When you finally decide you have more than enough and are ready to declutter, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Eat the elephant one bite at a time”? Here are your little bites, so eventually, you will have conquered an immense task! You can declutter fast!
This is a quick start guide on how to declutter quickly certain areas of your home. There is a good chance it will not solve all your clutter problems. However, there is a likelihood if you start here, you will find the inspiration you need to tackle bigger tasks.
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Sort your clutter
When going through the tasks, remember to create three piles for things you are getting rid of so you can declutter fast:
- Keep (and put in a designated place)
- Give Away
Take note, there is no “maybe” pile.
When holding an item, ask yourself if that item makes you happy and if it has a function. The function can be it is beautiful and you look at it every day. If this is the case, then make sure it has a designated spot.
You want your countertops and other spaces to be clutter-free, minus a few, functional items. You want a clean space, which is why you are starting your decluttering journey!
Related post: What To Do With the Stuff After Decluttering
If you need an extra boost to get started with decluttering, please join our FREE 5-Day Declutter My Home Challenge to get small, actionable steps that get you well on your way to a more clutter-free home!
Declutter quickly with these tasks:
1 – One junk drawer
Don’t try to tackle all your drawers that need to be decluttered. Pick one.
Empty it out, and decide if you should keep the items, give them away or trash them. If you are keeping the items, make sure they are actually going to a designated spot. Is the drawer their designated spot? Or do the items belong somewhere else?
Really old ketchup packets in there? Throw them away. Will there be a day that you wish you had them, maybe. Chances are, no.
I like to use a cheap, plastic silverware organizer ($0.97 at Ikea!) to organize my junk drawer items. It works wonderfully!
Related Post: Turn Your Junk Drawer Into a “Useful Drawer”
2 – Your shoes
Decluttering your entire closet can be a large task, so start small.
Start with your shoes. Look for shoes you have not worn in over a year. Time to let those go.
Maybe save one pair of timeless classics for special events, but you probably don’t need the sparkle silver pumps if you have not worn them even once in the past five years. If they are still in good shape, consider giving them to a friend.
For the nice dress shoes you know you will never wear, consider donating them to a charity that helps women prepare for interviews and find jobs. Look for classic, timeless shoes and get rid of the crazy ones that match only one outfit.
Related post: How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe
3 – Fashion scarves
Fashion scarves are adorable and can dress up any outfit. They also double as a way to warm yourself in a cold office building. However, assess how many of these scarves you actually wear and how many you need. If there are any scarves you have not worn in the last year, time to let them go.
Related post: How to Declutter Your Closet
4 – Winter gloves and hats
We live where it is cold, and we have kids. It seems they received a new pair of gloves and a hat
I had my fair share of cute cotton gloves and hats too. Hats and gloves are greatly appreciated by local homeless shelters. Teach your children about minimalism and go together to give them to a local charity.
5 – DVD/CD area
We have a respectable collection of DVDs for our Friday night movie nights. However, these movies get watched regularly. I don’t understand how my children can watch the same movie six times over a three-month period, but at least they are getting watched!
If you are holding on to movies to watch “one day”, but you have not watched it in the past year, it is time to give it to someone else who will get joy from it. Sell them on Craigslist, eBay or give them away. Someone else wants your clutter!
6 – Clean out your medicine cabinet
We get sick, so we buy medicine to treat our symptoms. For some reason, we forget to check the medicine cabinet first.
Go through your medicine cabinet and declutter fast by getting rid of anything that has expired. (There are often recycling centers for medication in your town.)
Start buying medicine in smaller packs if it is not something you buy often. This will help prevent waste later on.
7 – The sock drawer
The dryer really does eat our socks, I’m sure. How else could I have twenty different versions of patterned kid socks with no match?
For years, I saved the single socks. I’m not sure why. Finally, one day, I had enough and threw them all away. Once, only once, did I find the missing match after throwing the other one away. Oh well! We had a clean sock drawer!
Donate the socks you do not like if they haven’t been worn. Someone will enjoy them.
Related post: Declutter Your Socks
8 – Clean out your car
Clean out your car. Go out with three bags. Use one for trash, one for items to put away and one for donations. Ask yourself how much stuff you actually need in the car. The list should be short.
Make this a weekly habit once your car is clean. Kids can destroy a vehicle in no time. I get it.
9 – Pick one flat surface to clear
Don’t try to declutter the entire house at one time. Instead, pick one flat surface and clear it by using the flat surface clutter rule. By picking a counter or other flat surface to declutter fast, you make the entire room feel cleaner!
If you keep any items on the surface, make sure they serve a purpose on a regular basis. It could be a picture frame that makes you smile daily or a cute little coin plate your preschooler made you. However, if you don’t use the item or enjoy it daily, I would suggest moving it to a place out of sight or get rid of it completely.
10 – Your underwear drawer
Look in your underwear drawer, ALL THE WAY at the back. Find those pieces you have not worn in a long time and toss them. You deserve to feel pretty every day underneath. Don’t settle for ugly, old underwear. If you have bras you hate and never wear, time to get rid of them. Give your drawer some empty space!
11 – Pajama drawer
Some people take clothes they no longer like and move them over to the pajama drawer. If you don’t like to wear these items in public, you probably don’t like to wear them to bed at night!
Get rid of the items you don’t like and don’t wear. You only need one drawer of pajamas. If you have more than one drawer, start cutting back and donate the excess clutter.
12 – Kids’ bath toys
Bath toys took over the kids’ bathroom, also known as the guest bathroom. It was embarrassing when guests used to come to our house. I would have to quickly pull the items out before our guests could take a shower.
We invested in a hanging shower net for bath toys. It is awesome!! Once the net was full, it was full. I let my kids help pick their favorite toys. The rest was donated, given away or trashed.
13 – Bookshelf
Pick one bookshelf and declutter quickly to create some space. I am a big believer in borrowing books. If you want a book to hold, highlight and love, then keep it! However, if you have books you never plan on opening again, time to find them a new home.
Give a book you love to a friend. You can also donate to your local library.
Related post: How to Sort Through and Declutter Your Books
14 – Kid’s crayon or marker storage area
Don’t tackle the entire kids’ craft storage. Go smaller.
Find the storage areas for their crayons or markers. Throw away any markers without lids or any that are dried up. For crayons, pick out the ones too small to actually use any longer.
If you want to do a cute craft with trash crayons, Pinterest is full of ideas! When I found a new home for 200 crayon nubs, it was liberating, and my children were happy to have one container of full-sized crayons.
15 – Nightstand
Clear off your nightstand.
A clean nightstand helps provide peace and relaxation when you are going to bed. Keep only the essential items. I have a lamp and a small alarm clock. (I’m old school, I know. Phones do the same thing, but I like seeing the time on my clock.)
Related post: How to Declutter Your Bedroom
16 – Pet toys
Our pet kids tend to get as spoiled as our actual kids. The toys multiply and seem to be everywhere!
We finally invested in a toy basket for our puppy. (He did eat half of it, but I refuse to replace it until we are out of this phase.) All dog toys go into this basket. If they no longer all fit, we have to re-home or throw out the ones that have seen better days.
17 – Fridge condiments
If you want to declutter fast, taking on the entire fridge may be too big of a task.
Start with the fridge door and your condiments. Quickly look at the expiration dates. If they have passed, trash the item. If you bought something for one recipe and will never use it again, throw it away (or make the recipe again).
Be honest with yourself. If you end up keeping condiments but still have an abundance, start incorporating them into more recipes. Hello, orange marmalade.
Related post: Organize Your Kitchen Pantry for the Last Time
18 – Clean out your purse
My purse seems to grow paper, trash, and random crap. If you ever read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she will tell you to empty your purse daily. I don’t have time for such crazy talk.
I do try to empty my purse out weekly. With two little ones in tow, things just seem to show up in there, like granola bar wrappers. Mama is not a trash can. You can do it!
Related Posts: Lessons learned from Marie Kondo
19 – Makeup storage area
Makeup can multiply quickly if you are not careful.
Try to pick timeless items and stay away from impulse purchases that will only be worn a couple of times. Make-up can also go bad over time. Go through your makeup storage area and throw out any items that are expired and/or old.
Related posts: How to Create a Minimalist Bathroom with These Simple Steps
20 – Items on the front of your fridge
I love displaying the artwork of my sweet little artists. However, sometimes it takes over the entire outside of our fridge. Add in other random stuff we thought important enough to hang on to, and the fridge looks like the top of my work desk some days.
I once cleaned off the fridge from all items. My husband came home from a trip and commented the kitchen looked exceptionally clean but he could not tell me why. I pointed out the spotless fridge, and he was amazed at the difference.
I still like the occasional art piece on the fridge, but I am a little more diligent now in keeping it clear.
If you clean off your fridge doors, the entire room will feel cleaner!
Related post: Declutter Your Kitchen: Simple, Actionable Steps
Take small bites and declutter quickly!
Give yourself grace throughout this process. Tackling clutter that took you a lifetime to attain will take you a while to get through.
You will not become a clutter-free home overnight. However, you can start enjoying tidbits of minimalism and what a simple life can feel like. Reduce your clutter and reduce your stress.
If you are ready to tackle more areas in your home, check out the Happy Clutter-Free Home Series. It is made up of 7 days of challenges for a more clutter-free home!