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5 Decluttering Tips When You Don’t Know Where to Start

The organizing process can be overwhelming. Here are 5 decluttering tips to help you when you can’t find the motivation to declutter and don’t know where to start.

With each New Year, there is hope for a fresh start.

Goals are made to help you create a simple life that is stress free or build habits to create a happy home.

This year, I have some big decluttering goals for my home.

I actually started this decluttering journey last year, but stopped midway through the year when life threw us a few (major) hurdles.

And that’s okay, because I’m learning that decluttering is an ongoing, but very simple, process.

Table top home decor with 5 decluttering tips when you can't find motivation and don't know where to start

When I look at tackling our entire home at one time and start writing out that to-do list, I almost immediately say, “I’m out!” and want to run away!

And I know I’m not alone in this process.

I think you could ask anyone if they have too much stuff, too much clutter and not enough time to do it all, I bet the majority would say yes!

But with simple steps, you can follow a decluttering plan to help you find the motivation to declutter.

So this year, I will be sharing a Declutter and Simplify Challenge to help you tackle one small thing each week.

But before you begin, you have to get in the right mindset.

5 Decluttering Tips
When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Woman organizing on a marble table with 5 decluttering tips when you can't find motivation and don't know where to start

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The first step in living with any decluttering project is to begin the hard work.

A single step in the right direction, no matter how large or small is still something to celebrate.

And the great thing is that every little bit counts!

Sometimes that quick win of decluttering a living space or doing a small task is just the sense of accomplishment and momentum you need to find the motivation to begin.

But how do you find the motivation to declutter when your drowning in the sea of overwhelm?

You feel frozen not knowing how to even take that first, tiny step!

Here’s where I’ve started by changing my way of thinking and how to slowly approach the starting point.

And hopefully this will help you get the ball rolling if you feel stuck.

I’m sharing my 5 decluttering tips to help you when you don’t know where to start!

1. Start practicing good habits.

One way to find that declutter motivation, is to start with changing your habits.

One of my favorite declutter tips I heard about years ago is the “Touch It Once” rule. 

The concept is simple. 

Whenever you are handling a single item – your keys, coat, mail, laundry – you touch it once by putting it in it’s proper place the first time you set it down.

It makes good sense, doesn’t it? I can see this being especially helpful in controlling clutter in a small space.

It’s a good idea and has taken me a long time to learn. This habit alone may help reduce the amount of clutter being added to your home.

long shot of living room with a coat, purse and shoes dropped on the floor

I’m a drop-your-coat-and-ditch-your-shoes-immediately kind of girl as soon as I get home. That means I may have a few pair of shoes piling up in a corner instead of putting them away in my closet when I get home.

But it’s been a challenge for me to unbreak the habit. 

I plan on being more intentional with this method this year.

So when you are about to set that item down, think about if this is the place you want it to live.

Put your keys on the hook.

Hang your coat up and put your shoes away.

Toss the junk mail and place the bills where they need to go to be paid or filed.

The amount of time added by putting things away properly in the first place is minimal compared to how much work it takes to finally clean house after letting things go for weeks.

Even if it means putting that thing back into that disorganized junk drawer you haven’t decluttered yet, it’s worth starting this easy step.

2. Don’t forget your reason why you want to declutter.

Does the actual task of cleaning seem impossible because the entire house seems disorganized?

Or do you find yourself frustrated when you open that cluttered closet trying to find that one item?

Maybe you’re just sick of coming home to a messy house.

Or is the constant clutter on the kitchen counters keeping you from even trying to have a clean home?

Whatever the reason may be, you need to focus on your good reasons why this is a perfect time to finally find that declutter motivation – for you!

One of the best ways to begin the decluttering process is to remember the important thing that is driving you to this starting point.

3. Find an accountability partner in a family member or friend.

The reason why so many weight loss or self help programs work is the element of accountability.

Having to check in with your friend may help you find the motivation to declutter a small area, like a desk drawer.

Find an accountability buddy to share your small goals with each other.

Share with them why you need their support and set up a time to check in.

If you want to keep this private or are too embarrassed to show a friend your home, then turn to social media.

There are tons of Facebook groups to help you find that friend with the same decluttering mindset.

Plus it’s a great place to find solutions to your biggest obstacles by seeing how others may have tackled that problem.

4. Take a break from buying new stuff.

Stopping from purchasing new things for a short time is actually an easy way to start the decluttering process.

The last thing you need to do is add more clothes to that unending load of laundry until you have started to declutter clothes!

Or, why buy new towels if you haven’t cleaned out your linen closet yet?

Even though we may have good intentions with purchases, it may result in not having much progress in the decluttering session if new things keep getting added.

And think of how much money you’ll save during this small hiatus!

Once you have tackled that linen closet, go buy those new towels!

Give yourself a reward with purchasing something new after you’ve organized an area.

5. Get help with the cleaning tasks

The process of decluttering can not only be emotionally overwhelming, but also physically.

Especially when you don’t have much time or much energy to tackle a big project.

Enlist the whole family to help when its garage clean out day.

Create a poster board chore list to encourage your kids to stay on top of their clutter.

Any project is easier when there’s a lot of people offering helping hands.

Make sure to set aside enough time for each decluttering task when working as a group. The only thing that is sure to fail is when someone has to leave in the middle of awesome progress!

Woman organizing on a marble table with 5 decluttering tips when you can't find motivation and don't know where to start

So this is how we are taking the first few small steps to have a clutter-free home.

It doesn’t have to be an entire lifestyle change all at once. And the good news is that even simple changes can make a huge impact.

I hope these 5 tips decluttering tips help you when you don’t know where to start!

Stay tuned for the next post in this decluttering challenge! I will be sharing tips on how to tackle that holiday storage!

What changes do you hope to make when decluttering your home?

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when you clear clutter from your life?

I could go off on a tangent with what I’ve learned from many articles I’ve read on why we should declutter.

Joshua Becker, a minimalist living guru, has an amazing website full of tips on how to learn to live with less. This article was especially helpful for me!

But the bottom line is what is the outcome of living with less?

Less stress and a simpler life – all of which is a great way to help illicit a good mood.

Think about the act of spending time cleaning all the little things that pile up year after year.

Now imagine that half of those items were gone and left were your favorite things and sentimental items you treasure?

Cleaning would take less time and allow for a fuller life with those around you instead of devoting your time to unnecessary things.

How do you declutter when you don’t know where to start?

I get it! I truly do!

You are already in a state of overwhelm.

The thought of starting any decluttering method can make anyone want to bring the tires to a screeching halt.

And I’m right there with you. I’m juggling three businesses we run while also working part-time for a company, and transporting a busy teen all over the place.

So carving out time to tackle this is a very daunting task. There are a few articles that actually encouraged me, like this blog post and this blog post. Both have a great list of what you can toss right now and I’m loving the suggestions!

Are people really happier with less stuff?

There is something very appealing to me about the minimalist lifestyle and I’ve been learning that it can be more beneficial than just tackling a clutter problem.

There are so many benefits of decluttering your home and move toward a tidy home.

Clutter and disorganization not only affects our physical health by introducing dust, mold and possibly fire hazards.

But it also can truly impact our mental health as well. Scientific studies have shown that a cluttered home can impact not only your mental state, but also your social life. 

Suddenly you aren’t inviting friends over, or there isn’t space to do the things you love.

Your home should be a sanctuary where you can rest and recharge instead of being your enemy that is taking over your life. 

What are some good rules of thumb to follow when decluttering?

Here are some more easy decluttering motivation tips to help you if you’re eager to get started now.

  • Don’t try to declutter your whole house in one day
  • Get rid of duplicates
  • Throw away broken items that can’t be repaired
  • Don’t keep items you wouldn’t buy now just because you already spent the money
  • Toss those unwanted items you’re keeping out of guilt
brick fireplace with neutral accents

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