How To Declutter When You Have No Motivation
The question people ask me most of the time is:
“How can I get the motivation to declutter my house?”
It’s such a simple question but one that is holding back thousands of people on their journey to a clutter-free life!
When you are at a loss to begin decluttering it can be very overwhelming to look at how much you have to deal with and sort out. It can be easy to be so overwhelmed that you just can’t figure out where to begin. Often this can lead to procrastination and a tendency to put off doing even a little bit; this leads to feelings of guilt and despair which in turn leads to overwhelm and the whole process turns into a vicious circle.
So let’s break the question down into two simple parts
How to get motivated to declutter a messy house.
Well, the good news is that if you’re reading this, then you’re already motivated and looking for help! You are probably ready, and the only thing that is stopping you is knowing where to start! And this my friend, is where we come in!
Start small, on the first day set yourself a little decluttering goal.
- Set a little goal which is achievable in only a few minutes. For instance, one small drawer which you struggle to shut, or one piece of the floor which is so cluttered you keep falling over stuff. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated by tiny little things nagging away at you every day. It’s often the small things that make us feel guilty and sad which could be fixed in a few minutes. One tiny little goal can make a massive difference to your self-esteem and confidence to carry on.
- Choose something which is irritating you or is making your life difficult, so you feel the benefit once compleated. Often, if we keep tripping over the same thing on the floor or get hit over the head by the same stuff falling out of a cramped cupboard, it can make us feel hopeless about our situation and stops us from having any motivation to declutter. Just taking control of the most irritating problem in your home can get you motivated to declutter a little bit more!
- Choose a time when you will not be distracted by people, work or social media. One of the worst motivation vacuums is social media. We can find ourselves wasting hours of valuable decluttering time, comparing ourselves to others who we may not have even met on social media! Trying to declutter when you have family around can also be very frustrating as you may find that they demotivate you and may even stop you from decluttering or make you feel guilty for getting rid of specific items. If you have small children it might be good to buddy up with someone who needs some motivation to declutter; you could babysit for each other for a few hours. If that isn’t possible to declutter with a friend, you could try to devote 15 minutes each night to a simple decluttering task where possible.
- Listen to a podcast or an audiobook, click the link for a FREE 30-day Audible Free Trial
Decluttering can be a very lonely task, especially if you feel overwhelmed by clutter. I find that listening to an audiobook or a podcast, especially those focusing on decluttering or minimalism gives me huge motivation to declutter and makes the time fly so much quicker! Self-help books and self-help podcasts are great to listen to aswell, as you can kill two birds with one stone and be learning while you simplify!
- Set a timer for 10 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes depending on how much time you feel you can devote to decluttering without losing motivation. The beauty of decluttering in short bursts is that you will be less likely to get overwhelmed and lose the motivation to declutter. If you decide to do more that one decluttering session with the timer, make sure you switch to another area so avoid burn out especially if you are trying to tackle sentimental items. Swapping to less emotive categories such as clothing or kitchen cupboards will prevent burnout and overwhelm.
- Start when the timer starts, and stop when the timer ends, take regular breaks to review how far you’ve come and how well you’ve progressed. Take plenty of time to recharge and rest; your home didn’t get cluttered in one day so you shouldn’t expect to be able to fix it in one day either. Decluttering a small amount daily is better than suffering burnout from an enormous decluttering session!
- Throw away all the rubbish you’ve collected into the bin immediately. Getting rid of trash is a huge motivation for decluttering, it can give you just the boost you need to carry on! Imagine all the bags of trash you’ve just decluttered getting stuffed back in the area you’ve just cleared, imagine how terrible that would feel, make sure you are not putting those bags elsewhere in the house, garage or garden, dispose of them as soon as possible. Now think of all the space you’ve created, the feeling of freshly created space feels amazing compared to an overstuffed and cluttered house.
- Pack anything for donation away immediately and put it in the car boot (to drop off next time you pass) or outside ready for the charity collection (then ring to arrange collection, they usually come the next day ). This step prevents you changing your mind about any of the donated items. It will also prevent any family members rooting through the bags and taking stuff out again.
- Clean the area you have decluttered! Check out my favourite cleaning products here.
You don’t need to be too obsessive about this but a good clean with fresh smelling products will make you feel better about your freshly decluttered space and will give you the motivation to declutter more stuff!
- Put everything away! Carefully, put everything away, reassess everything you put back to make doubly sure that you love it or will use it, be ruthless, you need to create a space to let your precious and loved items shine!
What to do if you want to carry on after the timer has finished
- My advice is to make sure the first area is complete before carrying on, so, the steps we have covered above are completed in full before you move on to another goal. This advice may seem like it’s counterproductive, but you’ll probably find once you have completed your goal from the beginning to end and put everything back after cleaning, you will at least need to rest before you begin again. But by all means, if you do get bitten by the need to declutter, please carry on, just make sure that you don’t do so much decluttering that you suffer from beginners burnout, remember, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to retaining our decluttering motivation!
Often we find that life seems to take over, we get interrupted, things take longer than we anticipated, we get sidetracked. there are many reasons we struggle to keep on top of things
- Chronic pain
- Hectic work schedule
- Family commitments
- Caring for elderly relatives
- Caring for people with disabilities
- A new baby
- A hectic family life
- Hoarding disorder
- Caring for the chronically ill
Our focus is to start in bite-sized chunks which fit into our already hectic lives; this allows us to get into the habit of decluttering as we go, and prevents us from getting overwhelmed and suffering burnout!
The aim here to make sure that you are changing your habits as a lifestyle change, rather than one big declutter only to let things go back to the way they were. Take your time, stop when you’ve had enough. Don’t worry if you miss a day, start the next day again or whenever you get the time, don’t let a missed day suck up your motivation, press on through the tough days, just keep going!
We aim to make you get the decluttering bug and for you to look forward to the next time you grab the timer and go!
- In the area, you are decluttering if there is anything you don’t use, don’t like, don’t need or don’t want, donate it. Do not keep things just in case you might need them. You’ve not needed them yet, so the chances are, you probably won’t need them anytime soon!
- If there is anything which irritates you, for instance, the candle you can’t bear the smell of, or the unwanted gift, donate it immediately! Stop filling up your space with stuff you don’t like! If someone has given you something you don’t cherish, donate it, they will never know! If there is a perfume you don’t love or a lipstick you don’t wear, you’re never going to wear them so, get rid of them!
- Throw away anything broken or anything which is just rubbish! It’s a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people hang onto broken stuff. You’re not going to fix any of this stuff take it to the tip they have a special place to dispose of electrical equipment and even old tins of paint! Going to the tip is one of my favourite things to do! Check with your local council to see if they collect hard to dispose of items. Your local scrap man will usually collect any scrap metal such as white goods free of charge if you give them a call.
- Kitchen equipment
- Beauty products
- Electrical equipment
- White goods
- Now sit back and enjoy the space you have created! As I mentioned above, self-care is essential when you are decluttering your house, take time to reassess how much work you’ve done and how much better the space you’ve decluttered looks, no matter how small the win is! A victory is made up of tiny successes, so soldier on, every little win is one step closer to your end goal!
it is very important once you’ve decluttered a space that no matter how small it is, you keep it decluttered. It can be very tempting to want to fill up that space with new stuff. My advice would be to wait, get used to seeing empty space and enjoy the peace and tranquillity that living with less brings. You will begin to notice that you are spending less time cleaning your belongings as you now have less stuff to take care of, look after and clean, so you suddenly have more time to do other things you actually enjoy!
Once you have started decluttering your home you should begin to notice that your shopping habits change. You might start realising that buying a certain nic-nac, item of clothing or beauty product is not going to make you happy, and realise that in the long run, when its added to the rest of the items in your house may actually make you feel sad. You may look at new items as wasting money that could be used towards a new holiday or memory. I started to imagine the new purchase being donated to the charity shop in a years time and that was a real wake up call as to how much hard earned money I’d wasted in the past on useless rubbish over the years!
- If you suffer or are family of someone who suffers from depression or hoarding tendencies please seek medical help and support before decluttering.
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- How I Started Living With Less.
- Too many books? An Ultimate Guide To Getting Rid Of Books
- How to get your husband to declutter his stuff.
- How To Declutter Your Kids Room.
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