Nobody has time for all the extras that clutter adds to our lives. But we still need to figure out how to deal with things in the time (and with the energy) we have. So here are some easy tips you can use when you’re decluttering that will save you time.
Keys and Purses (and Wallets)
Create a set place to drop your keys and purse when you come in the door. Think about which door you most frequently enter, and the exact path you take once you’re in your house. Along this path is the best place to keep your keys and purse. Can you imagine a life where you don’t spend time looking for your keys and purse because they’re always in the same place? Bliss!
If you keep your wallet in your pocket, pick a place to put it every single time you take it out a home. Often this will be your nightstand. If it might get lost in the piles, grab a small plate/cloth/napkin, put it on the most stable pile, and use this as the landing place for your wallet.
Buying Organizing Supplies
One gentle word: don’t. Except for the few supplies I recommend for taming your paper tiger (you can get this mini-course for free when you subscribe to these posts), do not take the time to buy any organizing supplies before decluttering.
Shopping for supplies can be a way to avoid any actual decluttering. So that’s not helpful. And when you come home with all your lovely organizing supplies (and trust me, I know how beautiful they are!) you need to take time to put them somewhere. And then you’ll have to move them when they’re in the way. But they’ll be in the way again later.
Instead, start with decluttering. When you pare down a category to what you can reasonably keep, you may want to buy some storage/organizing products. But buying organizing supplies before you declutter is kind of like enrolling your child in Quantum Physics before they have mastered their times tables.
Decide in Advance What to Do
This is actually my favorite productivity tip, and it works great for decluttering. Let’s say you plan to declutter for 15 minutes tomorrow. Decide now where you will be and what you will do. You might decide to work at the dining room table (where) and get rid of at least 10 pieces of paper (what). This eliminates making one very big decision right at the start of your decluttering session. And less decision-making saves time and energy!
Have Less Categories
Clutterers and hoarders struggle with making categories when sorting their things. They tend to create very detailed categories that become overwhelming. Think about sorting your pantry. If you had categories for canned food, baking, cooking, and spices you could probably sort things. But if you had categories for cream soup, low salt soup, broth soup, straight pasta, curly pasta, rice pasta…you get the idea. More categories take more time!
The less categories you have, the faster you sort and the more progress you make. In my book Love Your Clutter Away I go into detail about which categories to use for each room of your house. But in general, you can set 5 categories for easy sorting: keep (for things that belong in the room you’re in right now), wrong room (things you want to keep that don’t belong in this room), donate, recycling, and garbage. Almost everything will fit into those categories.
Once you have sorted one pile into the 5 categories, take out the donations, recycling, and garbage, and you’re DONE!! As long as you are taking things out of the house and deciding which room other things belong in you are making excellent progress!!
Do you have some time-saving decluttering tips? Please share them in the comments. We’ll all be grateful for them!