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How to Quickly Declutter Your Entire Home

This entry is part 3 of 33 in the series Italy

In order to fund part of our big summer trip to Italy, we’re renting out our family home. But first, we needed to quickly declutter our entire home.

The one we’ve lived in for the past SEVEN YEARS.

Where we’ve accumulated just a little bit of extra STUFF.

We needed to take photos for the rental ad, which meant some rooms look

— and then some look like a hazardous waste area.  THOSE, will not be in the rental ad. . .

Scott and I keep talking about this being a life-changing trip for our family. But not just the traveling (though that will be of course, too) — because it’s causing us to take stock of our entire way of life.

We simply have too much stuff.

And I was a professional organizer for cryin’ out loud! I’m good at this organizing and decluttering thing, but holy smokes does life sometimes get in the way. Good life. Full life. But distracting life, too.

And so here we are, madly decluttering, fixing things that we’ve lived with for 7 years, and sprucing up the place.

It’s maddening. I’ve gone a little nutty sometimes.

But you know what?

It feels f#$@kin fantastic.

So what’s been my process to declutter as fast as possible?

How to do a Fast Declutter of Your Entire Home 

In order to get nice pictures for the rental ad, we started by pulling out ALL OF THE EXCESS from a room. And then we had a rule that we had to go through it all before any of it could go back in.

So we sorted it all into categories:

  • Keep
  • Toss (broken items, things people would no longer use, etc.)
  • Donate
  • Elsewhere

When I was a professional organizer myself, I would bring along bankers’ boxes labeled with these categories. They filled up really fast, but I felt like it helped to have an actual visual of the categories — especially for Elsewhere.

The Elsewhere category is a gamechanger when you’re organizing. It’s SO easy to go place a few things in a different room, where they belong, and find yourself two hours later wondering what in the world you’re doing!🤦‍♀️

Staying focused is ESSENTIAL for finishing an organizing project, so I like to make my pile of ‘Elsewhere’ stuff — but I don’t take it to another room until I’m finished or the box is full.

And even THEN, I still don’t put the items away in that other room (unless it’s super easy and there’s already a spot for the stuff). I just set them down and get back to the task at hand.

This is what I did when we went through each room in our house. When I got to the next room, I would take care of the elsewhere category as I went through the process all over again.

Start Small and Work Your Way Up

Let me be clear — it’s been a big project! This fast declutter approach is something that has worked for us because our trip has lit a fire under our butts.

how to quickly declutter your entire home
One of MANY carloads full of donation items!

There’s so much more to the organizing process that I’m not covering here, as your friendly neighborhood professional organizer can tell you. But if you’re looking to start with a quick declutter, you can try this approach.

Beware, however, that if you aren’t accustomed to this kind of organizing it can easily get overwhelming. Instead of tackling your entire house at once, start with a drawer and then work your way up.

Stay tuned for more about this entire crazy journey!


Series Navigation<< Ladies and Gentlemen, We Found a RenterPlanes, Trains, and Double Decker Buses — Getting to Italy >>

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1 Comment

  1. Fantastic blog Molly! I love that your trip lit a fire under you all! It really helps motivate you when you have a clear purpose for you decluttering. Enjoy your trip!

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