This post includes affliate links, read here how these work.
You’re drowning in clutter!
It’s making you feel overwhelmed and anxious and downright miserable!
BUT BUT BUT …
… you are too crazy busy juggling life to tackle it!
I hear you. I hear you. I really do.
I have so been there.
Watching the clutter mount up and feeling powerless to do anything.
And that this would somehow help clear a family home of clutter!! Er hellllooo!!!
BUT this year I came up trumps …
And I found a method that is helping me declutter my whole house.
In 30 minutes a week in small manageable chunks.
Sounds good huh? It is!! It’s bloody brilliant!
I mean we can all find 30 minutes a week can’t we? However crazy busy we are.
So what … you want to know … is the big secret?
Well, here goes …
(If you’re anything like me, you will want to skip this bit. DON’T!!! It’s important.)
It all starts with two bags and a tiny daily habit – and I mean teeny tiny.
So first you need to root out two bags – plastic bags, old shopping bags, whatever.
And put them somewhere accessible.
But NOT under the beady eyes of the rest of your family.
Mine are behind my bedroom door.
This is your charity bag and your recycling bag.
Then every day you will do 2 things that will take 5 minutes tops.
- Number 1: Empty your trash bins. (Trust me. It works!)
- Number 2: Put 10 small things you will be happier without in either your charity bag or your recycling bag or – if you must – your trash bin
Now these small things are all the clutter hiding in plain sight.
Pens that don’t work. Old receipts. Dried up mascara. Junk mail. Solo socks. Lone gloves.
The stuff you notice whilst you’re getting on with life. Once you open your eyes.
I’ve got a massive list right here to help you spot them. (They are pretty cunning at camouflage.)
Do this every day – if you possibly can – for one week.
At the end of the week take your bags to your handiest charity shop and recycling centre.
When you’ve done that, you are READY for STAGE TWO.
Whoop Whoop! Who knew bins could be so exciting heh?
Just remember to keep up that tiny habit – :
- empty your trash & let go of 10 things daily
- bags out weekly.
If you do that every week for a year – you will get rid of 100 bags of stuff!!!
How amazing is that? From one tiny habit.
But stage two will SPEED things up!
And help you let go of even more of that stuff that dragging you down.
All you are going to do is:
- Block out 30 minutes – child free! – time
- Pick a project from the big old list at the bottom
You can pick which project you like – it’s your home!
BUT it needs to be small and simple.
And NOT – for the first month – have strong emotional attachments.
I would recommend starting with one of these:
- Under your kitchen sink
- Under your bathroom sink
- One small food cupboard or shelf of a large cupboard
- Mugs and cups
- Kids shoes
- Kids rain boots and wellies
- Your make up bag
Completing Your 30 Minute Project
When you’re ready to start your chosen project for the week …
1. Grab your charity and recycling bags and the trash bin.
2. Set your phone timer for 30 minutes.
3. Take things out quickly or collect them up.
3. Spot the obvious things to let go and put straight in a bag or the bin e.g. anything …
- Expired or outgrown
- Broken that can’t be mended
- You never did like
- You never used and can’t imagine ever using
- You’ve got 10 of!
4. Have a very quick wonder if there’s anything else you feel comfortable letting go of … do ask yourself whether it is really useful or makes you happy but DO NOT be brutal.
If you are NOT ready to let go – to say goodbye to something – keep it!
And I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW – this is totally at odds with lots of declutter advice.
But it’s critical.
Because there are totally humungous psychological needs behind our clutter.
(To hear more about these do sign up for my newsletter).
And purging stuff brutally makes them worse!
5. Once you’ve decided what to let go, quickly wipe round the shelf or cupboard with a microfibre cloth (these planet friendly wonders are pure genius if like me you are rubbish at cleaning!).
6. Put what you’re keeping back.
7. Put your charity and recycling bags and trash bin back where they belong.
8. And you are DONE in 30 minutes.
Hmmm … you’re not sure it’s enough are you?
Especially, if you only got rid of 5 to 10 things.
WELL this is the magic bit! You are starting a journey.
And I bet you within a month, you will have let go of the same amount again.
FROM the very SAME cupboard!!!
The Magic Bit
These 30 minute weekly declutter projects help us to:
- Reconnect with what we’ve actually got – we stop being blind to specific clutter
- Practice letting go – without our world coming to an end
- Believe – subconsciously – that decluttering is simple and doable – rather than a monstrous mountain to be conquered
- Discover what we value most – and this is personal, and it changes
- Become really mindful of clutter – so we stop letting it in
It seems too simple. But it really is magical.
Spending just 30 minutes every week on one of these projects has transformed my home.
AND amazingly is actually healing some of the deep, deep reasons that lie behind my clutter.
Keeping It Up Is A Synch
Unlike, any other declutter programme I have tried, I have found keeping this up a synch.
Very quickly it becomes a habit.
And with very little effort you keep seeing results –
- You can actually find stuff
- The whole family start putting stuff away
- You can clean quickly without a major military operation to shift piles of clutter
- You start doing stuff you’ve put off
- And just feel less anxious about life in general!
That’s a super powerful feedback loop!
Can I Speed It Up?
Now, if you’re a jump in quick kind of girl you may want to speed things up.
And you can. If you want to do 2 or 3 or 4 projects a week, you can.
If you’ve got time.
BUT you must do at least one NEXT WEEK and the week after and the week after that.
Because we’re nurturing a habit.
And you really want to avoid the PURGE and SPLURGE cycle! Because it’s vicious.
Are You Ready To Start?
RIGHT after all my waffling are you ready to start?
You just need to …
- Grab your bags
- Let go of 10 small things
- Empty your bins
- And pick a project for the week …
… and you’re off.
For more support do sign up for my free Happier Without newsletter.
Every week I share the insights and practical advice that most help me.
30 Minute Declutter Projects
- Cutlery drawer
- Under kitchen sink
- One small food cupboard or one shelf of a large food cupboard
- One drawer of freezer
- Mugs & cups
- Baking ingredients
- Cooking utensils – bowls, jugs, spoons, whisks etc
- Cooking pans
- Plastic storage stubs
- Around the bath
- Under bathroom sink
- Towel cupboard
- Cleaning stuff
- First aid kit
- Bath toys
3. Paper & Stationary
- One small file – OK pile! – of paper
- Box of photos
- Pots of pens, felt tips, crayons & pencils
- Tiny stationary – paper clips, safety pins
4. Books, Films & Music
- Recipe books
- Travel guides
- Children’s fiction
- Children’s non-fiction
- ONE book shelf
- A pile of DVDs
- A pile of CDs
- Sock draw
- Make up bag
- Pillow slips
- Duvet covers
- Duvets – don’t drag them all out, just make a quick inventory
- Bedside table
6. Outdoors Clothes & Shoes
- Hats, scarves & gloves
- Rain boots and wellingtons
- Shoe polish stuff
- Swim stuff
- Christmas decorations
- Party decorations
- Sewing stuff – fabrics & ribbons
- Sewing stuff – needles, pins & other small things
- Kids crafts materials – paint, glue, beads, felt etc
8. Toys & Games
- One shelf or small basket of toys
- Family games
- A pile of jigsaws
- Colouring & sticker books
- Buckets & spades
- Bats & balls
9. Shed & Garage
- Garden tools
- Plant pots
- Domestic tools – hammers, screw drivers
- Deck chairs, beach mats & sun umbrellas
10. Your Clothes
We all have so many issues around clothes – body shape, spending guilt, changing careers.
And with clothes so cheap now – it’s too easy to purge … and quickly after splurge to fill the gaps
I put a few things – I’m totally ready to let go of – in my charity bag every week.
But I held off on everything else till later
Like clothes, electronics is another area I would treat slightly differently.
If you’re like us you have random electronics scattered around your house!
You don’t even know what half of them do, for cripes sake.
You don’t know which ones work.
You don’t know where the discs and batteries are.
And letting go of them can involve painful conversations you’d rather not have.
So I put a plastic box next to my charity bag.
And any random little electronics spotted lurking round the house were dumped in the box.
You can then break down into these separate projects which need an hour each:
- Quick sort for any obvious stuff that can go the recycling centre
- Battery testing – get a cheap battery tester and go through and check
- USB drives and memory sticks – checking for important stuff, consolidating and deleting