How To Declutter Even When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

an decluttered and organized closet

Feeling overwhelmed can be a common roadblock when it comes to tackling the clutter in our lives. It’s easy to use the excuse of being overwhelmed to procrastinate. It’s important to recognize that feeling overwhelmed is just a feeling and is in no way a good reason to not start decluttering.

Taking the first step is crucial and the best way to overcome this obstacle. Each step after the first will motivate you to keep going and in a short period the overwhelming feeling will be replaced by positive feelings because what you are doing is building momentum

In this blog post, we’ll explore strategies on how to start decluttering even when you feel overwhelmed, afraid, or lazy. You finally will be able to relax in your clutter-free home if you are willing to just take that scary first step.

Decluttering – where should I start?

When overwhelmed, it’s essential to start with easy wins. Identify small areas in your home that can be decluttered quickly. This could be a countertop, a drawer, or a shelf. Tackling these smaller spaces provides a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to move on to more significant decluttering tasks.

a picture of a messy junk drawer, contents include oldlight bulbs, toothbrush, pizza cutter wheel and scissors to name a few

One room at a time decluttering

Instead of looking at the entire home as one massive decluttering task, the easiest thing to do is break it down into small projects. It does not matter if you choose a small or a large space to begin the decluttering process. What matters is starting. 

A great way to start is to focus on one room, one corner of an area, or one item at a time. A lot of time folks feel overwhelmed thinking of decluttering a life’s worth of stuff in a day.

Decluttering the whole house in a day is unrealistic for most of us. Unless you hire a team of workers and multiple dumpsters you are not going to get rid of all your unwanted items in an afternoon.

How long did it take for your home to be filled with too much stuff? Planning small tasks and taking action are quick and easy. This is the antidote to feelings of overwhelm. 

5 sets of footprints walking across the page

Tiny steps are a simple solution and a great first step to decluttering if you are having difficulty beginning. This approach allows you to make progress gradually without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of the decluttering process.

I have no time to declutter

I have no time to declutter is an excuse I hear often from clients.

Time can be a legitimate concern and barrier when it comes to decluttering. Scheduling decluttering sessions as you do the appointments you make to get your hair cut, manicures, and car oil changed go a long way to holding yourself accountable. 

The easiest way to address this is to allocate specific time slots for decluttering tasks. Whether it’s 15 minutes a day or a dedicated hour each weekend, making an appointment to declutter at a set time on a particular day helps create a routine.

These appointments with yourself need to be honored the same as you honor any appointment. You may want to consider adding an alert to your scheduled decluttering sessions because it is easy to forget the things we don’t want to do!

To help get you started check out my new free Shift Into Action course! I made this 9-module course with videos and an extensive workbook for folks having trouble starting to declutter!

Consistency is key, and over time, these dedicated decluttering sessions will contribute to a more organized living space. 

Good habits are formed when you just show up to whatever it is you are committed to.

mom, dad and 3 kids sharing cleaning the kitchen

Involve family members

If you want a clutter-free home and live with others it only stands to reason the other members of your household have to cooperate. Involve family members in the process. Ask for a little help from all the people in your household. Even your youngest family members can have a job of doing simple easy things to help your decluttering efforts.

Assign specific tasks to each family member based on their preferences and strengths. Each person can be responsible for a small area in a shared space and their private areas. 

When everyone has a stake in the decision to live a clutter-free life your cluttered home will begin to get organized. Not only does this lighten the load, but it also fosters a sense of shared responsibility for maintaining an organized home. The added benefit of working together and sharing the responsibilities, is you are teaching a great life lesson.

someone poised over their open filled calendar book.


We all have busy schedules. Make decluttering a part of your day-to-day life. Instead of viewing it as a separate task, integrate it into your routine. For example, take a few minutes each day to put away items that have found their way into common spaces.

Small, consistent efforts can prevent clutter from accumulating and make the overall process more manageable.

Keep in mind also, the less clutter you have, the quicker clean ups will be! This is a great time to start replacing messy habits with habits that will help you maintain your new clutter-free home.

Confront the Fear of Letting Go

Instead of jamming up your storage space with cardboard boxes and storage bins go through your living spaces and start letting go of some of the physical clutter. In a short time, you will begin to see you do not miss all those piles of stuff and you will wonder why it took you so long to declutter.

seaside image with a picture showing  letting go of a handful sand

Fear of letting go is a common obstacle in the decluttering process. Overcome this fear by asking yourself if an item truly adds value to your life.

If it doesn’t, consider donating or discarding it. Remember that letting go of unnecessary items creates space for things that truly matter and contribute to a more organized and peaceful home.


Finding support can be extremely helper to most of us. After all, who doesn’t love a cheer leader! Some folks find decluttering, especially the act of letting go to be incredibly hard.

The feeling of angst felt by these folks is very real. I urge you to find a friend or family member to help you. If all this support person does for you is listen this can be worth its weight in gold. There is no good reason to choose to do anything alone.

many hands joined offering support

The key to decluttering when feeling overwhelmed is to start and continue in a consistent manner. By taking a step at a time and going through one item at a time you will begin to see a difference and you will also begin to feel a sense of calm. Here is a summary…

  • Start small
  • Break it down
  • Schedule time to declutter
  • Involve family members
  • Form new habits
  • Be consistent

Integrate decluttering into your day-to-day life, and confront the fear of letting go. By implementing these strategies, you can transform your living space and create a more organized and harmonious environment. Don’t let overwhelm be an excuse – take the first step today!


Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er 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 and support 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 and always a few laughs!

To see more articles like this, please like and follow me. Thank you!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *