Where to Begin Decluttering | 5 Simple Steps for How to Start When You’re Overwhelmed

Where to Begin Decluttering | 5 Simple Steps for How to Start When You’re Overwhelmed

Deciding to declutter can be exciting.

You’re going to change your life! You’re going to have a house that’s clean all the time! Nothing will change your motivation this time!

Until you look around…

You see a sea of clutter and you have no idea where to start.

As you try to figure out where to begin, you start feeling something different. Overwhelm. Exhaustion. Frustration. And eventually Defeat.

Maybe it would be easier to just sit back down and ignore the clutter.

But ignoring the problem isn’t going to bring about the change that you are so excited about.

So what should you do?

Start Simple.

I’m going to give you five simple steps to take to get you started on your decluttering journey today.

(And if you prefer to watch your content, check out this video 🙂

5 Simple Steps to Start Decluttering

1) Write Down Your Why

It’s tempting to skip this step.

It can seem like a waste of time when you really should be decluttering.

But this is what will keep you motivated when the decluttering gets tough.

Ask yourself why you want to declutter.

Maybe the answer is something like “I am tired of the mess!” or “I’m sick of cleaning all the time!”

But now I want you to ask yourself why again. Why are you tired of the mess? Why are you sick of cleaning all the time?

The answer is probably be something like, “I want to have more time for myself, but I can’t because I’m always cleaning.” Or maybe “I don’t feel like I enjoy my family because I’m always cleaning up after them.”

Now think about how your life will change if you declutter your house.

This might be something like, “I’ll be able to spend the hour that I usually spend cleaning up every evening taking a bubble bath and reading a book.” or “I’ll spend that time that I usually spend picking up toys playing with my kids.”

Now combine your second and third answers to create your true why.

It may look something like this: “I want more time for myself but I can’t take time for me because I’m always cleaning. When I declutter my house, I will be able to read a book in the evenings instead of cleaning the house.”

2) Start With Your Pain Point

Decluttering can be overwhelming because we focus on the ultimate end goal of having a perfectly clean house.

But I don’t want you to think about the whole house. That will come later.

For now, write down the one part of your house that you would most like to transform.

This can be anything from “The kids’ toys” to “The Master Bedroom” to “The Clothes” to “The Living Room.”

Or it can be something very specific like the pantry, the coat closet, or the kids’ toys in the living room.

Now that you know what your pain point is, don’ t think about any other piece of the house that might need to be decluttered until you tackle this piece of the puzzle.

By focusing on one area, you are going to see results quickly.

Where to Begin Decluttering: 5 Steps for How to Start When You're Overwhelmed!

3) Set Some Guidelines

Write down guidelines for items that will stay and what won’t.

For instance, if you are decluttering your clothes, you may decide that an item will go if it lands in any of these categories:

  • You haven’t worn it in 6 months.
  • You haven’t fit into it in over a year. (Unless you just had a baby) 🙂
  • You only bought it because it was on sale.
  • You only wear it when your laundry is piled up and you have nothing else to wear.
  • You liked it when you first bought it, but now you’ve changed your style.
  • It is too worn to wear and just sits in your closet.
  • You only wore it once or twice.
  • You don’t feel good when you wear it.

If you are decluttering toys, you may decide to get rid anything that lands in one of these categories.

  • Broken toys that aren’t easily fixed.
  • Toys that make too much noise.
  • Toys that your kids loved when they were little, but they haven’t played with in months or years.
  • Toys that your children never use.
  • Toys that you are only holding on to because someone you love gave it to you… even though your kids don’t play with them.
  • Closed-Ended Toys.
  • Toys that celebrate Disney’s (or some other creator’s) imagination instead of your child’s.
  • Toys that your child will only play with if they have no other option.
  • Toys that they only wanted because a friend had it.
  • Toys that don’t fit with your family’s values.

You get the idea!

Obviously, use whatever guidelines fit your family, these are just ideas to get you started!

Decluttering for Overwhelmed Moms: 5 Simple Steps to Start Today

4) Identify Trash First

No matter what category you are working on, the items that are too worn/used/old/broken for use are often the easiest to identify and part with.

While I agree with every other minimalist out there who says that it is best to think about what you are deciding to keep instead of what you are deciding to get rid of, grabbing everything that you have been meaning to throw away for a while and doing that first will give you a quick, easy win!

5) Stay Consistent

Get out your calendar and write down a start date. Set aside time to work on your project every day until it is finished. This may be one or two days for a small closet, or it may be a couple of weeks for a larger category like toys.

If you have limited time, commit to at least 15 minutes a day.

Set a timer every day and declutter all that you can during this time.

When you have finished each day, put your donate items in your vehicle, your trash items in the garbage, and put your keep items where you would like to store them from now on (not necessarily where they have always been.)

Each item you keep should have a home.

There you have it, that’s all it takes to get started!

If you are ready to tackle your whole house, check out How to Declutter Your Home: 10 Steps to Get Started Today.

If you are decluttering toys and would like ideas for intentional toys and gifts for children, check out The Best Intentional Gift Ideas for Children.

Want 7 Extra Hours Every Week? Grab the Streamline Your Home Quick-Start Guide!

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!)

Where to Start Decluttering When You're Overwhelmed: 5 Simple Steps to Get Started

Would You Like 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!)

See you on the next one! Kassy
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