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Before decluttering I felt like I was constantly cleaning. I was so frustrated about things not having their own place, odd ‘bits and bobs’ scattered over my kitchen counters, tons of products in my bathroom that just took up space, throwing everything into the junk drawer (we all have one!) just to get it out of the way and never feeling truly ‘zen’ in my home.
If your craving free space and a tidy home then this post is for you.
Imagine how it will feel to live in a clean house. Where friends can pop over anytime because the house is always “Guest Ready”
I’ll show you simple ways you can make this a reality, one small step at a time.
1) Get Focused On Your Goals
The first step in gaining motivation to declutter your home is to visualize your decluttering goals.
It can seem like a daunting task to declutter your whole house but having a clear vision of the final goals will put you in a great place to start.
If your struggling for inspiration take a look on social media for a minimalist lifestyle and you are sure to find lots of inspiring pictures. You don’t have to be as extreme as a minimalist if you don’t want to, just take ideas from your favorite things and use it to set a specific goal for yourself.
For best results create a vision board you can look back on when your motivation is starting to get low.
Keep your expectations in check though, while I’m all for grand plans, don’t set yourself up for disappointment with an unrealistic end result.
2) Get Excited About The Benefits Of Decluttering
If you’ve set your end goal but you still don’t have much energy to start your decluttering journey then now is the time to start thinking of the benefits of decluttering for your and your family.
Decluttering has so many benefits. There’s no better time to start than now!
Here are some benefits of decluttering:
- Quicker and easier to clean your home
- Live in a less stressful environment
- Fewer arguments about housework
- Be able to find things quickly
- Have more space
- More free time
- Saves you money by not collecting unnecessary stuff
- Gain clarity and a sense of control over your surroundings
- Reduce anxiety
- You will finally LOVE your home!
3) Motivational Things To Listen To While You Declutter.
The best way to get you into the decluttering mindset is to add some audio to put you in the right mood. A great way to do this is with your favorite high-energy playlist. Pop your headphones on and get ready to attack that clutter!
Another option is to listen to decluttering podcasts. Regular readers of mine will know how much I LOVE podcasts.
Decluttering can get a little lonely and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and experience decision fatigue after a while. I found listening to others going through the same process incredibly motivating. The following 3 are my absolute favorite. They are all really passionate about how decluttering your home can change your mindset and in turn your life. I admit this seemed a little dramatic and overwhelming when I was starting from scratch, but wow, I am a complete convert now. I started listening to these while I worked, but soon found myself putting them on in the car as well.
My 3 recommend podcasts about decluttering:
Ashley Foxx at clean.simple.free has been living a minimalist life for nearly a decade now and podcasting for 3 years. Her positive, no fluff approach really resonates with me. Her podcast is a combination of direct, actionable advice in bite-sized chunks as well as longer deep-dive episodes that tackle more difficult topics like the emotional attachments we develop to clutter. If you only listen to one podcast on this list make sure it’s this one.
The Minimalists Podcast is another long-term podcast run by Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus. This podcast is primarily about mindset and they discuss topics
I haven’t quite got to decluttering my friends yet, but I am more aware of prioritizing meaningful experiences and relationships.
Amy Revell and Kirsty Farrugia who run this podcast are professional organizers who talk about both their own homes and clients’ experiences. I found this podcast really good for dealing with the shame involved in decluttering. No one wants to feel like a slob, so it’s reassuring to hear them talking about things they’ve seen and dealt with in clients’s homes.
Give them a shot, they truly changed my life and how I see my material belongings more than I thought possible.
4) Make a plan
So how do you tackle what seems like an absolutely mammoth-sized task? The same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.
Decluttering your entire house is a big project, you can’t expect it all done and dusted the first day.
If you’re finding the thought of decluttering your entire home overwhelming then a decluttering plan where you break your efforts up into a single room at a time can be really helpful. Stick your inspiration pictures in front of you for added motivation and get started.
I really love this free resource from Simple Lionheart Life that will help you plan your whole project.
5) Schedule Your Decluttering Session
Repeat after me:
You only have a set amount of time in each day and there will always be something shinier or more fun to do than continuing your decluttering process.
If your finding things getting too tough break it down into small projects and spend a little bit of time on it each day.
Just because it’s scheduled doesn’t mean it has to be large blocks of time. In fact, you may find it more motivating to see how much stuff you can get done in less time.
Use an alarm to set a specific time frame, say 15 minutes, and see how much work you can get done.
Working in small chunks keeps me on track. When you can really focus on the task at hand without getting distracted, everything moves faster. If you have little ones underfoot, this may mean the only way you can accomplish this is a little at a time after they go to bed.
15 minutes is such a short time you should be able to fit it into every day. While you will need longer for bigger projects as you start to see the impact of less stuff in your home you will be more motivated to tackle challenging tasks.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you don’t have time to declutter – It is costing you more time trying to keep a clean home with all this excess stuff.
6) Get An Accountability Partner
Having someone else involved makes it harder for you to come up with excuses not to keep going.
It can be really emotional dealing with clutter, especially as it often has sentimental value.
The most important thing is to choose someone you trust that can be patient with you and give you as much time as you need to part with your most valuable clutter.
Avoid anyone likely to shame you for your messy house – you don’t need that negativity bringing you down.
Ideally, your accountability partner will be someone you live with so they can share the load with you.
7) Use The 4 Box Trick to Get Started
Get the ball rolling and give yourself a quick win with the 4 box trick to quickly clear clutter from a small area.
Start with the room that you spend most of your time in. Is that the kitchen? Living room? Office? Wherever it is, we’ll start there.
Why? Once you’ve finished decluttering the busiest room in your home, the sense of well-being you’ll get will be so great that you’ll be driven to get the rest of your home decluttered – fast. Okay, so it’s not always quite as magical as I just made it sound, but think of it like the snowball method of decluttering. Get one room checked off the list and you have the motivation to move onto the next.
Use 4 boxes (or bags) to quickly sort the clutter ready for bulk removal.
- The Trash Box
Broken things (Including broken items you’ve been holding onto for months intending to fix), expired food and junk mail can all go in this box. Also, add sentimental items you’ve been hanging onto for years that don’t really hold any value to you now and any out-of-date cosmetics. All things trash go in the – you guessed it – trash bag
2. The Recycle Box
Do your bit for the planet and recycle as much as possible. Consider if anything in your trash box could be recycled. Small consistent changes go a long way to reducing our overall waste and impact on the environment. Check out this post if you’re looking for inspiration for single-use plastics to reduce from your household.
3. The Charity Box
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right? The beauty of giving things to charity is that there might be someone out there struggling to afford quality clothes, furniture, or books, and because of your donation they’re able to buy it at a reasonable price.
If you are in need of extra cash, take the items you could donate and sell them instead or hold a few yard sales. This requires a little extra work, but can pay a bill or two if need be – or the cash can go straight into your savings account.
4. The Keep Box
The final box is things you will keep and return to their right place. Be ruthless here, anything in the keep box MUST have a permanent home or it gets moved into another box. Remember the aim of the game is to own less clutter and get rid of everything that isn’t currently necessary in your life. Before something goes in your Keep Box spend a little time considering if it truly belongs there. Do you really need it? And if so why has it become clutter on the side?
Don’t Forget To Finish The Job
That wasn’t so bad, was it? But your job isn’t done just yet! Don’t leave those boxes lying around.
- Put the trash bag… in the trash!
- Take the recycling to your local recycling center.
- Contact charities close to you who would be willing to take or even collect your things, then list the things that are worth selling on eBay (for example)
- Find a home for all the things you’re keeping, or put them back where they came from. Remember, if they can’t be allocated a permanent home they have to move to another box.
Now you can use this exact set of actions on the rest of the rooms in your house. Simply rinse and repeat! Don’t feel like you have to do all of this in one day, but if you do feel like you can – that’s great, go for it!
6) Additional Decluttering Inspiration
If you need additional inspiration to declutter and keep you motivated there are many places to look.
The most influential currently is Marie Kondo and the Kon Mari method. You can either read her book or watch her show on Netflix. I found some aspects of her method really inspiring – my folding will certainly never be the same again!
Where her method fell short for me was going through my wardrobe and only keeping clothes that sparked joy. I rapidly discovered two problems:
1) My work uniform did not spark joy, never-the-less I am unable to throw it out
2) The items of clothing that spark the most joy for me are what I refer to as my “thin clothes.” I have not fit into these for several years, and following pregnancy and motherhood can say with absolute certainty I won’t be fitting into them any time soon, if ever.
Having said that I do think she provides really good cleaning motivation as her positivity really shines through.
If books are more your thing check out the following best sellers that are also available on kindle if you prefer to listen instead.
- Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff by Dana K. White
- The Declutter Challenge: A Guided Journal for Getting your Home Organized in 30 Quick Steps (Guided Journal for Cleaning & Decorating, for Fans of Cluttered Mess) (Clutterbug) by Cassandra Aarssen
- Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook: Declutter & Organize Your Home and Life with over 100 Checklists and Worksheets (Clutterbug) by Cassandra Aarssen
- 10-Minute Declutter: The Stress-Free Habit for Simplifying Your Home by S.J. Scott
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo
If you prefer a more personal interaction why not try a Facebook group? These can be fantastic for getting some declutter motivation tips, as well as advice and support.
9) As You Approach The Finish Line
When you’ve finished your decluttering project you will feel a huge sense of accomplishment! The next habit you need to get into is not reversing all of your hard work.
How can you keep a clutter-free home? What systems and daily routines can you put in place to ensure the clutter doesn’t stack up again?
The best thing is to keep a small box in each room for clutter. It will accumulate quicker than you think!
You will start looking around like “how did all of this new stuff get in here?”
The last thing you want is all you hard work coming undone in a few months.
At the end of every week, you can go through this box in just a few minutes and figure out where all these things belong.
Invest in the right kind of storage for your space. Once everything has its permanent place, you’ll find it far easier to keep on top of things and you’ll never have to go hunting for something you need.
If you live with other people or have children, show them around and explain where things go now.
Getting everyone involved will make this way of living simpler and less of a chore for you all.
Especially with kids, making it fun and clear (using pictures or pretty letters) is key to keeping everything in its place. Give them basic tasks to increase their sense of independance.
Studies have shown if you repeat an action over the course of two months it will become a habit. I know, I know, two months seems like a long time, but it will have long-term benefits – so stick to it!
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, remember why you’re doing this in the first place.
At the end of the day, you’re on a journey to a much simpler, stress free life where you can reclaim your time to do the things that matter the most to you.
Your home should feel like a sanctuary, not another chore to add to your list.
So put your favorite music on, turn up the volume and let’s get to it!