Are you trying to figure out how to declutter your home? Sometimes, we don’t even realize we are making mistakes that make it difficult to keep our homes tidy. Be sure to avoid these decluttering mistakes when cleaning 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.
How to Declutter
Avoid these 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. Continually working and getting nowhere
A cluttered home is a direct result of having too many things. You will never fix that by purchasing more items.
I suggest that before you even start organizing and tossing things out, you do a spending freeze.
A fantastic 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 BusyBudgeter has an excellent 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.
You must make the biggest impact as soon as possible 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 place that was already cluttered. 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 to 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 do all at once and not stop until we finished. It took four straight days of cleaning, but it worked. The impact was sudden and extreme.
5.) Leaving the Family Out
How many times have you cleaned your kid’s 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 a priority for 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 arrange 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 from me.
Leave a comment below with your decluttering nightmares or successes. I’d love to hear.
And don’t forget to snag the cheat sheet before you go!
Avoiding these major mistakes will be your first step in learning how to declutter. Check out my other posts in this series for even more help with clutter.