How To Stop Procrastinating Decluttering Your home

procrastinating decluttering on the couch

We all know the definition of procrastination- the action of delaying or postponing something. After all, why do today what we can put off ’til tomorrow? If you are ready to get your decluttering job done this article How to stop procrastinating decluttering your home, is tailor-made for you.

Are you a procrastinator?

I think we all procrastinate on some things sometimes. No one wants to do a dreaded unpleasant task, do they? Certainly not me. Ideally, I do the dreaded important tasks first and cross them off my to-do list. It is awesome when I am disciplined and make this happen. 

Putting off tasks and delaying decision-making can lead to a buildup of clutter and disorganized physical spaces over time, not to mention wreaking havoc on our mental health. This buildup of physical clutter can lead to piles of mental clutter. See if any of the following sound familiar.

Do you experience difficulty Letting Go? 

Do you have trouble letting go of your belongings even when they are no longer needed (maybe never were!), and have no practical or sentimental value? Are you tired of seeing too much stuff in your living or workspace?

You can change this without making herculean efforts, Start by taking small steps. This strategy works especially well if you stop thinking about decluttering as scary big projects.

a little girl letting a bouquet of colorful balloons go up to the deep aqua blue sky.

Lack of organization

Getting organization systems in place is a great help to get and stay clutter-free. I am not talking about running out and buying costly snappy containers and hiring carpenters to build built-ins for you! I have always lived within a tight budget and those options were unavailable to me.

Declutter and organize with gutter pieces

Still, I am ridiculously organized and clutter-free. I have well-established routines and (cheap!) systems to be organized and to maintain my organized and clutter-free home and art studios. Being organized comes naturally to me, maybe because I love to organize stuff. I understand others may find this difficult.

Organizing can be learned by picking up a few effective strategies.  A lot of time it is as simple as replacing some not-so-great habits with better habits. There are so many wonderful products out there today to help us stay organized. Some are cheap and some can be pricey. I always opt for free first.

glass rods organized in gutter pieces

The alternative would be living in disorder and chaos and I can’t live with disorder. I think few would consciously choose clutter over being organized. 

Shown is a picture of sorted glass in my glass studio. I found a bunch of different lengths of PVC gutter and tubes and it works perfectly to sort colors of glass etc. I easily cut them all down to the same length. The tubes fit nicely in clear totes as they would in a recycled carton.

Time management

I’ve been helping folks declutter and organize for a while now and I will tell you the number 1 reason people say they can’t declutter is because they don’t have time. 

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Yes, some of us are busier than others. Even very very busy people can carve out a few minutes a day to declutter.

My friend Diane decluttered her walk-in closet by removing 2 plus pieces of clothing every day. In the span of 40 days, Diane hauled 3 big bags of new and gently used clothing to a women’s shelter and she reported it took her less than 1 minute a day. 

a monochromatic walk in closet

The biggest challenge to decluttering is making up your mind you will do this and commit to the process. Once on the decluttering journey, many people report seeing what great improvements are being made and this motivates them to keep going. 

Check this out if you need help getting motivated!

Decision making

Feeling overwhelmed by the volume of items or tasks is one of the reasons we may procrastinate organizing or decluttering. Even deciding what to declutter first is a challenge to some folks. This is real and there is no need to feel shame.

Believe me, you have many positive attributes. Right now organizing is not one of them. A friend of mine, a retired business executive, claims to have zero organizational skills. You can change this if you want. Deciding to change is all that is necessary for this most important first step. 

decision making regarding sentimental items

Sentimental items can often be the biggest challenge for some people. I wrote an article Guilt Free Tips To Declutter Sentimental Stuff you may find interesting. I wrote this to teach people the different strategies for decluttering sentimental items.

A great method to start the decluttering process is to go around your home and gather all the ‘like’ items, tossing obvious unwanted stuff as you go along. Specifically what I mean is if there are things in the kitchen that belong elsewhere, put them in their proper designated places. 

Don’t worry about not having special organized storage systems set up yet. Your mantra for this task is ‘like goes with like’. This one act of sorting your things is a good beginning.

Clutter Blindness 

Disorganized individuals often get used to their cluttered surroundings, and don’t even see the clutter. We call this ‘clutter blindness. Maybe a second pair of eyes is needed. Can you enlist a friend to help? A friend who has great organizational skills will take a look around and make suggestions.

I have a free challenge coming up where I will be addressing clutter blindness. We will be going into our different rooms and identifying clutter blindness.

If you are interested to join us keep an eye out in our Facebook community group. Declutterbuzz is our safe and private group of people where we all come together to help each other- no shame. 

Storage and space utilization tames clutter

Failing to utilize storage spaces effectively or lacking proper storage solutions can exacerbate clutter issues.

Here are some helpful suggestions.

colorful yarn utilizing free storage

Yarns organized by color in free corrugated boxes

Start small

Part of the sneakiness of procrastination is stuff is scattered willy-nilly in your physical space and you have no idea what you even have so you buy more. This is what makes home clutter. I’m telling you – ‘like with like’ in its designated place will solve a lot of the chaos and mess. 

Plan to do small tasks. Small tasks are easier to start than big tasks and they are more manageable tasks. Rather than high expectations make little realistic goals. Set yourself up for a win!

Set aside enough time in each of your decluttering sessions to give yourself a win!

Find the times of the day you feel energized to do your decluttering and cleaning tasks.

If you are having trouble starting your decluttering journey concentrate on decluttering one object at a time. People with chronic illness, or for various reasons, see progress when they commit to decluttering just one item a day.

What often happens is the one item becomes two plus items and maybe even 1 box of objects or 1 drawer of things. Again seeing progress is in itself very motivating.

3 signs: think big, start small, and learn fast

By breaking the task into smaller chunks your decluttering project immediately becomes more manageable. Focus on completing what you consider one object at a time, which can make the task feel less scary and easier to achieve.

Set a timer

Have you tried the Pomodoro Method? The University of Pittsburgh’s description of the Pomodoro Method is:

  • Select a single task to focus on.
  • Mark the territory where you plan to declutter.
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes and work continuously until the timer goes off.
  • Take a 5 minute break to walk around, get a snack, relax 
  • repeat the process

This method works great because you have a limited amount of time so you will work faster to get the job done. It is like being ready to leave the house to get to an appointment and you are 3 or 5 minutes ahead of schedule so you quickly run around gathering the dirty laundry to throw a load of wash in before you leave.

pomodoro method and 25 minute timer

Set a clear and concise goal.

You are on your way to a win now! You have set a goal of decluttering 1 object, spending as little as one minute, or using the Pomodoro method of 25 minutes. Yeah, you! I believe that if you focus on keeping, tossing, donating, or selling the object in question you will achieve a win.


What is the most important thing in your life you want to declutter today? This is your priority. If you are hemming and hawing on what this priority is pick up the first object your eye sees or your hand touches and make this your priority.

If this object is sentimental and is going to cause you stress in deciding into which category it goes put it down for now. Get some decluttering experience under your belt before you tackle the sentimental stuff. 

priorities 1 through 3

Starting in the kitchen junk drawer is easy because seldom are we emotionally attached to the broken bits of string you threw in the drawer with the elastics and batteries.

The easiest way to tackle a kitchen junk drawer is to remove all the contents, throw away the trash, and put away the things that do not belong in the kitchen. Wipe out the drawer and return only the goods you need and use to the drawer.

You will be on your way to a clutter-free home in no time!


I am a big fan of visualizing my goals! Because it works for me! They said I was nuts when I decided to buy my first (and only!) home many years ago, by the ocean. I kept visualizing this. I had a picture of the ocean view I was insisting on hanging where I could see it many times daily. 

The win!

After dragging my real estate agent around for a year we finally found the best house in the world for me! I decided to buy my home before I even opened the front door.

I still have the picture I looked at as my visual aid and if you held the image up to my view they look quite alike. Visualize your decluttered and organized new space! Find pictures for inspiration! 

a lady doing a happy dance against a gradated hot pink background


When I am faced with deadlines and tasks I am not anxious to even start I always set what I call a drop dead date for the task to be finished. This means the task has to be done on whatever due date I decide and this date is recorded on my calendar.

Then I work backwards and chart out a manageable plan according to my time frame to achieve my goal. Each step of my plan is recorded in my calendar with the alert notifications set. 

The most important part is telling an accountability buddy my goal, and my deadline date. I now have to be accountable to another. Because I do not want to feel like a failure I will always meet this deadline. I know this to be tried and true because it works every time for me.


I know this may be challenging for my ADHD friends out there. 

This is where a concrete plan comes in. If you make your decluttering clear and concise you will not have to be distracted about what to do first and next. 

When I only have so much time and need to focus. I mute my devices. For most chores, I prefer to work in silence because I find music and podcasts distracting. I don’t answer calls, I can’t hear notifications because I have turned this feature temporarily off.

a man flying on top of a dart in the sky heading toward a red and white bulls eye target.

Be good to yourself

I cannot stress this enough. Go easy on yourself. You are doing the best you know how to do today. You are making conscious decisions to get the job done.

I suspect it took a while to get cluttered. Accept the fact it will take time to declutter too. You will complete projects when you do. Don’t worry about it, just keep moving the needle ahead.

Stop any negative self-talk you may be inclined to do. If you would not allow a friend to speak to you in a self- deprecating manner you should never allow yourself to speak unkindly to you. 

Go easy on yourself. When you know better you will do better.

a lady hugging herself in a graphic flower garden

Stay with the process of decluttering your home

Overcoming well-ingrained procrastination habits is a process. Some days will be good and others not so much. By practicing these techniques consistently and staying committed to the task at hand you will gradually get to where you want to be. 

You will notice increased productivity and an overall lighter feeling due to your accomplishments. Don’t look back. What is done is done. Stay focused on this day! 

One day at a time, one object at a time you will create the environment you visualize living in. The good news is it won’t take long until you feel lighter and as though you are living in a new home!

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 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!

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