How To Declutter Your House In One Day

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Does the thought of walking through your front door send shivers down your spine? If your home’s jam-packed with so much stuff you can’t think straight, being in your house can make your stress levels skyrocket. Needing fast relief is understandable, but how can you declutter your house quickly so you can breathe?

Set aside one whole day to declutter your house, and divide your time into small, manageable chunks. Group things by category and donate, toss, or sell anything broken, worn-out, or that you don’t use or love. Arrange to have some help to keep you on track and focused, and get rid of anything you plan to let go of that very day.

Kicking your clutter habit can seem overwhelming, especially if you haven’t gone through your things for a long time. But one day is all you need to start seeing dramatic results and feel calmer when you’re in your home.

My House Is So Cluttered I Don’t Know Where To Start!

When you’re faced with a house full of clutter, it’s easy to close the door and say you’ll do it another day. It can seem like it will take you forever to go through all of the clothes, books, toys, and random kitchen utensils.

All of the stuff can feel like it’s squeezing you out of your home, making you tired and anxious. But take a breath and tell yourself, one step at a time. (Just like eating an elephant — and when it comes to clutter, it’s definitely the elephant in the room.)

The good news is an organized home reduces stress and can improve your overall well-being. So let this bit of info be a motivator for you to get started. Focus on one thing, not the big picture, and you’re more likely to move ahead instead of stopping in your tracks.

For example, instead of thinking, “I have to declutter my whole house today.” Say to yourself, “I’m going to start gathering all of my books,” or “It’s time to take back control of my house. I’ll focus on the front entryway first.”

Once you get started, you’ll find your momentum will start to build. Before you know it, you’ll be moving along doing what you thought was an impossible task.

Imagine You’re About To Move

One way to look at decluttering your house in a day is to imagine you’re moving. Would you really want to devote a lot of time and effort packing items you don’t love?

Instead, act as if you’re packing a messy house to move. Only keep the items you would take with you to your new home. Everything else goes because you know it’s not something that’s adding value to your life.

Can You Declutter Your House In One Day?

Yes, believe it or not, you can declutter your house in one day. But you need to stay focused and be willing to make some quick decisions.

First, it’s essential to keep in mind that maintaining a clutter-free home involves two major components.

  • You need to get your house decluttered in the first place.
  • It’s vital to have regular clutter-busting habits to keep things from becoming overwhelming again.

So if you’re facing number one, getting things tidy in the first place, this article is for you.

Declutter A Room In 30 Minutes

Many assume the best way to start going through the clutter is to go room by room. And you can do it this way and likely get one room clutter-free in 20 to 30 minutes. (A good thing to know is it never takes as long as you think it will, promise!)

However, an excellent way to get rid of unnecessary items and start organizing your belongings is to go by category. For example, instead of jumping to organize your whole kitchen and randomly going through things, group like items.

Gather all the baking supplies into one pile, all the pots into another, etc. Pare it all down to what you want to keep, and you’ll enjoy a clean kitchen.

Do the same for other things in your home, including all the clothing, towels, books, random toiletries, and other items. Work through one category at a time.

When you start grouping everything you own by category, you get a clearer picture of exactly what you have. Once you see you have five blenders, it becomes a lot easier to get rid of a few.

10 Tips For Decluttering A House Quickly

Are you ready to start paring down the clutter and taking back control of your house? These 10 tips can help you declutter your house quickly so you can enjoy coming home again.

1. Ask For Help To Declutter Your House In One Day

Choose a day for decluttering when you can have a friend or family member help you out. Or, if your budget allows, hire a professional organizer to lend a hand and a pair of unbiased eyes. You can find pro organizers for roughly $30 to $60 an hour through sites like Thumbtack or by asking others for recommendations.

If you have a large home or excessive amounts of clutter, enlisting help is a must to tackle your goals in one day. Make sure your helper knows you plan to work all day and be thoughtful. Have plenty of snacks and water for them, and be ready to provide lunch and dinner.

2. Set A Schedule

You will be much more productive and efficient if you approach your decluttering project with a plan. Jumping in willy-nilly with no direction will ultimately waste time and energy, and you’ll get frustrated.

Decide ahead of time how you will navigate through the clutter. An example might be something like this.

  • Prepare a staging area for sorting items and organize your supplies.
  • Gather all clothing throughout the house and bring it to the staging area.
  • Sort clothing into like piles (pants, skirts, shirts, etc., and by family member)
  • Take a 15-minute break. 
  • Start going through clothing, deciding on what to toss, donate, or sell.
  • Remove toss, sell, and donate boxes from the space and put keep items in a designated area.
  • Take a 15-minute break.
  • Gather all towels and linens…and so on, repeating the above steps with each category.

Your schedule would set the order you want to go through things and remind you to pace yourself.

3. Gather Supplies Ahead Of Time

Don’t wait until the day of your decluttering plan to get the necessary supplies. It eats away valuable time you could put toward your actual goal. Make sure to start the day already with everything you need.

Basic supplies are:

  • Boxes and bags to put items for donating, tossing, etc.
  • A marker to label boxes
  • Packing tape
  • Water and snacks
  • Scissors in case you need to open various boxes you find along the way
  • Paper and pencil to take any possible notes as you go (You can do this on your phone, but don’t let your phone become a distraction.)
  • Tape measure (comes in handy when you’re putting things away if you need to get certain-sized containers, etc.)

4. You Need Five Boxes To Declutter Efficiently

You need five key boxes to declutter efficiently. These five boxes are DONATE, SELL, TOSS, KEEP, and ELSEWHERE. The first four boxes are self-explanatory, but what’s an elsewhere box?

As you declutter, you’ll come across some random items that belong elsewhere. Don’t stop and put these items away as you find them. It wastes time.

Instead, toss them into the elsewhere box and keep going. Later, you can spend about 10 to 15 minutes returning all of the items to their proper places.

Note: You’ll need more than five boxes total because you’ll likely end up with a lot of things to box up for donations, etc. But these five boxes are the primary ones you’ll have in your staging area. Once one of your primary ones is full, transfer the contents to a corresponding box that leaves your house.

5. Take Breaks When You’re Decluttering

Don’t go full-steam ahead when you declutter. Can you imagine a football team playing straight through all four quarters with no breaks, time-outs, or halftime? The players wouldn’t perform as well, tire out faster, and likely not stay as focused.

Therefore, don’t try to declutter your house in one day without allowing yourself regular breaks. Stay consistent; work some, and take a break.

So, it might be you declutter for 45 minutes, then take a 15-minute break. Or maybe, when you’re first starting, you need to declutter for 20 minutes and take a 10-minute break. As you gain more momentum, you might adjust your pattern to working for an hour, then taking a 15-minute break.

6. Set Mini-Goals Throughout The Day

Everyone loves to be rewarded for a job well done. Set mini-goals for yourself to help keep your motivation high. For example, after you fill two donation boxes, you might have some of your favorite candy.

Another option is to associate your organizing efforts with your favorite charity. Every time you reach one of your mini-goals, perhaps as a family, you all agree to donate $5 to your favorite charity, etc. Choose things that you love that will inspire you to keep going.

7. Stay Hydrated

Sometimes, you can get so focused on a task you forget to eat or drink. It’s critical to stay hydrated and nourished so you don’t become light-headed, dehydrated, or feel sick. Taking regular breaks will help you remember to drink some water, grab a snack, and take care of yourself.

8. Get Rid Of Unwanted Items Immediately

The moment you fill that first donation box or trash bag feels so good. But you don’t want a pile of boxes and bags in your house either. And even more so, you don’t want to end up pulling items back out of them.

So, as soon as a box or bag is full, get it out of the house. Load it into your trunk, put it out for trash, etc. If it’s items to sell, at least move them to a designated spot and make a note to post them for sale that day.

9. Be Honest With Yourself About Selling Items

Be realistic about posting items online to sell. If you’re not going to post them immediately, donate them or enlist a friend to post them for you. Your friend can take a picture, post the item, deal with the transaction, and get 20% of the sale price.

Also, set a donate-by deadline and stick to it. If the item doesn’t sell within three or five days, you donate it.

10. Have A Game Plan For Maintaining Your Clutter-Free Home

Congratulations, you stepped up to the plate, and you scored a home run. You have a tidy, clutter-free home, but don’t lose your focus. Just because a baseball team wins the World Series, it doesn’t mean they don’t have to practice anymore.

They keep working out, practicing, and studying the game to be the best. You need to do the same with your home. Follow these tips for maintaining a clutter-free house:

  • Limit new items you bring into the home. If you have no true need for it or don’t love it, don’t get it. 
  • Practice the one-in-one-out rule. If you get a new pair of pants, get rid of a pair.
  • Keep surfaces as clear as possible. Clutter tends to attract more clutter.
  • Organize your shopping trips, so you only need to go once a week. The less time you spend shopping, the less stuff you’re likely to get (and you’ll save money).
  • If you come across an item that’s out of place, return it to its home.
  • Do a ten-minute tidy each night before bed. Put things away, load the dishwasher, and wipe down counters. You’ll wake up to a clutter-free home feeling refreshed.
  • Get every member of the household on board with the clutter-free plan.

How Do You Declutter Your Home When You’re Overwhelmed?

Clutter can make you miserable, anxious, and overwhelmed. It can be extremely hard to do anything when you feel this way. A study in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that clutter makes it hard to focus because it provides too much visual stimuli.

Therefore, the clutter you want to get rid of is the same thing holding you back from getting started. But following the above tips will help you get past the initial hurdle and start moving. Once you’ve crossed that first milestone, you’ll find that it gets easier and easier.

How To Declutter Your Home Fast

Clutter doesn’t have to be a way of life. You can enjoy a tidy, clutter-free home, and it doesn’t take as long as you think. Plan a day when you get someone to help you, whether a pro organizer or a friend or a family member.

Set a schedule of what you plan to do and stick to it. Make sure to take frequent breaks, stay hydrated, and don’t forget to eat. Gather items by category and sort them into donate, toss, keep, and sell piles.

As soon as you have things to donate or toss, remove them from the home. If you know you won’t list sale items immediately, donate them. It’s worth it to have a clutter-free space. Or let a friend list them for you and give them a cut of the sale price.

Once you’ve gotten the clutter out of your house, set a plan to keep it that way. Limit new items, take 10 minutes a day to tidy up, and put things away as you find them.

And you don’t have to do it alone. If there are others in the household, get them all on board. Everyone benefits from having a clutter-free home.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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