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Are you looking around your home and realizing almost every room has at least one pile of clutter, if not more? You want to declutter, but you just can’t seem to find the motivation to get started. If that is you, I have a secret weapon that works. This method provides oodles of motivation to jump-start your decluttering efforts.
Get Motivated: Jump-Start Decluttering Your Home With This Free Plan
Step One: Grab Your Calendar
I want you to start by going and grabbing your calendar. Now count ahead five weeks. Do you have an opening in your schedule for that weekend? Yes? Good. Now think of a party you could book for that weekend. What group of people in your life have you been meaning to invite over, but haven’t gotten around to it? Invite them over, and you kill two procrastination points with one swoop. I am not talking about inviting one friend over, more like five people or higher.
If the answer was no, look for the first available time slot that is greater than five weeks out where you could book such an event.
Step Two: Send Out Invites
Don’t delay this step or you won’t go through with the rest of the plan. Sure, you might make it a week or two in, but then things will get even more busy than usual one week and you won’t get to the plan. Instead of putting in the hard work to catch up you will simply toss the plan, saying to yourself, “I will just invite them at a later date.” But that later date won’t happen and you won’t get back to the plan and the clutter will regrow, but your friendships won’t. Once you send out the invites, there is no backing out.
Step Three: Make A Plan
Don’t worry–I have printables that can help you out with this part; you can sign up for them here. Here is what the forms are going to help you do.
Pick four of the most visible rooms in your home that guests will see. For most people that will be the kitchen, living room, dining room and probably some kind of entry room (for our house that is another smaller family room).
Divide each of those four rooms into six decluttering tasks. Then pick the bathroom your guests use most and divide the mess in there into three sections. That, in a nutshell, becomes the five-week decluttering plan.
Here is an example of what a week might look like:
Week One: Family room
- Day One: Built in bookcase
- Day Two: TV cabinet
- Day Three: End tables and coffee table
- Day Four: Desktop and drawers
- Day Five: Pile of stuff under and around desk
- Day Six: Toys
- Day Seven: Catch up if necessary
It is essential to keep one day open for catch up because life happens. If you leave a “flex” day in your schedule, you are prepared for life’s distractions. I like to start my weeks on Saturdays because my schedule is more open that day, allowing me to potentially knock out more than one area. More on why I do that in the next step.
I allow only three days of the last week for the bathroom because you need time to buy groceries and prepare food if you are feeding people, as well as time to give the house a good once over either the day of the party or the day before. Plus that allows you a day to finish up if you need it.
Your last week would look something like this:
- Day one: bathroom counter
- Day two: half of bathroom cabinets
- Day three: Second half of bathroom cabinets
- Day four: catch up
- Day Five: menu, grocery list, gather groceries
- Day six: cleaning bee (more on this in a moment) and cooking ahead what you can
- Day seven: PARTY DAY. Last minute preparations only this day.
Step Four: Work The Plan And Work It Hard
As I stated above, I often get more than one area done in a day. In fact, last time I created such a plan I got all my work done for the entire week on Saturday and Sunday. Why? Because weekdays get busy and the less I have to add to them the more likely I am going to be able to stick to my plan.
For you and your life, it might be opposite. Do what works best for you. One tip though–if you finish your area for the day and you have time and motivation left over, work ahead. Life gets busy and if you can knock out stuff quicker, do so. That way if you just don’t have time to work another day, you are still on schedule.
However, if you are low on energy and time, it is less overwhelming to know you only need to declutter a small chunk of the room that day–so that is why I break the room up into six days. Either way, you feel like you won and if you didn’t manage to get to the area of the day, you have a built-in catch-up day to keep you from getting discouraged.
Stay motivated with peer support found in the Snail Pace Clutter Removers Facebook group.
Step Five: Rally The Troops For Cleaning Day
With the clutter gone cleaning will be so much simpler. Take some time to walk through your newly cleaned rooms and mark down what cleaning jobs need to be done. You probably cleaned the bulk of the room when you decluttered, but chances are the room still needs some basic cleaning done such as…
- removing cobwebs from ceiling corners
- wiping down walls
- wiping down baseboards
- removing dust from surfaces such as tables, built-ins
- giving the windows a wipe
- wiping down window ledges and trim
- vacuuming rugs
- sweeping hardwood surfaces
- mopping hardwood surfaces
- removing any clutter that may have built up since the area was decluttered
Don’t feel like you have to do this step all by yourself. Although I think decluttering is primarily a one person job, I don’t think cleaning is. What may be a treasure to one is junk to another, but dirt…well…it’s just dirt. There is no sentimental value in dust and cobwebs.
Make several copies of your master cleaning list and highlight different sections for different family members to accomplish. young children are capable of doing simple cleaning tasks with some supervision needed depending on child’s age and the difficulty of the task. If you have teenagers as I do, they are capable of doing the majority of the cleaning tasks while you keep busy planning a menu for the event, grocery shopping, and doing pre-day event prep. And teenagers can even help you with that–after all, they will be moving out in a few years and they need to know how to accomplish these valuable life skills.
Here is a post I wrote about our family’s work bee days back when our children were younger. Use it as a guide for creating your own.
Step Six: Prepare Food If You Need To And Then Welcome Guests
YOU DID IT! The main living areas of your home are clean and clutter free. Enjoy your time with friends.
Step Seven: Keep Inviting People Over At Least Once a Month
There is a verse in the bible that ends with “always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13 NLT) Besides the benefits of building a rich life, practicing hospitality in your home on a regular basis also helps keep our messy side under control.
I am not telling you to make friends just for the sake of keeping your home clean. NO! No. And no. I want you instead to live a more balanced and blessed life. One where you make friendship building a priority by creating a home that invites them in.
The key word in that last sentence is “priority.” Each month when you turn the page on the calendar take a few minutes to sit down and figure out what is the best time to have people over. You don’t have to do a party like you did the first time. It can be one friend you want to grow deeper in friendship with–invite her over for coffee. Or perhaps invite a couple with a child your child has made friends with over for dinner. Or invite all your knitting friends over and have a knit-in. Keep it simple, and it will help you keep your home simple too.
Each month you don’t have to do the whole plan over. Just spend 15 to 30 minutes in each of the five rooms in the week leading up to your event. Spend a portion of day six doing a cleaning work bee with as many family members as possible. And then spend a few hours on day seven doing last minute prep like getting the coffee pot ready and doing a donut run for a coffee date or putting out candy in dishes spread around the room you plan to knit in with your friends.
Cleaner home and deeper friendships. Win/win!
Step Eight: Finish Decluttering The Rest Of Your Home
This plan only covered five rooms of your house and I am going to guess that you have more. You probably have at least one bedroom and another bathroom that needs a good declutter. If you have kids still at home, you have their rooms and let’s not forget the closets, attic, basement, garage, and backyard shed.
Our friends and family might not see these areas as much, but trust me; you will feel more relaxed when they visit when the private areas of your home are as decluttered and clean as your public areas.
Find the help you need with those last areas of your home in these posts
- 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home
- The Room A Month Extreme Decluttering Challenge
- A Super Simple Yet Highly Effective Way To Eliminate Clutter
Now grab your free copy of my 5-week jump-start decluttering plan that includes the once a month maintenance checklist and then starts working it! Here’s to a clutter-free home and growing friendships.
This post was inspired in part by the book The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard. It isn’t a book about decluttering; it is about how to connect with your neighborhood, community, and friends through the use of a picnic table placed in your front yard. But I live in a midwest and winters are long and cold so inviting people into my home is more feasible. The book inspired me to declutter my home and create connections in it.