How to Overcome the 15 Struggles of Decluttering
Learning how to overcome the struggles of decluttering your home might be easier than you think.
The key to success in decluttering is understanding what areas you are struggling with. Many factors halt our decluttering efforts in their tracks, and it’s time you face these challenges head-on!
There are at least 15 different struggles of decluttering that most people have difficulty with.
Whether one, two, or all of these challenges have been causing you stress, there are great solutions you can try to break through these struggles.
Do any of these decluttering struggles sound familiar?
01 | I have no time to declutter.
02 | I am so overwhelmed.
03 | I might need that one day.
04 | I spent a lot of money on that!
05 | My spouse or kids are making it harder.
06 | This was a gift.
07 | I’m going to sell this one day.
08 | This is a project I know I can finish.
09 | This is too sentimental to part with.
10 | This is trendy, I should keep it.
11 | I’ll declutter this when I re-do this room.
12 | I’ll get to the donation center next week.
13 | It won’t make a difference.
14 | What a waste to get rid of this.
15 | This represents who I used to be.
I’m sure a few of these jumped out at you as your main reason for not decluttering your home.
If decluttering were easy, I would be out of a job helping people declutter & organize their lives! These struggles of decluttering may seem impossible to overcome, but I promise you they aren’t!
There are really easy solutions to each one of the dilemmas! All it takes is a little advice and a pinch of motivation and you could be back on track decluttering your home in no time!
Now we know what the 15 struggles of decluttering are… now it’s time to overcome them one by one.
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01 | I HAVE NO TIME TO DECLUTTER
This probably hits home with most of you. The truth is decluttering your home inch by inch takes time, so why not make what time you do have work for you?
You need to adjust your thinking from I will declutter my entire home on my days off to I will create small tasks every day that is realistic.
The time is there, you just have to realize that a 10-minute decluttering task every day for 30 days adds up to serious results. Patience is important and remember every small step you take daily, will add up fast!
02 | I AM SO OVERWHELMED
Decluttering can be an overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be. The difference between the two is a plan. Plans were created to help people understand their goals, gather what they need to succeed, and have a timeline for when to accomplish certain tasks.
Decluttering your home works best if you plan it out in advance. Grab a piece of paper and create your decluttering plan today.
01 | What are your overall goals?
02 | Are you going to declutter by sections, by items, or by room?
03 | Create a realistic calendar of when tasks need to be completed.
04 | Have a game plan put in motion for where your clutter needs to go after you’re done.
03 | I MIGHT NEED THAT ONE DAY
The struggles of decluttering often fall into this idea that one day you might need something you’ve decluttered. It’s true, you might need that item one day… but you might not. So if you’re battling against 50/50 odds ask yourself these two questions.
01 | If a time comes up in the future where I need this item, do I have something similar I could use in its place?
02 | How easy would it be to replace this item?
That should be all the debate you would need about something you might need later. If you can use something similar, then get rid of it, if it’s easily replaceable, then get rid of it!
04 | I SPENT A LOT OF MONEY ON THAT!
Choosing to remove something from your home you spent a lot of money on is hard. The cold hard truth is this… the money is gone. The item is not serving its purpose in your home. Let the guilt go.
The value of an item is not how expensive it was, but what it means to you. If it annoys you, causes you guilt, or sits buried somewhere in your home then that expensive item has 0 value.
You could always try to sell it to regain some of the money spent or re-gift it to a friend or family member that would cherish it.
05 | MY SPOUSE / KIDS IS MAKING THIS HARDER
I’ve learned that you cannot force your spouse or kids to get excited about decluttering the way it excites you. You may see the benefits and want them to want them as much as you, but to your family, it’s just another chore they don’t want to do.
In a lot of cases its more than that. Sometimes you’re living with a loved one that hoards or cannot let go of anything! There are a few tactics you can try.
01 | Clearly explain why it’s important to you that they declutter their clothes, toys, or garage. They may not fully understand the emotion behind it all and just assume it’s another chore they have to do.
02 | If they won’t let anything go, pack it up and store it. There is nothing wrong with rotating toys & books, or winter & summer clothes. Their stuff isn’t gone, it’s just stored and easily accessible out of sight. If they never once went through those bins for anything after a few months, it might be easier to have a conversation about donating it.
03 | A reward system might be a great way to encourage decluttering. If your husband can declutter the garage, then maybe you could epoxy the floors like he always wanted. If your kids declutter their rooms, maybe they can re-decorate it new fresh paint and bedding. Paint a picture of what things could be if they just declutter some of their things.
06 | THIS WAS A GIFT
When a friend or family member goes out of their way to pick something out just for us we get attached to the gesture, not always the gift. That is where the guilt comes in making it difficult to part with it. The struggles of decluttering are often associated with guilt.
The best way to deal with this guilt is to consider some of the following things.
01 | Think about if they had a heartfelt sentiment behind their gift. Many times gifts are just last-minute decisions or obligations from friends & family. If they put little thought into it, then let it go.
02 | Would they notice if it isn’t in your home any longer? If they never mention the item anymore, they probably won’t even notice you’ve removed it.
03 | If you’re not sure about removing it or how your friend or family would feel, store it. Put it in a box, in a closet somewhere, and forget about it. If you never missed it, let it go, if your friend or family never mentioned it, let it go. Think of this as a risk-free trial run.
07 | I’M GOING TO SELL THIS ONE DAY
That is fantastic! Then do it. Today is the day to sell it, not tomorrow, not next month, but today. Selling stuff is a great way to make back a little money, but to do so without some guidelines is a recipe for disaster.
Next time you have things you wish to sell make a checklist to help you stay on track with following through.
01 | Clean the item, take pictures and upload immediately.
02 | Give yourself a posting day once or twice a month, and schedule it on your calendar.
03 | If the item doesn’t sell by a certain timeline, then let it go so you can move on to a clutter-free life. Place a sticky note on the item that says if not sold by MM/DD then take it to Goodwill.
The Most Helpful Decluttering Guide Ever
08 | THIS IS A PROJECT I KNOW I CAN FINISH
If you have multiple half-finished projects cluttering your home the easiest way to manage it, is to pack it up and put a due date on it. Get a few bins and place as much of the project as you can in them, label it, and pick a due date for when you need to complete this project.
If the due date passes and you never even thought to complete the project, then let it go.
If you still feel like you can, then create a new due date and start the process over again until you’ve found a resolution.
09 | THIS IS TOO SENTIMENTAL TO PART WITH
Isn’t this the worst of all the struggles of decluttering? We all have something sentimental we can’t let go of, even though deep down we just don’t want the item anymore. This is tough. You need to come up with a solution that will work for this problem.
Sentimental items are all different but you might be able to slowly declutter through them with a few thoughtful tactics.
01 | Compare your collections. If you went on vacation to Hawaii and saved the plane ticket, but also brought back a few souvenirs you proudly display in your home, then why keep the plane ticket? Compare your sentimental items and keep only one or two of the best.
02 | Pull your sentimental items you don’t really want anymore in a box and store them away for a while and pretend you got rid of them. How does it make you feel? Wait a week, or a month, or even 6 months and see if you felt any guilt.
03 | If you ultimately decide you just can’t part with something, then do something with it. Cut up old shirts and make a blanket. Hole punch greeting cards and create a photo album. Turn kids’ artwork into a collage on canvas to hang up.
10 | THIS IS TRENDY SO I SHOULD HOLD ON TO IT
You may have bought some clothes or home decor simply because it’s trendy. That’s OK! What’s not OK is to keep these items if they don’t look good on you or in your home.
What good are those name-brand shoes to you if they only sit in your closet? What good are those light fixtures if you never hang them up?
Pretend the item is not in style right now, would you keep it? Probably not. You shouldn’t keep something simply because it looks good hanging in your closet! Free up the space to make room for what looks good on you!
11 | I’LL DECLUTTER WHEN I FINISH THIS ROOM
You know you’re going to completely re-do your home office, so you keep putting off decluttering what’s in there for when it’s time. What if that time never comes? What if when you finally start your home office it takes you days to declutter, sort, & organize what’s in there?
Sometimes you just have to get started in a space so that space does not overwhelm you. Think about how much easier it will be to paint that accent wall or re-arrange the furniture once you’ve decluttered?
Who knows, decluttering out an un-used space might ignite the flames to finally turn it into something useful.
12 | I’LL GET TO THE DONATION CENTER NEXT WEEK
For all of you that still have garbage bags filled with clutter in your car, just take them to your donation center. It never takes as long as you think it will to drop things off.
Decluttering is just the first step, removing the clutter from your home is the second step most people never consider.
That clutter sitting in piles in the garage or by the front door is physical mental weight. It’s a to-do on your list that could be done if you just work on dropping it off on your schedule.
So pencil it in, make the time, do the drop, and be free from the clutter today!
13 | IT WON’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE
You may feel your home is a lost cause and that decluttering won’t make a difference, but it absolutely will. Even the smallest changes could yield huge wins for your sanity.
If you’ve decluttered again and again and it always ends up the same mess, then you may need to look at problem areas of your home that just aren’t working.
If a paper pile ends up on the kitchen counter daily, then you know you need a solution for that problem. Create a command center, get a desktop organizer for your kitchen countertop, clear the counter every night before bed as a newly formed habit.
14 | WHAT A WASTE TO GET RID OF THIS
If the thought of throwing out the empty peanut butter jar and not repurposing it is killing you, I get it. Many of us care about our carbon footprint and often find ourselves hoarding things to prevent ours from getting any larger.
But there comes a time when you take on too much. You save everything & in so doing your precious items turn into clutter. To help yourself with this problem think about ways you can prevent excess waste.
01 | Think before you buy. Do you need another pair of jeans, do you need an extra bottle of lotion. Be selective with what you buy so you don’t have so many extra duplicates.
02 | Follow through with what you preach. You want to recycle those batteries, take those empty water bottles down to the recycle plant, and create a substrate for garden beds from your old newspapers … then follow through and do it.
15 | THIS REPRESENTS WHO I USED TO BE
You know you more than anyone. Holding onto prom dresses, corky suspensors, or old college books is not going to remove your previous identity. We cannot allow our physical possessions to be the only representation of who we were. That will never go away.
People change and evolve and with that our styles change. We decorate our homes differently and we dress according to our current lifestyle.
So that means letting certain things go that no longer serve us for who we are right now in this moment. It is OK to move forward by letting something holding you back go.
I know that these 15 struggles of decluttering probably resonated with a lot of you and I hope that you don’t give up on your decluttering journey, now that you have the solutions!
You deserve to have a beautiful clutter-free environment and you deserve to spend your days off having fun, not cleaning around the clutter.
You can do this! Every small step is one step closer to your goal.