The Best Tips for Decluttering a Room Quickly

Recently our family went to Victoria, B.C. for Spring Break.  One of our highlights was going to Butchart Gardens.  I was amazed at the vibrant colors and varieties of flowers throughout the property.  The level of skill and craftsmanship it takes to maintain gardens of this magnitude is awe-inspiring. 

Much to my dismay though gardening is NOT an area where I’m gifted.  Give me a room to declutter and organize any day rather than a flowerbed to weed! 

Two hand weeding an overgrown flowerbed.
I know my flowers are in here somewhere!

This is the next step to getting your space tidy — weeding!

Much like an overgrown flower garden, you have to sift through all the piles in your room and weed out the things belonging elsewhere or don’t add value.  This is your chance to reveal the beauty in your space and identify the items you want to keep. 

Now get ready to “set the mood”.  Crank up the music or turn on your Podcast, put your phone on silent, and let’s get to work!

How long do I have to sort and declutter?

I highly suggest setting a timer for 90 minutes.  Studies have shown most adults can keep their total focus on a given task for 1-2 hours without getting distracted.

You’re not the “Energizer Bunny” so it’s okay to take breaks. Just don’t take five-minute breaks every five minutes!

When the timer goes off, take a quick, ten-minute break and do a few stretches, go for a walk around the block, or refill your water bottle or coffee mug.

A guy in a suit dancing in his office.
This guy knows how to take a break!

Do whatever you need to do to refuel and continue with the decluttering process.

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How do I sort the items?

After you set the timer, bring the labeled bins/boxes into the space you want to organize.  These bins will help you weed out the items you don’t want to keep and determine what you will do with them. 

If you missed the post about the labels… no worries!  Go here to download my bin/box labels and learn more about the three things you need to do before organizing any space.

Bin/box labels: move, sell, donate, trash
Bin/box labels

Let’s talk further about the labeled bins.

What goes in the MOVE bin?

Place items in here belonging somewhere else in the house.   This bin will help you from getting sidetracked during the decluttering process. 

If you return the item to the room it belongs in you’re likely to lose your focus…. squirrel!

What goes in the SELL bin? 

These are the items you no longer want to keep but want to sell for profit.  This could be through a variety of ways such as:

  • garage sale
  • eBay
  • posting on Facebook
  • By-Sell-Trade
  • Craig’s List

What goes in the DONATE bin? 

These are items you also no longer want to keep but are willing to depart without compensation.  Here are some suggestions of people/places to donate to:

  • family
  • friends
  • local fundraiser
  • charity
  • family in need

I have found people feel better about letting go of items when they know someone else can benefit from its use.

What goes into the TRASH bin? 

This one is self-explanatory.  Put items in here for the following reasons:

  • item no longer works/broken and can’t be repaired
  • deemed as garbage (e.g. McDonald Happy Meal toys)

Go through ALL items in the space you’re targeting.  Physically pick up each item and decide on whether it stays or goes.  Empty every shelf, every drawer, every nook, and cranny. 

I’m warning you… it’s going to look worse before it gets better but stick to the process.  I promise it will be worth it in the end!

What are the Top 10 Questions to Ask Myself When Sorting?

  1. When was the last time you used this item?
  2. Does it have a purpose or bring value to the space?
  3. Is it in good working condition?
  4. Can you think of someone that could benefit from this item?
  5. Do you have ample space to store this item?
  6. Do you see yourself needing or using this item soon?  Ever?
  7. Are duplicates of this item necessary?
  8. Would this item function better in another space?
  9. Is there a digital way to store this item rather than keeping the physical piece?  
  10. Are there bad memories tied to it or guilty feelings for buying it?

As your bins fill-up remove the bags and label them items to sell, donate or trash. 

Once you finish the weeding process, go ahead and remove all the bins from the room. 

What remains is what stays! 

Remember, the weeding process is NOT about getting rid of everything but a way of discovering the items that are truly valuable or worthwhile to you.  This step will take the longest but it’s also the most important. 

This process will bring you closer to the space you desire and the picture you have envisioned for your room… your garden!   

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