How To Find The Motivation To Declutter.

Finding the motivation to declutter your entire home 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 challenging to stay clutter-free and to find the motivation to clean around the mess is not that simple.

  • 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
  • No motivation for life

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

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 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 small decluttering goals which you can achieve in a few minutes.

    Start small, on the first day, set yourself a little decluttering goal.
     For instance:
    • Clear junk drawer 
    • Tidy up one piece of the floor which is too cluttered to walk on.
    • Put away a small pile of laundry.
    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 we could fix 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 when I need the motivation to clean my house, especially those focusing on decluttering or minimalism gives me huge motivation to declutter my home 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 when you have no motivation to clean, helps you get a spring in your step and enables you to start to 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 which can be especially helpful when decluttering sentimental categories.

    • Watching TV while ironing or folding laundry takes the boredom out of the dreary jobs and can be a great way to get a job done without even having to think about 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 getting rid of stuff in short bursts is that you will be less likely to get overwhelmed and will be less likely to 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 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 help to prevent decluttering 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 gives me even more motivation to declutter!

  5. Organize your space. 

     Carefully, put everything away. Re-evaluate 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 lovey items shine! 

How to stay motivated when decluttering.

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.

unmade pink bed

When you start losing motivation, remind yourself that your home didn’t get messy in a day and it’s not going to get decluttered in a day either, reward yourself and have a break!

How to get motivated to clean and declutter

Our focus is to start in bite-sized chunks that 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 when you need motivation to declutter!

The aim is to make sure that you are changing your habits as a lifestyle change, rather than one big declutter, only to relapse and 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 or whenever you get the time again. 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!

“What is the best way to start decluttering?” is a question I get asked all the time, so here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. If you find anything you don’t use, don’t like, don’t need or don’t want, donate it.
  2. 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!
  • Gadgets: This is a great place to find the motivation to purge clutter! Declutter all the unused devices that are collecting dust and send them off to someone else who will love them!
  • Toys: Read all of my toy decluttering tips here 
  • Tools: motivating yourself to declutter tools can sound overwhelming. You don’t need to purge your garage clutter you can organize any tools you keep in the house into a useful basket with a lid or put them in a labelled box; this will make them easily accessible when you need them.
  • 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.
  • Clothes: this can make a massive difference to your motivation to declutter, homes can soon be overwhelmed by clothing try using a closet organizer.  Learn how to create a capsule wardrobe in this post.   Youtube videos are also a great way to find the motivation to declutter clothes, shoes and jackets.
  • Laundry: Knowing how to motivate yourself to clean a messy house when you’re drowning in the laundry can be a struggle. Try to create a laundry routine to stop the clothing clutter. If you’re overwhelmed by clean or dirty washing and ironing follow my laundry hacks and tips in this post.
  • 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 them down for a reason; they’ve had their day, now get rid of them and move on! 
  • Kitchen equipment, this is an area where you need to declutter space to create a functional, safe working area. To read how to get your kitchen clean and tidy, read this post. Cleaning out your cupboards is a great way to get motivated to organize the fridge and freezer too!
  • Beauty products: Cleaning out your beauty products can be difficult, as this category is maybe where we spend vast amounts of money on miracle products that claim to transform our looks. They didn’t do the job, so get rid of them. Only keep the products that make 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 them if they are out of date! 
  • 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 tricky category for a lot of people. It’s the perfect time to be ruthless. Unworn, scruffy, outdated and uncomfortable shoes no matter how expensive, can be donated!  Find some cleaning motivation to get that shoe closet clean, fresh and organized for all the shoes you love!
  • Phones: Get rid of all those old phones lurking in cupboards and drawers, get rid of any extra chargers and boxes too. Be sure to download all your old photos before you do!
  • Cables: if you need motivation for decluttering, get rid of those sneaky cables that are lying around. If you don’t know what it is for, get rid of it. I have never needed any of the hundreds of cables I’ve thrown away. Everything you use regularly probably got the correct cable attached to it; someone else has kept all those other cables just in case! If you do decide you can’t live without the wire, store it in a clearly labelled ziplock bag in a lidded basket!
  • 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, to clear the cutter they’ve got to go!
  • Electrical equipment: unused hairdryers, broken straighteners, unused DVD players, if it’s broken, unused or from before the 90’s get rid of it!
  • White goods: any broken white products should be removed from the house altogether!
  • Books: this was the hardest category for me as I was a book hoarder read how I reduced my book collection from over four hundred to just five 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 imperative 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 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 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 to realise that buying a certain nic-nac, item of clothing or beauty product is not going to make you happy.

You may realize that, in the long run, when it’s added to the rest of the items in your house, it may 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 put towards a new holiday or memory. I started to imagine the latest purchase being donated to the charity shop in the new year, 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 the help, you could try contacting ocduk for advice

Watch the shark duo in action reviving old carpets and getting under furniture!

Frequently asked questions 

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, i.e., 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. 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?

In my Facebook group, a lot of people ask “How do I start to declutter my house” the answer is, 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?

What are five quick hacks to declutter? Good question! My top five are:
1. If you got it out, put it away.
2. If it’s 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 quickly 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 cleaning and decluttering motivation when your home when you’re overwhelmed by mess
Break your house up into small areas, maybe start with a more accessible 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 necessary. Once you’ve got one room in your house clutter-free and clean, your motivation to start on another place in the home may kick in.
Start on the least cluttered area of the room for the most significant 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!

how to clean a wooden comb

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5 Comments

  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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