how to get rid of clutter plus free declutter printable

How To Get Rid of Clutter + FREE Printables

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how to get rid of clutter plus free declutter printable

 Wondering how to get rid of clutter? Good news — it’s not as hard as you think! With these simple decluttering tips and tricks, you’ll be organized in no time.

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Inside: A comprehensive guide to decluttering and FREE printable (and customizable) schedules, reminder cards, room-by-room projects lists (and more!), created for the busy and overwhelmed moms!

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How to get rid of clutter it was a phrase that I searched for endlessly.

As a new Mom, I hardly had time to eat or shower, let alone organize. So naturally, there was clutter everywhere and all the time.

I couldn’t sit at the table to eat. My spouse had to clear his side of the couch every night. There were still packed boxes from the move. Junk. Unnecessary things taking up too much (and needed) space in my house and in my head.

When my spouse and I moved into our fixer-upper, I vowed to always keep my home nice and organized, and nothing more than a small pile of dirty dishes or laundry would ever be waiting for me. It was going to be messy enough trying to live in the middle of a renovation.

Fast forward five months and many sleepless nights, and I was standing in my house looking around at all of the clutter, dog hair, and piles of papers and clothes. The stress of the mess had finally caught up with me and I couldn’t take another second of it.

I needed to figure out how to get rid of clutter.

Is this starting to sound familiar to you?

How to get rid of clutter by getting to the root of the problem

The first step towards a clutter-free life is to simply realize and admit that you have a problem!

There is a reason that all of these things keep making their way into your home, whether it’s a spending problem, trying to keep up with the Joneses, or just not being able to pass up anything with the words “free” or “on sale”.
There is also a reason that the clutter stays.

Do an honest evaluation of your clutter and of your habits, and really ask yourself what you can and can’t let go of, and then figure out what your why is.

To get your desired results (which I’m assuming is less stress from the clutter and mess) you have to get to the root of the problem and take care of it. Otherwise, your efforts are basically in vain.
I never said this would be easy!

Once you get past this part you can follow this simple and easy to implement plan to finally take control of the clutter and get organized!
Sounds dreamy, huh?

Tips for Success

I’ve figured out some things in the time I’ve spent trying to find a system that actually works. Here they are!

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Tip #1: Stop Making Excuses for The Clutter

I’m just going to dive in; what’s been keeping you from decluttering and gaining control of your house?

For me personally, it was exhaustion. I did just have a baby, after all! But after my son started sleeping better and I was in the clear to get up and going, the only thing keeping me from clearing out the clutter and organizing were excuses.
Big fat, ugly excuses.

The biggest excuse of all though?
“I just don’t have motivation!”

Can I give you some seriously honest advice?
The motivation isn’t coming.
You have to act first.

Don’t wait until you feel like doing it or until you can set aside a full day at a time to commit to declutteringbecause if you do, it probably just won’t happen.

As you see the progress that you are making, you will become motivated.
The key is to always start with self-discipline because that is going to be what gets you off the couch and what will eventually create new habits that will keep the clutter out forever. (Or, at least for a while.)

Tip #2: Create Consistency to Keep The Clutter Out

This is a tough one for me, mostly because of the horrible habits that I have allowed myself to form and because of forgetfulness.
A very important part of getting rid of clutter will be creating new habits.

Do you know what creates a habit?
It’s consistency.

This is also where self-discipline comes into the picture again.
It will become second nature to rinse the dinner plates right after you eat instead of letting them sit in the sink. Sorting the mail as it comes in will be on autopilot instead of the paper piles cluttering your table or your desk, and most importantly, your mind!

It takes some reminding, and oftentimes some accountability from others to really master this one, but it can be done!

Tip #3: Baby Steps and One Organizing Project At A Time

Though I do think the above tips are important, I also believe that reminding yourself to take it one baby step at a time and to not be hard on yourself is important, too.
The clutter didn’t get there overnight and neither will the perfect organization or new and improved habits.
Don’t be the reason for your overwhelm. You’ve got this!

When you are feeling your overloaded brain and emotions getting the best of you, take a step back.

Look around. You are making progress! Be proud of yourself!

Tip #4: Keep the Decluttering Plan Simple

This kind of just reinforces the tip above.

Don’t overcomplicate this. Yes, when you are facing an enormous amount of clutter and months worth of cleaning to catch up on, it is daunting and you do need a plan. But it is important to keep the plan simple!

Don’t overload yourself with too many ideas and hacks from Pinterest. Don’t research for hours browsing the Internet for the best cube organizers or cleaning products or the best way to be efficient. (I know what you’re thinking; reading this is kind of ironic.)

You simply need to decide what’s staying and what’s going. That’s it!

By the way, not having a plan is not a good reason for procrastinating; it’s just another excuse. (Tough love.)

Tip #5: Lower Your Expectations and Standards

There’s a reason you’ve reached this point; the piled papers on your desks, the built-up dust on the lamps, the streaks on the windows, and the crap under the cushions.

I’m guessing that it’s because either you are just that messy (yep, I’m looking in the mirror saying that one), you don’t have time to clean, or more likely because you have kids. (I don’t think that needs any further explanation.)
In either case, don’t get discouraged when there’s yet another empty toilet paper roll still on the holder while a newly opened one sits on the back of the toilet…or on the floor.
Don’t give up when someone tramples through the house wearing the muddy boots you told them to take off.
Don’t expect there will never be another pile of dirty dishes or wet and nasty noodles sitting in the bottom of the dish water because the plates didn’t get scraped again!

Yeah, it would be awesome if our homes were clean and tidy around the clock, but that’s what they are – homes. And homes are meant to be lived in, not meant to be perfect.

Give yourself and everyone around you a little bit of a break and relax. You have my permission to stop fretting about every little detail that you probably would have taken care of by now before you had children.

It’s never going to be perfect! And that’s okay!

Lower your standards and celebrate the small victories like getting the dishes loaded in the dishwasher after dinner and unloaded in the morning.
Or celebrate that you actually switched the laundry without it sitting for a day or more and then having to rewash it all!
I don’t know about you, but that’s actually a huge win for me! 🙂

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Your Simple Decluttering Plan

When I was decluttering my house (for the hundredth time) I realized something; I can take it the more low-key and self-paced approach, focusing mostly on bite-sized projects like working on the pantry for a week, or I could do the to-hell-with-it and fast-paced route.

Either option are good. Choosing one or the other depends on where you are at in the process, your time limitations, and ability to actually follow through.

Remember when I was talking about the day I decided enough was enough as I stood in my living room looking around at the mess that had taken over my home? Well, that was the day I decided to go the to-hell-with-it route and purge! (Hell hath no fury like a woman who is sick of shit.)

Just remember that if you take this approach, the key is your level of commitment. You have to follow through or you will likely have an even bigger mess than before and be even more overwhelmed and then feel guilty for stopping in the first place. We don’t want that!

For this reason, I recommend that you tackle the to-hell-with-it approach when you have a free day, are able to wake up earlier than the rest of your household, or when you are like I was and just really mad and need some kind of release. 🙂

With that being said, this post will be focused on the steady wins the race approach (or “self-paced”) because I think that is more realistic and attainable for most moms these days.

So, here is your decluttering plan broken down into easy-to-implement steps:

Action Step 1: Enlist Help and Delegate Tasks

If you have some extra pairs of hands and eyes, use them.
They will likely be the voice of reason when it comes to choosing what stays and what goes.

Also, decide who will do what before diving in.
When my Mom decided to help me during my various decluttering and purging sprees (I had a lot of stuff…) we decided beforehand who would do what. It basically ended up being me holding my newborn son while telling her what to do. It was a wonderful moment for me. I got to boss my Mom around for a change! Okay, I’m actually joking.  Stop judging me.

So, before you tackle your decluttering project, ask someone who will actually be of help to come over and then delegate certain tasks to them.

For example, you can be going through things and filling up boxes and bags (your stay box, your trash bag, and your donation boxes) and when full, your help can take them to the car to be dropped off at their destination.
Please remember that their intended destination is not the trunk. You have to actually drop them off somewhere. Don’t pretend that you’ve never forgotten a garbage bag of give clothes in your car. 🙂

Just be careful that the both of you are not doing the same thing at the same time and slowing each other down. We are looking for efficiency!
If you are going through mail together, and they need to keep asking you if you want to keep this or throw away that, you obviously won’t ever get through your own pile and nothing will ever get done. Ask me how I know…

Action Step 2: The One, Five, Ten, and Fifteen Minutes Rule

Get out a timer — and not the one on your phone — and set it for one minute.
FOCUS for 60 seconds (or less) on one goal.
Likewise, this can be done in five, ten, or fifteen minute intervals when applicable.

It could be picking up the candy wrappers and throwing them away, or taking an empty basket while in your kitchen and putting everything that doesn’t actually belong in the kitchen in the basket. If you have time left, put the items where they do belong. Otherwise, wait until your next timed minute to empty it.

This is a very helpful decluttering approach when you have little time on a daily basis, and in between more time consuming and pressing tasks like cooking dinner or taking the kids to school, etc. or when you are (ahem) in the bathroom but are close to something that could be gone through, like your makeup. (Yes, you can do something other than be on your phone while on the toilet.) And stop judging me; my bathroom is teeny-tiny and yes, I can reach the shower or sink from the toilet. Kill two birds with one stone, right?

It’s nearly impossible to not accomplish something with the batch task approach.
Why?
Because timing yourself creates urgency and forces you to focus on the task at hand and not the other hundred things that need done.
You’re trying to beat the clock.

Have you ever started dishes when you noticed the counters are really dirty and cluttered, so you then pick up the laundry soap that clearly didn’t get put away after grocery shopping and was just sitting on the counter, but then on your way to the laundry room you see the huge pile of dog fur sitting in corner, so on to vacuuming you go — only to go back in the kitchen to do dishes and by golly! It’s time to cook dinner! How did two hours seemingly get away from you again?

Duh, Darling; You didn’t focus.
And honestly it happens to me way too often!

Action Step 3: The Room Walkthrough and Project List

When you have some time to spare, go through one room at a time and write down the things that need done. This can include anything from painting to a full-out renovation, or simply just a need to get rid of the clutter.

This is your chance to nit-pick and to allow your OCD kick in.
However, this is not the time to complete the projects. Simply take note of them so you can create a plan that will work and to declutter your mind.
Later on, you will go over the project list and decide what the more important projects are. Then you’re going to schedule them!

Again, the key here is focus. That’s why you will be doing it one room at a time. This will reduce the chances of you getting overwhelmed and throwing in the towel.

Remember to be realistic about what needs done and what it will take to do it.
Don’t write down a goal to clear every square inch of clutter from the living room by tomorrow night so that you can rearrange furniture and paint the walls by the weekend.

Set yourself up for success with SMART GOALS:

Also keep in mind that you need to use your time wisely and efficiently. You need to set priorities.

Which is more important at this time in your life? Painting the pantry and getting cute storage baskets and glass jars? Or just getting in there and throwing out the expired food and using what you already have to organize?

Don’t try to do everything at once.
It doesn’t have to be pretty and perfect; it just needs to be practical and attainable.

Those farmhouse canisters will still be on Amazon when you are ready for them.

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Create Your Simple Decluttering Schedule

By now you should have a solid understanding of the process and hopefully you are ready to commit to it!

First Room To Be Decluttered

When you have finished your room walkthroughs and project lists, you are going to sit down and figure out which room needs to be first priority and why. If you’re not quite sure, ask yourself which room you spend the most time in.

For me, it was the kitchen. This is the most important room because it’s where I immediately go each and every morning (coffee!). If the dishes aren’t done, the counters are cluttered, and the stove is greasy and full of food, it automatically makes me feel anxious. That’s not exactly how I want to start the day.

From there you are going to refer back to your answers in the room walkthrough and project list worksheet.

Write down what you think it will take to declutter that room and to be able to keep it organized.

Will it be time? Will it be needing help?
Figure it out and then try to find a solution.

Now it’s time to schedule your decluttering projects and plans!

Schedule Your Decluttering Plan!

This is where you are putting it all together and making your decluttering plan official by finally putting it in a schedule.

I suggest focusing on one room or two rooms a week, with weekly and daily goals.

Your daily decluttering goals will be scheduled in small and easy tasks in the Daily Batch Task Schedule that’s included in the freebie!

To keep things moving forward smoothly, I suggest sticking to a daily cleaning and keep-up of your home over anything else (even getting rid of the clutter) so that you don’t pile on more things to your list.

If you don’t do dishes for three days and they are taking over your kitchen, you obviously won’t have room to declutter and organize. You won’t be able to focus on another room either, because those dishes will be in the back of your mind the entire time!

Start small and keep it simple.

The Weekly Decluttering Schedule

Do you know which room you want to start with? How long do you think it will take? When can you get started?
Figure it out and then schedule it!

For example, I wanted my kitchen decluttered and organized by the end of the week. I have a pretty small kitchen and there isn’t too much to go through. So my weekly decluttering schedule would look something like this:

The Daily Decluttering Batch Task Schedule

To accomplish my weekly goals I need to do something every day. (This will be your Daily Batch Schedule).

I can manage to multi-task and do some things as I cook dinner or wait for my coffee to brew, etc..

Simple one or five-minute tasks like going through baby bottles or utensils will be easy to do and should be put on the daily decluttering batch task schedule.

Other things might take a bit longer to do, like:

  • Empty out the cabinets with pots and pans.
  • Empty out the bowls and lids cabinets and drawers
  • Declutter the plates cabinet
  • Cups cabinet
  • Mixing bowls and bakeware
  • Above stove and fridge cabinets (spice cabinet)

Tasks like those would be scheduled in 10, 15, or 30-minute blocks of time.
When you have more time (an hour or two) you can really dive in and even declutter and organize an entire room at once.

If this seems too slow of a process, remember that you can still make progress in the other rooms by following the one, five, ten, and fifteen minutes rule every time you go into that room and have time to spare. Honestly, who doesn’t have at least 60 seconds in the day?

These little time blocks end up making a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. You’ll be using your time more intentionally and it will pay off.

Putting It All Together

How do you feel? Are you still frustrated and overwhelmed? Or do you feel lighter and a little more accomplished? You have some work ahead but I believe in you!

If this seems too complicated, take a step back and come back to the plan. I promise it’s going to make sense.

First you are going print off the free Simple Decluttering Strategies printables that will be your guide to decluttering.

Secondly you are going to figure out the causes of your clutter. You will need to commit yourself to better habits that will get rid of clutter and keep you organized.

Thirdly you are going to complete the three action steps: enlist help, find a few minutes every day to work towards your goals. Then you will complete the room walkthrough and project lists.

Fourthly you will schedule the decluttering projects on a weekly basis. Each day will have time blocks set aside for each task to reach your goals.(This is your daily decluttering batch task schedule.)

Fifth and Finally you are going to put the plan into action and follow the schedules.

Are you ready for a clutter-free and organized home?

It will never be perfect but it can be clutter free and organized.

Comment below to share your experiences or suggestions!

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