How to Start Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed

Maybe you’re just curious about this whole decluttering thing, or maybe you’re seriously overwhelmed by too much stuff. However, you just don’t know where in the world to start or don’t really see the point. You’re busy enough as it is just keeping everyone safe and fed! I firmly believe that you can do this, so let’s talk about how to start decluttering when overwhelmed, even if you just want to start small.

Signs You Have too Much Stuff

You may be wondering if you have too much stuff. Maybe your home is a bit cluttered, but not nearly as bad as your friend’s house, or you think tons of toys is just normal in today’s society. However, while there are some signs that you have too much stuff, there is hope that you can regain control. Here’s what to look for.

  • Most flat surfaces are covered with stuff.
  • You have a hard time remembering where you put something.
  • You are embarrassed to have someone see the state of your home.
  • You have a storage unit for what doesn’t fit in your house.
  • You feel like your home never looks clean and peaceful.
  • You keep buying organizational items for your stuff.
  • You buy something to replace something you can’t find.
  • You have clothes and items you haven’t used for a year or more.
  • You don’t want to get rid of things because you might need them “someday.”
  • Your kids have so many toys but complain that there’s nothing to do.

Did any of those resonate with you? When my kids were young, many of them totally fit me. Our playroom was disastrous, my countertops were covered constantly, and things were just not that clean. I was overwhelmed by clutter. If I’m honest, I still struggle with keeping countertops clean especially, but I’ve learned that there are many benefits to having less stuff, including having more time for the people and things that are important to me.

Girl sitting in very messy room. How to start decluttering pinnable image.

What is the First step to Decluttering?

You may say, “I’m overwhelmed by clutter. Where do I start?” This may seem a bit ridiculous, but seriously the first step is to just start! I will give you some ideas to get you going but don’t overthink it. Just grab something right now that is either trash or something you know you no longer need. Throw it out or grab a “donate” box to put stuff in. If you have a lot of trash sitting around, get a trash bag and stuff it with everything you see that you don’t want. There! You did it! You started! 🙂

How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed

If you’re wondering what to do when you are overwhelmed with clutter, then let’s start with some ideas for an actual plan to tackle this. Don’t worry, I’m all about simple and straightforward in order to help you NOT be overwhelmed.

1. Start simple

Decluttering doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact if it is, you won’t do it, especially when you’re overwhelmed. Look around and pick one countertop or one drawer to declutter next. You can even set a timer for 15 minutes and do as much as you can in that time. Once you see what a difference just a little bit can make, you will be more motivated to keep going. This is how you start decluttering when overwhelmed.

Want to learn more about living a simple life? Maybe you want to live more intentionally or find easier ways to do things. Be sure to learn how you can get started today!

2. Make a plan

Now that you’ve started decluttering and have some motivation, it’s time to make an actual plan. Plan where you’ll work first. Starting in an area where you spend a lot of time is recommended since you’ll see the difference and be motivated to keep going. Figure out what order you’ll do the rooms in your house, how long you will work at a time and when, and what you’ll do with the things you don’t want. You will want a trash bag or box, a donate box, and a box for things that are in the wrong room.

Go through each room section by section. Below you will find some helpful questions to ask when decluttering to help you make choices. Take out everything that won’t stay in the room before you reorganize what’s left.

3. Questions to ask when decluttering

We’re all different when it comes to the actual decluttering part. Some people just really have a hard time letting things go. Others are constantly trying to get rid of everything . . . and often times these people are married to each other! There are several questions you can ask yourself as you go through this process in order to help you decide on what to keep or what to get rid of.

  • Does this add value to my life?
  • Do I love this?
  • Do I need this?
  • Do I own something similar that’s better?
  • Have I used or worn this in the last year?

If you ask the questions and you’re still struggling with whether or not to keep something, box it up with a date on it and put it in your storage area. If you haven’t retrieved it in 3-6 months, get rid of it.

4. Join a decluttering challenge

Maybe you’ve started with the above steps and you’re still struggling to get rid of things. I recommend joining a decluttering challenge via blog or Facebook. Sometimes just having that little bit of help can give you the push you need to start decluttering.

Final Steps in Decluttering

Once you have started the decluttering process, you may wonder what to do with the stuff you’re not keeping. You should have thrown out anything that is broken, missing pieces, or not of good quality. You may choose to have a yard or garage sale for the other things you’re not keeping, but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you really have a lot and need the extra money. The best thing to do is to just donate it as soon as possible. Get it out of your house. Your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other thrift store supporting a good cause are great places to donate.

If you have some high-value items that you just don’t use, you may try to sell them, however, give yourself a time limit. For example, if you haven’t sold the items in one month, donate them. It’s really not worth having them sit there for another six months doing nothing.

So, are you ready to start decluttering? What is your biggest motivating factor? How can I help you on this journey? Please comment below.

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