Six Tips to Make Decluttering Less Overwhelming

declutter May 04, 2021

Is decluttering on your agenda as part of spring cleaning?  Check out the tips below to make the process a little less overwhelming.   

One of the most common sentiments clients express about dealing with clutter is how overwhelming it feels.  My job as a professional organizer is to provide guidance, support and direction to keep the process moving in a way that is manageable.  Even if you are tackling your clutter alone, there are ways to make the process less intimidating.

1. Keep Your Goal at the Forefront of Your Mind

It is incredibly easy to lose focus in a cluttered space.  To combat this, have a clear goal in mind, and then actually write that goal down on paper.  Keep it in sight as you work in the space.  If you find your mind wandering, or you notice yourself going from one project to another without finishing any, a quick glance at your goal can help realign your focus and keep you on track.

2. Be Prepared for Your Space to Get Worse (Temporarily)

Understand that your space is likely to get worse before it gets better.  I wish I didn’t have to be the bearer of bad news here, but it’s true.  It’s all part of the process.  Those areas you are sorting and categorizing…all that work has to be completed somewhere.  And the sorting and decision-making parts are typically the messiest and take the longest. 

3. Have an Exit Strategy Ready

Not every decluttering project will be done in a day.  Let’s say you are going to declutter the pantry.  You might decide to complete the sorting process on your kitchen table, which might give you lots of room for this step.  If that process takes longer than you expected, you might have pantry items on the kitchen table when it is time for dinner, which could pose an additional challenge for you. 

 A solution is to break the project down into several smaller projects.  You can still declutter and organize your pantry by doing just one shelf or one category at a time.  And, you can save yourself a lot of headaches that way, too.

4. Buy Organizing Products Last

Don’t put the cart before the horse when it comes to buying containers and other organizing products.  Even if you have a pretty good idea of what you may need before you have finished sorting, purging and categorizing, buying products too soon may add to your clutter and frustration.  It really is best to hold off.  Trust me, I’ve made this mistake more than a few times.

5. Know Your Limits

Decluttering can be exhausting, both mentally and physically.  While you might be able to zip through some areas with relative ease, others, particularly papers, mementos, and items with strong emotional attachments, can be enough to bring one to a standstill.  Plan to work in small bursts and set a timer, if needed.

6. Take Care of Yourself

It is also important that you are well rested and nourished.  Trying to declutter your space when you are hungry or tired can add unnecessary stress.

And remember, progress is progress, no matter how small.


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