Decluttering and Organizing

For years, I struggled with clutter and the guilt that came with it. My mess had me stressed, and that stress was leaking over the whole family. Finally, with a lot of work and effort, I figured out what I was doing wrong. By avoiding these major pitfalls, I’ve managed to maintain a clean and peaceful home. In this post, I’ve included the absolute worst mistakes that were sabotaging my cleaning efforts over and over again. 

Worst Decluttering Mistakes

 

1.) Bringing Too Much Stuff Into the Home

 

To organize the stuff in your home, first you must manage the number of things coming into your home. You can’t declutter and organize when you are managing a constant flow of items into your home.

You end up like the hamster on the wheel. Constantly working and getting nowhere.

A cluttered home is a direct result of having too many things. You will never fix that by purchasing more things.

I suggest that before you even start organizing and tossing things out, you do a spending freeze.

A wonderful way to gain control of your stuff is to stop buying anything for a week or two. Designate an amount of time, and for that time bring NOTHING into your home.

Spending freezes are a great way to get a handle on your finances and spending, but also a great way to learn to live with less and utilize what you already have. Rosemarie, from Busy Budgeter has an awesome quick read on the basics of a spending freeze.

 

 

2.) Not Starting In Big Impact Areas

 

Decluttering is a lot like dieting. You want to see results fast. Massive cleaning and organizing is hard work, and you want it to make a difference right away.

It’s important that you make the biggest impact as soon as possible in order to stay motivated. 

Spend time right away on the projects that change your daily life the quickest.

My article, Essential Questions to Ask Before you Begin Decluttering, will help if you are having trouble pinpointing the problem areas. Hopefully, it will provide some enlightening ideas.

3.) Buying Storage/Organizing Materials Before You Need Them

 

This is the worst mistake of all! When I organized my house for the last time, I gave away so many bins, boxes, plastic containers, and shelves.

This is what I used to do:

I’d decide to organize a room. Then, I’d go to target and buy a whole bunch of stuff for organizing that room, before I even looked in the room. I’d end up with additional boxes and bins cluttering up a room that was already cluttered to begin with. I’d just hide the problem for later.

Ultimately, bins are clutter hiders and catchers. If you start your plan with a bunch of bins, you will fill find a way to them up.

However, storage solutions can be your friend.  Just wait to buy until you have a plan or system in place and know they will work. Then, don’t overbuy or buy more than you need. Organizing supplies can become clutter too.

4.) Not Allowing Enough Time

 

It is best to knock out a major declutter in one big effort. You must give yourself enough time to get it done. A long weekend or holiday is perfect. You can get all the way finished and not lose any momentum. 

There are a lot of guides and challenges that advise you clean up every day for thirty days or every weekend for a few months.

Surely these work for some families, but I could never make them work for ours. We just always ended up in an uber-messy state of unfinishedness, and we never did get cleaned.  

What finally worked for us was to doing all at one time, and not stopping until we were done. It took four straight days of cleaning, but it worked. The impact was sudden and amazing.

5.) Leaving the Family Out

 

How many times have you cleaned your kids room without any input from them? How often does it stay clean?

You have to get the kids and spouse involved in the cleaning for it to stick. They have to care, and it has to be important to them.

Once they realize how great it is to have their things organized, they will care.

My kids were very involved in organizing their space. They decided what went where, and how they wanted to organize it.

I am proud to say that since then, I very rarely have to remind my daughter to pick up her things. My son still needs the reminder, but not nearly as often.

They enjoy taking care of their things, and it takes a ton of work off of me.

Good Luck!

I hope that your decluttering and organizing goes splendidly and that you can learn from the worst decluttering mistakes that I made.

Be sure to come back and check out my upcoming posts on cleaning and organizing. Also, be sure to check out some of our popular healthy recipes before you leave.

Leave a comment below with your decluttering nightmares or successes. I’d love to hear.