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Planning & Executing a Declutter Marathon


Planning & Executing a Declutter Marathon

Most of the time, I suggest tackling decluttering projects a little at a time. Even just 15 minutes a day will give you progress.

However, if you can manage to set aside a chunk of time for a declutter marathon, you can see some amazing results!

Planning and executing a huge marathon session can be a majorly daunting task. You want things to be loads better by the end of this marathon, but there is a possibility that you will just create a horrifically impressive mess.

Let’s get into a whole bunch of ideas on how to plan and execute a declutter marathon so that you set yourself up for some exciting success!

Planning & Executing a Declutter Marathon

Plan & Prep

First off, decide the chunk of time that you’re going to set aside for this marathon. It could be a Saturday afternoon, a whole weekend, or days off work during the week. Put it on your schedule.

Next we want to plan ahead to make sure there aren’t distractions. You want to be able to dive right in when your scheduled time comes.


People gotta eat! You don’t want to have to stop mid-project to cook and then clean up the kitchen.

Plan how you’re going to handle food. Can you put your spouse in charge of all meals? Maybe you decide to order delivery whenever you get hungry. You could also pick up pre-made food from the grocery store: frozen dinners, rotisserie chicken, etc.

Have a plan that is stupid-easy and quick! Don’t declutter on an empty stomach. It sucks.


If you’ve got kids, it’s best to get them completely out of the house if at all possible. Can they sleep over with grandparents? Maybe you schedule declutter time while they’re at summer camp. Or could your spouse take them out for a fun day to local attractions?

We want to eliminate distractions and interruptions. Kids = both of those 🙂


I like to gather my supplies a day or two before I start any project. Having everything I need in a small pile makes it feel easier to get started.

Make sure you have:

  • Trash bags: For trash and recycling.
  • An empty laundry basket: For stuff that you’re keeping but belongs somewhere else in the house.
  • Two big boxes (at least): One for “sell” stuff and one for “donate” stuff

Go It Alone?

Decide if you’ll get more done alone or with a declutter partner. Depending on the area of the house you’re working on, you might need your spouse there to help make “keep or toss” decisions. You might work best with a friend who will help you make decisions.

The thing is, if you have someone help you, make sure they’re the kind of person who will actually help. It’s not great to have someone there that let’s you off the hook too easy or convinces you to keep everything. It’s also no good to have someone who gets bored and convinces you to go out for coffee mid project, leaving your house a mess.

Personally, I made decisions best alone. Unless I need to consult with Austin about getting rid of something, I know I’ll get more done by myself.

Think about how you’ll work best. Invite a declutter-minded friend to help if you think it will help!


I think it’s more enjoyable to have something to listen to whenever I do any house project.

Pick out an audiobook or download a few podcasts before your declutter day. It’ll keep your mind moving.

Task List

Ok, now we’re getting into it. Decide precisely which areas of your house will be tackled during the declutter marathon. A task list will help you stay on task!

It’s easy to get distracted and do little bits of decluttering all of over the place until everything’s just a general mess — classic “give a mouse a cookie” situation (did anyone other than my mom understand that reference?).

What are you going to tackle? Write down the areas in order of importance so that you can start with the most pressing concerns. Once you make it through each area, you can move on to the next important spot.

Before Pics

Fun part! When you work at decluttering a little at a time, you don’t often get good before and after drama. But since you’re setting up to do a marathon session, you’ll probably make some drastic changes! Take a few before photos of the areas you’ll be working on.

Often, our homes look very different when we see them in a photo. It takes you out of the space and you can see it from a new perspective. Taking before photos will probably help motivate you to be more ruthless as you declutter! You might notice clutter hanging around that you had gotten used to ignoring.

Decide How You’ll Get Rid of Stuff

Don’t skip this step. Decluttering isn’t done until the stuff is out of the house. Before you get into it, make plans for how you will get rid of everything and give yourself deadlines.

You’re going to leave time at the end of your declutter marathon to drop off all donated items at the donation center of your choice.

If you have things you’re saving to see if friends and family member want them, plan to text them about the items immediately. Tell them you will hold on to the items for them for a specific period of time. If they don’t come get them by then, donate. I hear from people all the time who hold onto things for other people for months and months. The clutter never leaves!

If you plan to hold a garage sale, plan a spot where you can store all of the salable items and get that garage sale on the calendar.

If you plan to sell items off individually, like on Craigslist or Facebook, give yourself a deadline. If you haven’t sold them within that time period, donate. I’ve held onto piles of stuff that I knew I could make a few bucks off of, but never got around to listing them. It’s still clutter until it’s out of the house!

Can you tell I’m being a little forceful about this? You’ll most likely be tired and over it by the end of your declutter marathon and most people make the mistake of not getting the stuff out of their house immediately. That’s why I want you to have a plan.

I have a whole post about the many ways to get rid of things, some of which will help you make money.

Do It

Alright, you’ve planned and prepped!

You’ve got family entertained, easy food to eat, and all of your supplies are laid out. You know exactly where to start because of the task list in order of importance. Turn on that podcast and hop to it.

I actually don’t feel like you need too much advice here. You just have to dig in.

A few favorite tips:

  • It’s easier to decide what to keep than what to get rid of. As you look at each closet, drawer, or box, don’t think about which things you can get rid of. Assume you’re getting rid of all of it and then decide what you’d like to keep.
  • Take it all out. Empty the box, drawer, closet, etc.
  • Pinpoint exactly when you last used it. I have people tell me they use something all the time. When I ask them the last time they remember using it, it often turns out that it’s been years. They used to use it all the time.
  • Do you love it? Really love it?

For more specific advice for various home areas, check out this list of previous posts that can help you out:


Leave time to finish up after you’ve gotten through things. You’ll obviously put away what you’re keeping in a neat and orderly fashion. What else?

  1. Travel the house with the laundry basket of items that belong elsewhere. Put them away.
  2. Put the box of items to donate in the car. If at all possible, take them directly to the donation center.
  3. Put it on your schedule when you’ll list individual items you want to sell. Also write down the selling deadline on your calendar. If you haven’t sold everything by that date, it all gets donated!
  4. Throw out the trash/recycling.
  5. Take after pics!!! That feels good, right?
  6. Celebrate! Turn on some peppy music, dance around, then gaze lovingly at your decluttered space. I always think it’s important to celebrate all victories: big, small, and in between.

A huge declutter session is more likely to go well with some planning a preparation. By planning ahead you’re more likely to get more done and see some fabulous results!

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⇒ Have you done a declutter marathon? What area of your house desperately needs some attention?

Planning & Executing a Declutter Marathon

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