A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Speed Decluttering as an Olympic Sport


Do you see that giant ball of lead in the shot put picture?

Imagine instead that dusty trinket on your bookcase or those pairs of shoes you never wear about to be tossed into oblivion.

Today’s post is all about flinging your clutter fast and furiously.

Speed decluttering is my favorite method of cleaning things out. I don’t usually have tons of time to devote to simplifying a space but I love seeing quick results.

How to Speed Declutter

Just like an Olympic sport, speed decluttering takes some practice. Here are the basics:

  • Attack your clutter with intensity. Toss entire boxes or drawers full of junk if you can’t remember the last time you touched it.
  • Give yourself a time limit – get a timer or stopwatch if necessary.
  • Focus on function – not emotional attachments.
  • Prioritize quickly – you know if you really need something. Be honest!
  • Toss the excess immediately. Don’t store it. Don’t sort it. Eliminate it!

It’s not always easy. You might get tired or make funny faces like that guy throwing the shot put. But the workout you get from speed decluttering feels awesome!

The Benefits of Speed Decluttering

I love speed decluttering for several reasons. It’s beneficial because it:

  1. Eliminates paralysis by analysis. Jump right in and take control.
  2. Gives you quick results. Who doesn’t love looking around a freshly cleaned space? It feels great!
  3. Saves time – our top commodity. Why waste more time clearing out when our time could be spent doing something we enjoy?
  4. Skips the emotional stuff. There’s just no reason to beat yourself up for eliminating items of emotional attachment. It’s your life and your space, so do what you need to do.
  5. Is easy to repeat. After experiencing one decluttering victory, it makes us more willing to jump in next time.

So if you find yourself with a few spare moments, put them to good use. I promise you’ll love the results!

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Article originally published on 01/25/2012

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  1. I frequently play a game called 20/20 (20 things in 20 minutes). In fact I can do it in about 7 minutes if feeling energetic. And this is in a relatively decluttered home (I say relatively, the clutter can creep back in if not kept in check). Last week I participated in Minimalist Mommi’s 100 things in 100 hours challenge. I tried to complete it in 2 hours one morning, but ended up splitting into 2 x 1 hour slots over 2 days. Speed decluttering is great because it removes the time consuming decision making process – chuck first, think later! (too late by then!)

  2. i try to make every saturday morning my speed-decluttering time, before anyone else wakes up.
    i pick a room, and attack it, just as you state above.

    since it is the weekend, i have time to drive a load over to goodwill (if i find things that i want to give away, which i usually do), and if i find sellable things, i have time to list them on ebay.

    it really sets the weekend off on the right tone..

    • Faith Janes says

      That’s a great idea to make it part of your weekly weekend routine. An excellent habit for sure! I also prefer to declutter without anyone else around. It removes a lot of the pressure to explain your choices.

  3. I need to do this. Since I got large late in pregnancy and giving birth almost 6 weeks ago, the clutter in this house has multiplied by leaps and bounds. I’m itching to get rid of stuff. I don’t quite have the energy to declutter, but soon I will … watch out family!

    • Faith Janes says

      Congrats on a new baby! New baby time is great but easy to get overwhelmed by clutter you don’t have the time or energy to address. I’m sure you’re excited to declutter. Watch out family, indeed! 🙂

  4. Fast and furious is the way to go! I did my whole house in fast bursts when very pregnant, I could only satnd for a few minutes, so I worked fast, then crashed, then worked fast, then crashed

  5. This sounds intense. But I think it is really important to get rid of junk slowing us down and weighing us down. http://www.lifedonewell.com/?p=57

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