I think it’s about time we make decluttering fun! Believe it or not, decluttering doesn’t need to feel like a chore. I promise! Try these 14 easy tips to make decluttering fun, and you’ll have the peaceful, organized home you want in no time!
Decluttering can sometimes feel like the last thing we want to do, but wouldn’t it be great if it didn’t feel like a chore?
Dorothy Parker once said that she hated writing but loved having written, and that perfectly sums up how I feel about housework. I don’t love decluttering and cleaning, but I do love how my home looks and feels when it’s finally done.
You don’t have to be a born organized personality to enjoy decluttering. I’m proof of that. With these 14 easy and inexpensive tips and ideas, I can actually say I do enjoy the decluttering process now, and I think everything’s better when it’s fun.
14 Ways to Make Decluttering Fun
1. Stay Entertained
Having something you can listen to in the background is a great way to have fun while decluttering.
I personally work best when I’m listening to great music. Good tunes are my favorite way to keep myself energized and moving. You can create a special decluttering playlist of your favorite songs or turn on a radio station you love and listen to whatever will make you want to sing and dance so you can be entertained while working.
If music’s not your thing, you can also have your favorite tv show or movie playing in the background, listen to a podcast or audiobook, or watch your favorite YouTube channel. Just try to choose something that won’t distract you too much so you’re still able to work.
2. Set the Mood
Dark rooms make me want to curl up and read or binge-watch something so when I want to do some serious decluttering or cleaning, I need to set the mood. I like to turn on all the lights, light a candle or get my essential oil diffuser going, and open the windows for some fresh air. That tells my brain it’s time to get moving and get stuff done.
What kind of environment inspires you to get up and work? I’d love to know! Please
3. Play a Game
One of my favorite ways to make decluttering fun is to turn it into a game.
A few years ago, I created a Decluttering Bingo game, and people LOVED it! We’ve played it multiple times since, and they still get excited about it and rave about how fun and motivating it is to cross off all the squares and see what they can accomplish. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a lot more fun than just putting something in a box or trash bag.
If bingo’s not your thing or you’re just looking for a change to spice things up, you can try creating a scavenger hunt, drawing items or rooms to declutter at random or put a decluttering spin on your favorite game.
Best of all, the special kid in your life might get so into the game they don’t even realize they’re working around the house. Turning unpleasant tasks into games just might be my favorite life hack.
4. Beat the Clock
If you’re competitive, another great way to make decluttering fun is to play beat the clock. Set a timer and see how much you can accomplish before it goes off.
This is a great technique because it helps you focus more on speed and action so you don’t fall into the trap of overthinking every object you own.
Setting a timer is also a great way of seeing how long projects really take.
I have a bad habit of putting things off because I think they’ll take too long to complete. However, once I started timing myself doing things, I realized how much can be accomplished in a short time.
I like to set my timer for 30-minute increments and give myself regular breaks, but you can set it for however long you choose. I encourage people to start with short bursts of time and work up from there.
5. Participate in a Decluttering Challenge
Trying to declutter can be an isolating experience. A lot of people who have clutter feel guilt and shame, which leads to embarrassment and loneliness. That’s no way to live!
The truth is there are millions of people who are struggling with clutter so you definitely aren’t alone. Joining a decluttering challenge can be a fun and motivating way of working with a group of people towards a common goal.
I host a popular decluttering challenge called Toss Like a Boss multiple times a year. During the challenge, we play decluttering bingo and make lots of wonderful progress in our homes over a short period of time. I even choose a winner from the decluttering bingo players and give away prizes. It’s a lot of fun! If you’d like to join us next time it’s offered, click here to join the waitlist.
You can also try the 40 Day Decluttering Challenge 40 Bags in 40 Days or the 30-Day Minimalism Game created by the Minimalists where you declutter the same number of things each day as the day of month. For example, one thing on the first, two things on the second, etc.
6. Get Support and Work with a Friend
Having a support system is an important and helpful part of the decluttering process. Sometimes a little accountability is all we need to get us out of a funk and making progress.
You can invite a friend over and work together or schedule a Zoom date or just chat on the phone and work on your own homes at the same time.
Thanks to the internet, it’s really easy to find new friends who want to declutter too. I started the Declutterathon group on Facebook years ago so people could connect and support one another. Members routinely tell us it’s their favorite online group and the most supportive community they’ve ever been a part of. If you’re looking to connect with others and get some great ideas, support, and encouragement in the process, we’d love for you to join us!
7. Track and Share Your Decluttering Progress
If you’ve lived with clutter for a while, you might be clutter blind.
What is clutter blindness? It’s when we get so accustomed to living in a cluttered environment that we don’t even see the clutter anymore. It’s why our homes can feel fine one minute and a disaster the next when the doorbell rings unexpectedly. It’s why our family members and roommates can walk by piles of things like they don’t even see them. They really might not see it anymore!
One of the best ways to cure clutter blindness and see how much progress you’re making is to take before and after pictures. Taking pictures of the spaces in your home is a magical way of finally seeing the things our eyes regularly miss.
Pictures can also show us the progress we’re making! Nothing’s worse than working for a while and feeling like you have nothing to show for it later. Pictures solve this problem. When you can see and compare what your space used to look like to what it looks like now, you’ll feel so much more accomplished and proud even if you aren’t completely done yet.
You can, of course, keep the pictures to yourself and even delete them when you’re done, but sharing them can feel pretty great too. We love seeing before and after pictures in the Declutterathon group so please feel free to join us there and share away!
8. Have a Decluttering Race
Make decluttering fun by turning it into a friendly competition with friends, family, or just yourself. You can see who can find a certain number of items the fastest or clear a space the quickest. If you really want to up the ante, the winner could get to choose the next family activity or what you have for dinner.
9. Turn Your Clutter into Cash
Seeing money pile up from the things you’re decluttering can be very rewarding. You can do this by setting aside all the money you find while you’re decluttering and selling items you no longer need.
You can sell your unwanted things:
- To friends and family
- At a garage sale
- Consignment shops
- Online through Facebook Marketplace or other sites
Then use all the money you’ve collected to make your life better! You can spend it on practical things like paying bills or fun things like treating yourself to those craft supplies you’ve been wanting, a relaxing day out, or a fun family vacation.
10. Pay It Forward
Another great way to make decluttering fun is to pay it forward. Nothing is more fulfilling than helping others, and I promise you the stuff that’s sitting unused around your home could be a huge blessing to someone else.
Just wait until you see the smile you’re able to create on the face of someone else simply by giving them something you no longer need. Best feeling ever!
11. Focus on Easy Tasks First
One of the best ways to get yourself out of a decluttering rut and set yourself up for success is to start with easy, small tasks first.
I always tell people they should start with SUE: small, unemotional, easy spaces.
Trying to tackle a big job all at once can quickly become overwhelming to the point that you want to quit. By starting with SUE, you’ll be able to accumulate a bunch of wins quickly, feel excited, and give yourself a boost to keep going. This is the best strategy for eliminating decluttering overwhelm and burnout.
Need some ideas about where to start? Try:
- Cleaning up dirty dishes
- Sorting through a drawer
- Clearing one cabinet
- Decluttering a shelf in your closet
If you’re still not sure where to start, take the Where Should I Start Decluttering Quiz.
12. Celebrate All of Your Decluttering Wins
When it comes to making progress, I truly believe everything should be celebrated.
Decluttering can be hard sometimes so all wins, both big and small, deserve to be celebrated and enjoyed along the way.
You don’t have to wait until a room or your whole house is organized to give yourself a pat on the back. That’ll just leave you feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and like you aren’t making any progress. That’s no fun so instead, celebrate your wins when they happen! It’s a great way to get your decluttering snowball rolling and make progress even faster.
13. Reward Yourself
Having a decluttered and organized home is a huge reward on its own, but I like to celebrate my decluttering efforts by giving myself other rewards too… as long as they don’t end up becoming more clutter.
Some of my favorite rewards are experience rewards, in other words, fun things I get to do when I achieve certain milestones like going to a movie, getting a massage, or buying more art supplies. (Art supplies are never clutter in my book! My husband might think otherwise.)
You could also get tickets to a concert, go to a comedy club, or just have a picnic at a local park.
Another option is to focus on consumable rewards like going to a fancy restaurant, buying ice cream, or making cookies.
Rewards are a fun way to take a break from decluttering and celebrate the transformation happening within your home.
14. Have a Positive Mindset While Decluttering
The most important part of the decluttering process and the only thing that can truly turn decluttering from a task you dread into something you actually enjoy is having a positive mindset because the things you think while you’re decluttering can make or break your experience.
If you’re constantly beating yourself up for having a messy home, your clutter will feel like an even bigger source of stress, and you’ll probably be miserable.
If, on the other hand, you give yourself the grace, understanding, and empathy you’d give to a loved one or friend, you’ll be more able to appreciate your effort and celebrate the results of your hard work.
Having a clutter-free home doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. You can clear the chaos quickly by creating a plan of attack and putting these tips to work in your home on a regular basis.
Common Decluttering Questions
Where should I start decluttering?
The truth is there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to where to start decluttering, but certain areas will be easier than others based on your home and personality.
The best way to figure out where to start is to take this quiz.
What is the first thing to declutter?
My favorite thing to declutter first is always trash. It’s a no-brainer decision that won’t contribute to decision fatigue and helps to save your brain power for later in the decluttering process when you’ll really need it. Gather trash and emptying trash cans also gives you more space to work in and an empty container to gather the trash you’ll come across while actually decluttering.
How do I get excited about decluttering?
The first thing to think about is why do you want to declutter? What’s your goal?
Keeping your goal in the forefront of your mind will help you stay excited and on track so you can eventually achieve your goal of having a clutter-free, organized, and peaceful home.
If just thinking about your goal isn’t enough motivation, you can create a vision board of what your home and life will look like once you’ve completely decluttered and take that with you around your home as you work. When you start to feel a little overwhelmed, glance at your vision board and remind yourself what you’re really working towards.
How do I stop being overwhelmed when decluttering?
Overwhelm is usually the result of thinking we need to do everything in our home or on our to-do list at once. That’s a very overwhelming idea!
Instead of looking at your home as one big project, break it down into tiny tasks you can complete in just a few minutes at a time. By approaching your home as a series of small, bite-sized tasks, and acknowledging your progress along the way, you’ll be reminded that you’ve come a long way even if you still have work to do. Don’t forget to give yourself a small reward here and there too.
Great list! I find that I always get focused on the task at hand whenever I plug in my earphones to some music. Not sure why that is, but I just know I’m so much more productive that way. ~M.
This is just what I need to get me moving on some new years resolutions! You should see a few of my closets! Craft closet… Thanks for the motivation!
I’m glad to hear it! Trust me, you’ll feel much better about your closets after I share mine.
Lauren @ The Thinking Closet
These are GREAT tips, girlfriend! I find that short bursts and making it a dance party with music helps me; I’m going to have to open the windows and burn a candle next time, too! Of course, I had to pin this gem. I need all the help I can get when it comes to decluttering and tidying up. Hugs!
Thanks, Lauren! Though I have to say, from seeing pics of your house I have a feeling you’ve got organizing down 😉 I hope you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day.
I’m a procrastinator to the max. And – I also plan more tasks than I can or will possibly do. I read an article about “Smashing Procrastination”. I have 7 take-aways from the article:
1. Decide – in advance – when you will do it.
2. Make it a habit.
3. Pretend you’re not going to do it – just going to prep, get supplies together.
4. Accept that it’ll never be perfect.
5. Break it down into steps.
6. Sprint against the task. Use a timer.
7. Put yourself on the line with a public commitment.
Pretending to just prep for a task – usually gets me started. Or – I’ll tell myself to just do Step 1 – or to work for only 15 minutes. Sometimes doing 15 on and 15 off (break).
I keep a note on my phone of these 7 steps. When I feel myself procrastinating – I try to remember to revisit this note for inspiration. It helps.
Those are GREAT tips! I’m working on a post about forcing a deadline by scheduling a party or something because, as a master procrastinator myself, I know it’s a great way to hold myself accountable and get things done. Thanks for sharing, Ginger!
Yes! We especially love opening up the blinds and putting on some good music. It makes tidying SOOO much more enjoyable. Thanks for linking up to Show Me Saturday.
I’m always amazed by how much more energized I feel from those simple changes. Thanks for hosting and visiting, Ginger!
Great tips and thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. xo
P.S. pinned to my organize it board
Hi, I found you on the Inspiration Monday link up and I’m glad I did. This is just what I needed to read to get on task for the beginning of the week. I especially like the idea of short bursts. Now, to get to work. 🙂
Good luck! I hope you’re able to get a bunch of stuff done. I’d love to see pics if you have time to share 🙂
Great list! Music and good lighting always get me in the mood. Thanks for linking up to The Creative Circle. Hope to see you again this week. 😉
All of your tips are perfect for those of us with fibromyalgia. I must remember this list to reference when I do a post on how to do chores.
I found your post at Inspire Me Mondays.
I didn’t even think of that, Brandi. Thanks!
I love this! Any kind of decluttering or cleaning can just be the worst of tasks. But turning on music definitely helps! It’s what I do and I hate all that stuff. Well, other than the smells hehe 🙂
The worst… I can’t argue with that lol.
I love delcuttering so freeing. I am in the mist of a major declutter now to live life simpler in 2015! Found you via Motivate me Monday & now following.
Great tips. Thanks for sharing. I use a timer too, but need to get away from those lists that don’t get accomplished.
Chelc | Inside the Fox Den
These are some great ideas! I’m definitely looking forward to spring cleaning now!
I actually have always loved organizing and decluttering. You shared some great tips! One I heard once that was kind of fun is to set the timer and see how long it takes you to do a chore. Then see if you are any faster the second time. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
That is a good one, Jann! I’ve used it with my kids, and they like racing to get it done quickly. Whatever it takes to get the room clean! 🙂
Lisa @ Fun Money Finds
Great tips…now I just need to get started!
Starting’s the hardest part, isn’t it!
Thank you so much for the tips! We amidst a HUGE declutter and stuff purge from our home. Glad I found you on the Wednesday Roundup!
You’re so welcome! I hope they’re helpful 🙂
Those are great tips. I’m very interested in the topic of decluttering and simplifying.
Angela, blue i style
These are such useful tips! Very well thought out! Thanks for linking up at The Creative Circle! I hope you’ll join us again this week!
Thanks, Angela! I’m loving your new party 🙂
Pinned this! Hoping it helps in the weeks ahead when I want to declutter. Up first Pantry!
Good luck! We haven’t tackled the kitchen yet so feel free to come back and share some tips with us. We’d love to hear them.
I completely agree with the fresh air! It’s about 0 degrees here now…but I will still open a window on occasion. It may be only for a minute as I don’t want to kill our heating costs, but it’s nice! I’m also a short burst kind of gal. 😉
Here too! It’s so cold, but it is nice to get a little blast of fresh air through the house, especially when we’re having cabin fever.
Lydia @ Thrifty Frugal Mom
Ugh, I hate decluttering! Well, actually, I like the results but really don’t enjoy the process. Your tips are so good! And really, I think they are appropriate for almost any disliked job!
You’re so right! A lot of these would make any unpleasant task more enjoyable. 🙂
These are great tips! We have had some leaks this past week so I was kinda forced into decluttering and cleaning out our storage area! Thanks for sharing at Weekend Wind-Down Party!
Oh no! I hope nothing was ruined. I’d be in serious trouble if we got a leak in our storage room. Thanks for hosting!
I’m kinda like you in that I don’t like cleaning, but I like a clean home. Maybe I’ll have to use some of your tips!
I hope they’re helpful! Cleaning definitely isn’t fun to me, but the results are worth it.
Barb @ A Life in Balance
Thank you for contributing to Motivation Monday!
Yes to all these tips (fresh air weather permitting:)).
I also want to add that giving yourself a reward/treat once the task is completed is a great motivator!
Excellent idea and so true!
Ashley ~ 3 Little Greenwoods
Music and short burst of decluttering are so important! Who wants to clean all day without music?
Love the list! I’m featuring this post this weekend on Show Me Saturday! Can’t wait to see what you share again this weekend!
Not me! 🙂
Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai
I like to listen to audiobooks while I work. I find I’ll work just a little longer so I can get to a good stopping point in the story. LOL Please come share your blog posts over at the Home Matters Linky Party! We’d love to have you for a visit. The Door is OPEN. http://lifewithlorelai.com/2015/02/26/home-matters-linky-party-26/ 🙂
Life With Lorelai
I need to do that! I’ve never really listened to audiobooks, but that would be a great way to keep myself motivated to work. Thanks for the great idea, Lorelai!
I usually wait until I am in a decluttering kinda mood. Some days I just don’t want to, and that’s ok. I suppose if you never feel like decluttering, you’re going to have to suck it up at some point, though. I like to do short bursts as well and start with really easy stuff like throwing out expired stuff from the fridge, and that often motivates me to do more.
Yeah, waiting for the mood to strike is what’s gotten me in this mess in the first place lol. It rarely ever comes.
Great tips, all. Here I sit, with the blinds drawn, no sound but that of the laptop humming. It’s white noise that lulls me into complancency…
The thing I find most difficult to overcome is being uncomfortable. I’m cheap, and don’t turn up the heat from the 66 we turn it down to at night. Then I’m cold. So I don’t move because I’m stiff.
Setting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature is critical for those of us who are tactile sensitive! So, I will now get up and turn up the heat so I can go tackle the ‘craft’ (storage) room. Thanks for the impetus!
Love this list. Simple. Effective!
I am the same way … darkness means SLEEP, lazy, inactive. I need LIGHT when I clean…and good background music or something to listen to that motivates me.
Hey, come on by my blog to share this at my party this week?
We go live Tuesday evenings 7pm EDT.
Melissa French, The More With Less Mom
A good 80s dance mix makes all the difference. Thanks for posting. Hello from Busy Monday.
So I really enjoyed reading this. I also hate the process of decluttering. I am going through getting ready to move at the moment and getting everything cleaned out and cleared out is nerve wrecking! New Follower!
All of the above! i actually do all these things. Actually I have to clean in short bursts because I have back problems. Sometimes its a good thing, forces me to reevaluate as I go but also sometimes it can be a drag because although I take a break, my mind does not! Also I have really been learning the value of making sure everything has a home. I know this is a “duh” but things dont get left out to begin with if they have a space. And if they do, its easier to clean up. I find that I can get stalled or loose steam if I have something that I dont know where I should put it. But thanks to [email protected] I Heart Organizing (the reason I found your blog!) and all the other wonderful people in blogland that take the time to show us how its done, I am far more organized these days. Oh and the Target Dollar Spot, ofcourse.
I’m so glad you found me, Nicole! 🙂 I’m still working on making sure my things have a home. It really does make it easier to take care of stuff!
Thank you Emily for sharing this. These are amazing tips.
The timer works great for me – I reset it if I’m on a roll and if not, I know I did my planned 1 hour!
Very ill and live in a small apartment the counters are full and tables paper books and when I got rid of things wish I didn’t and don’t have any help it doesn’t work like that in real life
When i am determined to clean up, clear out, wipe down and polish, I have to start as soon as I wake up(sometimes i feel too bad to even get started.. i take advantage when i can.. )Get up and get the bed made. Get dressed including socks and shoes. I start music and put my phone somewhere I won’t be tempted and just keep going. As long as I can. Sometimes I mom clean… I feel like although the 87 things I put away, cleaned out, straightened up and threw out might not be in the same place, it’s still 87 less things needing attention. I also try to only touch items once. If you’re picking it up to put it away, put it all the way away. These are the most effective things I can do to keep moving, sometimes even those little steps are a LOT.
Isn’t it amazing what a difference something as simple as making the bed can make! Those are great tips! Thanks for sharing, Colette 🙂
Having a clean and organize home improves the well-being of the owners. Nice guide you shared.
Thought I was close to getting out where I am – that is until (great) grandparent’s stuff needed to go somewhere. You guessed it – I was the one dumped on. Now I have to go through it- some items have value and some may be historical. Feel this is a different decluttering process. Found ways to take care of some things – still working on others.
It’s so nice of you to handle things. I’m sure it’s a big job. Good luck!