8 Huge Decluttering Mistakes you’re Probably Making

Decluttering can be overwhelming and hard to do. But there is a right way to declutter.  If you declutter the right way you will make the task more enjoyable, and get the results you want and need.


Decluttering is one of the things that we all know we have to do. But we all don’t want to do! We don’t have the time! We don’t know where to start! There is just too much to do! Before you know you aren’t doing anything at all, because it is just too complicated.

But there is a right way to declutter. Decluttering doesn’t mean taking on a huge task and doing it all at once. Taking a decluttering project and doing it gradually step by step, is the right way to declutter and get results.

So if you are in the middle of your decluttering journey, or thinking of starting one, what are the mistakes that you might be making that is making decluttering harder for you when it doesn’t have to be? 

What are the mistakes you should avoid when starting out in decluttering your home? So you can actually achieve something and maybe even enjoy the process?

Here are 8 huge decluttering mistakes that you are probably making, or that are common mistakes when tackling a decluttering project that you don’t want to make!


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Quitting in the Middle

Decluttering isn’t easy, or fun. Totally understandable. But if you start a decluttering project, do a little, then quit, it is just a shame. You could have done so much. You could have achieved so much.

It is hard to find the time to declutter.  It is hard to keep up the motivation. Decluttering can also be so overwhelming. But the secret to decluttering, and staying motivated and on track, is to do it little by little. 

Don’t take on a huge decluttering project all at once. For instance, if you set out to declutter your entire bedroom in just one day. You are taking on a lot.  Halfway through you are going to realize that it is such a mammoth task that you are taking on, and you will probably quit in the middle.


That is why you will love my 30-day Decluttering Challenge! It guides you through decluttering your entire home, little by little, area by area, room by room, in 30 days.  You only have to commit to about 15-20 minutes per day of decluttering. Every day you get an email with that day’s goals for decluttering. It makes it simple, easy, and not overwhelming at all!


Take on a decluttering project little by little, piece by piece, and you won’t find yourself quitting in the middle!

You can also set yourself little treats for accomplishing a decluttering project.  Perhaps you get to go out and get a nice cup of coffee once you finish clearing out that closet.  Something to aim towards always helps!


Buying Containers, Baskets and Storage Items Before you Declutter

It is easy to think that you need to purchase all kinds of storage containers, baskets and more to help out with your organization and decluttering.  But buying these before you take on the project is actually not helpful.

It is only as you start your decluttering and organization project, and realize what it entails, when you will realize what you actually do need.

For instance, you may be decluttering your bedroom closet, and you have seen such lovely baskets that you think will look great on your shelves.

But when you actually start the project, you realize that it is not baskets that you need, you need something else instead on those shelves.  Or you may think you need a certain size of basket or container, only to find out mid-project that you actually need something larger.

Nobody wants to wait, especially in the middle of a project, but start that project first before buying anything, so you don’t buy the wrong things, or waste your money.


Related: 8 Quick Decluttering Projects to do in Less than 10 Minutes


Not having a Plan in Place

Any decluttering project needs to have a plan, even if that plan is only in your head.

You need to know what you are trying to achieve with that particular project. Are you trying to create more space in that room? Are you trying to clear out a closet so you can store your kids toys in it? Are you trying to make that closet work better for you, as you can’t find anything in there right now?

Have a plan in place for why you are taking on that particular decluttering project.  Have a plan for what needs to be done and how.

These plans don’t have to be elaborate. Just a simple plan of why, how and what.


Related: Declutter Your Home: How to start a decluttering project


Starting on Other Family Members Stuff First

Decluttering as I mentioned can be overwhelming, and is not the most pleasant of tasks.  But if you start out on somebody else’s decluttering project before your own, it can be disasterous.

The whole process of decluttering can be a very emotional one.  Whenever you are decluttering you have to make a decision about an item that you own. Do you trash it, donate it, or keep it?  Will you ever use it again, will someone else like it better than you?

That is why decluttering is so hard for most people – they have emotional bonds with their stuff. They bought it, they were given it, they made it.  It is hard to part with it.

You have an emotional bond with your own stuff.  Your family members have an emotional bond with their stuff. Therefore never start on other family members decluttering without doing your own first, so you understand the emotion that goes into decluttering.

I am a big believer in boxing up items that I declutter and organize for other people. If I am going through my kids rooms, and they are sure they want to give a certain toy away, I usually put that toy in a box first in another room out of the way for a period of time. That way if they want that toy suddenly one day, you still have it.  If it has been months and they don’t seem bothered about that toy, now you can give it away or trash it. Your kids stuff has an emotional bond to them, so acknowledge that.

Do your own decluttering projects first, then you will understand and be on hand to help the others in your family!


Related: 93 Things to Declutter in Your Home Right Now!




Trying to Declutter when you are Tired & Exhausted

Yes you know you need to declutter your kids bedroom. It is a complete mess, stuff is everywhere, and you can’t even bear to walk into that room right now.

But if you are tired and/or exhausted, don’t start that project now.

Decluttering takes some effort.  If you can’t give 100% effort to that decluttering project just don’t do it. Because if you try to do it feeling like you do, you just won’t get great results.

You want to get on with the project, and get it done. But give yourself a break. Wait until it is a better day for you. When you can focus 100% on what you need to do. When you are not likely to quit in the middle of the project, and when you know you will do a good job.


Related: Why Decluttering is so Good for Your Mental Health

Related: How to Eliminate Countertop Clutter


Making a Habit of Decluttering

Decluttering has to become a habit for it to be effective.  Because even the best decluttered room, that is now clutter-free and beautiful, is not going to stay that way forever!

Whatever you declutter, tidy and organize is only going to stay that way for so long. Toys will creep back in.  Those countertops will start accumulating clutter again. Those closets are getting over-stuffed again.

If you make it a habit to declutter every now and again you will be staying on top of things.  If you do it on a fairly regular basis you will also stay on top of the clutter as it happens.


Not Training Your Family

You may have completely decluttered and reorganized all the closets in your home.

Then, just a few months later, they are completely messy and out of control again. There are board games in your living room cupboard that don’t belong in there, sports equipment, paperwork and more.  You had created such an organized system, and now it is all blown to bits, and even worse than before you started.

But if you didn’t ‘train’ or instruct your family in what you had done, how were they supposed to know and keep up with your system?

Once you declutter, and reorganize, make sure everyone in your family knows why you did it, and what your method is.  

If that living room closet is to be used only for DVDs and electrical equipment, let your family now that. Tell them where to put all their other stuff instead.

Not Starting at all

Yes by far the biggest decluttering mistake is not starting at all!

You  may be delaying starting because you don’t feel that you have the time. You may feel that you don’t know where to start.  You may just be so overwhelmed that you can’t honestly see the wood from the trees.

But you can start little by little, bit by bit and get results. You can find the time to do this.  In fact this is the only way to get results.  Take the Free 30 Day Decluttering Challenge and take on all the decluttering you need to do more gently and easily!

Don’t delay that decluttering project and getting your home more organized. Start today! But be mindful of these 8 huge decluttering mistakes that many people make, that you don’t have to make too!







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