I’m not a naturally organized person and I assign sentimental value to everything. Then I became somewhat of a minimalist and that meant decluttering SO much stuff. If you want to know how to make decluttering fun and actually get to the other side of this massive project – it all starts with competition. Not with other people but with yourself. I’m not the most competitive person, not even close, yet this works wonders for me.
How to Make Decluttering Fun
If you feel like you get caught up in the guilt and regret of decluttering, we have to tackle that first.
It’s easy to feel guilty for getting rid of things you spent a lot on or that someone gave you.
Feeling guilty about the money spent on all that stuff isn’t easy either.
Check out How to Declutter without Feeling Guilty before we move on if this sounds like you!
Before and After Pictures
Before you start decluttering, the first step is to take before pictures of every area you plan to declutter.
I don’t just take an overview of my kitchen, I take pictures inside every cabinet and drawer.
Where is the fun in decluttering if you can’t see how far you’ve come when you’re halfway through and running out of motivation?
I always send these pictures to my sister in law who has one more child than I do.
She can always relate and always pretends to be super impressed with my progress. As long as she’s willing to cheer me on, she can keep expecting my progress pictures.
Having a close friend or family member cheer you on is great for your motivation – and theirs!
I’m not really a “vision board” type person, but when I look into a messy room or cabinet, I try to visualize how I want it to look.
Pinterest is great for this if you’re not a very visual person.
Search organized junk drawer, for example, and quickly visualize how you can implement some of those ideas in your own space.
This step should take you only about 2 or 3 minutes. Just enough to get some good ideas and set some mental goals for your decluttering project.
Getting your space to look like one you fantasized about on Pinterest is a fun goal to set.
My Favorite Way to Declutter
After you have your before pictures, pick an area and set a timer.
I usually pick a daunting spot, like our junk drawer, and set a timer.for a small amount of time.
I give myself just 5 minutes to go through it as fast as I can.
The key here is to pick a small area so you can make a big difference in short amount of time.
Then I put on favorite podcasts, Youtube video, or great music and get started.
Some people will tell you to pull everything out so you can see all of the stuff in front of you.
I have five kids and about a million distractions. Nothing deflates your decluttering balloon like getting interrupted and coming back to a huge mess on your counter from your decluttering efforts.
Instead, drag over a garbage can, throw away all unwanted stuff, and move as fast as you can.
If you want to be super motivated, count the number of items as you throw them out and jot it down.
Doing these small projects first are one of my best tips for getting out of your decluttering rut and to propel you forward into your next project.
At the end of those five minutes, take another picture. Compare the two.
Isn’t it amazing how much you can get done in just five minutes?
Decluttering Drop Zones
This is where I would go next.
We all have those Fly Lady “hot spots” that just accumulate clutter.
The same method works here.
Set a timer for 5 minutes and declutter as fast as you can.
Having less clutter in the spots you see most not only helps the area function better, but is fantastic for your mental health!
A great place to start is any drop zone that you can see when you first walk into your home.
We have an end table near our front door that just accumulates everything.
The first place your eyes go when you walk into your home shouldn’t be a cluttered counter or table top.
Spending your five minutes here is the best way to reinvigorate your urge to clear the clutter.
It’s fun to walk into a cleaner home that feels more put together.
How to Declutter a Child’s Room – the fun way!
We have five kids, so I’m constantly decluttering our kids rooms and their toys.
The most important thing is to involve your kids in the process.
Accept that it’ll be a little bit more time consuming. That’s okay because you’re teaching them a valuable life skill in the process.
Believe it or not, there ARE fun ways to declutter – and your kids can help!
Does anyone else end up with random rocks and sticks in their house?
I find the most random things and it’s always a meltdown if I try to get rid of them.
Random kid tip – get a clear plastic jar for each of your kids.
I use the Dollar Tree candy containers.
If someone throws a fit about a rock or pine cone I’m about to get rid of, I put it in there. The amount of time those seemingly pointless things will be so important to your kids is so short. Let them keep the damn rock.
If your kids’ rooms look anything like ours, it is a daunting thought to take on that decluttering task.
It’s actually only 15 minutes away, no matter how bad it looks right now.
Grab a couple garbage bags, head in there, and spend just 5 minutes gathering anything that counts as trash.
This also includes any toys with broken or missing pieces. No one wants to buy your puzzle that’s missing three pieces on Facebook marketplace.
Just pitch it.
If you have extra time at the end of those five minutes, spend it gathering things you’re going to sell or donate. Throw those in another garbage bag.
A great tip I learned from the Minimal Mom is that black trash bags take away the temptation to dig unwanted items back out.
We always promise our kids that any money we get from selling their stuff, they get to spend.
Should You Sell or Donate?
Honestly this depends on where you live.
When we lived in North Carolina, everyone seemed to use Facebook Marketplace and sell and buy there regularly.
I’d take a quick picture, list it as fast as I could, and almost everything would sell in just a day or two.
When we moved to Florida, I was sad to realize people in our area were way less likely to buy things on Facebook.
Now, I take our clothes that are in good condition to Once Upon a Child and see what they’ll buy.
In my experience, they also buy almost any toy I take in.
Any clothes they don’t want, I take straight to a thrift store and donate.
Sometimes there are clothing drop boxes in church or grocery store parking lots that you can use.
Whatever you do, don’t bring it home.
The key with selling things is to use as little effort as possible to get rid of these things.
Extra money is always important, but so is having a clutter free home.
I am pretty anti garage sale simply because of the massive amount of effort it takes to put one together.
The exception to this is if you’re going the Marie Kondo route and this is your once in a lifetime decluttering event.
Otherwise, sell on Facebook for some extra fun money or just donate.
Set a goal for the amount of money you want to make if you go the selling route.
See if you can make enough money to take everyone out to dinner, to buy a new TV for the living room, or just to buy a new lego set with the toys you’ve sold.
I am super anti buying all the things to get your entire house decluttered.
Yes sometimes you need the plastic bins or the space saving gadgets, but who has the money for all of this stuff?
Having fewer possessions is the goal of any declutter challenge, so resist the urge to buy more clutter.
We have moved so much that we never really decorated. When I was done decluttering, I rewarded myself with a mini Hobby Lobby shopping spree in the clearance section.
For less than $100 during their 70% off fall sale, I was able to give our entire home a face lift.
Living in a clutter free space is the best reward, but when your home looks like you spent a fortune to decorate it and you know you spent hardly anything?
Now that’s rewarding.
Final Clutter-Free Home Tips
Want your house to look brand new?
When you’re done with your decluttering session, rearrange the room a little. This is a good way to highlight how much you got done AND make the room look completely different.
An entire room can be almost completely decluttered in just 15 minutes. Don’t let it take a ton of time. Knowing that you’re only spending 15 minutes per room or 3-5 minutes per drawer or cabinet suddenly makes it all feel very doable.
The goal is to get as much progress as possible without losing steam.
Set a decluttering challenge of 15 minutes per room. Do your time, dance your heart out, and then move on to the next room.
Go through your house as fast as you can, ya know, in 15 minute incremenets.
Then compare all of your before and after pictures.
You put off decluttering because you assume it’s going to take forever, but it REALLY doesn’t.
Decluttering can be an enjoyable experience when there’s an end in sight.
Why Should You Declutter
Do you have kids?
From one mother to another – I spent way too much time being bogged down by our clutter. Finding fun ways to beat the clock or fill a garbage bag as fast as possible helped me to get my crap together and make our home feel comfortable and just – homey. Having less stuff has given me so much more time with my husband and kids. There is NOTHING that I regret getting rid of. I only regret not doing it sooner. If you’re struggling to declutter, just try this 15 minute per room thing and challenge yourself to just spend that much time per room. You’ll be shocked at the difference in your home after just 15 minutes of fast, hard work.