Declutter a Room in 30 Minutes
If you’re reading this, then I know you are probably overwhelmed with the amount of stuff in your house and are desperate to get it under control. I get it. I have 5 kids, a husband, and some secret pathway into my house that crap sneaks through. Somehow, the clutter just keeps coming. I can now declutter a room in record time and I’ll explain exactly what I do. Believe me, this skill was born of necessity – decluttering and cleaning is definitely not a skill that comes naturally to me. Set a timer on your phone and let’s declutter a room in 30 minutes.
Why You Need to Get Rid of the Clutter
As a naturally messy person, I am here to beg you to go through with this 30 minute declutter.
The amount of weight that has been lifted off of my shoulders after every single decluttering session has made a firm believer out of me.
I’m a busy mom. I homeschool my kids. They have sports and travel a lot.
There’s not enough time to juggle all of this extra junk that makes its way into our house.
But going through this decluttering process made me feel like I had so much more control than I thought I did.
Everything used to feel so overwhelming, but now our home feels manageable.
I don’t worry that unexpected guests will drop in.
We’re now teetering pretty close to being a family of minimalists.
The most hardcore minimalists would disagree, but even with 5 kids, we have 90% less possessions than we had just a few years ago.
Where to Start Decluttering – 5 minutes
The first step is to get rid of trash.
Set a timer for 2 minutes.
Grab a black trash bag and move in a circle around whatever room you’re decluttering.
Anything that is broken, missing pieces, or just doesn’t serve a purpose anymore – put it in the bag.
The faster you move through this process, the less amount of time your brain has for what-ifs.
If you move thoughtfully through the room, you start to think “I can fix this, sew that button on, find that piece when I am finished decluttering, etc.”
You’re never going to glue that thing back together or find a use for that thing over there.
Throw it away and stop letting it take up valuable real estate in your home.
Quick decisions will save you from assigning sentimental value to everything.
Have extra time left over? Make a mental note of how much and we’ll use it at the end.
Handling Laundry, Donations, and Miscellaneous Items – 5 minutes
With your next 5 minutes, I want you to grab a laundry basket.
Now, walk around the same room collecting anything that belongs in another room.
If you have something that belongs in the living room, throw it in there.
Something that needs to go to the car?
Throw it in there.
Again, move fast through the entire room and collect anything that you WANT TO KEEP that simply belongs in another room.
Make a pile of dirty laundry that you find by the door.
Any donations that are in good condition should go in a pile on the other side of the door.
It sounds like a lot to tackle in just 5 minutes, but let’s be honest.
Gathering dirty laundry, even in the messiest bedroom, probably takes less than 1 minute.
We’re just gathering here. Not doing anything with it yet.
Staying Focused on Decluttering – 10 minutes
The next step we’re going to give 10 minutes to.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and rush through the house putting away the things we gathered.
The trash bag obviously goes in the garbage can.
Drop off all of the random things that belong in other rooms and put them in their proper spot, if possible.
At least get the things to those rooms.
The laundry basket should be empty by the end of this 10 minutes.
This is why setting a timer is so important.
It will keep you from getting distracted in the other rooms while dropping off the items you collected.
If you have dolls that belong in a bedroom or playroom, resist the urge to gather any other messes.
We get to the point where our whole house is decluttered by moving as fast as possible through one room at a time.
Drop off the dirty laundry in the laundry room – straight into the washer if possible.
The donations need to go into a donation box and straight into the trunk of your car.
Where our last step took us through the gathering phase, this one is just about dropping off.
We’re not deep cleaning or busting out any cleaning supplies. We are just. getting. it. done.
Making It Look Organized
The final 10 minutes (plus whatever you banked throughout the rest of your declutter session) will be spent making the room look more presentable.
Taking small steps around the room, combine like items. Organize drawers quickly. Wrap up cords and tuck them back into place.
In my house, this looks like wrapping up computer chargers and putting them in a basket that we keep by our couch.
I have to gather the baby’s toys and put them back in his basket.
Put the Xbox controllers on charge on the docks behind the TV.
Moving quickly through this step helps you to avoid overthinking ways you could make this room even better.
The point of this 30 minute session is to declutter the room.
We’re not decorating or cleaning.
We’re making the room function about 300% better by simply decluttering it.
Everyone wants a gorgeous, clean home.
The first step to get there is to have less stuff and an appropriate place for the things you decide to keep.
How to Maintain a Clutter-Free Home
Moving through your whole house, one room at a time, is the best way to get your entire house decluttered.
After you declutter a room for 30 minutes one time, it is exponentially easier to keep it decluttered.
From now on, you’ll just declutter in the margins of your time in much smaller increments.
Do a quick sweep of the kitchen while you wait for the timer to go off on dinner.
Waiting for your toddler to grab their shoes? Grab that empty water bottle off the table and take that dirty coffee cup to the kitchen.
It’s simple steps like these that make decluttering second nature.
Flat surfaces or “hot spots” as the Fly Lady calls them take little more time, but not much.
For us, this is the kitchen counter, the end table right when you walk in, and the hallway bathroom counter (for some odd reason).
While I’m brushing my teeth, I grab all the random stuff my kids have put on the counter and throw it away.
While I’m cooking, I declutter the kitchen and straighten up the kitchen countertop.
Yes, I’m making more of a mess while I’m cooking.
It still makes sense to declutter and clean as I go instead of making one big overwhelming task I’ll hate myself for later.
I find fun ways to declutter. I am always playing beat the clock with some task.
Nothing motivates me like being under a time crunch. I time myself for everything.
I know it takes me 7 minutes to straighten my hair and less than 5 to unload a clean dishwasher.
This sounds so stupid, I know, but knowing this makes it more likely that I’ll fill the otherwise wasted moments in my day with tasks I’ll just have to do later.
Random Decluttering Tips That Actually Work:
Break your emotional attachment to most items.
Learn to control paper clutter like I have. It’s the smartest, most effective way to deal with the paper that just keeps on coming.
Yes, you’ll still have sentimental items, but not every piece of kid artwork is a lifetime keepsake.
Don’t waste money on storage bins and random plastic trays in search of storage solutions.
You can’t buy your way out of this mess you’re in. The way out of a cluttered mess isn’t new products.
In fact, the goal of decluttering is to actually have LESS things. Take minimalism for a test drive like we did. Read all about that decluttering journey here that truly changed my life.
If something is bothering you about your home, just fix it. Yes you’re busy. I am too. But if my counter is driving me insane, I set a timer for 3 minutes or 5 minutes and work as fast as I can to clean it up.
Why waste time being stressed about something with such a simple, fast solution? You can get immediate results in the time it takes you to stress over it.
Even when you’re running late and yelling at little people to put their shoes on. Even with a baby on your hip. You can make a big difference in such a tiny amount of time.
Fastest Way to Declutter a Junk Drawer
The random crap deserves a section of it’s own, so here we are.
We had so much junk in our junk drawer that it actually took up two drawers. We have a small house and an even smaller kitchen, so that just wasn’t acceptable.
If you’re like most people, myself included, about 90% of your junk drawer can actually go in the trash.
Things that we keep in ours are pens, rubber bands, and random pieces of things I’ve found throughout the house.
By the time I get around to decluttering our kitchen and come to our junk drawer, that stuff has had PLENTY of time to prove it’s worth.
If it hasn’t earned a place in our home by being useful in the last year or so since I decluttered this drawer, it has to go.
Think about the stuff in there. Do you have random screws you’re afraid to get rid of because you may need them someday?
Menus for restaurants that you’ll pull up on your phone when you need them anyway?
Give yourself permission to throw almost all of that away.
Oh, and it might motivate you to know that it took me 4 minutes and 30 seconds to purge both of ours.
How to Have a Clutter-Free Home
I’ll leave you with this last piece of advice.
The only way to have a clutter-free home is to declutter it and then leave and never come back.
Maybe you could have some strict rule about never bringing anything into your house, but unless you live alone, that probably won’t work either.
The good news is that once you declutter it all and have a proper place for things, the hard work is already done.
Maintaining is approximately 1000x easier than decluttering the first time. This is an actual stat from my own personal experience, by the way.
My point is, don’t let clutter get in the way of enjoying your home and your life.
Going room by room 30 minutes at a time, you really can declutter your entire house in a single day.
If you have a free Saturday, you could have an entirely new home by Sunday. Just set a time limit for each room, do the work, and thank yourself tomorrow. I can promise you that you’ll be so glad that you did!