’re going. It’s important to do this right away, so you don’t have these bags sitting here adding to the clutter in your house.
Timers come in handy for all kinds of things. Cooking, exercising, napping, and cleaning are all great examples of things people may use timers for. Why not add getting rid of clutter to that list, too?
If you’ve ever used the timer method for cleaning, you’re already familiar with how you will be using a timer for decluttering your house. Timers help batch certain tasks into a time limit and give you an ending point.
For many people, an ending point is just as important as a starting point. If you are doing a task and don’t know when it’s going to end, other than when you’ve completed it, it’s easy to get distracted and bored and do other things other than the task you’re supposed to be completing.
When you set an endpoint, by using a timer, anytime you get tempted to do something else or take a break, you can look at that timer and see that you only have a certain number of minutes left until you are done this task, anyway, so you will be more motivated to keep going and do a good job.
If you’re just starting out, I wouldn’t recommend you set a timer for anything longer than half an hour.
Using a timer while you declutter will help you see that you only have so many minutes left before you are either done for the day, or until you can take a break. This helps keep your mind focused because you aren’t telling yourself that you’ll be done when the room is completely clear of clutter.
Even if you want to completely declutter a certain area of your house before the day is up, it is still important to use a timer and take time for breaks, otherwise you will see the amount of stuff that you still have to do before you’re done and you will mentally start shutting down – especially if you’re already tired and could really use a break. When this happens you will be less effective with your decluttering, skipping over stuff and making half-hearted decisions.
This can be easily prevented by using a timer to get rid of clutter and taking breaks when that timer goes off. Once you’ve rested for a couple minutes, you can then either head right back to the task you are hoping to complete today, or you can move on to the next task.
Breaking your days up is essential when it comes to effectively decluttering your house.
BREAK ROOMS UP INTO SMALLER AREAS
Rather than decluttering an entire room at a time, break the room up into smaller, more specific areas. This way when you walk into the room, you aren’t overwhelmed with all the stuff in the room that needs to be addressed. Instead, you see a small section of the room that needs to be decluttered, and you start there.
It’s small, it’s doable, it’s done.
By breaking the rooms of your house into smaller areas, you will soon discover how much faster you can get rid of clutter from your house. It may seem counterproductive to clean a smaller area when your goal is to get a bigger area done, but this method truly works.
As we talked about earlier, when you see how much you have to declutter and how much work it will be, it can seem like a daunting task and you will start to shut down and just “glaze” over everything making half-hearted decisions and keeping far more items than you should be, in an attempt to get the room finished as fast as possible.
If you want to truly and effectively declutter your entire house, think of it in little, small sections. Set a goal to complete a certain section in a certain amount of time, then, once you have completed that area or section, move on to the next.
Doing this will make the entire process a whole lot easier to take in, and you will be doing a thorough job so you won’t have to come back again tomorrow and go over all this stuff again.
LOOK AT YOUR STUFF FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
If you find you’re having a hard time getting rid of your stuff, it’s time to change the way you think about it all.
Remember, a house that is filled with clutter is not a house that you want to live in. You already know what your ideal house looks like, so to get there you’re going to have to get rid of the clutter.
While you’re sorting through your belongings, look at your stuff through the eyes of a stranger – someone who is completely unattached from all the stuff.
If it doesn’t fit in with the room, or maybe it doesn’t have a place to go, get rid of it. If it isn’t serving a purpose, get rid of it. If it is broken, get rid of it. If you have duplicates of the same item, get rid of it, if you have something else that serves the same purpose as it, get rid of it.
If you are still having troubles getting rid of your stuff, ask yourself a simple question, if you saw this at the store, would you buy it?
If you were starting with a house that was completely bare and needed to be filled with some decorations and items, would this particular item be something you would buy and bring into your new house?
If not, it’s time to get rid of it.
A cluttered house often starts in the mind of the person who lives there. It’s time to change the way you think about the things in your house. It’s time to put more thought into the things that you let come into your house.
Always, always, always remember – if you don’t have room for it, it shouldn’t be in your house.
HOW TO GET RID OF SENTIMENTAL CLUTTER
Sentimental clutter that serves as a memory or holds value and meaning to you is some of the most difficult clutter to get rid of, but if you kept every little thing that had some kind of sweet memory attached to it, your house would be absolutely overflowing with clutter.
When you go to get rid of items that hold a special meaning to you, remember, you’re letting go of an object, not the memory that comes with it – you will hold onto that forever.
Of course, I’m not saying you can’t keep any items that are meaningful to you. You can, but you will want to get rid of some of them.
Maybe it’s gifts that you struggle to get rid of. Don’t let getting rid of gifts make you feel guilty. If it’s not serving a purpose for you, why not let someone else have it that could actually use it? Don’t hold on to things just because they were a gift, instead, pass it on and make someone else’s day with it.
Now it’s your turn – go ahead and get decluttering. Remember, you don’t have to get it all done in one day. It may take you a while to get rid of the clutter in your house. It’s not important that you finish today, but it is important that you start today and keep at it until you’ve reached your goals.
What are some tips you have for getting rid of clutter? Do you tend to hoard things, or do you like to keep your house as minimalistic and clutter-free as possible?
5 Ways to Declutter Your House in One Week
7 Decluttering Tips to Hoarders (and people who like to collect stuff)
Declutter Your Life by Getting Rid of These 31 Things
How to Declutter Your Home and Your Life in 7 Steps