Every Messy Person’s Guide to Decluttering Stuff?

a pair of hands writing in a journal at a desk with a cup of coffee and a small green pllant

Every messy person’s guide to decluttering stuff is a how-to about sorting through a disorganized and cluttered mess.

The smart way to address decluttering is to start by thinking about what you want, and what is your goal.

Oftentimes we often are seeking a sense of renewal when we have the desire to declutter.

Mental or Physical clutter

There usually is a connection between physical clutter and mental clutter. When our physical space is cluttered and disorganized, it can lead to feelings of overwhelm, stress, and anxiety. This contributes to mental clutter.

My definition of mental clutter is when the thoughts in your head are unwelcome and you cannot stop the noise.

If your head is filled with mental clutter it may be difficult to maintain a clutter-free environment. It is like the chicken and egg thesis- which came first, the chicken or the egg?

One way to address both physical and mental clutter is to approach decluttering as a holistic process. This means not only decluttering physical items but also decluttering your thoughts and mental habits. How do you do this?

Start writing

I use a pen and a cheap spiral notebook to write. I write daily, in a stream-of-consciousness style or free form. Maybe you would like to buy or make a new special journal. Whatever is most comfortable to you is what you should do. If you prefer to use a keyboard, this too is an option.

Write the following question: What do I want? You are thinking of decluttering. For example: What do you want to declutter? Why do you want to declutter?

Keep writing and keep answering your questions. This act of writing is not necessarily a fast process, it can be. I have been writing for years and years and sometimes the answers come before I finish writing the question and sometimes it takes days, weeks, and months.

I hope you carve out a little quiet space to get comfortable in and spend a few minutes writing. A friend of mine emptied a closet and used this little space to meditate and write. It did the trick!


The key for me is to keep writing. Think of this exercise as a fantastic way to focus. It is the act of keeping still and quiet that is so helpful to me because I am type A all the way every day. By sitting still for whatever period I deem fit I am forced to sit still with a pen in my hand and focus.

Write the answers to this question until you are satisfied with the answer. If you are not satisfied keep writing. Don’t concern yourself with penmanship, punctuation, and grammar. This is what stream-of-consciousness writing and free-form writing is, this writing is strictly for you.

No one is grading you and you are not writing the Great American novel. You are using writing as a tool to focus on learning what you want. This tool has proved magical for me and the countless groups of people I have walked through this process.

No one ever needs to see this, this is for your eyes only. Maybe you wrote that you want less stress and anxiety. Maybe you just have too much stuff and need more space. What do you want?

When you have completed this exercise you will have an idea of what you want.


You have just set a clear intention for yourself. You just took the first step! Be proud. Having a clear intention can help you stay motivated and focused throughout the decluttering process.

You choose your pace.

In this incredibly fast-paced environment we live in today we all have the potential to collect mental clutter. We are easily distracted. Information comes to us 24/7. There is a lot of content available to us on social media that is designed to keep us reading.

Are you going to let an algorithm be in charge of your day or will you take control? If I have spent my daily allotment of time reading I will not accomplish other things. This would not work for me. It can be a struggle to leave content whose sole purpose is to keep reading.

There is a time for browsing and research and a time to do the tasks at hand. Because I know myself well I know I feel much better the more productive I am. I feel better when I feel a win at the end of the day


When you have a clear and concise goal it is time to make a plan. All plans must include a timeline or the plan is just an idle wish.

With a timeline attached to each part of your plan, you now have an accountability feature built in.

Scheduling decluttering sessions is a winner. You pick the days and times that work with your schedule. You are in control of the decluttering journey.

Check this out for tips about increasing your productivity.


Just like social media, you will get distracted while decluttering. You need to have a plan in place to recognize this and bring your distracted self back into focus.

Many people have a tough time decluttering because they don’t know what they want. This makes it hard to make decisions regarding keeping or discarding particular items.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be a helpful tool in addressing both physical and mental clutter. Don’t shy away from the word mindful for fear it is ‘woo woo’.

When I am stressed out breathing mindfully brings me into the present. So much of our stress is generated from thoughts of the past that you can’t change, or fear of the future. If all we are doing is stressing about yesterday and tomorrow we will miss out on today.


Try breathing your way into a calm and centered mindset today. Stay firmly planted in the day you are in.

When I breathe out I picture the ‘stress’ leaving my body. When I breathe in I visualize my interpretation of ‘peace’.

Breathe in peace. Breathe out stress.


You have to be good to yourself. You can’t expect others to be good to you if you are not good to yourself.

Decluttering can be an emotional process. It is important to prioritize self-care along the way including taking breaks, getting enough sleep, exercising, and seeking support from friends or a professional if needed.

By approaching decluttering as a holistic process that addresses both physical and mental clutter, you will create a more peaceful and fulfilling daily life.

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