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Everyone seems to be all about “decluttering” these days.

There’s articles about how it can reduce stress, make your life easier, and so on and so forth. But what a lot of people don’t tell you is that decluttering can be a pretty big time investment! Depending on how much decluttering you feel like you need to do, it’s something you can find yourself sinking a ton of time into if you’re not careful.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though! There’s ways to speed up any decluttering project, no matter how big or small, and once the process doesn’t seem so intimidating you just might do it more often:

 

Set deadlines for yourself

A good way to get motivated enough for smaller, more frequent decluttering projects is to set deadlines or timeframes for yourself. In order to avoid the usual trap of ‘spending four hours cleaning on your day off,’ set shorter, easier-to-attain goals. Do the kids get up at 7:30 for school? Set aside an hour in the morning before they get up, or an hour after you drop them off. Do you want to have one room decluttered every Thursday? Is it easier to drive donations to the thrift store on Saturdays? Look at your schedule, set a deadline, and stick to it—the work will get done faster than you expect.

 

Start with the obvious stuff

A common factor in bogged down decluttering projects is trying to take on too much at once, or losing focus on your work. A good way to start and see immediate results is to go room-by-room and get rid of really obvious clutter that you don’t need anymore. No hard decisions, nothing you have to think twice about, just anything that’s taking up space and can be tossed out without any real repercussion: phone chargers for devices you don’t own, outdated magazines, etc. You’ll notice immediate progress without a ton of invested time or effort, and it will streamline everything else you have to do.

 

Focus more on donating, not selling

A lot of people take decluttering as a good opportunity to try and make some cash off stuff they don’t use; surely someone will cough up money for those DVDs you haven’t watched in forever or that ancient iPod with your favorite songs from 2006 on it, right? But keeping these items around while you wait to sell them can add to the clutter and make you feel like you’re not getting things done as fast as you wanted to. In most cases, particularly if you’re the type that needs to see immediate progress, you may be better dropping off a few boxes at Goodwill instead of wasting your time on Craigslist.

 

Keep extra storage around for overflow

It’s the old adage of needing to make a mess to clean a mess, but when it’s time to declutter, the lack of storage can really slow the process down. Whenever you start your next big decluttering/organization product, try to keep enough extra storage around like wire shelves, basement shelves, or storage bins for overflow or anything you truly need to keep around. Having these items properly organized will prevent this problem from happening again, and might be how the issue got started in the first place.

 

Learn to ask the hard questions

We can tell you that a lot of hangups in the decluttering process stem from indecisions over what to do with the items you find while cleaning, and you might have to ask yourself some hard questions. If something is broken, out it goes. If you’re only holding onto something for sentimental reasons, consider if those reasons are worth this thing taking up room in your house. If you own something else that serves a similar purpose, you don’t need it. Get into this habit early on —and stick with it—and you’ll find the process going much faster once you can make the tough calls.

 

Got any other tips to speed up the decluttering process? Drop a line below!

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