Let’s face it, most of us just have way too much stuff. Unless you’ve already made a commitment to minimizing the amount of stuff you have around your house, chances are you have clutter in random places all over your house. Maybe it’s even overtaking your home and starting to feel overwhelming.
But what stops a lot of people is that overwhelm because it seems like it’s pointless, it might take too long or you just can’t do it. Today I want to help you find the motivation to declutter your home so that you can have the peaceful, easy to manage home you picture in your head.
Are you ready to dive in with me?
Benefits of Decluttering Your Home
Before we get to the action parts, one of the best ways to find motivation to declutter you home is to look at the true benefits. There are so many reasons to start decluttering your home.
Less stuff to manage means more time
If you have less stuff, you will save time. That almost sounds like a stretch, I know. But consider this. If you have a bunch of clutter on the dining table and you want to clean it, aren’t you going to spend time cleaning it off? If you have clutter all over the floor in your bedroom, aren’t you going to have to move it eventually?
The act of simply having less stuff around your house is going to save you time managing it, cleaning it and it’s truly going to give you a little bit of your mental capacity back too.
If you’re like me and you like math think of it this way. Let’s say you have 100 pieces of clutter in your house. This can be anything, extra clothes, shoes, decor, papers, whatever. Just 100 pieces is WAY less than most people have, but it’s an easy number so we’re going to go with it.
If you spend 1 MINUTE every month dealing with that clutter: moving the item to clean under it, picking it up to put it somewhere else, reorganizing it it again, etc. that’s 100 minutes per month. Over 12 months? That’s 1,200 minutes.
Do you know what 1,200 minutes is? 20 hours. 20 hours a year that you’re spending dealing with that random stuff that you don’t even really need. That’s only if it 100 items, I bet you have more.
I know that’s not a perfect example, but it really helps to look at it in terms of how much time you’re wasting managing clutter.
Less to clean and organize
We talked about saving time above, but how about just having less stuff to worry about cleaning and organizing. We all love a well decorated house, but are you constantly having to think about cleaning and organizing the items in the house?
How often do you look around your home and get stressed out seeing all the stuff laying around? Maybe it’s clothes, kids toys, kitchen items that don’t fit in the cabinets, etc. If your home is clear of clutter and visually appealing that’s less stress for you just by simply looking around and seeing all the stuff you need to deal with.
You get to save money
If you’ve actively taken the time to declutter your home so that you only have items you really need and love, you’re naturally going to be more mindful about spending your money. This was one of the biggest changes I felt when I started decluttering. Not buying things just because I liked them was hard at first, but with time I was able to condition myself to consider if I really need an item and I have probably cut my spending by at least 70%. Seriously!
Questions to ask yourself before decluttering
Before you start decluttering your home, you’re going to want to dig a little deeper. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but stay with me for a second. You know you want to declutter. You want less stuff, you want to feel free of clutter. But take a moment and just ask yourself these questions before you start in order to really get yourself in the right mindset and figure out what it is you really want out of decluttering.
- Why do you want to declutter?
- What do you want from decluttering?
- What do you want to declutter?
- What would a successful declutter look or feel like?
- When do you want to be done with your decluttering project?
- Knowing yourself: what’s the best way to approach decluttering so you get it done?
Find the Motivation to Declutter
It’s time. You’re ready to start decluttering, but you’re really feeling resistance. How do you get yourself from wanting to declutter to actually getting your butt off that couch or, if you’re a mom and your butt barely touches the couch these days, maybe you need the motivation because you’re just so tired and need the extra push before you can commit to doing another thing around the house.
Start with quick wins
Choose small, impactful areas around your house that will make a big difference with just a short amount of time. Need ideas? Try the top of your dresser in the bedroom, the coffee table, the dining table, the kitchen counter. Since these are “hot spots” aka places where stuff tends to pile up, they can be sources of stress. Clean them off, remove anything else that you don’t need there and commit to keeping them clear. It’s a hard habit to break, but it’ll make a big difference.
Set a timer
One of my favorite methods for getting anything done is to use a timer. Having a deadline generally kicks our butts into gear so even just setting a timer and telling yourself “I’m going to declutter for just 10 minutes” might get you going enough to get the ball rolling. Anyone can do it for 10 minutes and you might find that you’re motivated enough after those 10 minutes to keep going.
Don’t overwhelm yourself
Some people do well with an intricate plan in place. But a lot of people get overwhelmed by a big plan and will shut down or give up. Don’t do that to yourself. If you find that it seems overwhelming there is nothing wrong with baby steps. Make a small plan and once that’s done you can make another. You don’t have to do it all today or even this week.
Give yourself a deadline
Just like the idea with the timer, if we have a deadline we tend to work a little harder to get things done. While you can totally just pick a random date, you can move that random date, so if you think that might be something you’d do go ahead and pick something like a holiday or something like “before school starts” so that you can’t move the date and you’re forced to stick to it.
Plan a get together
Similar to the tip above, if you plan a get together you’re going to have plenty of motivation to declutter because you’re going to have friends and/or family over! This will add a little pressure and at the end having people over to your newly decluttered home can be a fun reward.
Read a Book
There are plenty of books about decluttering and simplifying. A few popular books with high ratings are The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Simplify, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, and Decluttering at the Speed of Life.
Watch YouTube videos
If you head over to YouTube and search something like “Declutter with me” you will find plenty of videos of other people decluttering. Use this as motivation to get going, or you can even have them playing in the background while you do your decluttering.
Set your phone background
If you have an area of your home that is already decluttered, try taking a picture of that area and setting it as your phone background for a bit. You can put the kid’s or your dog’s picture back later. You’ll see a part of your home that you’re proud of and it may help inspire you to declutter the rest of your home.
Sell some stuff
If you’re getting paid to declutter, you’d do it right? As you’re decluttering you can list items online and to see if you can sell them. For larger items you can list them on places like Facebook Marketplace.
Some places to sell online:
Before and after pictures
Choose a space you plan on decluttering and take a before picture. Once you’re done take an after picture and compare the two. This can be really good motivation when you’re trying to get yourself to declutter other spaces in your home.
Keep a “donation” box in your home
Do you often go about your daily life and come across items you’ve been meaning to donate, but simply put them back where you found them because you don’t have time right now? Choose a dedicated area in your home and place a donation box there so that anytime you come across an item you no longer need you can quickly throw it in the box.
Keep a progress report
If you want to see your progress over time having some sort of log or progress report to see what you’ve done and what you have left is a great way to do it! I’ve created a super simply Declutter Your Home Progress Report printable that you can download for free below. Simply add the categories or spaces in your home that you want to tackle and keep track of your progress!
How to Start Decluttering Your Home
Are you ready? It’s time to start decluttering, but how exactly do you declutter? Some people just go through and do their own thing and that works just fine. But others might need a little extra guidance from others and that’s perfectly fine as well. Below are some of the more popular decluttering methods as well as my personal decluttering method.
If you haven’t read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up then it might be a good read for you. Using her method you sort everything in your home by category (in the order that she recommends) and go through each category keeping what you want to keep and thanking the items you don’t want before moving them along. A lot of people have found this method very helpful and have been able to declutter their entire homes this way. You can read her book for details.
Four Box Method
With the Four Box Method you set up four boxes: donate, relocate, trash and sell. You then start going through the items in your home and sort items you’re ready to part with into these boxes. The great thing about this method is at the end you have clearly marked boxes telling you exactly what to do with them.
Swedish Death Cleaning
Although it sounds kind of morbid, this method is basically what it sounds like. It’s clearing your home of clutter before you die in order to free your family of that burden. While it’s geared toward older people who are closer to the end of their life, it has some great takeaways for younger people as well. The book goes over all the details on how to get started.
How I Declutter
Over the years I’ve tried different methods of decluttering. My tried and true decluttering method works like this and usually leaves me with WAY less than when I started. It’s actually very similar to the KonMari method, but maybe a little more casual or flexible.
- Remove all of the items and pile them somewhere. When I say “all items” i mean all items from one area OR you can work with one entire category (like clothes).
- Go through the items and only sort out the “Non-negotiable” items that you 100% without a doubt have to keep
- Once you’ve done that, go back through the pile of everything left over and evaluate each item to see if you want to keep it. Because you already have gone through and see the items that you truly love or need, you can compare each item to the “Non-negotiable” items you love then either put it in the “Keep” pile or the “Get rid of” pile.
When I declutter this way I really see what I LOVE and NEED first and when I compare the rest of my pile to those items I will, more often than not, choose to get rid of them.
In the end, no matter what method you choose to declutter the important thing is that it works for you and that it simply works. It’s ok to find a way that works for you, it’s ok to go at your own pace and it’s ok if you’re not perfect. Making progress is the important thing and though it can be hard to find the motivation to declutter your home, once you get started it’s very motivating because you feel that peace and freedom from being held back by all the stuff sitting around your house.