We all complain about having too much clutter in our house and how we would love to declutter our space. Even when things look clutter free on the surface, opening our cabinets or closets would tell a different story.
Clutter can be extremely overwhelming – both physically and mentally. Which is why we we all have a desire to start clearing our homes and getting rid of things. But decluttering your house as a busy working mom can be a challenge and can feel as overwhelming as the clutter itself.
But it does not have to be that way. With a little planning and structure to our approach, you can finally tackle your home clutter.
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How to Start Decluttering when You Feel Overwhelmed?
Since you are reading this article, you are probably tired of the clutter in your house and want to make some changes. But it’s not easy to do so, when you feel overwhelmed by the idea of going though all your things in the house. Just looking at them can make you feel tired.
Believe me, I know. I have been there.
The very first thing you have to do is address your mindset.
What I mean by that is getting rid of any misconceptions about decluttering and making sure that you declutter on your own terms. I have learned that the best way to guarantee success in decluttering, is to make sure that we do it in a way that fits our schedule and our lifestyle. Some of you will find it easiest to dedicate an entire week to decluttering you house – you will basically not do anything else. For others, that might feel too overwhelming.
When you hear that one of the decluttering rules is to only keep a specific number of kitchen gadgets – some of you will find that very motivational and other sill cringe and get discouraged before you even get started.
You have to approach decluttering with a positive mindset. It will absolutely work for you when you allow yourself some grace and flexibility with how you declutter.
That mindset in itself will make you feel less overwhelmed. Now, lets discuss some concrete steps you can take so start the decluttering journey.
Simple Steps to Declutter Your Home
Now that you have a positive mindset, let’s get to work. There are a few simple steps that you should take to let the decluttering process started.
Define Your WHY
You should always start your projects and goals with defining why you want to do them in the first place.
So ask yourself: WHY do I want to declutter my house?
The reason for defining your why is to keep your going when the initial motivation will wear off. Because it absolutely will wear off. You will likely be excited to get the process started but it will not last forever. You will get tired and distracted by other responsibilities related to work and kids and decluttering will fall on the back burner again.
This is when going back to your why will help you overcome those obstacles and keep going.
When you start thinking about your why imagine yourself in a clutter-free house. How does that make you feel? Go back to that feeling whenever you need some extra motivation.
RELATED: How to Make New Habits Stick
Choose Your Decluttering Strategy
As we have already talked about, there are many decluttering strategies to choose from. You can go with some of the popular methods:
- Marie Kondo – probably the most popular decluttering method that first walks you through how to get rid of things and then how to organize the remaining things.
- Swedish Death Cleaning – a decluttering method to clear out your house from the unnecessary and no longer needed things before your die, so your relatives are not left with a burden of sorting though it all; while it is designed for older generation, the principles have been proven to help declutter home regardless of your age
- The Minimalist Game – a 30 day challenge where you declutter 1 item the first day, 2 items the second, and so forth.
If you do not like any of those decluttering methods, you can simply choose to declutter differently:
- By room/area – you declutter one room or area at a time
- By category – you declutter one category of things at a time
- Custom – you create your own decluttering system by combining two or more of the above methods
Start by Addressing Your Biggest Problem Area
If you are feeling overwhelmed about decluttering, start with your biggest problem area in the house. This could be a room, an area of the room, or a category of things.
Think about your every day routine. When do you find yourself the most overwhelmed?
It could be dinner time because you can never find the cooking utensils you are looking for. Or it could be the morning when you are trying to leave the house for the day but nobody can find their shoes and jackets because the coat closet is impossible to navigate.
Pick that one area and declutter it!
You will be able to see the results right away because you will notice a huge improvements with how your most dreaded part of the day is no longer so stressful and overwhelming.
To help you stay on track, it’s always helpful to create a decluttering list. The list will differ, depending on what type of decluttering method you have chosen.
If you have chosen Marie Kondo, you will have a list of categories. If you have chosen to declutter your house by room, your decluttering list should list all the room in your house along with the things you need to declutter in each of them.
A decluttering list will help you stay on track and keep you motivated when you start crossing items off the list.
How to Start Organizing Your House
As you are going through your decluttering journey, it’s critical that you take necessary steps to prevent the clutter from coming back to your house.
One of the ways to help you keep your house in order is to set up some organization systems to help keep things where they belong. The trick is yet again is to make sure that you organize in a way that makes it functional for you and your family.
You want your organization system to work for you so it makes your life easier and not more challenging.
Grouping by Type
One of the ways to help organize your newly decluttered house is to keep similar items together. You most likely already have some things organized that way.
Think about your kitchen drawers. You most likely have all the utensils in one drawer and your dinner plates are probably in the same cabinet. And think about how easy it is to put those things away when you empty the dishwasher.
Because you know exactly where to put them away. It does not take any brain power to decide where to put them. And that is the goal behind grouping similar things together.
Bins and Containers
Bins and containers are your best friends when you are organizing after decluttering your home. They make it easier to organize things into categories and instantly make things look much more organized.
And let’s not forget how useful they can be to store all your kids’ toys that would otherwise end up all over the floor or thrown in on shelves in a very disorganized mess.
But bins and containers will definitely help you keep things neat and organized.
Address Your ‘Dumping Area’
We all have one… or two of those. It’s the area of your house where things get dumped at. It’s like it has some sort of magnetic force pulling all the junk and clutter into it.
In my house those dumping areas area my kitchen island and a side table in my office.
Once you identify them, be sure to decide on how you will deal with it.
You might decide to spend 5 minutes each day to clear it off (or maybe 20 minutes a week if the dumping area is not in the center of your house). Or you can incorporate a few things to make the dumping area more manageable. For example, you can put a a small bin to collect the all the clutter. You can then carry the bin around the house and put things away where they belong.
Create a Cleaning Routine
After all is decluttered and organized, you have to make sure that you have a cleaning routine in place to help you keep it that way. Establish a schedule of your cleaning tasks in a way that will ensure they fit nicely into your busy schedule.
You can dedicate a few hours each weekend to cleaning or about 20 to 30 minutes each day to break down your cleaning tasks.
It does not really matter how your cleaning routine looks like. What matters is that it is sustainable for your household.
Now let’s get to decluttering and organizing! What area of your house will you tackle first?