How to get rid of clutter quickly (even if you hate decluttering)

Unless you’re Marie Kondo, you probably don’t look forward to decluttering your home. It can be a long, tedious process to work through years’ worth of stuff and decide what you want to keep and what you’ll throw away or donate. Adding to the frustration, this isn’t always a quick process. Depending on the state of your home, it could take anywhere from a day to a few weeks to work through all your belongings.

With a few tips and tricks, however, you can declutter quickly and painlessly.

Girl surrounded by clutter on bed

Start small

Often, the hardest step is the first one, so start with a small project for an easy win. Begin with smaller junk drawers and throw away everything that’s broken or unusable. If your drawers are filled with unused or lightly used supplies, consider donating them to a local school or community center. Now that it’s just the necessities, organize everything into a tidy storage space. To make sure it stays this neat, buy a drawer organizer to make sure every item in there has a designated place.

With one item on your to-do list out of the way, move on to the next decluttering task. Instead of sifting through things for hours on end, commit to small bursts of creativity. Grab a timer and set it for approximately ten minutes. Then, go through one room at a time and, for ten minutes, declutter as if your life depends on it. When the alarm dings, stop. If you want to keep going, great. If not, simply use the timer again tomorrow and work through your home bit by bit.

Try the trash-bag method

To begin, grab a trash bag and start filling it with anything and everything you’re willing to part with. You don’t have to throw everything away; you can always donate or recycle them. The purpose of the trash bag method is to remove everything you don’t need so you can focus on organizing the items you intend to keep, At a later date, you can work through the bags and decide what to throw away, donate, or recycle.

Don’t get sentimental

Clutter tends to accumulate because it can be hard to let go of the little things. Whether it’s as small as a sticker you purchased on vacation or as large as a decorative vase, some items are just difficult to let go of. We recommend following the Marie Kondo method: Hold an item close to you and ask yourself whether it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If not, thank it for all it’s done for you over the years and say goodbye.

Decluttering a space full of sentimental items can also be super time-consuming, as it’s easy to get distracted walking down memory lane. To keep yourself on track, use the timer method for these areas and give yourself a time limit. Once you’re out of time move on to a different area with fewer distractions.

Create a place for everything

As you organize, make sure you don’t have any catch-all drawers or baskets. Every item you own deserves a dedicated place. This also reduces the stress and time associated with looking for that pair of tweezers or corkscrew. This is especially helpful for people with busy mornings. When you don’t have to hunt for your things, you’ll find yourself with a much smoother morning routine.

Stop buying things you don’t need

There is serenity in simplicity. Maintaining a minimalist space allows you to focus on just what you need and reduce any distractions like unneeded knick-knacks. After spending days organizing, the last thing you want is to look around a few weeks later and find yourself surrounded by items haphazardly scattered around the home.

Maintain your tidy space by following the one-in, one-out rule. Every time you purchase something new, throw out or donate the older version of whatever you just bought. For instance, if you just purchased a set of new kitchen towels, feel free to part with the older ones to prevent clutter from building back up.

Woman sitting among boxes of clutter

Enjoy the lightness of being clutter-free

Once you’ve decluttered your home, enjoy the fruits of your efforts. Treat yourself to a nice dinner, a self-care day, or even a small shopping spree. Hard work deserves recognition, even if it’s from yourself.

Whether you decide to spend an entire weekend cleaning your home from top to bottom or work for just a few minutes every day over the course of a week, organizing doesn’t have to be such a chore.

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