If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stuff and wondering how to purge your home, we’ve got you covered. Starting to declutter and simplify your life doesn’t have to be overwhelming. I promise! Here are 10 easy ways to get started and create a happy, organized life.
As busy adults, we’re responsible for juggling a lot of things on a daily basis, and that sometimes includes clutter.
When most people think of clutter, they think of the physical stuff sitting around our homes, but we have to juggle other clutter too.
We have to deal with mental clutter that can create stress, anxiety, and guilt, and emotional clutter that can come from relationships and past experiences.
Unfortunately, most people find that as their lives get busier and more complex, they have less and less time to relax and unwind, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
With just a little bit of planning and intention, it’s possible to learn how to purge and live a more peaceful life so you can focus on the things that really matter! If you feel like your life is filled with unnecessary stressors, here are the ways simplifying can benefit you and 10 easiest ways to start purging and simplifying your life now.
1. Give Yourself a Deadline
If you’re anything like me, sometimes it takes a deadline to actually get me moving.
Setting a personal deadline is great, but let’s be honest… we don’t always keep our commitments when we’re the only ones who know about them, do we?
Host an Event in Your Home
If you really want to up the ante and increase the likelihood of success, scheduling a party to be hosted in your home is a great way to keep yourself accountable and on task.
When you’re setting your deadline, be sure to keep the scope of work in mind. If you haven’t decluttered in years and you’re completely overwhelmed by your home, trying to purge everything in a weekend probably won’t end well.
It’s okay for this process to take some time. Just focus on the next right step, and you’ll reach your goal eventually.
Schedule a Donation Pick-Up
Another great way to create a deadline for yourself is to schedule a donation pick-up.
Knowing that a truck is arriving in a couple of weeks and a charity is relying on your things so they can help others is a great way to motivate yourself to take action and get things out of your home at the same time.
2. Challenge Yourself to Take Action
Believe it or not, learning how to purge and start decluttering doesn’t have to be hard or boring. It may just take a little time to figure out what motivates you.
For example, if you’re motivated by competition, participating in a challenge, alone or with others, is a great way to propel yourself to take action.
You can create your own challenges like getting rid of a certain number of items every day or setting a timer and racing the clock, or make it easy on yourself and play the decluttering games I’ve already created!
One of the most popular decluttering games I ever created was Decluttering Bingo.
It was inspired by a member of my Declutterathon group on Facebook who created her own little bingo game in her bullet journal every month. I loved the idea, asked if I could borrow it (I always give credit where credit is due), and my version of Decluttering Bingo was born!
Since then, I’ve created a ton of cards focusing on different areas and tasks, and they’re always met with lots of excitement and high praise from those who use them, which makes me very happy.
If you’d like to try playing, you can grab a free Decluttering Bingo card here and try out my free 5 day decluttering challenge here.
Get rid of a certain number of items in a short amount of time.
3. Create Systems that Work for Your Life
There are an endless amount of awesome ideas and resources in this world, but some work better for us than others. The key is choosing to incorporate the ideas and systems that will work best for you into your life.
When you have the urge to implement a new system or routine in your life, ask yourself:
- What currently works for you and what doesn’t?
- In which moments do you feel stressed, frustrated or overwhelmed?
- Do you find yourself annoyed by the same tasks or situations over and over again? How could that situation change?
Now you have a better understanding of what’s going on in your life, and you can that knowledge to your advantage!
Give your new idea or system a try, and if it doesn’t work out, that’s okay! Just tweak it. It doesn’t need to be perfect from the get-go, it just has to get going.
4. How to Purge Clutter Encouragers
You’re probably wondering, “What is a clutter encourager?” Let me explain.
“Clutter encourager” is the term I made up to describe something in our home that we probably thought was a great idea when we bought it, but it ultimately just encourages clutter.
The item in my own home that helped me have this realization was this stair basket. I bought it thinking I could place things in it and then when I, or one of my lovely family members, went upstairs, we’d take the contents of the basket with us. I think that happened approximately zero times!
What I eventually realized was this lovely stair basket just didn’t work in our home as intended. Instead, we’d throw things in it, and there those things would stay for a long, long time.
Some things just make it harder to keep a home decluttered. Take a look around your home for what encourages clutter and find a way to eliminate it. You’ll save yourself a bunch of future headaches in the process!
5. Create a “Time Out” Bin
Ever wonder how to purge an item you think you might need again in the future? The thought of decluttering something and needing it as soon as it’s gone can cause a lot of anxiety, I know. The good news is there’s a solution!
A “time out” bin is a great way to test the decluttering waters and eventually have less clutter. It’s simple too. Just put anything in a box or bin that you’re not using and give yourself a deadline by which you have to use it. Put the box in an out-of-the-way place like a basement or attic so you actually have to make an effort to remember the item and retrieve it in order to use it. If you reach the deadline and still haven’t used the item, donate it!
Simplicity helps you keep your house decluttered, and owning less stuff means you’re actually using the things you already have.
6. Donate, Don’t Sell
Is selling the item worth the effort?
When you’re decluttering your home, it’s tempting to try and make a little money by selling your unwanted items, but the truth is it’s usually more trouble than it’s worth.
Not only will you have to take the time to list your belongings and ship them off, but you also have to deal with buyers who may be flaky or even rude. There’s always a risk of dealing with an unhappy customer when selling used goods, people claiming they never received the package, shipping issues… and you can probably see what, in most cases, it just isn’t worth your time.
The real cost of selling your items
Even if you’re lucky enough to find a buyer who’s willing to pay a fair price for your item, it’s still going to take up your time. You have to take photos, write descriptions, list your items, and then package and ship them or make arrangements to meet someone when they sell.
Most of the time you’re not going to get much money for your unwanted items anyway (I’m sorry!) so it’s just not worth the effort when you could be using that time to purge your home or do something else instead.
Donating is a lot easier, and it’s a great way to give back to your community.
The sunk costs: the money you spent is already gone
When you’re decluttering your home, you might come across some possessions you spent a lot of money on. Maybe it was a piece of furniture you bought on sale or a designer handbag that you splurged on. It’s easy to look at those items and think about how much money you spent on them.
That may tempt you to keep them longer than you should so you can “get your money’s worth,” but the truth is that money is already gone. You can’t get it back by selling the item, so you might as well donate it and get a tax deduction. And even if you could sell the item for the same amount of money you paid, is it really worth your time and effort? Probably not.
Your most valuable asset is time. Don’t waste it!
Remember, your most valuable asset is time. You can’t get it back once it’s gone so use it wisely.
Spending hours trying to sell your unwanted items in the vast majority of cases is a waste of time. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress, headaches, and frustrations, not to mention time, by donating them to charity.
If your items are not unique, antiques, or from designer brands, just donate them.
7. Work in Small Chunks
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, and that’s exactly how you get organized too.
Instead of waiting for the huge chunks of time you think you need to start and end a project, just work consistently in small chunks. You’ll probably be able to complete the entire task by working here and there when you have a short period of time instead of waiting for that magical huge chunk of time to arrive.
There are several approaches you can try to see which one works the best for you.
How to Purge in Small Bursts of Time
Set a timer for 10-30 minutes and purge until the timer goes off. Do this several times over the weekend, and you’ll have a room organized and decluttered without spending the day sorting through piles of clutter.
To make the decluttering process easier, you can:
- Work on one room at a time
- Living room
- Focus on one area in a room at a time
- Counter space
- Do one type of item at a time
- Start with the easiest task first
- Choose the most challenging task to get it out of the way
A timer is a great game to get your kids cleaning and organizing too. Set a timer to 2 minutes and race who can put away more toys.
Begin with The Small Spaces
The last thing you want to do when you’re starting on your decluttering journey is jump right into a huge space like a basement, attic, or other room in your home where you tend to shove things and forget them.
Biting off more than you can chew is always a recipe for overwhelm, which is why I encourage people to Start with SUE. SUE stands for small, unemotional, easy spaces like:
- A sink full of dirty dishes
- Body products in your shower
- Bathroom drawer
- Purses, wallets, and bags
- Nightstands and dressers
- Coffee tables, side tables, end tables, countertops
- Kitchen cabinets and drawers
- Closet (clothes and shoes)
Work on one small task and one space at a time.
When you’ve finished decluttering all the small spaces in one room, move on to the next area of your home. Do this one room at a time until your entire house is decluttered!
Set Small Goals
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the clutter in your home, start with a small goal first. Small goals are a great way of building little wins and successes into the process of decluttering so you continue to feel motivated and encouraged.
For instance, your goal could be to purge one closet, one room in your house, or even an area of a room.
Another option is to set a goal for the number of items you want to get rid of. Your goal could be to get rid of 10 items from your bedroom or 100 items from your entire house. Once you’ve reached your goal, you can move on to decluttering another room or area of your house.
Build Your “Decluttering Muscles”
Anytime we start something new, we start small, and decluttering is no different.
We wouldn’t expect a couch potato to walk into a gym and pick up 300 pounds weights with ease. If that was their immediate expectation and goal, they’d leave that gym feeling really defeated and discouraged.
Instead, if someone hasn’t worked out in a while, they may start with 3, 5, or 10 pound weights, and guess what happens if they lift on a regular basis… they can handle more and more weight.
Decluttering works the exact same way! In the beginning, getting rid of 3, 5, or 10 items might feel really hard, but if you keep going, it’ll get easier.
If you’re having trouble getting started, try this exercise
Set a timer for 2 minutes and see how many items you can purge. Once the timer goes off, stop and check how you did.
The goal of this exercise is to get you decluttering in short bursts of time so that it doesn’t feel like a big and overwhelming task. As you get better at decluttering, you can gradually increase the time and challenge yourself to beat your personal record.
Start with the Easy Stuff
A junk drawer, socks, underwear… whatever’s easy and unemotional for you is a great place to start. Think of these easy things as your light weights. As you practice letting go of easy items and build your decluttering muscles, you’ll set yourself up for success when the time comes to handle categories and items that may feel hard for you now.
Practice Makes Perfect
The more you purge and declutter, the easier it will become. So please don’t be discouraged if it feels difficult at first. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it! Pile by pile, you’ll overcome the chaos and finally get the tidy home you always wanted.
8. Believe in Yourself
The most important thing to remember when decluttering is to believe in yourself!
The clutter didn’t accumulate overnight so it won’t be decluttered that quickly either, and that’s okay.
You’re establishing new habits and routines, and that takes time. Just don’t give up because having less could be the best thing you can do for your family and yourself.
When you’re decluttering your home, it’s important to have a positive mindset. Encourage yourself! This will help you stay motivated and focused and make the process less overwhelming. It will improve your mood too.
If you need inspiration on how to purge and be kind to yourself in the process, here are some thoughts and affirmations to try saying to yourself.
Ideas About Positive Things to Say to Yourself
- I am capable of decluttering my home.
- I am strong enough to let go of things that no longer serve me.
- I deserve to live in a home that is peaceful and clutter-free.
- Decluttering is good for my family and me.
- I am doing this for myself and my loved ones.
- I am worth the effort it takes to declutter my home.
- Every item I declutter gets me closer to my goal.
If you find yourself slipping into the same negative mental tapes while you work, try printing off some of these affirmations and taping them on the walls so you can see them while you work.
9. How to Purge and Have Fun!
I have a confession to make. Even though I love creating all kinds of lists, being organized doesn’t exactly come naturally to me. That’s why I had to find ways to ‘hack’ myself and make decluttering fun. I came up with 5 tricks to make decluttering fun:
- Listen to music
- Set the mood
- Fresh air
- Lots of light
- Work in short bursts
10. Just Do It Now
One of the most important decluttering tips I can share with you is just doing the task at hand now. Don’t wait for the perfect day, don’t wait for tomorrow. Do it now.
I love this quote from Barbara Hemphill who says, “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” It’s true, right?
Sometimes we get so focused on how to purge and finding just the right plan or strategy to tackle our things that we put off making progress. The more we can learn the take action and make decisions, the faster we’ll go and the less clutter we’ll have.
Start with one small thing, even if it’s just putting away or donating one item, and then do it again and again and again. Before you know it, you’ll have decluttered your entire home!
If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now
I’ve found this simple rule helps me keep clutter to a minimum at our home. The truth is most tasks take far less time than we imagine, and putting them off only makes things worse.
It’s when we constantly say, “I’ll do that later” that things build up, and overwhelm is inevitable. The 2-minute rule prevents all those little tasks from piling up, which helps to keep your to-do list short and stress levels low.
I hope these 10 tips help you get started with decluttering your home. If you have any other tips or ideas about decluttering, please share them in the comments below!
Declutter and Simplify FAQs
How to Purge Your House and Live Simply: The Benefits
If being around clutter makes you feel stressed, you aren’t alone!
According to this article and UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF), “Clutter has a profound effect on our self-esteem and our moods. A study of 32 families found a link between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels of women who had a high density of household objects.”
In other words, clutter equals stress!
Having fewer items in your home means fewer stressors in your life.
This gives you more time to focus your attention on the things that really matter, like your family, friends, health and well-being.
Having a minimalist home can help you save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases.
Instead of using shopping as therapy (no judgment! I’ve done it myself) and buying duplicates because you don’t know where things are, a simplified home allows you to know exactly where everything is when you need it.
You can then use your money more wisely for future investments, retirement, experiences like family vacations, and things you really need.
More Free Time
It will be easier for you to clean if there are fewer things that need to be cleaned!
Best of all, this will also leave you with more time to pursue your passions and interests instead of constantly cleaning up or decluttering.
Less on Your To-Do List
By simplifying and focusing on your priorities, you’ll probably find your to-do list shrinking, which means you’ll be able to take some time for yourself to do what makes you happy and…
You’ll Feel Better
Having less to do means being able to spend more time with friends, family, and on activities you enjoy without having your excess stuff weighing on your mind or feeling guilty that you should be doing something else.
Why Do You Want to Purge and Declutter?
If looking at your clutter leaves you feeling overwhelmed, and you’re struggling to get motivated, it can be helpful to remember why you want to purge and simplify in the first place.
Research shows that clutter can cause:
- Increased stress – Research conducted for the Huffington Post showed that 84% of Americans worry that their homes aren’t organized (or clean) enough — and 55% of those folks say it’s a big cause of stress. The other toll is financial.
- Unhealthy food choices – People with extremely cluttered homes are 77% more likely to be overweight.
- Difficulties in Relationships – Clutter can cause a lot of people to feel ashamed of their homes. This can lead to fights within families and isolation.
When you learn how to purge and simplify, you will be able to:
- Relax more
- Sleep better
- Free storage space in your house
- Increase your productivity
- Be more organized
- Have fewer stressors in your life
Simplifying your life will help you to declutter your:
- Ultimately reduce stress
Reducing physical and mental stress can have a positive impact on your health. You will likely improve your:
- Blood pressure
- Feel less anxiety
Create a Vision for Your Home
Getting started on a big change like decluttering your entire home can feel difficult and overwhelming. I know I’ve felt overwhelmed by my home more times than I can count.
A great way to motivate yourself and keep yourself committed and taking action towards simplifying and getting organized is to create a vision for your home.
What would your home look like if you were living your best life?
If you could summon your very own Fairy Godmother who, with a flick of her magic wand, could make your home the home of your dreams, what would it look like?
My guess is it wouldn’t be cluttered or a mess.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you create a vision for your home:
- What would your ideal life look like? What would you be doing every day?
- How would you like to feel on a daily basis?
- What would need to change in your home to make this ideal life a reality?
Once you create a clear vision for your home, it gets easier to start working towards it and making it happen.
It also helps you keep the end goal in mind because, let’s face it, sometimes things get worse before they get better. In moments that may feel discouraging, focusing on your vision can help you keep going.
How to Purge and Get Organized When You Have Too Much Stuff?
Just Get Started
This is always the first piece of advice I give when someone asks me how to get organized if they own too much stuff. Try decluttering in short 2-minute time bursts or any of the ideas to make decluttering fun from the post above.
The easiest thing for most people to get rid of is trash. Help yourself build momentum by cleaning up everything that needs to go in the trash first. Once you see the amazing results you can get just by throwing away the trash, you’ll get the motivation you need to move further.
Work Through Spaces and/or Categories
Working through one specific area and category at a time will help you remain focused and actually feel like you’re accomplishing something. There’s nothing worse than working for hours on end only to look around, not see a difference, and feel like you have nothing to show for it. That’s usually the result of running all over your home instead of focusing on a single space.
By working through specific spaces or categories of items (pants, shirts, kitchen drawers, etc.), you’re able to see how much you really have, what you really need, and what you can let go of.
What Is the Best Decluttering Method?
If you’ve tried to get organized for a while, you know that there are numerous different strategies and approaches online. But what is the best decluttering method?
The best decluttering strategy is the one that works for you and that you’ll stick with
There are no rights and wrongs when it comes to how to purge and declutter your home. It’s an individual journey each of us must take so what works for one person might not work for another. What’s most important is that you find what works for you so you can follow through.
I know starting from scratch on anything can be difficult though so if you’d like some help getting started, you can find lots of great resources here. LINK RESOURCES
Why Decluttering Is Important?
Decluttering is about so much more than stuff.
You might not even realize it yet, but there are a lot of emotions and stories behind all of the things in your home, which is part of the reason decluttering can feel so difficult sometimes.
Decluttering is ultimately an act of self-care and can be a very healing experience. When you declutter, you let go of things that have been weighing you down, and you make room for the things, people, and experiences that really matter in your life.
So yes, decluttering is important. Not just for your physical health and well-being but for your mental and emotional health too.
When Decluttering Where to Start?
If you’re still wondering where to start, I have good news! I created a quiz that will tell you the perfect place for you to begin your decluttering journey. You can click here to take the quiz and get started.
Are you ready to declutter and simplify your life? You might think that this is a challenging process, but in reality, it doesn’t need to be. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you will be able to declutter and simplify your life fairly quickly. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. You are doing YOU! And I am here to support and cheer you on along the way!
If you want more information on how I can help with any of this, please don’t hesitate to contact me or comment below!