The Quick-And-Dirty Way to Decluttering Fast

The Quick-And-Dirty Way to Decluttering Fast

Are you having guests to entertain at home soon and are embarrassed by the clutter lying around? Or are you delaying again the long overdue decluttering exercise your home is screaming for? Read on to learn the secrets to decluttering fast.

Don’t worry, decluttering doesn’t have to take forever or force you to make tough decisions that will leave you regretful. Just apply the six simple rules of my quick-and-dirty approach to decluttering fast:

#1. Be Prepared

Gather a large garbage bag for stuff to thrash and a large container, box or basket for stuff to donate to charities, give away to family or friends and sell.

Block the time in your diary. Take into consideration your energy levels and personal preferences – first thing in the morning so you’ll be over with it before you can think of an excuse not to do it, before an activity that you look forward to doing, etc.

#2. Be Systematic

Tackle one room at a time. Don’t move onto another room until you’re finished with the first one.

Progressively move throughout your home. It doesn’t really matter where you start and in which sequence you go through your home.

#3. Be Focused

Set a timer and work for anything from 5 minutes to a couple of hours based on your concentration threshold and availability. Yes, even 5 minutes at a time will make a difference.

Put music on if it helps but no distractions or interruptions allowed – yes, it includes your handphone! When time is up, stop and move on to whatever else is on the agenda for the day.

#4. Be Ruthless But Not Reckless

The idea at this stage is to focus on items that are a no-brainer for you to part with: the broken toys, the faded/stained/torn clothes, the old magazines and newspapers, the expired food and cosmetics, the stuff that you don’t use, the stuff that you don’t like, the stuff that doesn’t belong to you, etc.

Don’t spend too much time making the decision on whether to keep or not, if in doubt, keep it for now. This is particularly true for the items that you’re emotionally attached to.

#5. Be Respectful

Don’t decide on others’ behalf even if they give you their blessings. And don’t underestimate a child’s memory, they easily notice when something they value goes missing. Involve them when and where necessary.

Failing to do so almost unavoidably leads to anger, resentment and frustration and will probably stop you all together in your tracks.

#6. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

When the purge is over, get the items out of your home as soon as possible.  You don’t want to start a pile of clutter elsewhere or start rummaging in your castaways pile and putting them back in your closets.

You’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve in small pockets of time over a 10-day period.

That said, I need to warn you that this quick-and-dirty approach won’t fix the cause of the problem and at some stage, you’ll need to face the reasons why clutter accumulates and also set up systems so it doesn’t come back again.  But for now, I’m confident it will give you a head start and hopefully will leave you with the motivation to embark on the rest of your organising journey.


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Nathalie Ricaud

Professional organiser Nathalie Ricaud helps women who feel overwhelmed by all their "stuff" learn to let go of things that are just stressing them out, and feel in control of their home and life again. She helps them establish systems to make sure they can find what they want when they need it, and maintain a clutter-free, organised and peaceful home. In addition to hands-on organising work, Nathalie is the author of a blog and is regularly published in print and online media. She’s also a regular speaker at events and conferences. Visit her website for more details.

Edited by: Amber Valencia, Image credit: Jarosław Ceborski on Unsplash

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