Don’t we all wish we could declutter in a day? Well, guess what? With one-room S.P.R.I.N.T.s — along with my best declutter tips — you can beat the overwhelm, stop making excuses, and have a clutter-free home in just a few days.
My all-time favorite way to clear the clutter will always be the Slow Decluttering method. There’s no stress, no mess, and you don’t feel any pressure to do your entire house in a weekend.
But sometimes you’re ready to move faster. You’ve decided you need to get everything out, and it needs to go quickly. Maybe you’re on a time crunch. Or maybe your brain finally hit the point where you’re suddenly extremely motivated.
And for those times, you probably want a way to declutter that has a few more rules and a time limit to keep you on track with your goal.
My post about how to declutter really fast will give you some basics. But it doesn’t have any time limits on it.
Keep reading… this is the post you need for a structured declutter where you can do a room per day.Are you ready to S.P.R.I.N.T. your way to a clutter-free home? Here’s how to declutter one room every day. #decluttering #organizing Click To Tweet
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What is a Realistic Amount to Declutter in a Day?
One day… how much can you honestly declutter in one day?
Do you have a house that just has some messes here and there and a few things out of place in every room? You can probably go through your whole house and be done in a couple of hours.
That would work if you’re doing a maintenance declutter — you’ve already done a major, deep declutter in the past and now you’re just maintaining. If that’s the case, you probably don’t even need this post… you should just go do it! 😉
Do you have a house that’s overly cluttered because you’ve been collecting stuff for years? Or do you want to do a deeper declutter of all the hidden places — such as drawers and piles that you haven’t touched in months or longer?
Then you can probably do one room in a day with the S.P.R.I.N.T. method. You could do your entire home over the course of a week or two. Wouldn’t that be amazing?!
Are you ready to S.P.R.I.N.T.? Okay… here we go!
What is S.P.R.I.N.T. Decluttering?
One thing you need to remember about decluttering is that it always takes longer than you thought it would. Yes, always. Even when you’re motivated, at some point during the process you will get bogged down and overwhelmed, usually because you can’t make quick decisions about your clutter.
S.P.R.I.N.T. decluttering is designed to prepare you and keep you moving along until the job is done. You’re going to work as fast as you possibly can.
S = Set a goal [space and time].
P = Prepare [supplies and your mind].
R = Race [against the clock].
I = Invigorate [take a break].
N = No excuses [it’s time to get this done].
T = Treat yourself [with non-cluttering rewards, of course]. 😉
Your total time goal should be approximately an hour:
10 minutes – gather trash
10 minutes – gather items that belong in a different space
35 minutes – sorting through the rest of the clutter, including one Invigorating break
10 minutes – take care of trash, donations, everything that belongs somewhere else
Let’s do a deeper dive into each of these steps and how you can use them to successfully declutter a room in a day.
S = Set a Decluttering Goal
First, you’re going to set goals for space and time.
Your primary space goal should be to declutter an entire room if your house is fairly messy.
Your secondary time goal is however quickly you think you can finish. One hour is a good place to start for a room with medium-level clutter — a few piles on the floor, clutter on tables and in drawers or a storage cabinet, but only a few sentimental items.
Finally, decide what your reward will be at the end of the decluttering day when you succeed with your S.P.R.I.N.T.
P = Prepare to Clear the Clutter and Pre-Make Decisions
The first part of this step is to gather the items you need for decluttering.
Heavy-duty black trash bags. Always black, because you don’t want to see what’s in the trash bag and you don’t want your family to see what’s in the trash bag. You don’t want to rethink anything you put in the bag, you just need to get it out of your house.
Boxes for donation items. Make sure these are small enough to easily handle.
A box or a basket for items that belong in a different room. You’re going to collect them in the basket and return them after you do your decluttering. A laundry basket works well for this.
A box or basket for papers. Everybody who has clutter has lots of papers. You’re not going to go through them right now, that’s a task for another day. So they need to be in a basket. If you have only a very few papers, you can put them in a file folder
Gloves. Because clutter is messy and you never know what you’re going to discover. Even if your house is clean, gloves are nice. You don’t have to be afraid to touch anything, and you’ll work faster because you just pick things up instead of thinking about how dusty they are.
Timer. This is very important because along with your attitude, it is key to your success.
The second part of this step is preparing your mind. You’re going to get this done quickly, you’re NOT going to look at every single object and deeply consider what to do with it.
You need to pre-make the decisions about what will happen to your stuff. You need ground rules. If you dither over making a decision about every item you touch, you’ll never finish.
If your things are nice, then you can donate them. Just make that decision before you do anything else.
If your things are not so nice, or maybe you have several broken items that you intended to get fixed but they’ve been sitting around for years, then it’s time to let these things go. Throw them away.
If you have sentimental objects that you just absolutely cannot consider getting rid of, then make an allowance to have one (SMALL) storage bin for storing them. You will go through these later.
Have a plan for clutter disposal. Do you need to rent a dumpster? Do you have containers for donations? Will you deliver donations or do you need to schedule pickup?
If you live with others (a roommate, family, etc.), you need to agree about how possessions will be handled — who will make final decisions, is anything off-limits, etc.
Plan for meals. If you are doing a room in an hour, then plan an easy-to-cook meal or throw something in the crockpot early in the day. If you think the room will take more like 2-3 hours, then have a meal delivered or send someone for take-out.
R = Race Against the Clock
Throughout this step, you’re going set your timer for 10 minutes and repeat as necessary. Hopefully, you will only need the timer sessions I outlined earlier in the post. The point is to set that time limit and have the timer going off frequently — it will keep you moving and help you work more quickly.
During the first 10 minutes, you’re going to take your black trash bag and work your way around the room. Dispose of anything that is broken, too dirty to donate, or just completely worn out.
If you have cabinets or a piece of storage furniture, open all the doors and drawers and just pull out anything you see that needs to be trashed.
Don’t think about the stuff, just put it in the bag and let it go. I cannot stress that enough. You want to do this quickly.
As soon as you have finished gathering the trash items, set the bag aside. The best place is outside your working zone, but don’t take the time to carry it to the trash bins. If the timer goes off before you’re finished, you should be inspired to step up the pace. Trash shouldn’t take much time.
The next step, after you have done the trash, is to grab everything that belongs in a different space and put it in the designated basket or box to be returned at the end of the decluttering day. When you’re done, you should also set this away from your work zone.
Your next step is to go around and gather up donations. These are the things that are nice enough to keep, but you don’t really need at all.
Remember to keep setting the timer. But after gathering the trash, items that belong in another room, and one session of donations, it’s likely you need a break, which we’ll cover next in the ‘Invigorate’ section.
I = Invigorate to Keep Clutter-Busting
At about the 30-minute point, it’s time for break. You will use this short time to invigorate yourself, reset your brain and your body, and get ready to dive back in to the decluttering.
Grab a bottle of water or whatever beverage will refresh you.
Set your timer for five minutes.
Go outside, away from the clutter.
Stretch, walk around, or sit down if you’re tired. Decluttering can be mentally and physically exhausting.
Take your timer with you because you don’t want to be sitting out there for half an hour. This is a five-minute break.
Put your head back. Close your eyes. Hydrate. Relax.
When the timer goes off, you can head back inside and get right to work with a clearer head and a great attitude.
If you’re on track to finish your S.P.R.I.N.T. in one hour, you’ll only need one break. If you’re S.P.R.I.N.T.-ing for longer, stop every 30 minutes.
N = No Excuses
Okay, break’s over. Now it’s time to get back to work. And this is the point where you need to remember ‘no excuses’ — it’s time to get this job done. And you have to make some tough decisions.
Do you really need everything that you have?
No, you don’t.
Let’s be honest, we all keep some things because we think we might use them (even though we have never needed them in the past) or we don’t want to have to replace them (even though we have multiples).
I can pretty much guarantee you have multiples of things that you don’t actually need. Or you’re keeping ‘just in case’ items because you fear the hassle or expense of buying them at some future date if you ever need them. Ask yourself one question… How long have you held them and have you EVER needed them?
It’s really time to let them go, even if you’re on a lower income. Should you actually need this ‘whatever’ in the future, it’s most likely that you’re going to forget you had it and you’ll buy it again. Or you won’t be able to find it because you’re still keeping too much stuff. Or it will be expired or broken.
For clothing, if you haven’t worn it in a year, it is time to let it go. All the seasons have passed, you’ve had hundreds of opportunities to wear that item, and you haven’t worn it. Just put it in the donation box — or the trash if it’s damaged. (Need specific help with decluttering your wardrobe? << Click that link.)
Once you’ve done that, what’s left in the room? You should only have the things you use regularly and possibly a few sentimental items that you’re unsure about. Place the sentimental items in your personal storage bin.
To wrap up the decluttering, set your timer for one final 10-minute session.
Take the donations out to your vehicle or to where you’re leaving them for pickup.
Take the trash out to the bin.
Return the items that belong in another space to where they belong.
Place the paperwork you’ve collected with all the other paperwork that needs to be sorted. This might be a large central holding basket.
Return your personal sentimental items storage bin to it’s designated area, or put it in the next room on the list if you’re doing one room per day.
And then when the timer goes off, you should have one room completely decluttered — in only one day! Hopefully, you’ve managed to get it done in an hour.
T = Treat Yourself
Congratulations! You made the decision to declutter in a day… and YOU DID IT!
Now it’s time for the best part — your reward!
This could be a hot shower, an early bedtime, an hour of reading or Netflix, a celebration meal… whatever fits your lifestyle and will motivate you to work as quickly as possible through that cluttered room!
Tips to Declutter Your Entire Home in a Day
Is it possible? Yes.
Do I recommend it? No.
But if you’re determined, you can string together several S.P.R.I.N.T.s and get through your entire house in one day (unless you live in a hoarder house). Here are some tips to make it work:
1. Get up early and eat a breakfast that will keep you energized.
2. Dress comfortably and wear supportive shoes.
3. Recruit helpers and assign them specific tasks or areas.
4. Have lunch and dinner delivered.
5. Set paperwork and extremely sentimental objects aside to wade through on different days (one for paperwork, one for sentimental items).
Additional Reading for Successful Decluttering
My Best Decluttering Resource
Quick-Start checklists and additional printables from Your Successful Decluttering Field Guide.
Final Thoughts on ‘S.P.R.I.N.T. Declutter in a Day’
Decluttering in a day is not for the faint of heart… nor for the indecisive. But when you’re truly ready, using the S.P.R.I.N.T. method will help you get the job done quickly and successfully.
S = set a goal
P = prepare supplies and pre-make decisions
R = race against the clock
I = invigorate
N = no excuses
T = treat yourself
By the time you get to the end of your S.P.R.I.N.T., you will have a clutter-free space and you can feel good about enjoying that reward!
Need help with your decluttering? Want to celebrate your wins with a group who really ‘gets it?’ Join the Your Decluttered Life private Facebook group — a safe place to share your struggles and victories. Be sure to answer the questions to let us know you agree to the rules (they’re pretty simple… be nice, what happens in the group is private and safe, and don’t spam).
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