How I Decluttered My Entire House in Six Days

UPDATE: GO HERE TO VIEW THIS YEAR’S DECLUTTER PROJECT.

19BagsOneCloset
Remember when I challenged myself to declutter my entire home in three days? It ended up taking twice as long but I am thrilled with the results!

I listed my ideal declutter schedule here.

And here’s what reality looked like:

Day One: The living room, main bathroom, and my bedroom closet.
Day Two: The kitchen (Lily and I spent hours cleaning and organizing our spice and baking shelves to create a workable system and it has been well worth the effort!).
Day Three: The girls’ bedroom and the holiday storage closet.
Day Four: The schoolroom.
Day Five: The rest of the master bedroom (which included everything except my closet), plus Nathan’s walk-in storage closet.
Day Six: The basement.

Here’s how I decluttered and organized my entire home in six days:

While I’d originally planned to just take three solid days to declutter, I’d forgotten one big thing: I couldn’t clean for three days straight! I hadn’t cleared my schedule and there was still schoolwork to help with, food to cook, laundry to fold (I used method B), and several other things that I couldn’t just drop without notice.

In other words, I had the excitement and the desire to declutter quickly but I lacked good planning. I decided not to let that discourage me though and I just went with it!

Laundry
I divided my decluttering project into three separate weeks:
Monday and Tuesday the first two weeks, then Tuesday and Wednesday the third week. Not only did this help decluttering to flow better with my family’s schedule, but it also gave me time to work on little projects inbetween declutter days (laundry, sending out mail, bringing in stuff from the cars, etc.).

We ate simple meals. This wasn’t the time for gourmet food! Fresh fruit with eggs for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, and oatmeal or baked fish with broccoli and rice for dinner. A couple of the nights, Lily (8) cooked dinner for the family and we were thrilled to eat whatever she made!

I decluttered even when I didn’t feel like it. Yes, there’s a time to rest and to take a break, but sometimes we just have to push through the tough stuff and focus on the end result!

I stopped when I really needed to. I didn’t meet my goals every day, but last year when I decluttered, I really disliked the process. It was hard. And often discouraging. Since then, I’ve also re-decluttered a few problem areas in my home. So when I decluttered this time I decided to reward myself with not dreading the entire process. When my kids wanted to make cushion tents while I vacuumed the couch, I helped them. When the weather was nice, I worked until 2pm and took the rest of the afternoon off so we could go outside for a few hours. I was able to actually enjoy the journey this time.

My family kept our main goal in mind. I’ve told you a little about our dream of moving to a tiny house in the country. I was amazed at how this dream propelled all four of us to get rid of more stuff! We all decided that if we won’t take it when we move, why do we need to keep it now?

I put all of the information I’ve ever learned about decluttering to good use, including basic declutter tips and how to declutter with little ones underfoot.

I knew that if we hadn’t used an item since last year’s declutter project, we probably didn’t need it, so I got rid of it.

SixDayDeclutter

I quickly got rid of bags that held our former possessions. Trash was taken outside daily. Donation bags were dropped off weekly. This helped our house to feel lighter quickly and didn’t give us time to pull stuff out of bags!

Each person helped with their own items.
Last year, I did most of the decluttering alone because there was just so much and I needed to work alone to sort through my own thoughts as I cleaned. This year, everyone in my family helped with their own items. They got rid of things that I would have been afraid to toss. It saved me a tremendous amount of time and guess work!

I enlisted outside help. I declutter our school/play room quarterly. And somehow, by the end of each quarter I feel overwhelmed as I look around and realize that it’s time again. So this time I traded days with a friend and she graciously helped me clean, declutter, and reorganize our entire school area in exchange for me helping her organize a few simpler areas in her home. It’s so much easier to toss stuff quickly when a friend is right there to see all the junk we’re hanging onto for no reason!

Final Results

Maybe you’re wondering how much stuff we got rid of – not counting items we returned that belonged to other people, and not including stuff my husband took to the office for use there, we got rid of 49 trash bags full of trash and donation items. 19 of those bags were from my husband’s storage closet alone (I ignored his closet last year because he just wasn’t ready).

19BagsOneCloset

This years’ declutter project was exponentially easier than last year. Our house is actually more organized than it was last year, it’s emptier than ever (but not bare!), and it’s so much easier to keep clean!

I want to encourage you – whether you’re in the midst of a huge declutter project or are so overwhelmed that you still don’t know where to start, please don’t give up. Keep on keeping on. It’s more than worth every second of the effort. Remove the layers and enjoy the beauty that’s underneath.

You’ll be so glad you did.

Special Note: If you liked this article, then you’ll love my brand-new eBook, Chaos to Clutter-Free – go check it out!

chaostoclutterfree

UPDATE: GO HERE TO VIEW THIS YEAR’S DECLUTTER PROJECT.


Comments

  1. I’m not doing something right. I always end up with small and big plastic totes even if I get rid of things that are hard to let go.(really don’t need it). I have 3 girls and 1 boy so there’s always CLOTHES, TOYS and a basket full of pens pencils crayons and markers. I feel like taking totes and bags and just throwing them away to be free. What am I doing wrong????

  2. This is almost sad. The amount of money just blown and then just thrown away. Next year maybe you could do a rough estimate of how much you money was actually spent. Whether by you or by ppl outside the home. Then after that you could take half of it and do SOMETHING GOOD WITH IT.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Liss! We give most of our donation items to friends who are having yard sales to raise funds for adoption. You can go here if you’d like to donate some of your own money to help bring an orphan home: http://www.gofundme.com/gamppadoption?fb_action_ids=10152687039461334

      • What a wonderfully kind and diplomatic response to a judgmental comment. 🙂

        • I second the positive reply to the above comment that was very opinionated! I think we ALL have overspent at some point, whether it was intentional or not. No room for judging here! I am a clean freak, and yet I am always in declutter mode. We live in the USA where abundance is rampant (ahem, look at all the stuff we can buy at Walmart alone)!! So with that said, I believe you are kind, brave, and wise for choosing to declutter. There will always be naysayers.

          • Great great great response!!! In our house, it’s not always a matter of overspending, but a matter of family over gifting! They buy so much stuff for my kids (toys, clothes, books, etc), but we literally have nowhere to store them all. Several times per year I find myself having to purge their rooms before we end up on an episode of Hoarders! We donate our stuff to a child concern center that either gives the items to families in need or sells the items for low prices and uses the money to buy food for those who often go without. I think your method of giving to families for adoption is equally fantastic.

          • Those are great uses of your extra stuff, Ali, thank you fo sharing your wonderful ideas!

          • Thank you, Jeanne!

      • First of all, that is such a great thing to do!! You’re being thoughtful and purposeful through the whole process. The decluttering process has made me more thoughtful and purposeful in my purchases as well, and hopefully that is rubbing off on my kids. Instead of buying some random toy from the thrift store we can wait, save up and get a lego set that they will enjoy for far longer. with the decluttering process fresh in my mind its easier to pass up good deal, sales etc that are things I dobt realy need or love and instead save for those items that will have lasting value. Its taught me more self control I geuss 🙂

      • I loved your answer, it’s hard giving up things!!! I’m in the process of starting off my New Year in declutter mode and getting my home in order!!! So I stumbled on your blog and love the ideas!! The negative comment was very uncalled for, but we live in a society of negativity I’m afraid!!! Keep up the blogs and thank you for the information!

      • So judgemental. We throw out tons of stuff. Whether it’s things we have outgrown or thought we would use, butt don’t. Things people have gifted to us. Things I’ve hung inti way too long. Stuff just accumulate. Ebert bit of what I throw out is donated (so long as it’s still usable).someone else is able to buy it cheap and continue to use it.

    • Oh my, the capital letters in the first response were so unnecessary. Just because things were put into trash bags, doesn’t mean everything was actual trash or thrown out. No need to just assume other people aren’t giving to charity and donating to a good cause.

    • Holy smokes!! Just my kids create a lot of clutter! It’s not their fault, we have outgrown hockey gear, Soccer gear, baseball gear, ski gear, dance outfits and costumes and random other paraphernalia. That doesn’t count for outgrown clothing or items they have worn out or stained. A favorite book or toy is soon outgrown, usually by the kids generally outgrowing it – age appropriate. I don’t think it’s a waste that we provided these items. It’s only a waste if I store them and don’t pass them on to someone who can use and/or appreciate them!

      • “I don’t think it’s a waste that we provided these items. It’s only a waste if I store them and don’t pass them on to someone who can use and/or appreciate them!” I love that, Carla, thank you!

  3. I am loving Chaos to Clutter-Free. It has so many good ideas that I need in my house. Do you have a specific schedule that you follow each week to keep your house clutter free? I have two daughters that love to drop it and go.

  4. STOP SHOPPING, STAY HOME AND READ TO YOUR KIDS, PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS.
    S TAY OUT OF THE STORES.
    IGNORE THE SALES ADS.
    PLAY GAMES ON YOUR COMPUTER INSTEAD OF SHOPPING.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Lynn! I rarely shop for more than groceries but we are blessed to have extended family and friends who love to gift my kids with new or gently used items 🙂

    • Putting everything in caps *basically yelling*, fails to get your point across in a manner that one would bother entertaining, much less respect. Though I doubt her shopping habits are any concern of yours, she is simply offering helpful advice. If you don’t need it, then I’m not entirely sure your reasoning for being here.
      Davonne, your response show the upmost dignity. My family enjoys blessing us as well, though I do like to shop lol. Thank you for sharing your experience and tips!

    • Lynn sometimes de cluttering isn’t always about shopping too much. Both my parents and in laws passed away and I’m dealing with 50 years of things accumulated– old photos, mementos, every report card etc. we really shouldn’t assume should things, should we? I’m grateful for the advice and tips!

      • Gracie Royle says:

        AMEN Shelly. It was so important for me to keep all that “family” stuff Now I realize that stuff represents someone else’s tastes and memories and life. Not mine. And I’m left trying to figure out what really is valuable to sell, what needs donated and to where and what just needs trashed.
        It’s never been a matter of just shopping for me, but guilt about letting go of so called family treasures.

      • It took me 3 years you clean out my parents home. They had lived there 51 years. I finally did it! Sigh. Now I have too start on my house. I’ve been here 32 years and need to deal with a lot of stuff that just got set aside to make a decision on later. Decide now! Don’t postpone!

        • Carol, WOW! I am so impressed that you didn’t give up. Awesome job! Your house will feel so much easier – you won’t have the emotional difficulty that you must have felt when going through your parents’ belongings. I’d love to have you join us at The Tidy Up Club – we’re starting a declutter challenge today and I think you would love it: https://www.facebook.com/groups/405997082909230/

      • Us too, Carol. His Dad and our son both passed away and suddenly we are drowning in stuff to go through, on top of selling our second home. It has taken us over a year to get as far as we have in the process and I’m here to tell you, it AINT easy! Often there is emotional value attached to a piece, making the decision to keep or give even harder. I applaud anyone who can declutter.

    • This is not a matter of shopping too much. Kids outgrow toys and clothes. Styles change. My mom even saved over 3000 plastic bags and yogurt containers. Stuff makes its way into the home. Kids sou sports and move onto something else. Projects from school come home. There are many reasons for clutter and it’s basically none odd your business where it comes from. Those of us that have it need help and and tips we can find for dealing with it.

  5. Have you ever read the book “7”? I don’t totally agree with everything she says, but it gave me some good ideas. She decided to declutter her whole life, taking a different area for one whole month. For instance, she picked out 7 foods and ate only that for one month, 7 pieces of clothing, etc., etc. But what if we did 7 everyday tops, 7 slacks, 7 Sunday outfits, etc. If you buy new you get rid of one. wouldn’t this declutter our homes.

  6. I don’t know why there are people who insist on being rude and think you want their negative opinions. Everytime I read a negative comment I just automatically think those people are miserable and don’t like seeing other people happy so they find a reason to hate. You are very diplomatic in your answers. It’s not a waste to buy something and use it and then pass it on to someone else who can use it as well. It is a waste when perfectly good items are thrown away which drives me crazy.

    My questions are: How long did it take you to do the initial clean up? What is your mental method of getting rid of sentimental items? How do you get around the “what if this is worth a lot of money one day” thought? My dad gave his stamp collection to my sister. There were a couple of stamps that became worth a lot of money years later. We called her and asked her where the collection was and she said she threw it away. We are so freaked out about it to this day. But now I think I hold on to items that I think might be worth something in the future. I just don’t know what to do about that. What do you think?

    • Rhonda, I am so sorry for the delay in replying! The first time I decluttered my entire home, it took 8.5 weeks from start to finish. There were rooms we couldn’t even use because of all the stuff people had generously gifted us, so there was a LOT to sort though.

      For family heirlooms, I ask other family members if they want it before donating. Sometimes they do and are thankful I asked, other times they don’t and I’m able to release the item for someone else to enjoy.

      Sentimental items – I display and use what I love and I set a limit for the rest – each person in my family has a box for sentimental items we no longer use. If it doesn’t fit, we prioritize what we want to keep. (And I try not to be too legalistic – if people need a second box, then we can get a 2nd box. No biggie. We just don’t need a room full of boxes.)

      For something I think may be worth money in the future, I get rid of it anyways. If it’s worth $100 or even $1,000 later, that’s still not worth it to me to store a whole ton of stuff for years and years in the hopes that some of it might become valuable someday. I wrote more about that here: http://www.davonneparks.com/your-clutter-could-be-costing-you-25000/

      And I hope you and your dad are offering grace to your sister 🙂 She was trying to simplify in her own home and while it would have been best for her to ask your dad if he’d like to have the stamps back, I’m sure she learned a very valuable lesson.

      Thanks for your great questions, Rhonda!

      • Cheryl P says:

        My sister did something with my dad’s coin collection, not sure what and my brother & I are not happy. But, what can you do? What’s done is done! I am a clutter’aholic. I use to say I thrive on clutter. I really, really did know where everything was and could find it in seconds. But, since “good meaning” people have come into my life and moved things around, not to mention menopause side effects, I can’t seem to find anything. I recently made a sign up sheet that says’ LOST IT, LIST IT HERE: FOUND IT, PUT IT IN THE BASKET, CROSS OFF LIST” I have it in a basket next to the couch. I ask if my husband has seen something & he thinks he might have, but can’t remember when or where. I’ll see how it works!

      • This gives me hope

      • (I’m no expert, but it’s been my experience that — Nothing. is Ever. “Worth-a-lot-of-Money.” Someday. [did that Comment sound Weary? that’s because am trying to de-clutter…!?!])

  7. I just decluttered and loaded my suv 3 times and took it all to goodwill, we usually only have one can for trash each week, this week We had 2 plus the large recycling bin was full to the brim. …felt good but I’m afraid I’m not done!

    • Paula, that’s fantastic! So excited for you!

    • Cheryl P says:

      Paula, I have 1 trash bin and 2 recycling. I did have 3. There is never a week that the regular trash bin is more than halfway full, but my recycling ones are usually full to the top. I have so much “stuff” and I love paper, receipts etc,… I’m old school that way and it’s not good!

  8. Colleen Hitchcock says:

    Davonne, thank you! I’ve always had a difficult time letting go of stuff. Part of it has to do with not having anything of my own as a child. And working full-time while raising a family and decluttering mine and my late grandparents’ stuff, well, it’s overwhelming for me! My first husband made things worse by undermining any progress I’d make. Our sons watched this, and they and my new hubbie are quick to praise my efforts, and to help, especially if I give specific supporting tasks. But now and then I need a little extra, like tips and encouragement. Thanks for giving both!

Trackbacks

  1. […] help me maintain a “clean-enough” house during this season of life, especially since I just decluttered my entire house last […]

  2. Memorial Day says:

    […] others with my time and resources – when it’s out of my abundance. Now that I’ve decluttered my home and reevaluated my entire schedule, however, I’m finding that when I give, it’s more of […]

  3. […] How I decluttered my entire house in just six days! […]

  4. […] we have a lot of herbs and spices, I also cleared out a shelf (a bonus of decluttering!) to use for “spice overflow.” When a jar starts getting low, I simply refill it from […]

  5. […] 2) How I Decluttered My Entire House in Six Days […]

  6. […] How I Decluttered My Entire House in Six Days. This is a post I wrote last year, and it was the 2nd most popular article on my blog in […]

  7. […] So in the spring of 2014, a solid year after my first complete declutter session, I decided to do another full-home declutter. I didn’t think we’d find much to get rid of – maybe a few bags of clothes for donation and a couple of toys. Boy, was I wrong! After six days of decluttering, our home was 49 trash bags lighter! […]

  8. […] thought it would be easy this time. After all, I’ve already decluttered my entire house from top to bottom twice before. I wrote a book about it. I virtually declutter other people’s messes. This time […]

  9. […] updates about the laundry room and spare closet after we clean them out! For now though, check out last year’s declutter article if you’d like to see how I decluttered my entire house in just six […]

  10. […] used to think that my own house was cramped and somewhat small, but after getting rid of van loads full of clutter, I realized that we have more than enough space! Perhaps you do […]

  11. […] How I Decluttered My Entire House in 6 Days — Davonne Parks shows us how to do the quick and dirty method.  Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. […]

  12. […] it is going to take a while to go through everything and sort things out. This is why you should make a plan and do your best to stick to it. You might think that you can do it in two days time, but, to be […]

  13. […] How I Decluttered My Entire Home in Six Days […]

  14. […] people come to view it. Lived in and loved. So, I’ve taken some advice from Davonne Parks, click here for her link, to really get busy decluttering! She has some amazing ideas! I am taking them to […]

  15. […] 3. How about decluttering?? Here is guidance for Decluttering Your Home in 6 Days. […]

  16. […] How I Decluttered My Entire House in Six Days says: November 18, 2014 at 11:01 am […]

  17. […] just think – you’ll never have to organize those items again! (Read about how I decluttered my entire home in just 6 days for more inspiration to throw things […]

  18. […] the scary part: the house we bought is only about half the size of our current home. It looks like my annual declutter this January is going to include getting rid of half our stuff! […]

  19. […] just think – you’ll never have to organize those items again! (Read about how I decluttered my entire home in just 6 days for more inspiration to throw things […]

Speak Your Mind

*