Stop Overthinking! 12 Expert Tips for Decluttering Your Messy Home

Image of bright colors with text reading clutter and other clutter words like donate, recycle, decide and attachment.

Are you tired of living in a cluttered and messy home? Do you feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start when it comes to decluttering? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with keeping their homes organized and clutter-free. Fortunately, there are some simple tips you can follow to help you declutter your home without overthinking.

The first step to decluttering your home is to set a goal. Determine what you want to achieve and why it’s important to you. This will help you stay motivated and focused as you work through the decluttering process. Next, start small by tackling one area at a time. This could be a single room, a closet, a drawer or 1 object.

By breaking the task down into smaller, more manageable pieces, you’ll be less likely to feel overwhelmed.

One Object at a Time

I came up with the declutter 1 object at a time technique because it was my thought that most people, whether overwhelmed or unwell, can tend to 1 piece of clutter. My suspicions are correct and this is evidenced by the amount of clutter people have been getting rid of with my guidance.

I find the junk drawer we all have in the kitchen an easy win to start with.

Understanding the Importance of Decluttering

Decluttering your home may seem like a daunting task, but it can have a significant impact on your mental and physical well-being. Here are a few reasons why decluttering is important:

The Psychological Benefits

Decluttering can have a positive impact on your mental health. A cluttered home can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. When you declutter, you create a sense of order and organization, which can reduce stress and improve your mood. Additionally, decluttering can give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem.

Improving the Home Environment

A cluttered home can also have a negative impact on your physical health. Dust and allergens can accumulate in cluttered spaces, which can lead to respiratory issues and allergies. Furthermore, clutter can make it difficult to move around your home, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Decluttering can also improve the aesthetic appeal of your home. When you remove unnecessary items, you create more space, which can make your home feel larger and more inviting. Additionally, decluttering can help you identify items that need to be repaired or replaced, which can improve the overall functionality of your home.

Decluttering your home can have a significant impact on your mental and physical well-being. By creating a sense of order and organization, you can reduce stress, improve your mood, and create a safer and more inviting home environment.

Starting the Decluttering Process

Decluttering your home can feel like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple tips, you can start the process of decluttering without overthinking.

Setting Realistic Goals

The first step to decluttering your home is to set realistic goals. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you can realistically accomplish in a given amount of time. If you set unrealistic goals, you may become overwhelmed and give up before you even start.

Start by identifying the areas of your home that need the most attention. Then, set a goal for each area. For example, your goal for your bedroom may be to declutter your closet and dresser within a weekend. Remember, it’s better to set small, achievable goals than to set large, unrealistic goals that may leave you feeling defeated.

Creating a Decluttering Plan

Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to create a plan. Start by breaking down each goal into smaller tasks. For example, if your goal is to declutter your closet and dresser, your tasks may include:

Going through all your clothing one piece at a time deciding what to keep, donate, throw away or sell. I suggest having 3 heavy duty bags opened. Put the clothes you are keeping away in an organized manner and label 3 bags for each of the remaining categories.

Organize your clothes by category, for example, shirts, pants, dresses, by color or season.

Create a storage system that works for you such as using hangers, shelves, or drawers.

It’s important to create a plan that works for you and your schedule. If you have a busy week ahead, don’t set a goal that requires a lot of time and energy you do not have. Instead, focus on smaller tasks that you can accomplish in your free time.

The key to decluttering your home is to take it one step at a time and concentrate on what works best for you. Setting realistic goals can be a game changer. Create a plan, and start the process of decluttering without overthinking it.

Practical Decluttering Tips

One Room at a Time

When decluttering your home, it’s important to start with one room, one area in this room or one drawer, closet or object. This will help you stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Begin by removing everything from the closet, drawer or room and sorting items into three piles as I suggested – keep, donate, sell or toss.

Once you have sorted everything, put the keep pile back in its place, and move on to the next room, area in the room or one drawer, closet or object.

Keeping

When deciding what to keep, ask yourself if you have used the item in the past year. I would guess if the answer is no this is indicative of that item no longer serving you.

If you have not used a particular thing, with the exception of special occasion items, consider donating, selling or discarding it. Another helpful tip is to limit the number of sentimental items you keep. While these items may hold sentimental value, they can quickly accumulate and take up valuable space in your home.

Donating

Donating items is a great way to give back to your community while also decluttering your home. Research local charities and donation centers to find the best place to donate your items. Keep in mind that some items, such as old electronics or expired medication, may need to be disposed of properly. 

Social media sites such as Facebook Yard Sale groups in your area is a great way to sell and donate gently used items. We have very active Facebook groups in my area. Freecycle.org is another platform I have used to arrange for easy porch pickups of donated goods.

Discarding

When discarding items, it’s important to do so in an environmentally friendly way. Consider recycling or repurposing items when possible. For items that cannot be recycled or repurposed, dispose of them properly according to your local regulations.

By following these practical decluttering tips, you can create a more organized and stress-free home. A great antidote to overthinking is to take it one object a time if you find anything more than this overwhelming.

Don’t be afraid to let go of items that no longer serve a purpose in your life.

Overcoming the Challenges of Decluttering

Decluttering can be a daunting task, especially if you have a lot of sentimental items or if you tend to get overwhelmed easily. However, with the right mindset and approach, you can overcome these challenges and make progress towards a more organized and tidy home. Here are some best tips to help you overcome the challenges of decluttering:

Dealing with Sentimental Items

One of the biggest challenges of attempting a decluttering  project  is dealing with sentimental items. These are items that hold emotional value, such as old letters, photographs, gifts or maybe furniture pieces, from loved ones, that you were never really crazy about. It can be difficult to let go of these items, even if they are no longer useful or taking up valuable space in your home.

To overcome this challenge, try to focus on the memories associated with the item rather than the item itself. Take a photo of the item or write down a description of it to help you the next time you want to take a trip down memory lane. You can also consider passing the item on to a family member or friend who would appreciate it more than you do.

Avoid Overwhelm

Another challenge of decluttering is feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff you have to go through. You may have an entire house filled with clutter or just an at home office with a small area of paper clutter. The suggestions here can be used no matter how many unwanted items you have. It can be tempting to put off decluttering or to give up altogether when faced with more than one cluttered room or closet.

To avoid overwhelm, break the task down into smaller, manageable steps. Start with one drawer or shelf or just one piece of something and work your way up to larger areas. Set a timer for a specific amount of time, such as 1 hour, 30 minutes or less time, whatever amount of time that you can commit to, and focus on decluttering for that time period. Decluttering does not have to be a hard work. Celebrate small victories, such as decluttering one shelf or donating a bag of clothes, to stay motivated.

By following these tips, you can overcome the challenges of decluttering and create a more organized and tidy home. Remember to take it one step at a time, one object at a time and to focus on the progress you are making, rather than the amount of work left to do.

Maintaining a Clutter-free Home

Regular Cleaning Schedules

To maintain a clutter-free clean home, it’s important to establish a regular cleaning schedule. This will help you stay on top of things and prevent clutter from building up. If your big picture is to have a clean house everyday create a cleaning schedule that works for you, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly. The key is to be consistent and stick to your schedule.

I find cleaning up after every single task works best for me.

One effective strategy is to break down your cleaning tasks into smaller, manageable chunks. For example, you might focus on decluttering one room each week or tackling a specific task, such as organizing your closet or cleaning out your pantry. By breaking down your tasks, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that you’re making steady progress.

Adopting Minimalist Habits

Another key to maintaining a clutter-free home is to adopt minimalist habits. This means being intentional about what you bring into your home and regularly purging items that no longer serve a purpose. Here are some tips to help you adopt minimalist habits:

I practice the “one in, one out” rule- For every new item you bring into your home, get rid of one old item.

Be mindful of impulse purchases: Before you buy something new, ask yourself if you really need it and if it will add value to your life. If it is a cheap object that will just end up in the landfill you may want to forgo the purchase.

Regularly declutter: Set aside time each month to go through your belongings and get rid of anything that no longer serves a purpose.

Simplify your routines: Look for ways to simplify your daily routines, such as meal planning or creating a capsule wardrobe.

By adopting these habits, you can create a more intentional and clutter-free home. I find practicing these suggestions and other mindset techniques to be simple decluttering tips and allow me to have a really good quality of life.

I do not have a lot of clutter in my living space. It is debatable if my art studios are cluttered, I do though make it one of my daily tasks to keep surface areas clean in my studios. 

Stay Motivated!

Start small, work your way up, and don’t overthink things. Here are some final tips to keep in mind:

Keep a positive attitude and stay motivated. Remind yourself on a regular basis why you’re decluttering in the first place and focus on the benefits of a clutter-free home.

A Few More Things

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Enlist the help of family members or friends to make the process go faster and smoother. There are some social media decluttering communities out there. It is easier to get stuff done when in the company of like minded people.

Take breaks when you need to. Decluttering can be exhausting if you allow it. Make sure to take breaks and rest when you need to.

Create a system for keeping things organized. Once you’ve decluttered your home, create a system for keeping things organized and tidy so that you don’t end up back where you started. Find proper places that work for you for the things you have decided to keep.

12 Tips

1 Be clear about what your goal is.

2 Make a clear and concise plan in writing.

3 One antidote to prevent overthinking is to declutter one object at a time.

4 Sort the items you choose to declutter first.

5 Setting realistic goals will set you up for a win.

6 Organize the items you choose to keep.

9 When you us an item always return to its proper place. Everytime.

10 If you are feeling overwhelmed when it comes to decluttering sentimental pieces leave this category for last.

11 Make a maintenance plan you can manage to follow so you never have to do a major decluttering project again!

12 Celebrate your wins!

The psychological benefits of decluttering include feeling more relaxed and less stressed.

Your improved physical home environment will help you to feel more positive and be more productive. More productivity often leads to less financial stress.

Your new decluttered space will be more aesthetically pleasing and may allow you to relax more. Some clients report an improved social life because they now want to invite folks to see their newly organized homes.  

In the long run you can declutter your home without overthinking and feeling overwhelmed. A clutter-free space will be yours at last. Good luck on your decluttering journey!

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Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutterer and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

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