How To Find The Motivation To Declutter.

Finding motivation to declutter is a struggle when you’re overwhelmed by clutter and mess. 

There are many reasons we can feel overwhelmed by clutter, and it can be difficult to stay clutter free and find the motivation to clean around the mess.

  • Chronic pain
  • Hectic work schedule
  • Family commitments
  • Caring for elderly relatives
  • Caring for people with disabilities
  • A new baby
  • A hectic family life
  • Illness
  • Depression
  • Hoarding disorder
  • Caring for the chronically ill

In this post, we will help you find the motivation to declutter and we will walk you through the steps you need to follow to simplify and declutter your home, no matter what stage you are at in your journey.

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 with clutter 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.

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declutter motivation

 Finding the motivation to declutter

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!

Baby steps to declutter motivation

  1. Set a small goal which you can achieve in a few minutes.

    Start small, on the first day set yourself a little decluttering goal.
     For instance, clear the overflowing junk drawer or tidy up one piece of the floor which is too cluttered to walk on.
    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 can give you the confidence to carry on.

  2. Don’t get bored, get some entertainment on!

    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 as well, as you can kill two birds with one stone and be learning while you simplify!

    Listening to some music while cleaning helps you get a spring in your step and helps you declutter when overwhelmed by the mess.

    Listening to a cleaning podcast is a great way to get motivated to declutter.

    Listening to an audiobook can help distract your mind from getting bored as it transports you into another world! this can be especially helpful when decluttering sentimental categories.

    Watching TV  whilst ironing or folding washing takes the boredom out of the dreary jobs and can ban be a great way to get a job done without even noticing it!

  3. Set a timer!

     Set your timer for 10 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes depending on how much time you have and go go go!!
    The beauty of decluttering in short bursts is that you will be less likely to get overwhelmed will be less likely to loose the motivation to declutter.
    If you decide to do more that one decluttering session with the timer, make sure you switch to another area of your home to avoid boredom and burn out,  especially if you are trying to tackle sentimental items. Swapping to less emotive categories such as clothing or kitchen cupboards will prevent declutter burnout and overwhelm and help you maintain declutter motivation 

  4. Clean the area you have just decluttered

    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! I love lemon scented cleaning products to give myself some cleaning motivation and it give me more motivation to declutter!

  5. Organize your space. 

     Carefully, put everything away. Re-assess everything you put back into  that space and make doubly sure that you love it or will use it, be ruthless, you need to create an organized space to let your precious and loved items shine! 

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, don’t beat yourself up about what you can’t do, focus on what you can do, the small things all add up to the same end game as trying to do it all at once.

declutter motivation

Your home didn’t get messy in a day and its not going to get decluttered in a day either , give yourself a break!

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! doing a small amount at a time gets fast results and will boost your motivation to declutter!

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 we want you to look forward to grabbing your timer and getting it done!

Motivating yourself to declutter and clean fast!

If you find 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!

  1. Gadgets, this is a great place to find the motivation to purge clutter! declutter all the unused gadgets that are collecting dust and send them off to someone else who will love them!
  2. Toys, read my toy decluttering tips here 
  3. Tools, motivating yourself to declutter tools can sound overwhelming, you don’t need to purge your garage clutter just organise any tools you keep in the house into a useful basket with a lid or a box to make them easily accessible when you need them.
  4. Furniture, there’s no better way to declutter your house quickly and get the best results than to declutter your unused furniture. Bulky pieces of furniture take up the most room in our homes and can be stopping you from having a clutter-free home. Interior design magazines can be great for finding inspiration to clean houses and declutter your space.
  5. Clothes, this can make a huge difference to your motivation to declutter, homes can soon be overtaken by clothing, try using a closet organizer and learn how to create a capsule wardrobe here.   
  6. Laundry, knowing how to motivate yourself to clean a messy house when you’re drowning in laundry can be a struggle. Try to create a laundry routine to stop the clothing clutter. If you’re overwhelmed by clean and dirty washing and ironing follow my laundry hacks and tips in this post.
  7. Pictures, another great way to declutter your life is to get rid of any old pictures you’ve taken down and just left lying around in the spare room or behind the sofa. You’ve taken it down for a reason, it’s had its day, now get rid of it and move on! 
  8. Kitchen equipment, this is an area where you need to declutter space to create a practical safe working area to read how to get your kitchen clean and tidy, read this post.
  9. Beauty products, getting motivated to clean out your beauty products can be tough as this category is often when we spend huge amounts of money on the miracle products to transform our looks. It didn’t do the job so just get rid of it, only keep what makes you feel good! keep a few products out at a time and use them until they run out, then go shopping in the overstock that you stored after decluttering instead of spending money on new stuff. check expiry dates on all your makeup products and discard if they are out of date! 
  10. Shoes,  how to get yourself motivated to clean and declutter your shoes is something I get asked all the time. shoes seem to be a really tricky category for a lot of people. It’s a place to be ruthless, unworn, scruffy or outdated and uncomfortable shoes no matter how expensive can be donated!  find some cleaning motivation to get that shoe closet cleaned, fresh and organised for all the shoes you love!
  11. Phones, get rid of all those old phones lurking in cupboards and drawers, get rid of any chargers and boxes too. be sure to download all your old photos before you do!
  12. Cables if you’re looking for a quick motivation for decluttering, get rid of those sneaky cables that are lying around. If you don’t know what it’s for, get rid of it. I have never needed any of the hundreds of cables I’ve thrown away. everything you use regularly most likely has the correct cable attached to it, all those other cables have been kept by someone else just in case! if you do decide you can’t live without a cable store it in a clearly labelled ziplock bag in a lidded basket!
  13. Computers and keyboards, this is a hard one! I find it very difficult to get rid of old laptops and computers, however, they take up so much space and you literally will never use them again,  clear the cutter they’ve got to go!
  14. Electrical equipment, unused hairdryers, broken straighteners, unused DVD players, if it’s broken, unused or from before the 90’s get rid of it!
  15. White goods, any broken white goods should be removed from the house altogether!
  16. Books, this was the hardest category for me as I really was a book hoarder read how I reduced my book collection from over 400 to just 5 books in this post!      

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!

Staying motivated to declutter

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! Stay motivated to declutter to stop the clutter creeping back into your home!

Minimalist Motivation

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.

You may realise that, in the long run, when its added to the rest of the items in your house it may actually make you feel sad. All those little impulse purchases all add up and may be  keeping you from having a tidy organized home.

You may look at new items as wasting money which 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 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. If you are struggling to find  help you could try contacting ocduk for advice

Watch the shark duo in action reviving old carpets and tackling the pet hair on my youtube channel here!

Frequently asked Q&A

What should I do if I want to carry on decluttering 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!

What is the best way to start decluttering?

Try not to overthink the process, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. Look around you,  I bet there are a few things you could throw away or donate in less than a minute.
If you can get something done in less than a minute get it done! My main priority is to clear the floors of clutter and to clear the laundry. If you can start to focus on keeping on top of just those two things at first, you should see a huge improvement in your motivation to declutter and clean.

What are some tips for decluttering around the home?

1. If you got it out, put it away.
2. If its broken throw it away.
3. Start a minimalist wardrobe 
4. If you can declutter it in less than a minute get rid of it.
5. Give your kids a sin bin, put any items left lying around in the sin bin. Tell them you’ll be emptying the sin bin into the wheelie bin every night and watch how quick they put their toys away!

I would like to know how to clean and declutter fast.

Firstly it’s very difficult to clean before you declutter so concentrate on the decluttering part first. Choose one room to declutter first and work from the door, clockwise from top to bottom decluttering until you get back to the door. To learn how to speed clean the areas you have decluttered read my speed cleaning post here

I need to know how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess. 

It’s hard to get motivated to clean and declutter your home when you’re overwhelmed by mess.  Break your house up into small areas, maybe start with an easier area like the bathroom where it tends to be less cluttered. Start by decluttering empty bottles,  empty loo rolls, dirty towels etc, wash the bath mat and empty your bathroom of any ornaments. Clean the area and only put back what is totally necessary. Once you’ve got one room in your house clutter-free and clean, your motivation to start on another room in the house may kick in, again start on the least cluttered area of the room for the biggest impact and for a motivation to clear clutter boost!  If you  are overwhelmed and need help and motivation to start cleaning read this post.

If you are struggling to live with someone else’s clutter you can read how to motivate your husband to declutter his stuff in this post.

Are you struggling with finding the motivation to declutter? Ask us a question or leave us your declutter motivation tips in the comments!

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  1. Carol Marshall August 31, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Liked the simplicity of this post. Since simplicity is what I desire, or rather craving, your article was what I needed.Thank you.

    1. Clare Davison September 2, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      Thank you Carol, I crave simplicity too, sometimes it can be tempting to try to get it all done at once and then give up, I like to make life easy for myself and stick to bite-sized pieces, then step back and enjoy the space!

  2. BellaBee September 30, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Great tips in this article. One thing that motivates me to clean is watching House Cleaning videos on YouTube. They really inspire me to get up and get to it.

    1. Clare Davison November 13, 2019 at 9:04 am

      Oooh yes I love those videos they make me get up and go too!

  3. Clare Davison January 16, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Thanks, Kassie, I agree, I listen to The Archers podcast when I clean, you’d be amazed at how much I’ve learnt about farming in the past 10 years!

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