If you live in a clutter-prone house, there’s no need to beat yourself up. You’re not alone. In fact, it seems as if most of us have some type of problem with too much stuff taking over our lives.
But what happens when you get that phone call. The in-laws are on their way for a surprise visit! They’ll be at your house tomorrow. And your house is being over taken by clutter. You need to know how to declutter your house in one day!
But wait, it’s not as easy as just saying you’re going to be clutter-free in a day. You need an action plan. If you work room by room you can get your house looking presentable and uncluttered in no time at all. And the best part is that you’ll have a home that is decluttered that will result in less stress for years to come.
Table of Contents
- What happens when your home is cluttered?
- What happens when you declutter your home?
- Grab some trash bags or boxes
- Call the calvary
- Don’t stress
- Start with the common areas
- Take a break
- Move onto other areas
- Sort out your boxes
What happens when your home is cluttered?
When our homes are cluttered we feel stressed out and anxious easily. We aren’t able to relax and enjoy peace of mind. There are too many distractions with so much stuff everywhere that makes us unsteady on what to do next or where anything even is!
Some people don’t want to hold onto memories. Instead they choose to stuff their lives with more and more things in the hope that they will be happy and fulfilled. As we all know, this could not be farther from the truth. Bags of clothes are taking up all your storage space, you’re tripping over toys, and every counter top is covered in piles of clutter!
What happens when you declutter your home?
Life begins to slow down once you have everything where it belongs. You can enjoy peace and quiet without constant distractions which will allow you to do what is important for YOU. A decluttered house means a clear mind which leads to a healthier lifestyle overall.
It’s time to get started on your decluttering journey! By working room by room you are going to create a home that is clutter-free and ready for any unexpected visitors.
How to declutter your house in one day
Grab some trash bags or boxes
This box is for everything you pick up that needs to be put back in its place. This is maybe the most important box to deal with today.
I’m a huge fan of donating all clutter in my home that I don’t love or need anymore. My feeling is that the money I spent on these items is long gone, whether they remain gathering dust in my house or go to someone less fortunate. So I’m not losing out in any way and if anything I’m gaining the happiness out of helping others.
If you find donating too difficult, maybe you could really do with the money right now and something is very valuable, pop them in this box for selling. However, it may take time to organise selling and I believe that time is sometimes more valuable than the time you spend trying to sell something.
Old carboard boxes, plastic bottles, paper – all of these can be recycled rather than thrown out.
Some things can’t be salvaged or even recycled unfortunately, and will just need to be thrown away. Getting rid of them now will prevent more accumulation.
Needs to be fixed
I currently have a dress and a playsuit hanging over the banister at the top of my stairs that need to be mended! I have a rule that nothing goes back into the wardrobe if it needs to be fixed, otherwise it will never be worn and something else will be chosen each time.
Call the calvary
The first step is to call on your family members to help out. Especially if it’s your in-laws coming, then really your other half needs to get involved. It’s their family after all!
Get the kids involved too by giving them a box and a 15 minute challenge to gather everything they want to donate into the box the quickest. Once that’s done, do the same for trash and putting things away.
First things first. Unexpected visitors can definitely put you into stress mode. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the amount of work to do. We’ll go through one room at a time so you don’t have to think about the whole house, just a small space at a time.
You’ve got the family ready to help, you’ve got the whole day to get the job done and you’ll be rewarded with a clutter-free house and a lovely day tomorrow with your guests.
Start with the common areas
The entrance hallway is really the first impression anyone has coming into your home. So it should be looking clutter free for a warm welcome. I like to have a candle lighting in my entrance hall when guests are coming so there is a sense of calm and a nice smell too!
- Hang coats, scarves and bags on hooks or stands… don’t leave them lying around on chairs.
- Check for any hats under sofas/chairs/amidst things in hall cupboard.
- Sweep up any pet hair, dirt, shoes/boots etc
- Make sure there is nothing on the floor (i.e. shoes!)
- Clean mirrors- quickly wipe over to spruce up the look
Living area / dining room
This should be a place to relax and enjoy your company, so it needs to be clutter free for you to do this. You and your guests will likely spend most of your time in this area, and everything will be on show!
- Remove any mismatched items and bring things that belong in bedrooms back to where they belong
- Clear surfaces – Throw out any trash or unwanted items
- Dust shelves/windowsills if they need it
- Make sure there is nothing on the floor that shouldn’t be there
- Kitchen table – clear surfaces of appliances you don’t use or unnecessary items, shorten long cables if possible, wipe down surfaces
If you’re like my family, everyone is in the kitchen hanging out when the cooking is being done, so don’t think that you can hide any clutter! Especially if there’s going to be many cooks in the kitchen, you’ll need the counter space clear.
- Clean the sink and wipe down the taps
- Weed out anything that doesn’t belong in this area… Keep items off the counters that can be stored in the cupboards (i.e. cereal boxes)
- Any chipped or broken plates, cups, glasses should be popped in the throw out box
Bathrooms are usually areas that you can really see when there’s clutter or mess, and bathrooms by nature should be clean. Again, I like to have a candle lighting in the bathroom (just in case!).
- Clean the sink and wipe down the taps
- Pick up any used towels and replace with fresh ones
- Empty the rubbish bin
- Wipe mirrors
- Clean the showers / bathtub, throw any empty shampoo / shower gel bottles in the recycling and tidy the rest away
Often the guest bedroom ends up being a dumping ground for things that have no home. So sometimes this can be the hardest room to declutter.
This bedroom will need to be decluttered before guests arrive at your door.
- Put everything back in its place
- Change the bedsheets if not done recently
- Leave some towels out at the end of the bed
- Leave an extra blanket at the foot of the bed just in case
Take a break
Time for a break! You’ve done the hardest part already, the areas that are most likely going to be used and seen by your guests. You still want to keep going to declutter the rest of the house as your guests will likely want a tour, but breaks are a must.
Grab a coffee or sit outside for a few minutes to unwind and regroup, before you continue on
Choosing what to keep or not will be hard, but you’ve already come this far, and you can keep going!
Move onto other areas
Playroom or kids’ area
Hopefully the kids have made a great start on these areas with the challenges you set for them earlier. If there’s still some work to be done, begin by picking toys up off the floor, sweeping/vacuuming, and putting away laundry or dirty dishes.
- Put all toys (action figures, dolls, etc.) into fabric bins with lids so they’re out of sight.
- Place books on shelves and sort like items together (puzzles together, etc.).
- Create an area for large lego sets under a table or other flat surface when possible.
- Make sure there’s seating for your child(ren) to read or draw or for arts and crafts.
The best time to clear out the linen closet is when guests are coming. Why? Because it’s when you can see clearly what towels and bed linen are still good enough to be kept for guests and which ones have lived their life and need throwing out.
If you’re unsure how much linen and towels to keep, I like to say 3 towels per person in the house – one for using, one in the wash, and one spare just in case. Same goes for bed linen.
For guests, you should only need two sets of everything. One in use and one set in case you have guests coming right after other guests leave!
- Declutter face clothes, hand towels and bath towels, only keeping what you need
- Get rid of bed linen to only what you need to keep
- Any miscellaneous items,
Your bedroom should be a calm space in order to ensure a great night’s sleep and have you waking up refreshed and not stressed.
It shouldn’t be the sign of chaos, which is likely if it’s being cluttered with clothes strewn all over, piles of paperwork on your desk and dirty dishes that haven’t been cleared away from last night.
A messy bedroom means an even messier mind!
- Start with decluttering clothes, clearing from hanging on chairs, etc
- Bring any dishes back to the kitchen
- Open the curtains to bring light to the room
- Put everything else back in its place.
The method I usually use for decluttering clothes is the Marie Kondo method, however today you may not have the time for this chore. If you’re not going to declutter your clothes today, park it for another day and come back to my tips on How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes
TIP: Make your bed every morning. This way you’ve done the first thing on your to do list for the day and made your first decision of the day, so you’re more likely to continue to be productive throughout the day!
You may have several storage rooms in your house and it can be easy to let them become cluttered. So go through all the stuff that you’ve been storing away, and see what deserves a permanent place in your home and what you can give away.
Sort out your boxes
Last thing on your list is to get rid of your boxes.
- Everything from the keep box should already be put away as you were going through the rooms.
- The throw out box items can be placed in the rubbish straight away.
- If you can’t get to the charity shop / thrift store or recycling centre today, put these boxes in your car to bring the next time you’re heading out. That way they won’t be forgotten about until your next decluttering session.
- If you don’t have time to deal with the fix/mend box today (given that you’ve had a busy day and have guests coming tomorrow, that’s completely understandable!), pop the box under the bed or in the hall storage room until your guests have left. Remember, don’t place items back in their place until they’re fixed!
Once everything is put back where it belongs and all of your boxes have been emptied through donating, recycling, selling and throwing out – congratulations! You now know how to declutter your house in one day!
Now it’s time to put your feet up for the evening with a glass of vino before your guests arrive tomorrow to a clutter free home.
If you enjoyed this article on how to declutter your house in one day please share with family and friends so they can get started decluttering their homes just like you!
A clutter-free house means a clutter-free mind and it’s easier than ever to make that happen. Spend your time, money and energy on the things you love – rather than wasting it!
For more decluttering tips, check out these posts How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes: An Essential Guide