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What Not to do When Decluttering

I’ve talked before about ways to help make decluttering easier for you, but I haven’t really discussed the things not to do when decluttering.

Even now, I still make mistakes. Decluttering is hard. Period. For people like me, it seems nearly impossible. That is why it takes me a while to get an entire room finished and also why I can declutter the kitchen one day and repeat the process again in a week.

I’m emotionally attached to a lot of my things. I have fear of letting them go. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, either. A lot of people are just like me. I’ve had to learn from my mistakes… and I’ve made a lot of them.

1. Don’t Start a Decluttering Project When you are Emotionally Charged

What I mean by this is don’t start decluttering when you are feeling extreme amounts of anything… anger, sadness, anxiety.. You want to start your decluttering project with a clear mind and ready to go.

Decluttering will bring up extreme emotions on its own, you don’t want to add to an extreme mood.


It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when decluttering, I think I can speak for a lot of people and say that we all feel overwhelmed when we dive in. When you start to feel overwhelmed, remind yourself of why you are doing this. Remember that a clutter free home is easier to manage. A clutter free home is a functional and peaceful home.

2. Don’t take on a huge room as your first area to tackle

If you are new to this, it’s important to take on small spaces at a time. Taking on a large area is difficult because if you weren’t feeling overwhelmed at the thought of decluttering, you are now.

Start small and take the win. Smaller spaces are easier to tackle and provide quick gratification. Being able to see, quickly, that you can do this decluttering thing, is a great motivator to continue.

If you try and start in a room that will take you an entire week to do, you’ll get discouraged pretty quickly.

Doing small areas at a time adds up and before you know it, that whole room will be finished.

3. Don’t think you’ll get your whole house decluttered in a weekend

Decluttering is a process. It is a process that never ends. You will be decluttering for the rest of your life and that is not a bad thing! We are constantly bringing more things into our homes. The same amount of stuff should be leaving at the same rate.

Decluttering is hard and it’s emotional. Take your time with it. Taking your time yields greater results.

Taking your time when decluttering allows you to do it more thoroughly. You also won’t be leaving your house in shambles by rushing around and not taking the time to properly place things back where they belong.

4. Don’t Feel Guilt About Letting Things Go

It is easy to feel guilty when decluttering. Thinking about getting rid of something that someone else gave you might make you feel guilty.

Remember, that person wouldn’t want the item they gave you to make you feel miserable in your home. If the item doesn’t serve a purpose in your home anymore, its okay to let it go. The item doesn’t represent the thought and love of that person. The thought behind the gift and the things you felt when you received it, does.

5. Don’t put Things in another room to donate later

Don’t try to convince yourself that you will bring these donations on your way home from work next week. Instead, you’ll forget or you won’t want to go and you’ll keep putting it off.

Put your donations in your vehicle and bring them right away. Get them out of your home before they end up just sitting there, just like they were, but in a different room.

Don’t be like me and leave it in the back of your car for three weeks..

Before you start decluttering, find your nearest donation center, or figure out where you want to bring the items and have a plan to drop them off as soon as you are finished.

6. Don’t hold onto things that you want to sell for long

When decluttering, you are bound to find stuff that you don’t want to just donate. You’ll want to sell them to recoup some of the money you originally spent on it.

List those items for sale and set a deadline. If XYZ doesn’t sell in one week, it gets donated. Just like putting the items you’re donating in another room to bring later, the items you want to sell but can’t will also just sit in that room. You’ve only moved clutter from one area to another.

You’ll also want to list items for realistic prices. Try listing things lower than you normally would that way it does sell and it leaves your home.

A sale for less is better than no sale at all.

7. Don’t try to organize before you have decluttered

You don’t want to buy organization systems or plan anything until you can get a true idea of how much stuff you have or what exactly needs to be organized.

You’d be surprised at how much you can let go of when decluttering.

You may find that the fancy organizational system or all the pretty baskets you wanted to get will be too much. You might find that it’s not a enough. You’ve got to get a clear image, though, of the things that actually need organization.

8. Don’t touch items you decide to donate more than once

Cas from Clutterbug pointed out that when you touch your things, it sparks emotions. Once you decide to let an item go, don’t give yourself the opportunity to change your mind. Make your decision and go with it.

Put your donations and trash in black garbage bags. Or where you can’t see them again. Once the decision is made to let it go, stick with it. Don’t second guess yourself.

9. Don’t begin with sentimental items

Save the sentimental items, or the items you are scared to go through, for last.

I want you to be encouraged when decluttering and by starting with things that will hurt, that encouragement might diminish. Instead, I want you to save the sentimental things for last. When you are feeling discouraged, I want you to be able to look around and see how much progress you’ve made.

I want you to be able to see how far you’ve come and understand that you can do this.

10. Don’t go into decluttering alone

Have someone there to support you. Whether it’s an online community, your spouse, a friend, or even a coach.

Having someone else there to ground you and encourage you is so helpful. Decluttering is so overwhelming, especially when you don’t know where to begin.

Having another person who isn’t emotionally attached to these things is helpful when you are having trouble making a decision on an item. Decluttering is a process and support will help you to be successful.

Have faith in yourself when decluttering

When decluttering, don’t give up! Have faith in yourself. You’ve made the decision to declutter and that is half the battle won, right there. You are strong and you can do this.

You deserve a clean, tidy and organized home. I want you to feel comfortable and to love your home. Your home should be a place of peace, not chaos. Having less means cleaning less. It means having less to manage.

You don’t need to store things that aren’t serving you a purpose. It’s okay to let things go. Your peace of mind and comfort is more important than any item in your home. You are more important.

For support or if you need help creating a plan of action in your decluttering journey, send me a message and I’ll be happy to help you out.

For more tips on decluttering and organizing, check out my related posts.

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