Massive Decluttering For Your Home - A Lean And Mean Plan

December 22, 2007

Author: Lu Smith

Let’s get down to business. Decluttering your home starts with making a list. That’s your written plan of steadily attacking what’s been standing in your way. The easiest angle of attack is going to be a raw-and-ready move on clutter spots where you can make the fastest and most visible progress.

Which one is it? It’s your call. For example, is it a toss up between first getting to the living room or the office? Blitz through and transform the room where guests and visitors are likely to gather the most first. So, if it’s your living room - go for it. (Match your launch spot of decluttering to your specific needs.)

If it’s the latter, an office can usually handle its proverbial “organized mess” for a smidge longer, and without “witnesses”. While the office can simply wait, the living room is where you eagerly begin disarming the clutter of its power over you.

You are in charge. Decide according to what is most important to you to declutter first. That’s your first step. The second one: take a good look around you. Take a before and after picture to have hard evidence that your efforts were worth every minute of your valuable time.

Now, arm yourself with the “Tools for the Decluttering Trade”.

You’ll need garbage bags, cardboard or plastic boxes, cleaning supplies (including a vacuum cleaner), a notebook with a pen, handy refreshments, and your favorite good-mood tunes. Add to the list as you see fit.

Start from one corner of the room, or even in the middle, if you feel like it. Warm up by creating good working space around you. Then, select and clear some handy space for “dumping grounds” to make your efforts uninterrupted and effective.

Next, dominate from here by steadily moving forward. The “stuff” that has been sitting around for ages while gradually impinging on your everyday life - you are after it today. Start with using garbage bags, boxes, and storage bins that you’ve got ready and start filling them up.

Paperwork is clutter as well; sort through it enough as not to miss any important documents like banking statements, overdue utility bills, or other essential correspondence alike. Keep them where you can easily find them for now. Transfer everything else onto the dumping grounds.

Watch it, though. If at any time you get the urge to sit down and wade through your paperwork in depth, the end of your decluttering efforts sets in. Staying AWAY from “doing” your paperwork makes more sense. Resist the urge and press on. You’ll get around to that a bit later.

Now, as for anything

that looks extra nasty and remotely resembles bits and pieces like if they came out of a refuse bin - getting rid of them is the hygienic way to go.

Everything else that doesn’t fall into the previous two categories should go into:

1. Essential Items - the stuff that you absolutely positively must have.

2. Sentimental Items - you don’t need’em but they do bring back fond memories.

(Note: Do they bring occasional fond memories, or have they been forcing you to live in the past?)

3. Items You Want …but don’t need - I think that says it all, don’t you think?

Why does this blitz tactic deliver? You’re not stuck on “doing” paperwork. That comes later when you can fully focus on doing your paperwork.

What also makes this method tick is the small corner you’ve cleared for the “dumping grounds”.

Once you get into the swing of things, it’s downright invigorating to be able to throw things around the room as your “purging action” takes a load off.

At last, decluttering a messy room becomes less of a chore and more fun and relaxed.

What do you do with everything that’s piled up on “the dumping grounds” by the end of the day?

Let large garbage bags gobble up anything that’s clearly going to the garbage bin. Recycle items that you can. Donate any usable and in-a-good-working-condition items to charity.

In short, quickly sort the stuff and get it out.

That’s the golden rule to follow at the end of every power-decluttering day.


One: You want to avoid mixing the stuff you want to dump with the stuff you want to keep (after you’ve done such a great job :).

Two: You may need more than a day to declutter a room. Seeing a part of the job done gives you the inspiration fuel to continue.

If it’s discouraging to declutter everything in an uninterrupted, massive rip through, take a short break to refresh, and come back early to finish the task with flying colors. On the other hand, if the idea of leaving the job half done bugs you to no end, soothe the uneasiness by finishing the crack down on clutter without delays.

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