12 of my favourite decluttering hacks! Tips and tricks you can use to make decluttering easier, help you clear the clutter faster and make the whole process a little less overwhelming.
Decluttering isn’t always easy
Decluttering isn’t always easy. You might feel emotionally attached to the stuff you’re trying to declutter. You might feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you need to sort through. Or you simply might find it exhausting to make decluttering decision after decluttering decision.
But if you’re ready to clear the clutter from your home, as quickly, easily and painlessly as possible, today’s post will help! I’m sharing some of my favourite decluttering hacks, tips and tricks to help make the decluttering process go more smoothly and efficiently.
Decluttering Hacks for faster & easier decluttering
1. Use a ‘maybe box’
By far, my favourite decluttering hack is the maybe box.
A maybe box is like a decluttering safety net. Allowing you to be more ruthless with your decluttering decisions, without fear of making a mistake or regretting getting rid of something holding you back.
The idea of a maybe box is simple. Anything you’re unsure about getting rid of goes into a box. Put the box out of sight and put a reminder in your phone or calendar for some time in the future. Maybe 1, 3 or even 6 months from now. If you haven’t needed, wanted or even thought about the stuff in the maybe box when you get the reminder, let it go knowing you’ll be just fine without it.
Use a donatable box for your maybe box (like a cardboard box) so you don’t even need to look through the box again before donating what’s inside. This is a great way to avoid second-guessing getting rid of something or talking yourself into keeping something!
The magic of the maybe box is that it allows you to try living without an item so you can see if you miss it or not. It allows you to experiment with living with less, without fear holding you back.
Be selective with your maybe box
Just make sure to be selective about what goes in your maybe box.
If you put everything into maybe boxes, you’re not really decluttering. You’re just shuffling the clutter from one spot in your home to another. And it will likely feel just as overwhelming when it’s time to deal with your maybe boxes as it did when you first filled them.
Instead, save your maybe box for things you’re really uncertain or unsure about decluttering. That’s when it will be the most helpful!
2. Set a timer
If decluttering is something you’re dreading or feels overwhelming, a timer can be your best friend!
Not only can a timer challenge and motivate you to get as much done before the timer goes as possible. It also gives you an end time. You can declutter knowing you only have to declutter for a set amount of time, then have full permission to stop. Knowing you only have to declutter for 15 minutes might make it feel less awful or overwhelming.
Set a timer, work quickly and get as much done as you can, then know you can stop when the timer goes off.
So if you find yourself building momentum and getting on a decluttering roll, keep going even after the timer goes if you’d like!
3. Always have an ongoing donation box
As you’re going about your day, keep an eye out for anything you don’t use, need or love to get rid of. Whether it’s garbage to toss or clutter you know you can let go of.
Look for clutter as you’re tidying up at the end of the day, doing laundry, cooking, etc. And instead of leaving it where it is, or putting it away to deal with later, get rid of it right then!
You’ll be continually removing clutter from your home, without much extra effort required. And you’ll also never have to deal with those items again during your dedicated decluttering times. They’ll already be gone!
Having an ongoing donation box conveniently located in your house makes it easy to get rid of clutter as you come across it. Then when the box gets full, drop it off at your donation center and start again!
Try having one donation box centrally located in your house to collect random clutter you come across.
Then another donation box in your closet (and maybe all the clothes closets!). Whenever you or members of your family try something on but realize you don’t like it, it doesn’t fit, it’s worn out, it’s no longer needed, etc. simply add it to the donation box. Doing this consistently is a great way to simplify your wardrobe with no extra time or effort required!
4. Start with the obvious clutter
One of my favourite ways to start decluttering is by doing a quick sweep through your whole house. Looking for anything you don’t use, need, or love.
Look for stuff that’s easy to let go of, like obvious clutter and garbage.
Clearing this first layer of surface clutter not only makes an impact on your space. But it also builds up your momentum and confidence. Getting you started and showing you you can do this.
5. Schedule decluttering time
If you don’t enjoy, or even dread, decluttering, it’s easy to put it off. Who gets excited to do something they dread?
But if decluttering is something you know you need or want to do, you need to make it a priority and not put it off inevitably.
The best way to do this is by scheduling time to declutter in your calendar. Treat it like any other appointment, hold yourself accountable and follow through.
You can schedule longer, less frequent decluttering sessions, like 2 hours every second Saturday. Or shorter, more frequent sessions, like 15 minutes each weekday. Or a combination of both!
6. Come prepared
You don’t need much to declutter your house. But three tools make the process easier. And help you avoid ending up with piles of stuff or a bigger mess than you started with when you finish your decluttering session.
Black garbage bag
The garbage bag is for garbage (obviously). Having a garbage bag means you won’t end up with a messy pile of garbage to deal with once you’re done decluttering.
And a black garbage bag is great because no one in your house can see through it and start second-guessing your decluttering decisions. Out of sight, out of mind!
A box for donations also helps you avoid ending up with piles of stuff to deal with once you finish decluttering. Which often feels like a bigger mess than before you started decluttering!
Instead, deal with items you’re getting rid of once and put them straight into the donation box.
It often feels easier to put something in the donation box than to find a spot for it or take it back to wherever you normally keep it. If it feels easier to donate the item, go for it!
Put away box
It’s really easy to get sidetracked putting things away in other parts of your house as you’re decluttering.
Maybe you’re decluttering your bedroom but come across something that belongs in the kitchen. So you take it down to the kitchen, then notice the lunch dishes sitting out. You load those in the dishwasher but come across a pair of socks for the laundry. While you’re in the laundry room, you notice the laundry needs to be switched over. As you’re doing that, you notice a couple of toys on top of the dryer to put away. When you take the toys to your kid’s room, you get distracted making the bed, tidying up, etc.
Before you know it, all the time you set aside to declutter is gone and you barely made any decluttering progress!
Having a box to collect things that need to be put away is a great way to avoid this. Gather items to put away in the box so you can focus on decluttering. Then when you’re done decluttering, put those items away.
7. Declutter smaller spaces
If you have limited time to declutter or feel overwhelmed, focus on decluttering smaller spaces, one at a time. A slow and steady approach is a realistic, sustainable and less overwhelming way to declutter.
For example, rather than trying to declutter your whole kitchen at once, tackle one drawer, one shelf, or one cupboard at a time.
8. Start with a blank slate
When tackling these smaller spaces, try giving yourself a blank slate to start with by emptying the space completely.
For example, it would probably feel overwhelming to empty every cupboard and drawer in your kitchen at the same time. But it doesn’t feel so scary to empty one drawer at a time.
Once you have a blank slate, everything has to earn its way back into the space. Nothing can be skipped over or left in the space by default. You can make intentional decisions about everything you choose to put back in the space.
9. Give yourself space limits
Decide how much space you want to dedicate to that category of items. Then only keep as much as will comfortably fit in the designated space.
Giving yourself a space limit creates a clear, visible boundary that can make it easier to be more ruthless.
10. Pair decluttering with something you enjoy
You might not feel excited to declutter. But you can pair decluttering with something you do enjoy so the process feels more enjoyable to you.
For example, listen to your favourite podcast or an audiobook you enjoy while you’re decluttering. Or put on your favourite playlist.
Make yourself a beverage you love to enjoy while you declutter.
Or get creative and reward yourself when you meet a decluttering goal, like finishing a certain space.
Ideally, choose a “non-thing” reward that isn’t going to add more stuff to your home. Maybe order food from your favourite restaurant after a big decluttering session. Or treat yourself to a manicure. Or simply reward yourself with an hour of something you love, like reading a book or watching your favourite show.
11. Finish all the way
Make sure you finish decluttering all the way anytime you’re decluttering a space. This means, get the stuff you’re decluttering completely out of your house before you declare yourself done.
Hanging on to boxes and bags of stuff waiting to be donated not only continues adding clutter to your home. And prevents you from fully enjoying the benefits of your hard work.
But it also gives you or other members of your household the chance to look through your donations, second guess your decluttering decisions, start pulling stuff back out, etc. potentially undoing all of your hard work!
Get the stuff you’re decluttering all the way out of your house as soon as you can. Not only to fully enjoy your clutter-free spaces. But also to avoid any of the stuff coming back in your home!
12. Be as intentional about what’s coming in
It’s important to not only be intentional about getting the clutter out of your house. But also to be equally intentional about what you’re bringing into your house as well.
If you don’t stop or slow down the inflow of new stuff coming into your home, you’ll always be stuck in a cycle of ongoing decluttering.
Instead, be intentional about how much stuff you’re bringing into your home. Trying to stop or at least slow down how much is coming into your home.
Some great ways to reduce and be more intentional about what’s coming into your home are:
- Putting yourself on a spending freeze or trying a no-spend challenge for a week, a month or longer!
- Putting yourself on a low-buy challenge, aiming to significantly reduce the amount you buy.
- Taking a pause before you purchase by waiting 24 hours, a week, a month or longer before you make any kind of purchase.
- Following the “one in, one out” rule, by finding one thing to leave your home for every new thing that comes in
Decluttering Hacks to make decluttering easier
I hope these decluttering hacks, tips and strategies will help make decluttering easier for you. Making it faster and less painful to clear the clutter from your home and start experiencing the benefits of a simplified, clutter-free home.
I’d love to know if you use and love any of these decluttering hacks. Or is there a decluttering hack you’re going to try next time you declutter? Leave a comment and let me know!