How to declutter when you’re overwhelmed and you don’t know where to start! Have you ever just looked around at all the clutter and felt like it was too much? This post will help you get started on conquering the clutter!
Where Do I Start to Declutter?
So many of us are overwhelmed with too much stuff. Our houses are overflowing with things we no longer need or use.
Sometimes we know we need to simplify and get rid of stuff, but it just feels too hard.
Sometimes you look around and think, “Where do I even start?!?”
I’ve felt this same way so many times. I know it’s overwhelming. That’s why we’re going to break this decluttering task down into simpler steps.
We’re going to help you start decluttering and stop procrastinating!
By the end of this post, you’ll know how to declutter when you’re overwhelmed, and how to keep from getting overwhelmed again!
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How to Declutter When You’re Overwhelmed
When you’re overwhelmed by clutter and mess, it can be too much to look at the big picture. That will only make you feel more overwhelmed!
Instead, I recommend focusing on one smaller area at a time. This way, you’ll take small, simple steps to make big progress in eliminating clutter from your home.
I’m going to share the plan that I use when I’m having trouble getting started on a big decluttering project.
Here are seven simple steps you can follow to declutter your house.
Decide Where to Start
When I’m planning a decluttering session, I first decide which area of the house to work on first.
If you have a highly-visible room that must be decluttered (such as before guests come), then the decision about where to start has been made for you.
On the other hand, if you’re just looking at a whole house that’s in desperate need of decluttering, you’ll need to decide which room to start in.
There are two options here. First, you could pick the room that will have the most impact when it’s finally decluttered.
If, for instance, you have a very messy and cluttered living room, you may want to start there, since the living room is usually in a central location.
Think of what a big impact it would make on the overall appearance of your home to have the living room completely clutter-free and organized!
Or, you could pick a room that wouldn’t take very long to declutter. This would give you a quick win and give you the encouragement to keep going with the rest of the house!
So, pick the room that makes the most sense to you to start with.
Gather Your Supplies
You’ll need three boxes or bags with the following labels:
- put away
- give away
- throw away
You can use trash bags or boxes for this, but it’s so helpful to have these three containers when you’re decluttering a room.
You may also need a bag or box for recycling.
That way, you can quickly put every item where it needs to go as you work.
I learned this decluttering trick over 20 years ago, and it’s helped me ever since!
Also, you may want to get a timer, or simply use the timer on your phone. Sometimes, knowing a timer has been set will help you get motivated to work fast and make some quick progress!
Set a Timer
I mentioned this in the above section on supplies, but setting a timer can often help you get started and help you stay motivated. This is our favorite timer on a rope!
Just set the timer for 15 minutes (or however long you have to work), and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done!
If you don’t want to use a timer, you could also make a playlist of some favorite music and work until the music stops.
Start with The Trash
So, now that you’ve decided which room you’re going to start decluttering, and you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to actually start.
If the space you’ve chosen to work in still feels overwhelming to you, I highly recommend starting with the trash.
That’s right, just go through the room and pick up all the trash!
The trash is easy, because it doesn’t require you to make a decision. You can just pick it up and toss it into the bag or box labeled “throw away.”
If you’ve been doing regular cleaning chores, you may not have actual trash on the floor. (Although if you have kids, you might! Ask me how I know! 🙂 )
But look around and make sure you don’t have things like old newspapers, crumpled napkins, or empty juice boxes sitting around.
This step will help you get started and making progress very quickly!
Ask Yourself the Joy Question
If you’ve read Marie Kondo’s books, you know that she’s famous for this.
In the book, she tells you not to focus on what to get rid of.
Instead, you should focus on what to keep.
And only keep those items that “spark joy when you touch them.”
Don’t focus on reducing, or on efficient storage methods, for that matter. Focus instead on choosing the things you own that inspire joy and on enjoying life…This is the pleasure of tidying…Choose those things that spark joy when you touch them. —Marie Kondo
Marie’s book changed the way I declutter and organize.
I think the principles of the KonMari Method are very helpful when you need to know how to declutter when you’re overwhelmed.
So, when you’re making decisions on each item, ask yourself if it sparks joy.
Now, not every item will spark joy, but we need to keep some of those necessities anyway.
Remember, this question is just a guideline to help you when you need to make a decision on a particular item (especially when you can’t decide).
Finish Your Decluttering Session
Once your timer goes off, or the allotted time is up, it’s time to clean up the area.
- Put away any items that need to be put away (the ones in the “put away” box)
- Put the bags or boxes to be donated into your vehicle to be dropped off at a donation center
Plan Your Next Decluttering Session
Now that you know how to declutter when you’re overwhelmed, be sure to plan your next decluttering session!
Decluttering is an ongoing task that will need to be a regular activity in order to maintain a clutter-free home.
If you do a little bit every day, you’ll never find yourself overwhelmed with clutter again!
I hope these simple decluttering tips have been helpful to you!
- 31-Day Home Decluttering Challenge
- The KonMari Method for Kids
- The KonMari Method for Organizing Clothing
- How to Clean Your House in 30 Minutes