The Easiest Way to a Decluttered Home: The Power of One

published Jul 26, 2017
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(Image credit: Lisa Diederich)

Decluttering a home is never easy. The thought of organizing a packed hallway closet or a stuffed storage room can be exhausting enough to make you put it off for another year. But what if we told you there was an easy, foolproof way to finally get your clutter under control that won’t take more than a few minutes of your day?

The Incredible Power of “Just One Thing”

All you have to do is remove one thing—just one thing—from your home that you no longer need – every day . It can be big, small, broken, or whole—all that matters is that you get rid of something (yes, just one thing!) every day.

Not only is this simple task totally doable, it can make a huge impact on your home if you stick with it. Even better, it helps you establish a painless process for keeping your place consistently clutter-free and under control.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

How to Make Your “Just One Thing” Plan Work

Still not convinced you can do it? Here’s how you can organize your messy home (and clear your head) one day at a time.

1. Create a time frame

Whether you do it for a week, a month, or every day for a year, setting a time frame for your once-a-day pickup gives you an actual goal to work towards that isn’t as unnerving as achieving a “perfectly organized home.” If you struggle with motivating yourself to clean, aim to get rid of one item a day for a month and see where it takes you. For those of you looking for a long-term approach to keeping your home decluttered, try sticking with this method for longer intervals (for the rest of 2017?) for more consistent results.

Don’t overwhelm yourself by aiming to declutter your entire place within a certain time period. Pick a date, stick with it and be happy with your results, wherever you get to, just by sticking to the overall plan. But, if that doesn’t sound like it will work for you, consider trying to…

2. Focus on one area at a time

Try the one thing a day process on just one room or area of your home at a time. For example, if it’s an overstuffed storage closet you’re scared to peek into, remove one item a day until you’ve reached your desired goal and then move on. Whether it’s your crowded basement or a bountiful book collection, concentrating on a single space at a time makes organizing your home much more manageable in the long run.

3. Next, start a donation pile

Once you’ve zeroed in on a specific time frame to work through and/or a single space to declutter, designate a bin or bag to store any items that are in good enough shape to donate, and stash it near the door for the duration so it’s easy to pick up for regular trips to the donation center. Even if the majority of your mess is destined for the garbage can, you’ll feel much more motivated to tackle your clutter if you know your obsolete stuff is going to wind up helping someone else.

4. Look for trends

One of the greatest perks of decluttering your home one item at a time is that it makes it easier to figure out what to eliminate—and avoid purchasing—in the future. For instance, if you find yourself repeatedly purging your space of quirky kitchen gadgets or a particular style of clothes, you’ll be much more hesitant about buying those types of things next time you’re out shopping.

5. If you want to get rid of more, then go for it

While getting rid of one item a day is a great way to jumpstart your decluttering goals, if you ever find yourself wanting to purge more, then by all means, keep going! The point of this challenge is to make organizing your home seem more approachable and attainable, so be sure to take advantage whenever you feel inspired to purge even more.

6. Keep it up even after you’ve finished

Remember: just because your home is decluttered doesn’t mean you have to stop staying on task. Removing an item a day isn’t just about getting your messy house under control, it’s also a proactive way to streamline—and maintain—your everyday housekeeping endeavors. Not only will it make tidying up from time-to-time that much easier, it’ll help keep your home consistently neat and clutter-free.