Standing in front of my closet that is packed like one of those Pillsbury biscuit cans (careful…careful…), yet magically contains nothing to wear, I think to myself, “This is it! I’m going to totally become a minimalist, have a capsule wardrobe and never be stuck in this kind of indecision again.”
You want to know how to declutter your home fast. I get it. So do I. So I start to dig in and declutter. I ready myself with donation bags and an attitude that says, “Get out of my way. I’m DECLUTTERING!” And away I go.
The first shirt is easy. It’s my camo shirt and I wear it anytime it’s clean. (For me, camo is the new floral.) No brainer. It stays.
The next shirt – well, that one’s easy – for all the wrong reasons. It was a promo t-shirt an acquaintance sent me for her book launch. (I’ve noticed one thing about giveaway t-shirts: people order Smalls through Extra Large to send out. If you are bigger than an XL, well, you get an XL—and you’re gonna like it. Friend, next time, save the postage.) Out it goes. This decluttering stuff is so easy!
And then, sometimes the decluttering is not so easy…
Shirt number three. It’s my olive-colored tissue tee I bought at Target. I love the shirt, except it hits me in a funny place, making me wonder if my reflection in the mirror is fourteen months pregnant. I can only wear the shirt with a cardigan or a zip-up sweatshirt. I do have another olive shirt that I like better, but this is a perfectly good shirt. And what if something happened to my favorite olive shirt? I would need a backup. I put it in the maybe pile.
Shirt number four. It’s cute, but I don’t have the right pants for it. But I will find them. Someday. Maybe pile.
And in the next 40 minutes, I’ve got seven shirts in the keep pile, two in the giveaway pile, 24 items in the maybe pile and the rest are still hanging in the closet because it’s all just too much.
You want to know how to declutter your home fast, but the problem…
Because you see, the biggest problem with your stuff isn’t space, or time or money. It’s decision fatigue.
I know you want to declutter your home fast, but I also know that you get to a point in decluttering when you are so tired of making decisions that you just…can’t…do…it… anymore…and it’s too hard.
It helps to remember that we are not supposed to own things for the rest of our lives. Yes, it’s great when we have that throw pillow we use and love for 15 years or that pair of PJs you wear every week for a decade.
But for many of us, we love to change things up, and when we do, it’s important to make way for the new by handing down the old.
Because here’s the thing friend: You don’t get any gold stars for having the most clothes.
And this isn’t just a problem for people with a lot of extra money. I remember when I was unemployed and under-employed as a single mom. I still had friends who would give me their hand-me-downs and instead of buying clothes I loved, I would buy clothes I could afford at cheap discount stores.
As a result, when I look back at my past attempts at decluttering, I’ve finally come to this conclusion: Clutter is indecision.
So how do we get over the obstacle of holding onto things that are crowding our lives? How do we regain the power to make decisions?
Give yourself these 3 Clear Questions if you want to know how to declutter your home fast:
- Do I love it?
- Do I use it?
- Would I buy it again?
If you answer No to two of those questions, I’m guessing that item is truly clutter and it’s time to get rid of it.
Shirt #3 The Olive Shirt
- Do I love it? No. I don’t want to look pregnant.
- Do I use it? Occasionally, when I’m desperate.
- Would I buy it again? No, it doesn’t look good on me.
It’s clutter. Time to go.
Shirt #4 The Shirt I like but it doesn’t go with anything
- Do I love it? Yes.
- Do I use it? No.
- Would I buy it again? No.
It’s clutter. Time to go.
For me, the closet is the hardest place to make these decisions. If I can do it there, I can do it anywhere.
So, how do you make the 3 questions work for you when you want to figure out how to declutter your home fast?
- Write them down on a Post-it note. Having the 3 questions in front of you while you’re decluttering will help you stay focused.
- Give yourself a goal. Recently, I was going through my jewelry. I hadn’t gone through it in years and there were a lot of things I no longer wear. I gave myself the goal of getting rid of 30 pieces of jewelry. Because I had a goal, I got rid of some pieces that I might have been tempted to hold onto, “just in case.” But the best part of getting rid of the 42 (yes, 42 pieces!) was that I actually rediscovered some pieces I really love and have started wearing again. So not only do I love them (question #1), now I use them (question #2).
- Think about the next owner. I think about when I was broke and shopping thrift stores. When I found a shirt I loved that actually fit, I was so grateful to find something in my budget I could wear or that my kids wouldn’t be embarrassed wearing to school. If you are having a hard time parting with something you like but don’t use, picture the person who will be wearing it in three weeks—how that jacket you never wear is now one of their favorite pieces of clothing. Or how that blazer made it so they could walk into a job interview with confidence.
I Promise – You Can Learn How to Declutter Your Home Fast
The next time you are ready to declutter, arm yourself with the 3 questions, a couple of plastic bags, and a prayer of determination.
You can declutter. You can make decisions. You can love your stuff again.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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