We all get overwhelmed by clutter from time to time. Accumulating objects, papers, clothing, sentimental items, and more over time is a simple fact of life, which is why regular decluttering sessions are key to making sure the clutter doesn't become overwhelming.
Intentional clutter clearing isn't just about making sure your space looks "nice." It's about your mental health, too: Clutter causes stress over time, whether you realize it or not.
Want to turn your messy house into a tidy one? Get started with these simple decluttering tips—you'll be amazed by how quickly the stress melts away.
What to Do When You're Overwhelmed By Clutter
1. Stop buying new stuff
The most important thing to keep in mind before you start your first decluttering session? You're going to have to stop buying new stuff. This isn't to say you can't buy anything ever again, but before you bring any new object into your home — no matter how necessary that object feels — you'll want to wait until after you've gotten rid of a few key items. By the time you've cleared out all that clutter, you may realize that object wasn't nearly as necessary as it originally felt.
2. Break the project into very small pieces
It would be great if you could declutter your entire home in a single day, wouldn't it? But unless you have a very, very small home, this isn't realistic.
Instead, break the project down into manageable bits. Maybe you can declutter your living room over the course of a long weekend, for example, but but your kitchen will have to be done over the course of two weekends. In order to declutter well, you have to admit to yourself that it may take a while — and if it helps to make a decluttering schedule that spreads out over the course of a month (or several months!) that's even better.
Donate the items you don't want anymore.
3. Give yourself grace
As much as we know most material things don't matter, it can be hard to remember this sometimes. For example, maybe while you're decluttering you find a dress you really love that you wore to a wedding a few years ago, but it doesn't fit you anymore. Trying to say goodbye to it may be difficult for you, and that's OK. So make sure you're in the right mental space when you're decluttering, because if you're not, it might be better to save it for another day. When you're in a good mindset, it will bring you joy to know you're donating that dress to someone who will get the same happiness out of it that you once did.
4. Find a decluttering buddy
Don't trust yourself to go at your declutter project alone? Enlist help. Whether it's a friend or family member, the right person will not only help you make important decisions about what you should keep and what you need to ditch, they'll also help you finish the job sooner. After all, the more hands you have to lug heavy donation bags, the better.
5. Donate your items to mindfully
Decluttering doesn't mean you're throwing everything away. While some things will inevitably end up in the trash or recycling bin, your decluttering efforts will likely feel a lot more purposeful if you research places to donate and feel like your items are getting a great second home. Goodwill and The Salvation Army are reliable organizations for donations, but you can always research the best places to donate in your area.
6. Don't get discouraged
Let's face it: Decluttering can get discouraging, especially when it feels like you're barely making a dent. But trust us, if you keep a slow and steady pace, you will end up with the minimalist, non-overwhelming, completely decluttered home of your dreams—and you'll be so happy you made the effort.
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