It’s a vicious circle, isn’t it?
Our overwhelming clutter pushes us to scream-at-our-family breaking point. The red mist descends and we’re desperate to attack it, right then, right there and declutter fast.
So we do what Marie Kondo tells us and yank a whole heap of stuff out on the floor but despite feeling no spark of joy from almost anything we own, find ourselves utterly incapable of letting anything go and end up slumped in an even more overwhelming mess – scoffing biscuits – when we need to be getting dinner …
But there is a way to declutter fast when we’re hopping mad and need stuff gone that actually works without leaving us feeling overwhelmed.
It’s called a power purge.
I’m going to take you through it, in a sec. So you can put it straight into action but I just want to explain first how it fits into your declutter journey.
Your Declutter Journey
The big secret to successful decluttering – I’ve learned the hard way – is to have a range of different declutter tricks up your sleeve.
The core trick is just 10 things.
If you’ve not discovered it yet, do read this and nail it. It’s life changing!
But we need different declutter tricks for different clutter – paper, sentimental things, hobbies and collections, kids stuff, the garage, your bargain finds. They all need a different approach.
And we need different declutter tricks at the start of our declutter journey to half way through.
PLUS we need different declutter tricks for different moods!
So let’s find out when to use the power purge for maximum impact.
When To Use The Power Purge
The power purge is THE trick to use WHEN:
- We’re feeling mad AND have got lots of restless energy
- We first start tackling a nightmare area like a garage or basement or the kids rooms
- We’ve got loads of surface mess on floors and furniture
- We’ve got stuff e.g. paper, broken toys, hobby stuff scattered all over your home
The power purge does NOT work when we are feeling tired and withdrawn or need to declutter sentimental things or financial papers or any itty-bitty stuff.
OK. Now we know when to use the power purge, let’s find out how to use it, starting with three golden rules that will protect us from feeling overwhelmed.
The Golden Rules of The Power Purge
These three golden rules are totally sacred …
- Do NOT yank stuff out
- Stick to a strict 15 minute time box
- Stick to a strict space box – that’s one area e.g. your garage OR one category e.g. paper
We need to stick to them because they stop us getting overwhelmed and as we know only too well overwhelm is our biggest enemy when we’re decluttering.
These rules guarantee our declutter is short, sharp AND successful.
And that guarantees we’ll do it AGAIN next week.
AND the week after.
And THEN we really are laughing in the face of all our clutter without any overwhelm in sight!!
So let’s get on with it … it’s simple, I promise.
How To Declutter With A 15 Minute Power Purge
First off, decide to focus on …
- one area e.g. the shed, one bedroom, one closet
- OR one category scattered round the house e.g. newspapers & magazines, shoes
Then follow the easy steps below.
I’ve covered power purging an area first and then power purging a category.
1. Power Purge An Area
Just, grab three bin bags.
Stand in the area you’re decluttering.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and ….
- … open your eyes
- Take in all the clutter your brain has been filtering out
- And laser focus in on anything you are ready to:
- or donate
- And bag it
- Don’t agonize, just grab any no brainers lying around you’re ready to let go
- If you can in that area, keep moving to spot all your easy wins
- Do shift stuff slightly to see better, but DO NOT open boxes OR – remember the golden rule!! – yank stuff out
- And keep bagging stuff until your 15 minutes are up
… THEN get out of there!
Do NOT keep going “just a bit longer”.
Get the trash in the bin and the recycling in the recycling instantly.
And donate stuff as soon as you can that week.
If you know there’s more easy wins lying around just do another 15 minute power purge next week or if you’ve got the time, tomorrow.
If we keep going beyond the time box we get drawn into the clutter.
Lost in it. AND overwhelmed.
We can clear far more by that short, sharp focus for 15 minutes.
This was our nightmare shed pre-power purge …
I cleared 60% of in three 15 minute power purges over three saturdays.
It was super easy. Made me feel good.
And motivated me to keep going.
Then to declutter the rest, I switched to my declutter boxes trick.
Which is brilliant for decluttering boxes – surprise, surprise! – PLUS itty, bitty complicated stuff.
OK. So that is how to power purge an area.
Now let’s find out how to power purge a category.
It’s a bit different.
2. Power Purge A Category
First off, choose your category.
AND remember to stay super focused on it.
- Grab ONE bin bag
- Set your timer for 15 minutes
- Hurtle around your home looking for anything in that category
- AND put everything you find in your bag without making any decision on what you’re keeping
- Concentrate on the stuff lying on the the floor and furniture
- IF you know you’ve got some of that category shoved away in a cupboard, and you can grab it easily do
- BUT do NOT try opening up boxes or wading through every closet
- WHEN your 15 minutes is up STOP!
And THEN put your bag to one side.
You what? What about going through it? You shout.
We ARE going to. Just not right away.
Instead, plan to sit down with a nice cup of tea – or glass of wine! – for 15 minutes later in the day or tomorrow and go through that bag calmly and methodically using the box trick.
This declutter trick has worked brilliantly for me for a whole load of categories including paperwork, toys, shoes, swim stuff, electronics, DIY tools, hats and gloves and stationary.
It lets me use all the energy of my exploding anger to whizz round the house and get similar stuff all in one place so I can THEN sit down calmly and focus on deciding what to keep.
So there you go.
Everything you need to know to power purge clutter fast when it has you hopping mad.
Practise it two or three times and it will become super easy to switch on when the red mist decends.
And turn it into a weekly habit and you will power through surface clutter in every room.
AND start your attack on some of our trickiest clutter categories.
I do hope it helps.
For more help decluttering do check out these posts that will take you step-by-step through key declutter challenges:
- How To Declutter Your Kitchen
- Clear Paper Clutter Easily
- How To Declutter Your Garage
- How To Declutter Boxes Of Forgotten Stuff
- Summer Declutter Challenge
- Christmas Declutter Challenge