Declutter your House in a Day!
Is it really possible to declutter your entire house in one day? It depends– the size of your home and how much clutter you have definitely make a difference. But here's a detailed plan for you to tackle it as fast as possible! Watch the video here or keep reading for the action plan!
To get most accomplished on your declutter day, you should work at least a full 8 hours and treat it just like a work day. When you do a marathon declutter session, the momentum spreads to other areas. It puts you in a declutter mindset, even on days other than your workday. It's also contagious! When your family sees you working on decluttering, it often makes them evaluate their own habits and things. They end up helping without you ever saying a word! There's just something magical about making serious progress!
Pick a day and clear the calendar!
Try for an all-in-one. You may need to take a vacation day, or take the kids to grandma's for the day. You should have NO other activities at all that day. You want your entire focus to be on your declutter day– no distractions!
Prioritize what you want to declutter!
What is bugging you the most? Usually these are spots you're in every day with very frequent use. Make a list and be VERY specific. Don't say, “living room.” Instead, say “corner table in living room.” It helps to break it down as much as possible so you have a clear plan.
It's best to make this list at least the day before. You'll be making LOTS of decisions about what to get rid of on your declutter day, so making your plan ahead of time can help reduce decision fatigue and keep your energy for the actual decluttering.
Gather your supplies before the day!
- trash bags
- laundry baskets
- donatable box or old bin you don't want anymore
- signs for your bins– check out these printables!
Trash bags are (obviously) for trash! Make sure you have plenty on hand. I use laundry baskets to stash things that go in another area of the house. I don't want to be walking all over the house for each item. That's inefficient. Use the laundry baskets until one is full, and then you can take a trip around the house to put stuff away all at once.
You'll most definitely end up with some donations. Use a container of some sort that you can leave at the donation center. This could be a shipping box, an old bin you don't want anymore, or really anything you're cool with donating!
Finally, I always print out some signs for these containers to help remind me which is which. I made these printables for you because they're cute, and that always motivates me, LOL!
Plan ahead and get your routine tasks done!
Make sure you're not worried about other chores on laundry day. Work hard to get your dishes and laundry done so you're not worried about other tasks on declutter day. If you haven't done your laundry, your laundry baskets (which you need!) might be full. It's also harder to declutter around piles of laundry and dishes.
It's also a good idea to prep an easy dinner for declutter day. Or you can plan to go out or get takeout if that makes your life easier!
It's declutter day!
When the day comes, it's all about motivation and getting down to business! Dress for the job! I wear workout clothes, sneakers, and a ponytail so I'm ready to move, get down on the ground, and I'm not afraid to get dirty! It really puts me in work mode.
Take your list and begin. At this time, if your list still isn't specific enough, feel free to make it more specific. If you have a dresser with nine drawers, you can literally list out all nine drawers. If you love crossing stuff off, this is for you! If that isn't your thing, then just leave it at “dresser.” Do whatever works best for you!
Work in one area until it's complete!
Only do ONE drawer at a time. Don't move from drawer to drawer all over that dresser. Finish one completely and then move on! This helps you work systematically and stay focused.
Touch EVERY SINGLE ITEM until it's done. It really does help you decide what to do with everything so you don't skip over clutter. Remember– we're deeply decluttering here.
Keep in mind that you only have five options for what to do with every item:
- Trash– throw it away!
- Keep it, and it stays where it is.
- Keep it, but move to another area (goes in laundry basket to move later).
- Return it– either to a store or a person you borrowed it from.
- Donate– it goes in the box or bin you can donate!
Keep working until one of your laundry baskets is full. That's your cue to stop, walk around with that basket, and put everything in it away in another part of the house. If you take one item at a time to a new area, it's so inefficient. But don't skip this step either. You don't want to pile up a bunch of laundry baskets because you WILL get overwhelmed (ask me how I know, LOL!). Clearing a laundry basket also helps give you a small mental break to move around.
You should sit down and rest for 5-10 minutes every 1-2 hours. Setting a timer can help so you don't get too distracted and end up taking an hour break.
Of course, take time to eat and drink! You need to be fueled and hydrated. Decluttering can be hard physically and mentally, so take care of yourself.
When your time is up at the end of your declutter day, don't leave anything behind!
If you have a full laundry basket, go put all the items away. Throw away all the trash. Take those bags outside to the dumpster or wherever your trash goes outside the house. Take your donations to the trunk of your car. Take your returns bin to your car, although it's best to put it in the backseat or a different area so they don't get mixed up with donations!
And very important– schedule a time to drop off those donations and returns! You don't want to be driving around with them in your car for six months!
Decluttering can be a big task that we can make even bigger in our minds. But if you work super hard for just one day and make a HUGE amount of progress, it always seems so much more manageable. The sense of accomplishment can really set you up for a lot of success even after declutter day. Good luck, and let me know how your own declutter day turns out!
Thank you for these instructions. I’m eager to start!
Lazy K Says
I do have to disagree with your timeline. I live in the Dust Capital of the World. Before I donate or put something away I have to wash and dry it. Donating audio books? I have to open each one and make sure all the tapes are there. Donating glass? I live on a bumpy road and each piece needs to be packed so it doesn’t break. Tea cups and saucers, salt and pepper shakers should be paired up so they aren’t separated as well as other items that are part of a set.
I’m in the midst of a major downsizing (70 years of “stuff”). And I agree with much of you advice but thinking you can declutter in one day may discourage those who try it find they can’t do it.
There are many approaches to declutter. My approach is “donate all glass wear” I don’t love. Next “donate all decorative items”. I pick a theme. Or a shelf. Or the “did I even remember I had this?”
And don’t forget if you love it or are undecided, keep it. You can always get rid of more items later. Still can’t get rid of some of my mother’s stuff. And that’s ok. Get rid of the easy stuff first.
Mary Crichton Says
Even if I lack the stamina to work for eight hours, the hint about breaking down decluttering areas is a great one. Dresser drawers/ side table, etc. Thanks!
I’d love to add two things:
– A lot of decluttering will be dealing with things you put off. Paying the bill you come across. Filing some papers. Stumbling across something broken that you want to repair. Building the shelves you ordered two months ago. Repotting the plants. Be mentally prepared that you might have to deal with stuff you have put off rather than stuff that can be easily trashed or donated. I once read “clutter is decisions that were procrastinated”. Be ruthless and throw stuff out that you wanted to do Something with but realisticly won’t get to instead of stuffing it in project drawers. And deal with as much stuff as possible, even If it feels like your progress is slowed down by doing so. When something is done, it is done and you can put away the finished item.
– If you find something that you want to sell, list it immediately. It’s the same mindset as “deal with it immediately”, but as it is not listed as an option to get rid of stuff, I wanted to list it seperately. Take a picture of the thing and just upload it. You can always go back and take better pictures or edit the description. Getting it online is the key. Stuff that is not listed can’t sell and will continue to sit in your home.