Speed decluttering: Reduce possessions and create a clean home faster

First off. If you want to speed through your home, making decisions and decluttering things at an accelerated pace, you have to be willing to make hard decisions and make them quickly.

So many people WANT to speed through decluttering, but when they pick up an item, they think, “I don’t know about this one. Maybe I should keep it…”

That itself is slowing you down.

Here’s how to fix it:

If it’s not a clear “YES!” then it’s a “no.”

This shift happened in my decluttering after I had stashed all my “just in case” stuff in the basement, and we had a bad toilet overflow fiasco – which forced me to ask, “Do I like this item enough to clean sewage off of it?”

If you have something covered in poop, would you say, “maybe I should keep it?”

NO!!

In that case, if it’s not a clear YES!! I would be willing to rescue this and clean it up so I can keep it, I like it so much I would be willing to clean poop off of it just so I can have it – then yes, go ahead and keep it. If you’re willing to do that much work to keep it – keep it.

But imagine if it’s covered in poop – and you waver: “oh, I don’t know, it might come in handy, what if I need this in 5 years? Maybe I should put it in the closet.” We wouldn’t do that, it’s covered in poop! Is it worth the effort of cleaning it up?

I know from experience I didn’t clean up any “maybe I’ll use it someday” items. To the dumpster, they went.

Take the path of least resistance

For me, that meant I didn’t allow myself to sell something. No saving it for garage sales, selling online. No

Because I hate the entire process of selling things on social media, and I hate the entire process of having a garage sale.

Yes, I had some large items that were valuable. And I either offered them to friends or took them to the donation center.

Did I “lose” money? No. I lost the money when I bought the stuff. That’s done. My house was so overwhelming I had to look at it from the perspective that I am paying for a clean house by letting it all go. 

I was able to donate most of what I decluttered, but for other people, it means you need to order a dumpster or haul loads of stuff to the local dump.

I know so many people who live out in the middle of nowhere; they can’t leave stuff on the side of the road, they are too far away from charity shops to donate things, and are desperate to get their homes in order.

Go with the path of least resistance. What does that look like for you? Don’t stress about what other people think: you do what you need to do to take care of yourself. For the people that hate the idea of things ending up in the landfill, your home shouldn’t be the holding place for the landfill. It’s ok to let things go.

If, on the other hand, selling thrills you and motivates you to get rid of more – then great. Set a deadline for yourself and have some parameters in place to keep it under control. If you find things are just piling up and not getting sold, rethink the best way to move forward.

Have an accountability partner

Have someone you’re talking to about what you’re doing. When I was decluttering, I would come to things that felt difficult to declutter, and I would text a friend and say, “Please tell me it’s ok to get rid of this beautiful tea set.” And they would always reply: yes, it’s ok to get rid of it. You have permission to let it go.

I know I don’t need their permission, but sometimes that just gave me the strength to do it.

If you are in need of support and people willing to hold you accountable, I have an amazingly supportive group of people on Facebook, just like you, working on simplifying their homes. I’ll put the link to my Facebook Group in the video description.

Accept when things don’t work for you or your home

Sometimes we buy organizational items or things that seem like they should help us. Let’s look at an Instant Pot, for example. I know many people who love their Instant Pot and use it several times a week. It’s helpful for them. 

When I borrowed one for a couple of weeks to test it, I found that it did cook things well, but it took up so much space in my limited cupboards I ended up leaving it on the counter 24/7. I didn’t like the look of it and decided the amount of space it took up disqualified it from truly being helpful.

If I had purchased it, the amount of money spent would have made me more determined to keep it, even though I know I wouldn’t have used it enough to make it worth the space and care it took.

There are things in our lives that we try to force to work – we paid good money for it, it was supposed to help this area stay organized, it was supposed to minimize the time we spend in the kitchen – but if it doesn’t work for us, it just doesn’t work. No matter how long we keep it, it will not change the fact that that item doesn’t help us. 

But I spent money on it!

I like how Dana White dealt with this – she asked, “How much does this item cost? And would I pay someone that much money to have this space decluttered?”

If the answer is yes, then it’s worth donating because you can purchase that item if you need it – again, it’s the cost of having a manageable home.

There is always a cost. 

If you want to keep a lot of stuff, the cost is: mental stress, feeling overwhelmed, and a cluttery home.

If you want a clean and tidy home, the cost is: not always having everything you think you might need.

Accept that regret is possible. 

Having a clean and organized home is worth the risk of that possible or occasional regret.

Will you regret getting rid of anything? Most people say no; they haven’t regretted ANYTHING. I haven’t regretted anything. I have been inconvenienced – when I decided to make an angel food cake, I realized I got rid of the angel food cake pan. But that wasn’t regret – that was recognizing the cost I’m paying to live with ease.

Let’s end with some mindset-shift statements: 

  • My mental well-being is more important than being thrifty
  • My mental well-being is more important than anything I own – even the sentimental stuff. 
  • My mental well-being is more important than my grandma’s favorite tea cup.
  • My mental well-being is more important than being prepared
  • My mental well-being is more important than keeping things out of the landfill.

If you want to shift your mindset to embrace minimalism so decluttering decisions are easier, I created a 21-day journaling course to help you do that. It includes 21 audio clips walking you through the process of shifting your mindset and 21 PDF printouts with journaling prompts – each day is a working through a different aspect of how we think and helping us realize what changes we need to make to be successful in our decluttering. Click here to learn more.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I created a FREE Facebook Group - feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group and I share videos each week on YouTube

2 Comments

  1. Amy F;) on 03/09/2023 at 7:57 pm

    This is SO helpful!!! Thank-you!

    • Gulzar sayed on 01/17/2024 at 7:01 pm

      Very helpful. I am on the decluttering path since few years on & off as per time . & trying to let go . I achieved something, but not yet reached there.

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