I love to talk to folks about how to declutter their homes. It’s my jam, my something to geek out over. I can spend hours writing about it and talking about it. Today I am going to share with you my super effective decluttering hack. One that is perfect for you if you are completely stuck on how to declutter your home.
However, not everyone is like me and when you are facing a home full of clutter trying to tackle a mountain can be a bit overwhelming.
So, instead of talking about how to conquer that mountain let’s instead talk about the power of expectation.
It’s Saturday morning and tonight at promptly 7 pm you are expecting company. That means you will be spending this morning frantically preparing your home. No excuses you need to get it done so you are going to get it done.
Cleaning and tidying up. Removing a few items to clear off the couch for more seating and cleaning off the kitchen table for eating. You are motivated to get things done because you have a deadline, the time when your company will be arriving.
It is amazing how the thought of company can get us up and moving, up and doing.
This is all fine and good but what if instead, we expect company all the time? Instead of a mad dash of a cleaning frenzie, we do a quick prep of a few rooms that anyone would see if they showed up at our door.
It’s my super effective decluttering hack.
By always having a few rooms tidy and neat we will never be caught off guard by unexpected guests. Also, those few rooms will cut us some slack. Let us know that no matter how bad the rest of the house is we have those few rooms where things look okay. Things look unchaotic.
Ninja tip. Since these rooms are the first we see when we arrive home and the last we see when we leave, our own sense of inner chaos will be just a dull ache rather than a full-blown migraine.
Also, those rooms would mean our home would always ready for that company.
Neat, tidy, welcoming. By always being prepared for guests our homes….well at least those first few rooms, will be picked up and ready for anything.
And in order to have those rooms ready for anything we would need to remove all the extra and all the excess. It’s much better and easier to be ready for anything so we are not caught off guard.
Try this, rather than live with the wait and see attitude and never doing anything about our clutter let’s instead live as if we are expecting our best friends to show up at our home any minute and be ready.
Sure, this sounds good in theory but how do we actually go about going it?
Well, before we do anything you need to make a call. I want you to invite a few friends over one week from today. This is that expectation I was talking about earlier. Knowing you have a strict deadline and a real consequence if you don’t follow through is enough to light a motivational fire under your butt and get you moving.
Now, let’s get to that step by step list.
How to get your home company ready with this super effective decluttering hack
Step #1 Choose your rooms
For me, my first 3 rooms are my mudroom, my kitchen, and my family room. Your rooms will, of course, be different depending on the layout of your home. Pick your three rooms so you know just exactly what is expected and you can come up with your plan of attack.
Step #2 Pick your days
I suggest choosing a weekend for this project. You will be amazed at how much you can get done in a single weekend. Wake up early, put on your sneakers and sweats and keep your eye on the ball. Keep going until it is all done and ready for company reminding yourself you only have 2 days to get it completed.
Step #3 As with all things you want to start out easy
When you are decluttering a room, any room your first step is always to remove the trash. Take a bag and walk your room. Start at the door and make your way around the room covering every spot. Gather up anything and everything that you can toss right this minute. Newspapers, water bottles, paper plates, junk mail, scrap paper, wrappers, and magazines. Step it up a notch and also grab any recyclable. Pop cans, water bottles, catalogs, empty boxes. While you at it if it’s broken toss it. We have no time for fixing things. We are getting ready for company!
Step #4 If it doesn’t belong put it away
- Put all papers in your office or whichever room you pay your bills.
- Once every single paper you can find is gone move on to dishes. Gather them up and put them into your kitchen sink.
- Blankets and pillows? Put them in the bedroom or a basket in the family room.
- Toys, games, and stuffed animals. Put them in the playroom or your child’s bedroom.
- Socks, shoes, or clothing goes into the laundry room or mudroom.
- Pet toys are stored in a basket off to the side.
- Books and magazines you want to keep can go on your nightstand in your bedroom.
- Pens, pencils, and other office supplies belong in your desk or another designated area.
Step #5 Let’s deal with the excess
NickNacks are a wonderful way to add charm to a room. The problem is when you have more trinkets than you have room to display them. Rather than 100 vintage bottles and vases that get lost in the clutter choose your favorite few and display them for guests to admire.
Now you can share the stories behind your collections and regard them as true treasures rather than clutter.
Step #6 Choose a specific purpose for your room
I know I have said this before but if you have a purpose for each and every room and hold fast to that purpose then you will never have items end up in this room that does not belong.
Clothes will stay in the bedroom. Toys in the playroom. Dishes in the kitchen. Papers in the office. DVDs in the family room. Coats and shoes in the mudroom or entryway. Tools in the garage. Craft supplies in the hobby room. Towels in the bathroom.
I could go on and on but you see how this simple tip will keep items just exactly where they belong.
Step #7 Go big or go home
Take a look at the furniture in the room and decide what can stay and what needs to go. Short on cash? Here is your chance to make a little money with this project. Take a few pictures of what you plan to remove and post it on Craigslist or Facebook.
Ninja Tip: Try old school! Some local newspapers will give you a FREE ad if you are selling your item for a small amount. Call and see if this offer is good in your area.
Step #8 Clean and tidy up
Now that you have the clutter removed let’s clean up what’s left. Dust, sweep, straighten, wipe down. With the excess gone this step should be relatively quick.
Step #9 Create a full proof system
When I was a kid and I would do a complete cleaning of my room I would remember showing my parents. They would always say, “It looks great! Now keep it that way!”. Yep, sometimes that was easier said than done but I never knew why. Well, it was because I did not have a system in place for keeping my room neat and tidy. I would start out keeping things nice but within just a few days I was back to clothes on my floor and drawers left open and disheveled.
Now, I create a system for a newly purged room. A step by step process for what happens in a room that I force myself to follow to the “T” until it is engraved in my head. I even write my systems down on paper so my family will also know what is expected in a room.
This simple tip is what keeps my rooms tidy at all times. When I cook a meal I know I will immediately after eating put all the food away, clean up the dishes, and check the meal plan for the next day for any early morning prep work that needs to be done. Since I am now used to this system and following it is second nature for me, my kitchen is more often than not pretty neat and company ready at all times.
This step is not required, but I can promise you that if you implement and follow it you will not be doing another full purge and clean a few months from now.
Ninja tip: Use a pretty and decorative dry erase board like this one to display your room’s system. A non intrusive visual reminder is not only good for you but for your family as well!
Step #10 Keep on top of things
Finally, you will need to do a little daily or weekly maintenance to ensure your rooms remain company ready with little or no effort. I spend just 15 minutes a day doing a rotational cleaning plan that keeps my house neat at most times. (notice I did not say all.) I used to do a full clean every weekend, but that quickly got old. I would much rather spend a few minutes each day cleaning than 8 hours on my precious weekends.
By coming up with a game plan, using the power of expectation, and creating simple systems to “keep it that way” you will have a home that is always ready for company and surprise visits.
I hope this simple weekend project and this super effective decluttering hack will inspire you top declutter a few more rooms in your home.