These tips to declutter a room in 30 minutes aren’t coming to you from a super tidy, minimalistic, Marie-Kondo type of organizer. In fact, I started decluttering like a shy kid in a swimming pool. I put one toe in, thought about it for a year, then tried again.
That’s how kids start swimming, right? Okay, well maybe it’s not a perfect metaphor.
Truly, I tried and failed to master the skill of decluttering from 2014-2018. In that time, I got married, moved twice, birthed two babies, and over-idealized having a lot of THINGS. I clung on to papers and things, all the while I was drowning in clutter and not understanding why I could never get ahead.
Finally, in 2018, I met a minimalist blogger who had created a simple decluttering resource that permanently changed my perspective and ability to declutter. Here’s how you can learn to declutter a room in 30 minutes:
- Decluttering perspective check
- How important is decluttering REALLY?
- Tip #1: Object vs. Money
- Tip #2: Object vs. Work
- How to Declutter a Room in 30 Minutes
Decluttering Perspective Check
Tell me: Why do you want to declutter?
Are you trying to make room for new things?
Do you think you should declutter because of the time of year or things you’ve been reading?
Are you overwhelmed by the amount of things in your home?
Overwhelmed by your inability to keep up with housework?
Embarrassed to have people over?
There is no right or wrong answer–but you should determine your real motivation for decluttering and the result you want. If it’s not important enough to you, it’s very likely you’ll go back into that exhausting cycle of giving up, being overwhelmed, and putting yourself down because you haven’t decluttered effectively.
A Different Decluttering Perspective
For many years, I lived in that cycle. I had way too much stuff for my space and no organization system, so I could never keep things clean. I’d get really frustrated and motivate myself to BECOME A MINIMALIST and CHANGE MY WHOLE DANG LIFE.
After about three days of feverishly going through bins and bins of things, I wouldn’t see any improvement, and slip back to my crappy normal.
Many things changed before my Decluttering Awakening (my fancy name for the time I got rid of 75% my family’s stuff)–but the most notable one was that my husband and I decided to move from Buffalo, New York, to Oklahoma City. It was a 1,200 miles with a one and three year old.
Suddenly, I wasn’t “just” decluttering because I felt like I should. I was decluttering because it would have cost thousands of extra dollars to move everything we had.
How Important is Decluttering REALLY?
You can be successful at decluttering. But if you’ve struggled with decluttering your home in the past, the consequence isn’t strong enough.
The consequence of having too much clutter is having more messes and spending more time cleaning. It’s not fun, but you’re probably accustomed to living like that so it doesn’t feel like something you DESPERATELY NEED to escape.
In order to get through the period of being overwhelmed by your things, you have to break through the barrier of actually decluttering. Decluttering could be considered a consequence too, because it’s hard!
That’s exactly how it was for me in early 2018 when I started learning how to declutter a little bit. Then, in early 2019, the consequence of not decluttering was going to cost (quite literally) a truckload of money and stress.
Pun half-intended. Because 26 foot moving trucks are expensive.
Suddenly, decluttering got a whole lot easier–because I wanted the result more than I disliked the barrier.
Now, you can learn how to declutter faster (like, in 30 minutes) and BETTER even if you’re not making a high stakes cross-country move. But you need to decide how important decluttering REALLY is to you.
To start decluttering better and faster, just ask yourself two questions.
Decluttering Tip #1: Object vs. Money
Ask yourself: Do I love this object enough to pay extra money for it?
Imagine. You open up your kitchen drawer, and see five spatulas. There are different reasons to have all of them–and they barely even take up space, right?
That is true. But when you’re trying to fit everything you own into the smallest possible moving truck–and the difference is $$$$–are the four extra spatulas worth all that extra money?
Sure–in your day-to-day life, your extra spatulas are not costing you money.
But aren’t they?
What about that time you couldn’t find that ingredient you SWORE you had, so you just decided to order pizza instead?
What about that time there were so many dirty dishes, that barely anything was clean, so you just decided to order pizza instead?
(I refuse to use a different type of example–pizza is LIFE.)
Overall, a cluttered kitchen will cost you more money. A cluttered HOME will cost you more money. It’s not in your face like a Penske moving truck bill, but the truth is there.
Start looking at each object as the money it is costing you. Would you rather have four extra spatulas that you don’t use, or $10?
No, you might not directly see $10 cash in place of your spatulas (although a girl can dream)–but you will see the reward in time, in the peace and ease in your uncluttered home.
And sometimes, you CAN sell things and you CAN directly see them turn into cash. That’s what I did by selling things on Facebook marketplace, and I made over $1,800.
Seeing your things as things that cost money will make decluttering decisions a whole lot easier and a whole lot faster.
Eventually, you’ll also start viewing shiny NEW things in the store as what they really become–clutter.
For example. The first time I worked on decluttering, I went through my kids’ baby clothes and donated a few items.
The second round? I started with this:
And ended with this:
In the end, I only needed ONE bin of baby clothes, bibs, bottles, everything.
When your priorities are in the right place, you can declutter a room in 30 minutes.
Decluttering #2: Object vs. Extra Work
You already know this one–and you probably try to avoid REALLY thinking about the amount of time and effort you are pouring into maintaining your clutter.
Again, this isn’t quite as in-your-face as a Penske truck that you have to pack up, load, unload, and unpack. But it’s also pretty in-your-face. It just looks different.
It looks like a sink full of dishes every night.
It looks like never ending laundry baskets.
It looks like toy room explosions.
Every item in your house requires something from you. It’s taking time, money, stress, energy, or mental space. Even those boxes stored in the corner of your attic cause you some level of stress.
So, ask yourself: Do I love this item enough to do extra work?
You’ll always have to do some work in your home. You’ll always have to give some mental space to your home–if you’re like me, you love to give mental space to your home!
But put first things in their first spots. Clutter can quickly clog up your mental space that should be going towards your family.
How to Declutter a Room in 30 Minutes
It’s simple, and it needs to stay simple: set a timer, set your mind, and go.
You will not be able to transform your stuffed-full garage into a Property Brothers workspace in 30 minutes. You will not be able to declutter AND reorganize a room in 30 minutes.
But you CAN declutter it in 30 minutes.
In fact, the hardest part of decluttering is letting go of the emotion that we’ve tied into our objects. If you have your eye on the timer and a goal in place, the emotion will naturally take a backseat–and that might be exactly what you need.
And one more thing–can someone tell me why every stock picture of “minimalism” is plants? Minimalism has not made me buy more plants. #deepquestions