Welcome to Part One of my mini-series How to Completely Declutter Your Home! This series will walk you through how to declutter your house completely… even if you’ve tried unsuccessfully to declutter your home before.
So, before we get into the actual decluttering, it’s important to know what has been holding you back from starting and finishing your project.
We all have those moments where we get a sudden surge of motivation and we think, “Today is the day! No more clutter! I’m going to sort through the whole house and finally be free from all this mess!”
And then after a couple of hours, days, or weeks, you realize how big of a challenge decluttering can be and you start to feel overwhelmed, and your motivation slowly slips away. Soon enough the clutter builds up again and you find yourself exactly where you started… or worse!
Why does this happen?
Well let’s find out!
In this post well cover:
- 4 Reasons You Haven’t Finished Decluttering
- 4 Steps to Getting Started on the Right Foot
- 5 Mindsets that Could Be Holding You Back
And if you would prefer to watch instead of read, here is the video that goes with this post:
How to Completely Declutter Your Home Part 1
4 Reasons Why You Haven’t Finished Decluttering
1) You Haven’t Set a Timeline
When we don’t give ourselves a timeline to stick with, things tend to take longer then they should.
You may have heard of Parkinson’s Principle which states that “work will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion.”
That means that the time you allow for something to take place is how long it will take for you to do it.
So basically, if you give yourself 30 minutes to get ready, it will take you 30 minutes to get ready. If you give yourself an hour to get ready, it will take you an hour to get ready.
The same principle applies to decluttering, the longer you give yourself, the longer it will take!
Another reason a lot of people get stuck once they’ve started the decluttering process is that they don’t have anything or anybody that is holding them accountable to finish.
Getting tasks done can be hard enough, but when you have nothing holding you accountable, it can be easy to think to yourself, “I’ll do that tomorrow.”
But that tomorrow turns into another tomorrow and before you know it, weeks, months, or even years have passed, and you still haven’t finished decluttering your house.
You can set goals for yourself and create checklists, but there is nothing quite like having accountability outside of yourself.
3) Your Family Isn’t Enthusiastic About Decluttering
If everyone in the house isn’t committed to the Decluttering process, it will feel like a constant uphill battle!
At some point you will get tired of fighting and give up.
That’s why it is so important to have your family with you from the start. If you want to see how to do this, check out Part 2: How to Get Your Family On Board BEFORE You Declutter.
4) The Wrong Mindset
One of the reasons that a lot of people struggle with Completely Decluttering Their Home, is that they don’t have the right mindset.
Throughout my “How to Completely Declutter Your Home” series I am going to give you tools that will help you overcome each one of these barriers for decluttering your home.
So, let’s go ahead and get started!
3 Steps to Help You Get Started Decluttering
1) Give Yourself a Time Limit
Without a specific time limit, anything can drag on and take a lot longer than it really needs to.
But with a large task like decluttering, it could take years to complete if you aren’t careful.
I suggest giving yourself a time limit of 8 to 12 weeks.
The closer to eight weeks, the better! This will push you a little bit harder and make sure that you stay on task and stick with your project.
And this also means that a clutter-free house will be yours even sooner.
If you’re ready to declutter your home in 8 weeks or less, check out my course Cluttered to Calm!
2) Set a Deadline
It is important to set both a start and end time for your decluttering project.
Knowing when you will be done will help you stay focused.
3) Make Time to Declutter
Once you have your deadline, set aside time to declutter. Clearing space on the calendar is crucial for completing the project on time.
This might mean taking a short hiatus from other commitments such as kids’ sports teams and music lessons.
It might seem hard at first, but when you have a decluttered house and even more time to spend with your family, it will all be worth it!
Once your calendar is cleared, I recommend putting some time on your calendar every single day to come commit to this project. And if you can, pencil in some extra time on the weekends.
How much time you need to commit will depend on how much clutter you currently have.
Look around your house and assess the amount of work that needs to be done, then decide how much you need to do every day.
Keep the appointments that you made with yourself to work on decluttering!
Pro-Tip: Since Moms love to multi-task, why not treat yourself to a facial while you declutter?
4) Develop the Right Mindset
Which mindsets do you currently have that are holding you back and keeping you living in a cluttered house?
No one enjoys living in clutter. It causes stress and stops you from relaxing and enjoying the more important things in life.
So, which roadblocks have you been struggling with? Let’s look at five of the most common mental roadblocks to see if any resonate with you:
1: Mistaking Organizing for Decluttering
The first mindset that holds a lot of people back is confusing organizing with decluttering.
A lot of people think that if they just organized their things better their house would feel clean.
I think this is one of the biggest lies that commercialism sells to Moms!
As moms we’re often told that we need cubbies and bins and baskets and caboodles and all these other products to organize our stuff… but they only end up adding to the clutter!
None of this is necessary if you completely declutter your house.
For areas like pantries, bathrooms, and junk drawers, it can be helpful to use some organizational items that will keep the drawers and shelves neat and tidy.
But for the most part, if you feel like you need to run out and get a bunch of bins and baskets, it probably means that you have too much stuff and you need to do more decluttering.
2: Feeling That You Need to Keep Gifts Forever
Gifts can be a real struggle because you know that someone not only spent money on the gift, but that they gave it to you because they love you.
I really like Marie Kondo’s approach to parting with gifts. She suggests that what made a gift special was the moment you received the gift. In that moment, the gift already accomplished its purpose.
The actual exchanging of the gift between two people, and the love that the person had put into it is what you can continue to hold onto. Holding on to a gift forever that you may or may not like doesn’t give the gift more special powers.
Holding onto it might just fill you with more guilt because you don’t like it as much as you should, and it continues to gather dust.
But think about it: if you gave someone a gift they didn’t truly love, would you want them to hold onto it forever? Or would you rather instead that they sell the gift and purchase something that they would enjoy with the money? Or maybe they could pass this gift on to someone else and create their own meaningful exchange?
Now I know that for some people, gift giving is part of their love language, and it can be especially difficult to part with gifts.
But I challenge you to ask yourself, “Does keeping this gift make me closer with the person who gave the give to me? Or would I be much closer if we got together and spent some quality time?”
When we love someone, we should try to spend time with them and get to know them better. Holding on to an object isn’t accomplishing either of these things.
3: Holding Onto Sentimental Items That No Longer Serve a Purpose
Parting with sentimental items can be a challenge. They can sit forgotten in a box for years but as soon as you open that box, all these wonderful memories can come flooding back.
My suggestion for sentimental items is that if you truly love them, put them on display or use them.
People often have china passed down to them that they’re too scared to use. But if you use it and it breaks, is it really the end of the world? Do you think your grandma intended for it to be hidden away?
The same goes for items that maybe aren’t useful but would look nice on display. Play around with displaying your sentimental items in places where you see them often to see if they bring you joy!
And if you don’t want to do either of these things… then it might be time to let go.
4: Not Wanting to Get Rid of Books
Another item that people struggle to part with is books. I can completely relate to this one as I love to read, and I used to keep every single book that I read as some sort of trophy and as a conversation starter.
For me personally, I eventually found that I was happier passing on my books for someone else to read and enjoy.
This not only meant that I gained more space by removing my bookshelf from my main living area, but it visually changed the look of my whole living room.
Having a clean, minimalistic space now brings me more joy than the books did.
But for you, this might not be the case. People have different tastes and perspectives and that is fine. Just be sure that you are considering whether you like things the way they are, or if you are just keeping them that way because it is easier than change.
Ask yourself, “Do I want to see this all the time?”
If you are honest with yourself, you may come to realize that it would be better to pass on the books to a library or to a charity so that people who can’t afford books can enjoy them instead.
5: Feeling Overwhelmed From Having to Declutter for the Whole Family
You may be thinking, “How do I make them care about decluttering as much as I do!”
This is a hard one to tackle because what you think is clutter might be a prized possession… but if they aren’t able to keep their space clean, they may have too many prized possessions to manage.
This is such a huge topic that we will dive into this in Part Two of the series where I am going to show you how to get your entire family on board with your decluttering project so that you won’t be meeting resistance at every turn!
Ready to Stop Feeling Stressed About Clutter?
Then check out Cluttered to Calm!
In Cluttered to Calm, you will learn how to
- Completely Declutter Every Room of Your Home
- Get Your Family on Board with Decluttering (and maybe even Excited about it!)
- Set Boundaries so that you will NEVER have to Declutter Again
- And Do It All In 8 Weeks or Less!
Cluttered to Calm walks you through my unique method for Decluttering Your Home once and for all!
Plus you will receive the Cluttered to Calm Decluttering Workbook and Spreadsheet and email support from me anytime you have questions.
I hope to see you inside the course!
(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Decluttering Resources!)
Ready to Get 7 Extra Hours in Your Week?
Then check out Simply Streamlined!
In Simply Streamlined, you will learn how to
- Declutter Your Home
- Put Effective Routines in Place
- Create a Set-It-and-Forget-It Meal Plan
- Get Your Finances Under Control
Simply Streamlined walks you through exactly how to Completely Streamline Your Home in just 15 Minutes a Day!
Plus you will receive
- Cluttered to Calm Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
- Put Your Home on Autopilot Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
- Set-It-and-Forget-It Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
- Master Your Money Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
- AND Weekly Live Coaching Calls!
I hope to see you inside the program!
(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Streamlining Resources!)