Clutter in your home can seem quite overwhelming to take care of. Looking around seeing piles of papers, items that don’t have a home, and just having too much stuff can make the decluttering process overwhelming and paralyzing.
There are tons of blog posts out there promising amazing results but they also fall short because they don’t get to the root of the problem and they expect you to spend hours upon hours going through everything.
In this post, I’m going to be sharing the 5 dirty little secrets to decluttering that everyone misses. These are probably the reasons why if you’re still struggling with the clutter. I’ve also put together a free decluttering checklist to help you get through the clutter in your home a little bit a time so you don’t feel so overwhelmed with the process.
Growing up with clutter
I grew up in a home with a lot of clutter. There were stacks of papers, lots of items for projects in bags waiting to be used, and other odds and ends that no one knew where they went.
When I moved out, that exact cycle continued. I had stacks of papers on the kitchen counter, bags of stuff that needed to be put away, and it seemed like it didn’t matter how big of a home I lived in, we’d always be living in clutter.
Living that way was not something I wanted, but I didn’t know any better. I just thought that’s how it was.
Being at home felt uncomfortable I would look around and see stuff. Everywhere. It was driving me nuts. I needed something to change and that’s when I started decluttering.
I started with a giant purge. Going through an entire room, sorting every little thing. Pulling things out and making a bigger mess than I started with.
It was so overwhelming I didn’t know what to do.
Becoming overwhelmed when decluttering
Here I was decluttering my house and making a bigger mess. I really didn’t know what to do.
Over a span of about a year, I kept trying to figure this decluttering thing out. Pulling things out, getting rid of a little here and a little there. There was so much trial and error it’s kind of embarrassing.
With all of that trial and error, I finally came up with my 20-minute decluttering method.
Not only do you need a strong and solid method to get you through the clutter you also need a few other things to help you along the way and that’s what I want to share with you today.
Sure that sounds simple enough, right? Maybe you’ve tried that before. I’ve read so many blogs sharing their secrets saying, “Start small; if you put the items on your bed, then you’ll force yourself to finish that section.”
How often have you started the decluttering process and lost interest or motivation about halfway through? (me raising my hand!) You think, “Okay all I need is a break.” You take a break, come back and don’t know where to start. You put everything back or throw it on the floor and say, “Well that sucked.”
You start the decluttering process. You pick out your closet, go through the clothes and finish, then you’ve either burned yourself out or you just don’t know what to do next. Then, you find yourself overwhelmed and you don’t go any further. The problem with that is longevity. You’ve quit and stopped the decluttering process.
If you fall into either of those categories then listen up.
When I say small, I mean a section that you can go through in 10-15 minutes. Maybe that’s your sock drawer. It might be even smaller than that. The point is to pick one spot per day that will take you 10-15 minutes to go through. When you’re done decluttering, stop, pick the spot that you’re going to declutter tomorrow, and walk away. You’re done for the day.
Make it a daily thing
Decluttering is a process. You’re not expected to go from cluttered to decluttered in a matter of minutes. You need to spend time on this. It took time for the clutter to come in, it will take time to go through it.
Make an agreement with yourself that you will carve out 20 minutes a day to the decluttering process. Then, schedule a time that you are going to commit to decluttering. if you keep a calendar, schedule it on there! You could even put a notification on your phone so it will remind you that it’s time to declutter.
The turn on some tunes and make it a thing.
Once you make this a daily thing, it will come easy. It takes an average of 21 days to create a habit. Why not create a healthy habit by carving out 20 minutes a day to making your life a little less cluttered.
Start to finish in a session
You don’t want to half-ass your decluttering process. I recently added a video on IGTV with my complete decluttering method that you can check out.
I’m sure you’ve noticed me say find a spot that will only take you 10-15 minutes to get through and then, later on, I said that you need to carve out 20 minutes.
How to use your time decluttering
Yes, you will be spending a total time of 20 minutes during the decluttering process, but you’ll only be spending 10-15 minutes going through that space. The other 5-10 minutes will be your clean up time.
When you go through your space, you’ll probably have garbage, recycle, and donations. Those will need to be taken care of, or there’s no point to your decluttering process. So once you’ve completed the 10-15 minutes of going through the spot, you’ll throw away the garbage, toss the recycling in the recycling, and then bag up the donations and put them in your car.
Why your car?
The donations will be out of the house, in your car ready to be dropped off the next time you are next to a donation bin or a secondhand store. You might only be around there once a week, but if you are doing this each and every day, you’ve put together 7 bags of donation that is ready to go, saving you a little time later!
Set a timer
While I think all of these tips are important, I find this one will help you from becoming too overwhelmed.
Set the timer for 20 minutes once it goes off, you’re done. You can walk away and be done for the day, except I want you to go a little further. Instead of setting the timer for 20 minutes, I want you to set the timer for 10 minutes.
You’ll go through your section. Once the timer goes off you have 2 options. Set it for 5 minutes and keep going for 5 minutes or you can stop there. Clean up the area (garbage, recycle, donation) and you’re done for the day.
If the section that you picked doesn’t have a dent in it after 10 minutes, then you’ve picked a section that is too big. Remember: try the sock drawer, utensil drawer, half of the top shelf of the closet. You’ll be taking baby steps through this entire decluttering process. (If it was easy for you to do in 1 full swing, you wouldn’t be looking for advice.)
Celebrate your accomplishment
My final tip for you is to celebrate your accomplishments! Seriously, you completed an area. Like, that spot is decluttered and you’re done. After 1 week of spending 20 minutes a day, you’ve gone through 7 spots, after a month you’ve gone through 30 spots.
After a month, you’re probably going to see a huge improvement–not in how your home looks, but how you feel. You’re not going to have all of that clutter weighing you down. You’ll feel lighter, happier, and freer.
So how are you going to celebrate your accomplishment?
Okay so maybe you’re not going to go out and buy something new or throw a party. But you could pat yourself on the back to recognize that you are working hard on this.
Try taking a before and after picture. This will surely help you see what you’ve accomplished. Just grab your phone before you set the timer and snap a picture. Go through the stuff, clean up, and end your session with another picture. Before you know it, you’ll have your before, during, and after pictures.
If you are ready to start the decluttering process on your own, it’s time to download the Declutter in 20 Checklist that I’ve put together for you. All you need to do is click the button below to get your own free copy.
Thanks for stopping by!