Wish decluttering was easier? Maybe what you need is a shortcut, a list of quick decluttering hacks that will help you see just how to declutter without freaking yourself out.
Whenever I hear the word decluttering, the first thing I think of is long hard stressful work. Let’s face it, letting go of things we paid money for is never easy to do. And cleaning out a room full of random stuff is definitely sweat-filled and sometimes backbreaking work. That means it is only natural that the word decluttering does not make us feel all warm and cozy inside.
However, whenever I hear the word “hacks” I get excited because that word means I am about to learn a shortcut, an easier way of doing things. So if the word hack is next to the word decluttering does the job actually get easier to do?
I think it does and that is why I have not just one decluttering hack but an entire list of them.
Since not all tips work for all people I wanted to create options for everyone. So no matter who you are or how messy your house is I hope you walk away with at least one tip that will change everything and help you to take a huge step forward to creating a house you love.
Quick Decluttering Hacks
I love a good hack, a quick and easy shortcut that I can use to make a chore easier to get done. This is especially true when it comes to surface clutter.
What is surface clutter?
Surface clutter is anything that is lying out where you can see it. Things like:
- Shoes on the floor
- Socks on the couch
- Dishes on the counter
- Random piles of mail and school papers
- Toys lying on every open space in the room
Surface clutter is common but it is also the most annoying type of clutter because it has the power to make the hairs on our neck stand up.
For that reason, our first few tips on the list are all about reducing the surface clutter in your home.
Clutter Hack #1. Trash
More often than not what we think is clutter is actually just trash and recyclables that didn’t quite make it to the bin. Take a look right now around the room you are sitting in. Do you see any empty soda cans? Water bottles? Crinkled paper or napkins?
The odds are pretty good that you do. If you spend just 5 minutes a day gathering up the trash you will be surprised at the instant transformation it makes to a room.
Start each day with a trash walk and end the doing the same tip and reduce the stuff you see lying out.
Clutter Hack #2. Put it Away
Just like the trash, these items can really play a number on us. Our kitchen table may look like a collection of clutter and stuff that needs to be sorted through when in reality most of it is probably just items that need to be put away. And most likely in another room altogether.
This is a task I like to do at the end of every day in my top rooms, the kitchen, and the family room because they are the rooms I see each morning when I get up. Being greeted by a hot mess puts me in a mood and this is something I work to avoid.
By taking 10 minutes to gather up items in each room and put them where they belong I give myself a better morning outlook and that makes those 10 minutes more valuable than coffee. Well, almost. 😉
Clutter Hack #3. Gradual Decluttering
I am not a fan of decluttering sessions that overtake my entire weekend keeping me locked inside and sorting through boxes of stuff. I would much rather do things as I go so I can get my house simplified without sacrificing my fun time.
I call this tip Gradual Decluttering and it is going to change how you organize your entire home!
How it works. Gather up a few boxes or plastic shopping bags and spread them out in your home.
A few ideas for where to put them are:
√ A box on the floor in the kitchen.
√ A bag hanging on the closet doorknob.
√ A box in your bedroom.
√ A bag hanging on a bathroom doorknob.
Each time you are in the room that box or bag is your reminder to put something inside of it before you leave. Let’s see each example in action so you can better understand how it works.
- A box on the floor in the kitchen – When you are setting the table for dinner you see a collection of mismatched glasses you haven’t touched in almost a year. This is a great item to put into your donation box.
- A bag hanging on the closet doorknob – When you are getting dressed you find a bunch of socks that are shoved in the back of your drawer. Toss a few pairs in your donation bag.
- A box in your bedroom – When you are making your bed and replacing the 12+ pillows asking yourself why you have so many, you can remove 3 of them and put them into your donation box.
- A bag hanging on a bathroom doorknob – When you are in the bathroom showering you reach for a towel and find a few that are ratty and worn out, these would be a great donation for your local pet shelter.
Gradual decluttering is so simple that most folks do not realize how incredibly effective it is at removing the excess in your home. Give it a try and see, you might just be surprised at how easy it is.
Clutter Hack #4 Always Use Black
One of the biggest issues with decluttering is changing our minds, so when you can use a tip that helps to curb that it is defiantly going to make it onto my quick decluttering hacks list. When you can see what is inside of a bag it tugs on your second-guessing nerve and you may be tempted to remove what you had decided (with confidence) just a few days ago to put inside.
This is why I prefer to use black trash bags when I declutter because I cannot see what is inside.
Trust yourself and the choice you made when you put each item inside of that bag. Remind yourself that you are not removing something of yours but instead giving help to someone that needs it with your generous donation. This mindset works better than you may think.
Another plus of using a black trash bag is no one in your home can see what is inside either. Family undoing your hard work is not going to help anyone create a home that is neat and organized. Deter other hands from ransacking your donations and keep making progress.
Clutter Hack #5. Get it Gone
So many times folks work hard to declutter and when they are done, they leave the boxes and bags off to the side telling themselves they will take them to the donation center in a few days. The problem with that is a few days turn into a few weeks and those boxes and bags become just another part of the room they are in. When you finally “see” them, you are forced to sort through those things all over again.
The best thing to do is to take a box or bag out to your car the minute you fill it up. Each time you are out check your trunk to see if you have a drop-off ready to make and if so swing by the donation center and get it done. Remember, relocating is not decluttering. Make the effort to put your items in your car and get them all the way out of your house for good.
Clutter Hack #6. The Hanger Trick
One of the hardest areas to declutter is the closet. Why? Because not only are clothes a cost investment we can have a strong emotional attachment to certain pieces that it can be hard to see what we love. It is a safe bet to say that you probably have more clothes than you need making it a bit tricky to pick out the pieces you want to keep. This is where a hack can be super beneficial.
This is called the hanger trick and how it works is quite genius.
Start by going into your closet and turning all the hangers backward on the rod. Each time you wear something correct the direction of the hanger. At the end of 30 days go into your closet and look to see what hangers are still facing the wrong way.
Those are the items you have not worn in 30 days and the pieces you can sort through and declutter. You may need to do this a few times to make a dent if your closet is really full but trust me on this, this hack really does work.
Tuck this tip into your calendar and do it every season to ensure you are keeping only the clothes you love to wear inside.
Clutter Hack #7. Rely on Your Calendar
There are certain items that have a shelf life and the calendar is a great way to keep up with those things. Medication, spices, makeup, food, toothbrushes, and bath loofahs are a few examples. This is a good time to call in a bit of help to remind you when to go through these items.
You can set up a reminder on your phone, Amazon Echo, or a good old-fashioned wall calendar or planner.
A good schedule to follow is:
- Go through the contents of your refrigerator.
- Go through any fresh produce.
- Gather up junk mail and papers and recycle.
- Swap out old loofahs and razors with new ones.
- Replace toothbrushes.
- Go through subscription services and cancel unwanted apps.
- Go through clothes as you swap out seasonal items.
- Sort out seasonal gear such as winter gloves and hats.
- Go through food pantry items and toss the old or stale.
- Go through medicines and supplements.
- Replace stale or old spices and seasonings.
- Replenish outdated or dried up makeup.
- Go through cleaning supplies.
More Decluttering Resources:
- How to Use a Calendar to Organize and Declutter
- Things to Declutter in the Winter
- Things to Declutter in the Summer
Clutter Hack #8. Short and Sweet
When working on clutter I find it is best to keep your work sessions shorter. This will help you to make progress without getting overwhelmed. And the best part of shorter work sessions is you begin to change your outlook as you are changing the stuff you have inside of your home.
Clutter-free habits are crucial to keeping your home organized so take the time to develop those new habits so you never have to do a full decluttering marathon work session ever again.
Clutter Hack #9. Set a Deadline
If you do better working with a deadline this hack will help you take that idea to another level. Call your local donation center and schedule a pickup for 1-2 weeks from today’s date. Be sure to make a huge note on your calendar to remind you. By having people rely on you to fulfill your commitment you will have motivation to make as much progress as you can.
How much time is good to work on decluttering?
If you are working on a large project, then 20 minutes is a good time block to shoot for. It’s enough time to really make progress yet not so much time that you are sacrificing your entire day.
20 Minute Decluttering Projects
- Work on the floor of your bedroom closet.
- Organize your refrigerator.
- Declutter the top of your desk.
If you are working on small projects, then 5-10 is good. It’s enough time to make progress in a small area yet will not upset your entire schedule for the day ahead.
5-10 Minute Decluttering Projects
- Clean out a junk drawer in the kitchen.
- Organize a shelf in your pantry.
- Clean off the top of your nightstand.
Clutter Hack #9. Use Distractions
Once you have adopted the 20 minutes work decluttering session habit, then using a distraction to keep your head focused is a great tip to use. Make the most of your time so you can get more done.
How can you do that? By setting up a few distractions.
Music is not only a great distraction it is also a great pacesetter. Create a playlist of your favorite upbeat music that you only listen to when you are decluttering. 5 songs come out to be 20 minutes and you can also use this as your time as well. When you know you have just one 4 minute song left on your playlist you magically find another gear and start going through things in your work area much more quickly. It is really amazing how well it works.
Another great distraction is audiobooks. I love books that I can listen to and I have a huge collection on my Audible Subscription. Once I find a book that is really really good, I only allow myself to listen to it while I am decluttering.
This not only gets me more excited to work on an area it somehow keeps me working longer than I had originally planned. The better the book the more work I seem to get done.
Clutter Hack #10. Drop Baskets
One of the items that most people struggle to keep from taking over is mail. And finding a super simple way to contain it is a huge clutter tip to remember. A mail basket is all you need to keep the paper under control.
Set up a basket in your kitchen, or wherever you tend to drop the mail. Once a week go through all the items in your mail basket until it is empty. Put the basket back when you are done and repeat the steps.
- No more mail scattered in every room of your home.
- No more lost papers.
- No more missed due dates.
Great Baskets to Control Clutter Hot Spots
- Organizing basket for a dresser.
- Shallow basket to hold incoming mail.
- Floor basket to hold extra blankets and pillows in the family room.
- Hanging basket to hold fruit and vegetables.
- Stair baskets to hold items that need to be put away.
Clutter Hotspot Solutions:
Puricon Stair Basket for Wooden Stairs, Stair Flax Step Storage Basket with Rope Handles Foldable Durable Staircase Storage Organizer for Home Carpeted Stairs -GreyMEGASKET Extra Large Blanket Basket, 22Aebeky A4 Size Plastic Paper Storage Trays,Desktop File Organizer Baskets,6-Packs (Grey)StorageWorks Round Paper Rope Storage Baskets, Rectangular Wicker Baskets with Built-in Handles, Medium, 13 ¼ x 8 ½ x 7 ¼ inches, 2-Pack
Clutter Hack #11. Focus on Easy
If you struggle to get rid of things then put your attention on anything that is easy to get rid of. This way as you start to make progress you will become more confident in your ability to make decisions. And it’s that motivation that you can use to keep making progress in every area of your home.
What are easy things to declutter?
- Wire hangers
- Chipped dishes or glasses
- Broken toys
- Stained, snagged, or stretched out clothing
- Expired food
- Shoes with holes
- Expired medication (Be sure to dispose of in a safe way)
- Dried up nail polish
- Freezer burnt food
- Plastic containers that are missing lids or lids that are missing plastic containers
- Dried up pens or markers
- Pans with missing Teflon
- Old dried-up paint (Be sure to dispose of in a safe way)
Keep an eye out for these items and toss them as you come across them.
When it comes to decluttering an entire home finding ways to make it easier might be too much to ask for. Well, not anymore. Use these quick decluttering hacks to get one step closer to creating a home you love, all without freaking out.