Declutter house in one day

Last updated: October 22, 2019

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” —Dale Carnegie

The idea of living a simple life with less stuff sounds attractive to many.

But often, they begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated around the idea of owning less. That’s too bad.

Learning how to declutter your home and (and as a result, decluttering your life) doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. And the benefits are numerous.

The Benefits of Decluttering Your Life

There are many benefits to owning fewer possessions. Even then, it’s tough to move into action. That is… until the many benefits of getting rid of clutter reveal themselves:

Less to clean. Cleaning is already enough of a chore, but having to clean around things you have zero emotional attachment to (or worse, actively dislike) makes cleaning the house much more stressful.

Less to organize. Finding things suddenly become easier. Things don’t just “disappear” anymore. You can actually move around your home and enjoy the space, instead of moving around things that are in the way.

Less stress. Looking around at the clutter is a nausea-inducing sight once your home becomes cluttered enough. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look around and see a home you love?

Less debt. Spending less time shopping for material possessions and adding to the clutter means your wallet and bank accounts remain fuller, your credit cards’ statements are lower, and your home doesn’t get filled with costly things you don’t need.

More financial freedom. Most American households live paycheck to paycheck (59% according to a recent survey done by Charles Schwab back in May 2019.) Nearly half of those surveyed carry credit card debt. Decluttering, paired with minimalism, will help you build up savings to keep you protected in case of unexpected emergencies.

More energy for your greatest passions. With less debt, more financial freedom, and a clean home, you can now focus your energy on the things you enjoy instead of worrying about “Keeping up with the Joneses.” This will ultimately make you happier.

Ok, so now you know the benefits of decluttering your life, but you may be getting tripped up by the very next question… where in the world do you begin?

10 Creative Decluttering Tips

If you’re struggling and need guidance on how to declutter, you’ll need to get creative with your plans. Here are several interesting decluttering tips to get you started on decluttering your home:

  • Start with 5 minutes at a time. If you’re new to decluttering, you can slowly build momentum with just five minutes a day.
  • Give one item away each day. This would remove 365 items every single year from your home. If you increased this to 2 per day, you would have given away 730 items you no longer needed. Increase this number once it gets too easy.
  • Fill an entire trash bag. Get a trash bag and fill it as fast as you can with things you can donate at Goodwill.
  • Donate clothes you never wear. To identify them, simply hang all your clothes with hangers in the reverse direction. After wearing an item, face the hanger in the correct direction. Discard the clothes you never touched after a few months.
  • Create a decluttering checklist. It’s a lot easier to declutter when you have a visual representation of where you need to get started. You can use our decluttering checklist.
  • Take the 12-12-12 challenge. Locate 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate, and 12 to be returned to their proper home.
  • View your home as a first-time visitor. It’s easy to “forget” what your home looks like to a new visitor. Enter your home as if you’re visiting the home of a friend. Write down your first impression on how clean and organized the home is and make changes.
  • Take before and after photos of a small area. Choose one part of your home, like your kitchen counter, and take a photo of a small area. Quickly clean off the items in the photo and take an after photo. Once you see how your home could look, it becomes easier to start decluttering more of your home.
  • Get help from a friend. Have a friend or family member go through your home and suggest a handful of big items to throw away or give to someone else. If you defend the item and want to keep it, your friend has to agree with your reason. If they don’t agree, it’s time to get rid of it.
  • Use the Four-Box Method. Get four boxes and label them: trash, give away, keep, or re-locate. Enter any room in your home and place each item into one of the following boxes. Don’t skip a single item, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. This may take days, weeks, or months, but it will help you see how many items you really own and you’ll know exactly what to do with each item.

No matter which decluttering tip you choose to get started – whether it be one of these ten or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step in decluttering your life with excitement behind it.

There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. Deciding how to declutter your home is up to you.

For more decluttering tips, watch this short video we put together. In it, I provide 10 quick decluttering projects, each completable in just 5 minutes or less:

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General FAQ About Decluttering Your Home:

How do I create a decluttering checklist?

Creating a checklist is one of the easiest ways to keep track of what can and still needs to be reduced from your home. We’ve put together a Declutter Your Home Checklist you can use to instantly make a noticeable difference.

Just pick any 5-10 items from the list to start and you will be amazed with how quickly momentum builds up.

Do I need a professional organizer to help me get rid of clutter?

Absolutely not. Getting rid of the clutter in your home can be done by yourself. It can even be a fun family activity when using the decluttering tips found in this article.

How can I declutter quickly? Can it be done in a day?

Removing clutter from our homes and our lives doesn’t need to be rushed or done in a single day. It’s something that can be done over time and may even need to be done on a semi-regular basis. As long as you start the process today, you’re further along than you were yesterday.

Will owning less make my home look empty or boring?

Simple doesn’t mean sparse or boring. The opposite is true. With fewer mess and distractions, your home can become more peaceful. You can view your home as a space for rest and comfort, instead of a source of stress.

What’s the difference between declutter and unclutter?

They’re both interchangeable, though I prefer using “declutter.” The “de-” hints at being complete and permanent. I like to think of decluttering as something that solves the problem forever.

When should I declutter?

This is a personal question. When you find yourself overwhelmed by your possessions and tied down, it usually means you’re ready to start making a change. Note that this feeling is just a broad litmus test. The feeling of overwhelm can be different for everyone.

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Clutter. It can weigh you down in more ways than one! More stuff means more to clean, more to organize, more to store, more to keep you busy, and more to stress about. I don’t want more. I want less. If you want less too, then read on for how to declutter your house in one week.

As a Mom to young kids, I am no stranger to clutter. Every time a birthday or Christmas rolls around, it seems that we just pile more and more stuff into the house.

And as we acquire more and more stuff, I feel more and more like a drill sergeant… “Clean this room now! Pick up your Legos! Get your toys off the floor!”

It’s amazing how my kids can understand computer coding, but they can’t seem to figure out how to clean up a toy when they’re done playing with it.

And the constant mess stresses me out.

So, I try my best to keep a clutter-free home.

If you want to tidy up too, then use this easy decluttering guide to get started and eliminate the clutter!

But first, why should you declutter your house in one week?

Because Marie Kondo says so…

Just kidding!

There are actually some very strong arguments for why you should declutter your house in one week:

Reason to Declutter #1: Clutter causes stress.

It’s been scientifically proven. According a study done by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families, mothers especially are susceptible to higher levels of stress if they feel that their homes are cluttered or messy.

(Raising my hand!) I don’t know about you, but I can definitely attest to the accuracy of this statement.

I don’t even really feel like we have that much stuff, but that doesn’t stop me from looking around and thinking “Why can’t we just sell everything and live in a tiny home?”.

Of course my daughter’s Barbie Dream house would take up half of it, so that’s probably not feasible.

Reason to Declutter #2: Clutter is expensive!

If you have piles and piles of stuff, you’re more susceptible to buying more and more stuff.

Think about it… If you put the work in to declutter your house in a week, then you probably won’t want to mess up your new neat and tidy space by buying more stuff that you probably don’t need.

Plus, after you’ve gone through the process to declutter your house, you’ll be confronted with the sheer amount of “stuff” that you are decluttering. You spent your hard-earned money on that stuff. Seeing it in big heaping trash piles is enough for even the biggest impulse-buyer to lock up her wallet.

Trust me… when we made a big cross-country move about 5 years ago, we took a serious inventory of what we had and what we actually needed. We got rid of A LOT of stuff. Seeing it in trash bags is like seeing piles of money going in the dumpster. But, it’s helped us to think twice before making impulse purchases.

How to Prepare Yourself to be a Decluttering Rockstar!

Do you just want to curl up in a ball in your jam-packed closet when you think about the sheer amount of “stuff” in your house?

It’s okay to feel that way!

But don’t be so overwhelmed by the clutter that you give up before you even start!

If you’re going to successfully declutter your whole house in a week, you need two very important things:

  • Time (preferably uninterrupted)
  • Dedication

Make sure that you set aside enough time to complete this monumental task. That means putting your phone out of reach so you aren’t tempted to grab it with each notification ding.

And, get in the right mindset. Maybe blare some Taylor Swift?

Commit to getting one whole room done each day. Or, if you can only work during your toddler’s nap time (so she doesn’t see you throwing her 28,000 stuffed animals in the donation bin), then commit to finishing one room per week.

Questions to Ask Yourself When You Declutter Your House in One Week

In order to successfully declutter your house in one week, you need to ask yourself some tough questions.

Yes, you will be getting rid of a lot of “stuff”. Yes, you did spend your hard-earned money on that “stuff”. But remember, that “stuff” is wearing you down – that’s why you’re here, after all. Be prepared to part with some a lot of your belongings by asking yourself these questions:

  • Have I used or worn this in the last year?
  • Does this item bring me joy? (as suggested by Marie Kondo)
  • Does this item have sentimental value?
  • Am I holding onto this item with the assumption that I may need it in the future?
  • Would somebody else benefit from having this item?
  • Is this item broken, missing pieces, or worn out?
  • Is there a better or more efficient way to store this item? (i.e., for paper clutter/photographs – can I convert this to digital format?)

And when the questions get tough to answer, remember why you are decluttering in the first place.

Maybe it’s because you want to be more organized to increase your productivity, or because you want to spend less time cleaning things up, or maybe all of the extra “stuff” around your house is just stressing you out.

Maybe opening your “junk drawer” is like opening Panora’s box, and if you ever needed to find anything in that drawer…. well… good luck…

Whatever the reason, when the decluttering seems daunting, remember why you wanted to declutter your house in one week in the first place.

The 8 Piles ‘o Junk that You Need

Organization is the key to decluttering. You don’t want to just start throwing stuff all together in a huge mess, because most of it will probably never make it out of your house.

Instead, before you start to declutter your house in one week, gather 8 large cardboard boxes and clearly label them as follows:

**Note – I prefer using cardboard boxes because then you aren’t fiddling with opening the trash bag each time you need to put something in it.

  • Donate – Items to donate to local thrift stores, missions, or churches
  • Family/Friends – Items in good condition that you think your family or friends would love to have
  • Sell – Items that you feel are of value and are worth your time trying to sell on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or Ebay
  • Relocate – Items that you wish to keep, but belong in a different room of the house
  • Store – Items that you need to keep for sentimental reasons, or items that are only used seasonally
  • Trash – Items that are unsalvageable or worthless
  • Recycle – (Optional – if you have a recycling bin)
  • Repurpose/Fix – Items that you think can be up-cycled or that may require small fixes (Only save these items if you will commit to fixing or reusing them)

As you finish one room and move on to the next, take your boxes with you. Of course, some box categories may be so full that you need to create second and third boxes.

Once you are completely done decluttering your whole house in a week, all of your clutter is neatly separated into the appropriate boxes and ready to be removed from your home for good.

100 Things You Need to Declutter from Your House

Yes, you’re ready to go! (Cue Rocky theme song!). You’ve set aside time, you’ve prepped your boxes and garbage bags, and you are determined to reclaim your home from the piles of “stuff”.

But, what the heck should you declutter?

And, there’s a handy printable PDF checklist so you don’t miss a thing!

What to Do When You are Done Decluttering Your House?

Yeah! You’re finished! (Cue “We are the Champions” song!) – And ignore my overuse of cliched sports movies songs. 🙂

So what’s next?

Get your neatly separated boxes of stuff out of your house for good. Here are some tips for what to do with each big box of clutter:

  • Donate – Be sure that items from your donate pile are packed inside a trash bag or box that you no longer want. That way, it is easier to just drop off the whole box at the thrift store. Your local thrift store doesn’t want items that are broken or missing pieces, or clothing with holes, so switch those to the trash pile.
  • Give Away – Separate items that you decided to give away to family and friends into piles for each person. Make separate bags for each person’s pile and label with his or her name. Store in your garage or the trunk of your car so that you have the items the next time you see that person.
  • Sell – If you plan to sell a large amount of items to local seasonal consignment sales, decide if it is really worth your time to prep your items. Prepping items for seasonal consignment sales usually involves hanging them on hangers, pinning them in place, making price tags, and dropping off your items. This process can easily take 8+ hours for 2-3 trash bags worth of clothes. Or, for an easier option, sell gently used items to online consignment sites like thredup.com or swap.com.
  • Relocate to New Room – Go through items in this box and put them away where they belong.
  • Trash & Recycle – If you have a TON of stuff in this pile, contact your local waste center to get info about dropping off your trash and recyclables. If you have trash pick-up service, make sure that they don’t have any restrictions on the amount of trash that you can leave for pickup. And if you do leave it all at the curb for your garbage man, maybe leave a little treat for him, too, as a “thank you”.
  • Store – Use my handy printable labels (available in my FREE 7 Day Declutter Your Nest Challenge) to label storage totes. Group like items together and store in your labeled totes for easy access when you need them.
  • Repurpose or Fix – Set aside all items from this box and then commit to actually fixing them. If a few months go by and you still haven’t repurposed or fixed items in this box, trash them.

Declutter Your House in One Week with this 7 Day Challenge

Want daily motivation and reminders to declutter? Join my FREE 7 Day Declutter Your Nest Challenge to set off on the path to Stress Less and Nest Better! Just click below and enter your email address to join the Challenge! Get help to declutter your house in a week! Here’s what you’ll get in your FREE 19 Page Printable:

  • A new room to focus on for each day, complete with a printable checklist to make sure you don’t miss a thing
  • Things you should keep for each room
  • Printable tags for each room to help you organize the essentials that you keep
  • My best decluttering tips and hacks for each room
  • What to do with the clutter to get rid of it for good
  • Plus, a bonus printable PDF list of 100+ Items that You Need to Get Rid of Now

Get my FREE “7 Day Declutter Your Nest Challenge” PLUS Bonus 100+ Things to Declutter Checklist!

Yes, that’s 23 PAGES of FREE Printables just for joining my FREE email newsletter! And, did I mention that all of this is FREE?! (Promise I won’t spam you!)

Thank you!

You have successfully joined our subscriber list. Check your inbox for your FREE Printables, and Happy Decluttering!

**If you are already an email subscriber, then no need to sign up again! You can access the FREE decluttering guides in my Subscribers-Only FREEBIES library!

After you sign up for my newsletter and join my 7 Day challenge, check out these other posts on cleaning and decluttering:

  • 7 Steps to a Clean House in One Hour
  • 100+ Things to Declutter Now
  • 15 of the Best Kitchen Organization Ideas to Inspire You!

Really, it only takes a little bit of time to truly declutter your home and believe me, it is SO worth it! One of the things I love is having a clean, organized and uncluttered home! I will admit sometimes I am a bit of a pack-rat, and so are my children. But a few times a year we go through our home and purge it so that it is truly decluttered and junk-free! And it feels so good when it is done!

1 hour + 7 days to Declutter Your Home is all it takes!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

But sometimes, purging feels overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like you don’t have enough time or energy to complete it. So today I am breaking it down for you so that you can truly declutter your whole home in about an hour a day, for only seven days! Really! And in a week, you will have a home that is clear of clutter, clear of excess and only filled with things that are useful or special.

If you follow this to have a decluttered home, your home will NOT look like this…

Promise! Unless you get so wrapped up in decluttering that you forget to clean…but please don’t do that! Please oh please don’t do that! Ha!

Anyway…

I have taught classes before on how to purge and declutter and it all really breaks down to a few simple rules.

Yes, there are popular books about decluttering out right now like this one here (I haven’t read it but have heard good things about it.) But really, it all comes down to the same basic principles that I have been helping others with for years! So keep reading to learn more about how to truly declutter your home in about a week!

The 5 Rules to Declutter Your Home

  1. If you haven’t used it in the last year, donate or toss it.
  2. If you don’t love it, donate or toss it.
  3. If it doesn’t have sentimental value to you and you don’t use or love it, donate or toss it.
  4. If it has sentimental value, even if you don’t love it or you haven’t used it, you can keep it. IF you have a place to put it.
  5. Everything. EVERYTHING. Needs to have a home. A place. If it doesn’t have a home, find a home, donate it or toss it.

That’s it. Those are the rules! It’s that simple!

So today I am sharing this really cute decluttering printable! It tells you exactly what to do every day for 7 days to truly declutter your home! In every space, you go through, keep the 5 Rules to Declutter Your Home in mind.

As you are going through the spaces, I like to have 3 bins (or bags) handy.

The 3 Container Decluttering Method

  1. One container to Donate
  2. One container to Throw Away
  3. One container to Think About

Everything else you encounter that you plan to keep gets put in it’s home right away.

These bins are fairly self-explanatory. The donate bin is for things you will donate to your local donation store. Things to throw away are things that are not in good enough condition to donate.

But the “to think about” bin…this is the bin where you put the things that you aren’t quite sure if you are ready to part with. Purging is hard! Psychologically we are attached to our stuff, and sometimes it is really hard to get rid of things even if they don’t have sentimental value. That is why you need a “think about it” bin.

My rule is this, you can have a bin of items to think about. Close the bin and put it in the garage or the back of a closet. In 6 months if you haven’t used it or missed it, just go ahead and toss the entire bin! I promise you won’t even know it’s gone!

Ok. So. To recap. In order to begin to declutter your home you need:

  1. 1 hour +/- every day for 7 days
  2. 3 bins
  3. The 5 rules to decluttering your home
  4. My Printable

See, it’s really pretty easy!

Every day, follow my printable and work on decluttering the stated rooms in your home. Some rooms will be fast, but others may take a bit longer. If you work quickly, you should be able to go through every room in your home in 1 hour or less, but be prepared for some rooms to possibly take a little bit longer (like my garage for example!). But that’s ok because other rooms (like my living room) will only take 10 minutes in my home.

And isn’t it just the cutest printable every? Courtney from Paperelli joined forces with me to put my ideas in a beautiful checklist format for you to easily use and to help you have a decluttered home in no time! And I just love how it turned out!
And did I mention, I am participating in a HUGE Ultimate Cleaning and Organizing Resource extravaganza this week! Woot woot! Click on the links below to get all the tips you need for a clean and organized home! These are some of the best ideas out there, you won’t want to miss any of them!

Check out these great cleaning and organizing ideas:

SUNDAY – CLEAN AND ORGANIZATION PRINTABLES

Domestically Speaking | Simply Designing | Hymns and Verses

Fresh Idea Studio | Decor Adventures

MONDAY – CLEANING TIPS & RECIPES

Refresh Restyle | Cupcakes and Crinoline | Stone Gable

What Meegan Makes | My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

TUESDAY – KITCHEN ORGANIZATION AND DIY PROJECTS

Postcards from the Ridge | H2O Bungalow

Yesterday on Tuesday | Inspiration for Moms

WEDNESDAY – BATHROOM ORGANIZATION AND DIY PROJECTS

Petticoat Junktion | Redhead Can Decorate

The Silly Pearl | Cleverly Inspired

THURSDAY – LAUNDRY ROOM ORGANIZATION AND DIY PROJECTS

The Interior Frugalista | Setting for Four

FRIDAY – PANTRY & LINEN CLOSET ORGANIZATION AND DIY PROJECTS

Dukes and Duchesses | Organized Island

Occasionally Craft | Organize and Decorate Everything

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From broken items you promise you’ll fix one day to mementoes from that special holiday, it can be easy to let things pile up in your home without even realising.

Every so often, it’s important to give your homes a good clean and, in the process, get rid of things that are taking up valuable space.

Here, Michelle Ogundehin, Editor at Large at ELLE Decoration and self-confessed decluttering fiend, shares her top 10 tips that will refresh your home in an instant…

1. Take stock of what you already own

My number one absolute rule is actually a reverse decluttering tip, it is simply, always store like with like. It means you’ll always know exactly how many batteries, bulbs and bin bags to stamps and sweaters, post-it notes to pots you have, therefore you’ll never buy more than you need in the first place! It also means that you can easily find anything and everything when you’re in a hurry as there’s nothing more annoying than shelling out for something only to discover you had plenty already. Plus it’ll stop you succumbing to ‘special offers’ that aren’t remotely advantageous if you don’t need said item. This is a particularly good sale rule for clothes, as it’s remarkable how many bobble hats, pairs of black tights, navy jumpers you’ll find you already own if you diligently group them together.

2. Focus your attention on one thing

When the mood to declutter strikes, contain yourself to one thing to purge, such as newspapers and magazines or your wardrobe, rather than randomly attacking the house, or even a room, as a whole.

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If you do the latter you’ll soon be either overwhelmed or bored. If you focus your efforts, it’s more achievable and there’ll be a rewarding sense of completion when it’s done, which might even inspire another round of clearing!

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3. Get into the right mindframe

My personal rule of thumb on assessing whether to bin, recycle, give-away or keep anything is to imagine you’re moving house, could you live without it and/or would you pay someone to carry it up three flights of stairs? Answer yes to the former, away it goes. Answer yes to the latter, and you can hang onto it.

4. Don’t fall into the “well-it-might-come-in-useful-one-day” trap

The “well-it-might-come-in-useful-one-day” mode of thinking is the death of a good declutter. Ask yourself, could it really not be re-sourced or inexpensively re-bought should that heady day ever materialise?? Toilet rolls, spare boxes, old wallpaper rolls do not, repeat, not, come into this category… get rid and recycle!

The only exception might be if you have small children and wet weekends are shortly forecast in which case old boxes can rapidly become quite splendid rockets in which to fly to the moon!

5. Store your memorabilia mindfully

I don’t believe in notions of scanning everything into a computer file, you’ll never look at it and it kills the joyful physicality of such mementoes. Instead, buy yourself a matching set of pretty cardboard boxes (the sort of thing you can pick up easily at Paperchase or a large newsagents) and contain all your bits and pieces inside these.

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It’s fun to regularly read through old letters, thumb through childhood diaries and look at old pictures. And each time you do it, you’ll probably be happy to let something go, so it’ll reduce organically over time. It also means you’ve created a dedicated place for such things when you inevitably have new things to add.

6. Cut down on space taken up by CDs and DVDs

Keep these too but decant them all from their boxes into Muji’s super handy CD wallets. Cut the picture from the front of the DVD wrapper to pop in front of the disc, and store by genre. It’s amazing how much space you can save by doing this, and immensely satisfying because it’s so quick to do.

7. Go through your books

Only keep books that you either consult regularly (eg cookbooks, reference books etc), would read again, lend to a friend, or pass onto your children. Everything else must go! Ruthless but valid.

8. Access your foodstuffs

Rule number one applies here too. Store like with like to avoid an unnecessary stockpile of dried apricots. And at least twice a year pull everything out to check use-by dates and do a swift inventory. Ancient packet of teff flour? Perhaps time to let it go.

9. Do you really need those broken things?

Unless broken items can be fixed instantly with a tube of super glue, or you are about to retire, get rid. Be honest with yourself, how long has that vase/chair/old toy been in the basement/garage? Quite. Life is sometimes just too short.

10. Look around you

And finally, I believe that our homes have the power to physically affect both our health and wellbeing. Home should be a place that restores, rejuvenates and replenishes, but so often it is not because of clutter. In short, if you want positive change to your wellbeing, it pays to address your environment. So stay inspired by staying mindful of the decluttering objective: to be happy at home!

Michelle Ogundehin can be found on Instagram at @michelleogundehin

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