When getting ready to declutter, it’s important to find a method that works for you. Your method needs to be one that will help you keep the momentum going so that you can quickly see results and begin experiencing more freedom and joy right away!
I’m going to share 4 high-impact ways to declutter, all of which have worked wonders for me at one time or another. Each of these ways allowed me to see and feel an immediate difference. And when you feel the difference, you seriously can’t wait to do the rest of the house.
Ready to catch the decluttering bug?!
If you need more on the basics of decluttering, check out my post on how to declutter. If you want to know how to declutter quickly (especially if you decide to focus on one room at a time), you need to see my post about decluttering efficiently.
4 High-Impact Ways to Declutter
There are many different ways to declutter, but I’d like to argue that there is a right way…or at least a right way for YOU. You may have to try a few different methods before you find the one that sticks and most motivates you to continue.
We’re going to start with high-impact ways to declutter that take the least amount of time and end with the methods that might take a longer chunk of time. It really just depends on your home and what method works best for you at this stage of life.
Take a look and see which method will work the best for you!
1. Do a Quick Sweep of the Entire Home
Of all the ways to declutter, this one tends to be the easiest. This method is about taking action instead of just complaining. Even if we just complain in our heads about all of the stuff everywhere, it’s not helping us at all. This is a great way to take action on what’s bothering you and actually do something about it.
If we put as much effort into making tomorrow better as we do into surviving today, our greatest accomplishment wouldn’t be surviving another day. It would be knowing that we made life better.
Grab a large box or bag and walk from room to room through your entire house looking for anything you want to declutter. You might want a garbage bag as you do this as well depending on the current state of your home. Find as many things as you can in whatever time you have, it could be 15 minutes or 3 hours. However much you have, take advantage of that time.
You will likely be surprised by how much you were able to find, and easily, in such a short amount of time. Seeing this pile of things exit your home will bring you an immediate sense of accomplishment. Now, you should move on to another high-impact decluttering method to keep your momentum going!
2. Clear All Surfaces
One of the frustrating things about clutter is how much it gets in your way. Another high-impact decluttering method is to clear all surfaces in your home so you have the space to utilize and enjoy them again. It will be way easier to prep dinner, for example, if your kitchen counters are mostly cleared.
Start with one surface, say a coffee table or your nightstand. First, clear everything off of it. Then decide what, if anything, should go back on. Leave only the essentials on any surface (only the things that you use daily or will make you happy to see there). Finally, find a place for anything you removed from each surface.
Leave no surface in your home cluttered! Clear off the tops of tables, counters, dressers, and desks. Then, make it your priority to keep your surfaces this way!
ONLY the things you intentionally chose to leave there should end up staying on your surface long-term. This means you will develop the discipline of picking up after yourself right away instead of leaving it for later and having it all pile back up. This newfound discipline will be a game-changer for keeping your home clutter-free going forward.
And, just think how much more clean and beautiful your home will look when you can see these key surfaces once again. Go ahead, close your eyes and picture it. Yes, it will be that wonderful.
Now, use the motivation you have gained to move on to another high-impact decluttering method!
3. Choose a Non-Sentimental Category
Now we are moving on to the potentially more time-consuming ways to declutter, depending on the category you choose. If you choose something like writing utensils to begin (which is a fine choice) it actually may not take that much time at all.
For this decluttering method, choose a non-sentimental category to start with and continue on from there. Ideally, you should choose a category that you have a lot of, but that you aren’t very sentimentally attached to.
We are all attached to things for different reasons, but you instinctively know what will be easiest for you to let go of…it’s just a matter of taking the time to do it. It might be clothing, kitchen tools, books, or craft supplies. Whatever it is, make sure that it isn’t something that will be difficult for you to let go of.
Once you know what category you want to begin with, grab all of it so you can see it all at once. Go through everything in this category at once so that you can make smart decisions about what to keep. Then, put everything you decide is important in one spot.
When we begin by decluttering one large non-sentimental category, we are able to make a lot of progress quickly. And when you see the results and feel the effects, it will motivate you to keep going!
Simply move on to another category when you are done, beginning with less-sentimental items and moving towards the items that you are most attached to and might have a hard time letting go of (or doing so quickly).
4. Choose the Most Stressful Category
Finally, one of the last high-impact ways to declutter that I recommend to people is, to begin with, whatever is most overwhelming or currently stressing you the heck out. This method works well in a similar way to doing a quick sweep of the entire house. It helps you deal with your biggest problem area so that you can breathe easier and experience more joy in your home right away!
If this is the best method for you, you already know what is most overwhelming for you. Is it the number of clothes and laundry to be done? Start with your or your kids’ clothes. Is it your kids’ toys that are all over the floor or taking over the house? Begin by decluttering toys down to a more reasonable amount.
Once you know what category of things is most stressing you out, simply gather all of those things in one spot. That way, you can really see how much you own. Decide how much is enough, then begin weeding out the extras until you are happy with what is left.
Finally, put everything in one centralized location. Choose a location that makes sense for the way you use your home. When we keep our things in a place that actually makes sense, we are more likely to put them away.
We’ve all had good intentions of decluttering our home but got burned out or lost motivation. Use these high-impact ways to declutter to increase your chances of success! When you see the immediate results and begin to feel more freedom and joy, I know that you will be inspired to continue on your decluttering journey.
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.