How To Reduce Clutter in One Afternoon

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Do the words reduce clutter antagonize or irritate you?

Maybe the thought of decluttering makes you feel overwhelmed.

Would it make you feel any better if I told you it is normal to feel overwhelmed when thinking about throwing things away?

Science, yes I just said science, has proven that clutter raises our stress levels.

Therefore it makes since that the thought of decluttering can overwhelm you.

Maybe clearing the clutter seems impossible, especially if you aren’t used to it. Trust me when I say there is no need to worry.

Once you get rid of the clutter and make little choices everyday to keep the clutter managed, your life will drastically change! For the better of-course.

Let’s look at how you can reduce clutter in as little as one afternoon.

If you can reduce clutter in one afternoon imagine what you can do in four Saturday afternoons!

How to Reduce Clutter in One Afternoon

How To Reduce Clutter

Decluttering can be a dreadful unavoidable task. There are a variety of ways to approach the process.

But I’m sure you just want to get the job done as quickly as possible, right?

Gather Your Tools

If you make a purchase through this link I will make a small commission. You can read more here.

You’ll need some tools to make the job easier:

  • Finally, a timer will keep you on track.
  • Set aside a large space for sorting; this can be on a bed, a card table or just the middle of the floor.

Label Your Baskets

Use the post-its and marker to label your baskets. You’ll want one for Keep, one for Action Needed (for repairs, returning to friends, etc.), one for Sell and one for Move (to another room).

You may also wish to label your boxes if you plan to donate to separate places, but this isn’t always necessary.

Make a Game Plan

Make a game plan to tackle the room of your choice. Always go in a single direction, focus on one shelf or drawer and commit to never returning to an area you’ve already hit.

You may wish to start with the back of the room and work from left to right, then toward the door.

Or you could begin at side of the room, moving steadily across to the other side. Just have a plan. I suggest using a planner for this. In my Printables Shop you will find a 30 Days to a Decluttered Home Planner that is perfect for this.

Remove the Big Stuff First

Before you get down to the nitty gritty of emptying drawers or clearing shelves, it makes sense to get rid of any large items you can.

Stuff like furniture falls into this category. However, some people start small and work their way to the big stuff. You have to start where you feel most comfortable.

Regardless which way you start just do it and follow small to medium to large. Or vice versa as written here.

Next Comes the Medium Stuff

If you’ve gotten some big things out of the room, you probably now have more space for sorting.

Medium-sized items come next in this decluttering process.

Simply repeat the same steps you took for the large items, except you will put these items in their designated containers instead of removing them from the room completely.

Now the Small Stuff

Once again, repeat the process with the small things. This is likely where you’ll need your sorting space like the bed or card table.

Handling the smaller items might take longer due to the sorting process, so feel free to set your timer a few extra rounds.

Even with the most cluttered room, this process shouldn’t take more than a day to complete.

Be firm with yourself when it comes to deciding what to discard. Keep only what enhances your life.

If necessary, come back the next day to organize. The important part is removing what is no longer needed.

Now that you have the basics of how to reduce clutter in one afternoon it is important that we go over what not to do when you decide to reduce clutter.

RELATED POST: 7 Rules of Decluttering to Help You Get Organized

What Not to Do When Reducing Clutter

Reduce Clutter

Okay let’s face the facts, a majority of us aren’t experts when it comes to decluttering and organizing our homes.

Unfortunately, it’s common to get about halfway or even completely through the job, only to discover we’ve gone about things in a poorly devised manner.

This is why it is so important to go over what not to do when you decided to reduce clutter in your home.

Perhaps you discover the process is taking much longer than you thought, and you end up with things strewn about the room for weeks because you simply don’t have the time to get back to the job.

That’s just one common example of why so many of us avoid this stressful process.

However, knowing what not to do when deciding to reduce clutter can help to ensure you don’t end up with such frustration.

Don’t Overdo It

As already mentioned, it’s unwise to get overzealous. Thinking you will sort through an entire houseful of possessions in one day is unrealistic.

Again this is why I suggest one room = one afternoon.

Doing this may even cause you enough frustration to give up on the project entirely, which we don’t want.

Don’t Organize Before Purging

Part of the process of decluttering your home is organizing everything in a neat and tidy fashion.

But first you need to purge your home of all those things that are just taking up space.

Often times, people want to skip to the fun part. You didn’t skip to the fun part did you? Be honest.

Most folks go out and buy a bunch of pretty containers, bins and storage boxes for organizing all their stuff before actually decluttering.

You didn’t do this, did you?

If you did it is okay we can work around it.

This strategy is usually a waste of money and time because it’s impossible to understand your storage needs until you’re able to assess your remaining possessions after the purging process.

Don’t Do Only Half the Job

A big mistake made by many is setting items for the church rummage sale or for thrift store donation aside to be delivered another day.

You may think it makes sense to leave that bag of sweaters intended for Aunt Stephanie sitting in your closet until you see her next.

In reality, all of these things simply leave your decluttering project looking unfinished. And nine times out ten Aunt Stephanie will never see that bag of sweaters.

Take the extra effort to remove all unwanted items from your home immediately. I repeat “immediately.”

Because if you don’t you will most likely never get rid of that clutter. And in some cases it will almost always end right back up on your hangers.

Don’t Reward Yourself with More Stuff

Finally, no matter how much you may be tempted, never go out and reward yourself for all of your hard decluttering work by purchasing a new item.

This mistake simply continues the cycle of the bad habits that led to your clutter problem in the first place.

An exception to this rule may be the decision to buy a new armoire or other piece of storage furniture to replace one you just gave away, as this move doesn’t add clutter.

It improves aesthetics.

Avoid these common decluttering mistakes when you decide to reduce clutter, and you’ll be well on your way to an organized, comfortable space.

Reward yourself with a nice cup of coffee or glass of wine while enjoying your beautiful surroundings.

Again by simply reducing clutter you reduce stress!

RELATED POST: 3 Creative Decluttering Methods to Help You Become a Declutter Master

How to Efficiently Clean Each Room After You Reduce the Clutter

How to Efficiently Clean Each Room (and Keep it Clean until Next Time).

How to Reduce Clutter in the Living Room

  • Pick up clutter
    • Donate box
    • Throw Away Box
  • Dust (from top to bottom I personally love the swiffer duster)
  • Vacuum floor
  • Vacuum furniture, if needed

How to Reduce Clutter in the Bedrooms

  • Make the bed
    • Fluff the pillows
  • Remove clutter        
    • Nightstands
    • Dresser
    • Chest of Drawers
  • Dust surfaces
  • Sweep or vacuum

How to Reduce Clutter in the Kitchen

  • Wipe down stove top (lysol wipes are great all purpose cleaning)
    • Soak stove drip pans and knobs in sink
  • Clean inside and around sink
  • Wipe down counter tops and cabinets
  • Wipe down the refrigerator
  • Wipe down the microwave
    • Clean inside of microwave
  • Wipe down the dishwasher
  • Sweep and mop floor

How to Reduce Clutter in the Bathroom(s)

  • Clear off the floors, counters & other surfaces
    • Remove rugs/wastebaskets
    • Remove everything from tub/shower (shampoo, bath gel, etc)
  • Clean the shower/tub walls
  • Clean shower rack/soap dishes
  • Clean shower track or curtain liner
  • Scrub sink
  • Wipe the vanity countertop
  • Wipe down cabinet fronts
  • Clean the mirror(s)

Read the BOOK – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. This book is amazing.

GOOD READ YOU MAY ENJOY: 11 Ideas for a Clutter-Free Home

Other Posts on Decluttering:

How To Reduce Clutter

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