How to Declutter a Room in One Afternoon

Create Space That Makes You Feel Peaceful, Calm and Well

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If you want to make changes in your life and home, read this article to declutter your living space.

3 Reasons Why Decluttering Alone Doesn't Work

1. Just decluttering does not demand self-examination

Pitching stuff or donating items you have not used in the past year is just a short-term fix. If you want your decluttering system to work, you need to examine your reasons for the choices you make about your personal belongings. In other words, you must look deeper at your values, and desires.

2. Decluttering will not help you make sense of your attachment to stuff

To probe a bit deeper, you have to consider your personal motives to the attachment to the things you own. For instance, are you attached to stuff because you fear being without? If you keep digging further, you may find that you have old patterns and habits from childhood that reflect poverty consciousness. Without examining your values in life, you will just buy more stuff to replace the stuff you let go.

3. Decluttering alone seldom leads to lifestyle changes

Mechanical decluttering is short-lived. If you want your clean and organized home to last, you need introspection. You need to take the time to evaluate what led to your cluttered environment. On its own, decluttering does not work. But if you combine it with mindfulness it will lead to success.

The 6 Rules of Decluttering

For some people, the thought of getting rid of their stuff is difficult. As with many things in life, it can help to set some rules to help you take the necessary steps to live a clutter-free life.

Rule #1. Pledge to hold the intension to bring less home

Before you even start to purge your belongings, make a vow to bring less stuff into your home. There's no point in putting forth the energy to declutter, if you are just going to replace it with more stuff.

Rule #2. Digitize Your Sentiment

Sentiment and nostalgia are powerful emotions that can cause us to cling to our possessions. One helpful compromise is to digitize your most valued things. You can easily scan and organize images of keepsakes like kids artwork, certificates, and school papers onto your hard drive. For larger items like prom dresses, trophies or souvenirs, ect., take a photo of the keepsake and include to your digital files.

Rule #3. Begin With Easy Things

One way to get a quick sense of accomplishment is to start small and simple. Start boxing up things that you have little attachment to. Doing so will give you motivation to keep going when your decision-making process becomes more difficult.

Rule #4. Ditch the Duplicates

Another way to get a quick start is to ditch your unnecessary duplicate items. Take a bit of time to go through your home and collect up all your duplicate articles of books, dish sets, clothing, etc.,. Next, sort through them and keep only your favorite pieces or at least the ones in top condition.

Rule #5. Nix any Guilt

Another emancipating decluttering strategy is to let go of items you have been holding on to out of guilt. It does not matter how much money you paid for that item of clothing if you're not wearing it. The same goes for gifts you received or anything else that doesn't bring you joy. You should part with these things immediately.

Rule #6. Have a Place for Everything

If you want an organized home, make sure all your possessions have a designated place and always return them there. Having a place for everything and everything in its place will keep your home tidy and lower the chance of clutter being a regular problem.

These 6 rules are not the last word for clearing away clutter. They may not remove all the strain and struggle from the task, but they will serve as guidelines to help you begin.

How To Declutter a Room in One Afternoon

how to declutter a room
A well-folded shirt is a way to keep them from being a wrinkled mess as well as prevent them from stretching out.

Decluttering is a necessary task. The good news is, there are many ways to approach it, but most of us just want to get it done as fast as possible. If you feel the same way, keep reading to get some tips on how to declutter a room as efficiently as possible.

1. Gather Your Cleaning Products and Tools

You'll need some cleaning products and tools to make your job simple. You will need to have a few large garbage bags for junk and recycle. Now, get some boxes or wicker baskets to hold the things you plan to keep as well as for the things you plan to donate.

You'll also want some sticky notes and a felt market for labeling. Finally, set a timer to keep you on track. Choose a large space for sorting. This can be the middle of the floor, your bed or even a card table can work well.

2. Use Sticky Notes to Label Your Boxes

Use sticky notes to label your boxes. You will want to label one “Keep”, one for “Action Needed” (repairs, returning to family or friends, etc.), one for “Discard”, and one for “Move” (to another room). You may also want to label your boxes if you plan to donate to separate causes, but this is not always necessary.

3. Make a Plan

Make a game plan to tackle the room. Always move in a single direction and commit to putting your attention on one shelf or drawer at a time. You never want to return to an area you've already decluttered.

You may want to start with the back of the room and work right to left, then toward the entry door. Or you can start at the side of the room and move across to the opposite side. Just have a plan and stick to it.

4. Remove the Large Stuff First

Before you get down to the work of emptying drawers or clearing shelves, it will serve you to get rid of any big items you can. Set your timer for 20 minutes and find a friend to help you haul and big stuff away. Things like furniture falls into this category. Take another 20 minute session if you need to.

5. Next Comes Medium Size Stuff

After you get the big things from the room, you have more room for sorting. Next up in your decluttering process is clearing the medium-sized stuff.

Simply repeat the same steps you took for clearing the large size stuff above. Only instead, you will put these items in there designated baskets or containers instead of removing them from the room entirely.

6. Last, the Small Stuff

Once more, repeat the same process with the small things. This is where a bed or card table will come in handy. Handling smaller items may take longer due to the sorting process, so set your timer accordingly.

This entire process should not take more than an afternoon, even with the most cluttered room. Be disciplined with yourself when it comes to deciding what to discard. Keep only what brings you joy and enhances your life. If necessary, come back the following day to organize. The important part is getting rid of what you no longer need.

The Methods of Decluttering Masters

Parting with possessions can be overwhelming for some people. Luckily, there are some top professional masters who have written down their decluttering methods to make the process easier.

KonMari Method

We'll begin our list with a book you may have heard of because it was SO popular. Marie Kondo is the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and she is considered a decluttering guru!! With over four million books sold, you may want to consider her “magic.”

Mari Kondo's method involves focusing on what to keep, rather than what to toss. Her process involves categorizing your things, and then sorting through them mindfully. The core principle is keep only those things that bring you real joy. For instance, if you hoard clothing, place all your pieces on your bed or bedroom floor. Pick up each item and inspect it, and assess which ones spark joy and love. Then box the rest up to sell or donate.

365 Less Things

Colleen Madsen has remarkable approach to getting rid of things no longer needed. At the start of 2010 she made a resolution to sell or give away one item every day for a year. Hence, 365 Less Things documents the concrete as well as the psychological results of the project.

Minimalist Game

If you want to take the daily give-away approach a step further, consider playing the Minimalist Game. The brainchild of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of the popular blog, The Minimalists, this method requires you to on the first day of the month and choose to get rid of the number of items that corresponds with each date. Giving away one thing on the first day is easy, but can you come up with 31 to part with at month’s end? Those who stick with it will have a home with 496 pieces of clutter. Making it a challenging competition with friends or family ups the stakes.

There are other creative systems to help you in your decluttering project. Other popular programs include Decluttering at the Speed of Life, Project 333, Clutter Free Home, or 5 Simple Daily Habits to a Clean & Neat Home. Just choose one that resonates with you and start to discover the joy of decluttering your home.

how to declutter a room
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Written by Jackie Parker

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