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How to Overcome Decluttering Overwhelm

Discover simple tips for handling decluttering overwhelm to help make the decluttering process less daunting and stress free. Learn how to declutter without getting overwhelmed.

You want to declutter. You really do. But every time you start, you feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have and the task ahead of you.

What can you do to make the process less daunting and get on with the task of decluttering your home? Here are a few tips to help you get started so you can avoid decluttering paralysis.

A woman holding her head in a cluttered room with text that says, "How to handle decluttering overwhelm".

12 Practical Tips for Handling Decluttering Overwhelm

#1. Be Clear About Why You Are Decluttering

The process of decluttering your home can be challenging, and it’s easy to get discouraged when confronting the seemingly endless piles of stuff accumulated over the years. In those moments, it’s important to remember why you’re doing this in the first place.

Some just long to simplify their lives and reduce their reliance on material possessions. Others are fed up with constantly dusting and organizing so much stuff. Or you may be tired of living in a cluttered space.

Whatever your reasons, it’s essential to keep them in mind whenever you hit those decluttering walls. Clear goals will help you stay motivated and focused.

#2. Visualize Your Ideal Space

Decluttering your space can be a daunting task, but it’s critical to have a clear vision in mind of how you want your finished product to look. This will help you make decisions about what things to keep and what to discard as you declutter.

So, before you start decluttering, take some time to imagine your perfect decluttered space. Write down what you see in your mind’s eye or create a Pinterest board full of images that reflect your hopes. With a clear idea in mind, decluttering will be a breeze!

#3. Remember, It is a Process

The first step is recognizing that decluttering is a process, not a one-time event. You didn’t accumulate all your stuff overnight, so don’t expect to get rid of it at once. Give yourself some grace and take things one day at a time. (Here are more rules of decluttering you may want to follow).

#4. Set Aside Time for Decluttering

Embarking on the process of decluttering can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once.

However, setting aside some dedicated time each week to declutter is essential. This could be an hour on Saturday morning or 30 minutes each evening after work. Dedicating some time each week to decluttering will help you make significant progress without feeling overwhelmed.

The important thing is to get started and to keep going. As you declutter, you likely find each passing day more manageable and enjoyable. And before you know it, you’ll have created your dream, a spacious and serene home.

#5. Create a Plan

As we mentioned before, decluttering is a process, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some headway right from the start. One of the best ways to tackle such a project is to create a plan of attack.

Having a plan makes decluttering your home more straightforward and less overwhelming. For example, write down the order in which you plan to declutter each room of your house. You may want to declutter one space per week, or you may wish to declutter several rooms at once.

Similarly, decide how you plan to deal with the items you discard. Will you sell them or donate them to charity?

#6. Set Realistic Goals

It’s important to set realistic goals for yourself when decluttering. Otherwise, you’re likely to get overwhelmed and give up before you even start.

So, ask yourself how much time you realistically have to dedicate to decluttering each week. Then, set an achievable goal for yourself within that time frame. For example, your goal might be to declutter one drawer or surface area daily or one room per week.

#7. Pick One Small Area to Focus on First

Anyone who has ever decluttered their home knows that it can be a daunting task. The temptation is always to try and declutter everything at once, but this is usually a recipe for disaster.

It’ll be much more manageable if you break it down into smaller tasks. Begin with a manageable area, such as your bedroom dresser or the junk drawer in the kitchen. If you’re decluttering your kitchen, start with one cupboard or drawer at a time.

Once you’ve decluttered these areas, you’ll have the confidence and motivation to tackle larger projects, such as the basement or garage. Not only will you be able to declutter your home more effectively, but you’ll also be less likely to become overwhelmed in the process.

Dedicate 15-20 minutes each day to decluttering; before you know it, your entire house will be clutter-free!

#8. Remove the Easiest Things First

One of the easiest wins in decluttering is to toss the obvious rubbish first. It is satisfying to fill a bag quickly and see progress immediately.

You don’t have to worry about making tough decisions right now. Let’s just go for the easy option. Simply grab things you already know you don’t want to keep anymore.

#9. Tackle Your Biggest Source of Stress First

We all have different areas of our homes that cause us stress. It could be the cluttered kitchen counters or the pile of laundry that never seems to end. No matter what your source of stress is, start there.

By decluttering your most stressful area first, you’ll feel a sense of relief and accomplishment that will motivate you to keep going. Not to mention, your home will feel more peaceful and inviting immediately.

For example, if your kitchen counters are constantly cluttered, make a rule that nothing goes on them except for items being used at that moment.

#10. Prioritize the Places that Make the Most Difference

Certain areas of your home have a more significant impact than others. For example, decluttering your living room will make a bigger difference for your household than decluttering a storage cupboard.

So, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with the areas that will make the most significant impact.

Start with the rooms that get the most use. These might include

  • Kitchen: The heart of the home where everyone tends to congregate.
  • Bathroom: The bathroom is used daily, so it’s essential to keep this space clean and clutter-free.
  • Bedroom: Waking up in a clean, organized space each morning is lovely. It is a great way to start the day right.
  • Front Hallway: This is the gateway into your home. Clearing this area gives a sense of calm and order as soon as you enter the house.

Once you’ve decluttered these key areas, you can move on to other areas of your home.

#11. Touch Each Item and Make a Decision

Now that we have removed the easy items, it’s time to go through everything else and make some decisions. Pick up each item in turn and decide. Will you keep, remove, or relocate it?

You need to physically touch or pick up each item, one thing at a time because it pushes you to make a decision. Try to put as much as you can into the removed pile. You don’t need as much as you think.

If you’re having trouble deciding about an item, ask how often you use it. If an item has been untouched for over a year, you probably don’t need it. You can also ask, does this fit my overall vision for this space?

#12. Don’t Worry about Perfection

Remember, the goal is to declutter your home, not to create a perfect space. So don’t worry if everything isn’t perfectly in place when you’re finished. Just focus on removing the clutter, and the rest will fall into place.

You do not need to wait until you have time to perfect everything. Remember, those magazine spreads and images on social media are staged for the camera. They are not real!

Our homes are supposed to be a refuge for us and our family.

Our homes are places to be enjoyed, not put on display. Trying to keep up with picture-perfect magazine spreads is tiring and, ultimately, pointless. So, focus on small steps that will make life easier for you.

Final Thoughts on How to Declutter without Getting Overwhelmed

Decluttering your home can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! By following these simple tips, you can make the process much more manageable, and your home will be clutter-free before long. Hopefully, you’re feeling energized to begin.

Now that you know some concrete ways to manage the overwhelm of decluttering, it’s time to get started so you can put these tips into practice.

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