How to Clean Out a Room Full of Junk
You keep the door closed so no one can see what is inside. Just walking into the room you feel overwhelmed and anxious. Well, it’s time to take back your space! Today I am going share my favorite strategies to clear out a room full of junk.
How do I declutter my junk room?
The first step is to refer to the room by it’s actual name and stop calling it a junk room!
The simple act of labeling an area of your home that way gives you permission to allow it to stay messy and full of clutter. After all, a junk room is the room that junk goes to.
Begin by referring to the room by what it actually is:
- Your bedroom
- The laundry room
- A guest bedroom
- The playroom
- Your garage
When you label the room correctly it starts to give you a guide as to what actually belongs in that room.
From that point on you can have a clear idea as to what should stay and what should go as you begin to declutter the space.
Ok, now you are ready to start kicking that clutter to the curb!
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Gather your Tools
It’s important that you get all the supplies together that you are gonna need to get the job done.
Once you start you don’t want any excuses to stop because that would put a serious damper on your momentum. Here are the tools that I like to have handy when I am doing a decluttering session:
Paper clutter can be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to cleaning and organizing a space. No doubt there are some documents that you need to keep, but everything else should be shredded straight away. Keeping it in the room with you as you work means you will make quick progress.
I actually recommend that you have two types of storage bins. You should use these clear storage bins for anything that will actually be stored. Using the clear bins allows you to quickly and easily see what is in each bin.
You will also need a few solid storage bins to place any items that are going to be donated. You want them to be solid so that once you decide that you are going to donate an item you place it in the bin and you don’t see it again. This will help you avoid the temptation to remove something out of the bin. It is also the best way to prevent children from being able to see any of their items you are planning to get rid of.
For garbage 😉
This will be used for any items that belong in another room. You will place the items in the laundry basket as you find them. Once it’s full you can quickly walk through the house with the basket and deposit each item in it’s correct location.
You will use painter’s tape and marker to label each of your storage bins. Bins should be clearly marked with the word “donate” or labeled according to the contents inside.
Over the years I have found that it’s easy to burn yourself out if you’re not careful. Using a timer will ensure that you take breaks, eat snacks, drink water and don’t get overwhelmed. For a big job that you know is going to take a while I like to set my timer somewhere between 30-60 minutes for each session. You might need to start with something smaller like 20 minutes and build up with practice.
Now that you have your supplies ready – you have a few options regarding how to proceed.
Which Decluttering Method Should You Use?
Here’s the deal – I don’t think there is one perfect way to start the process of getting rid of all the junk and getting organized.
But you know what the best method is…..whichever one works for you!
We all approach daunting tasks differently, so that means that what works best for me may not be the best strategy for you.
Take a moment to think about your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to clearing the clutter.
- Do you need instant gratification?
- Are you easily distracted?
- Do you work well under pressure?
- Do you get attached to your belongings?
- Have you successfully decluttered before?
Consider your responses to those questions then take a look at the different methods below.
Decide which one you would like to try and that you think would work best in the room you are about to tackle.
Method 1: Tackle Items by Size
With this decluttering method size does matter! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)
I have found this method to be particularly helpful when a room is completely packed with junk and you need to make progress fast before you lose your motivation.
The strategy is to start with the largest items in the room first. Once they are removed you create the space you need to begin to move, sort and organize the remaining items.
Large items are going to include furniture like any beds, dressers, bookshelves, couches or chairs. It also includes things like equipment, electronics and boxes.
Process all the large stuff that you don’t plan to keep by removing them from the room and immediately donating, selling or disposing of the item.
Now you are ready to start working on the medium items in the room like clothes, craft items, art supplies, sets or groups of objects, framed art, books, shoes and luggage.
Lastly, you will finish with the small items. This is good because these are often the most difficult of our belongings: photos, office supplies, personal and financial documents, parts or pieces of sets and typically lots of trash. The good news is that you have made lots of progress and room by removing the large and medium items and it will make this last step much easier.
Method 2: Work around the room
This method is handy when a room is so full of junk that you can’t get to the large items first.
Instead, you are going to start at one point in the room and systematically work from there.It’s best to work in three to four feet sections as a time.
This will help you from mindlessly skipping around the room moving objects from one place to another. When you focus on one specific area at a time it ensures that you don’t have to back track and that you can stay motivated.
Method 3: Declutter by Category
Popularized by Marie Kondo, this method is one of the best to help you clear a cluttered room.
With this strategy you will focus on one type of item at a time. Let’s say the room you are working on is your bedroom. A suggested order to follow would be:
- Paper Clutter
- Miscellaneous Items
- Sentimental Items
This method is beneficial because there are natural breaks built in between categories. Also it provides you with the ability to focus on one task at a time to avoid the temptation to multi-task – which we all know just slows us down.
Questions to ask when minimizing
No matter which method you use you will need to decide what to get rid of and what to keep.
Here are three simple questions that will help you when you get stuck on a particular item:
- Would you replace it if it was lost or broken?
- Does the item bring you joy or make your life easier?
- Do you use it frequently?
If you can say yes to these three questions then the item gets to stay in the “keep it” category.
However, if you answered no to one or more of the questions then it’s time to say goodbye.
How to Maintain Your Clutter-Free Room
You’ve put in all the hard work, the last thing you want to do is let that clutter creep back in!
In order to avoid having another junk room pop up in your home be sure to:
- Throw all the trash away at the end of the day.
- Deliver any items you plan to donate within 3 days.
- Set up a system to stay organized moving forward (Shred all unnecessary papers on a weekly basis, designate a space for each object, be intentional about any items you purchase)
By following these steps you will keep the clutter at bay and be able to enjoy your room for the purpose that it was intended for.
There you have it mama! Easy to follow step to clear out your junk room!
Related Post: How to declutter with kids
We would love to hear from you! What is your biggest challenge when it comes to keeping your house clutter free? Comment below!
I’m definitely a “work around the room” kind of gal!
It’s a great methodical process that works to get the job done. You can clearly see where you have been and where you are headed next during your decluttering project. One of my faves too!
Such a helpful post! I have so many things to organize, but honestly, sometimes I never know where to start! This broke everything down!
So glad you found some decluttering tips you can use. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed but having a clear plan really helps to make the process seem possible.
I really like the suggestion to tackle a room by the size of the items. Very helpful. My Christmas decorations don’t fit the 3 question rule but those stay. I think a justifiable exception.