10 Frequent Decluttering Mistakes You Should Always Avoid


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Ready to learn what NOT to do when it comes to getting rid of clutter? These 10 decluttering mistakes are more common than you think, and being aware of them will make all the difference next time you declutter any part of your home…

10 Frequent Decluttering Mistakes To Always Avoid

Decluttering is a BIG topic when it comes to organising your home.


…when it comes to talking about decluttering, it’s always the ‘what TO do’ that we are told about. So today I wanted to address that with this post all about what NOT to do.

You see – even if you do everything right, you may still be doing a few of the wrong as well, which can really hurt your decluttering efforts. 

If you know the pitfalls then you’re likely to stop them before they stop you!

So, next time you’re getting rid of clutter in your own home – think about these 10 decluttering mistakes you need to make sure to avoid – and I know that it will make all the difference to how successful you are….

Decluttering mistakes to stop making

#1 – Not having a plan

When you start decluttering it’s really tempting to go in all guns blazing with bin bags – filling them asap and feeling great.

But what you’re often doing here is just getting rid of the obvious rubbish, and things that are still clutter (items that are in the wrong place in your home, sentimental items, etc…) are left where they are. You then wonder why the house STILL doesn’t work for you, and why there is still ‘stuff’ everywhere…

If you take some time up front to make a plan of where things need to go in your home, you’re going to be so much better off – because you will be able to more easily decide what to do with everything.

You can find out how I plan my house HERE which I hope helps!

#2 – Moving from room to room

A very common decluttering mistake is to let yourself be sidetracked when tackling your stuff.

Imagine the scene – you start getting rid of clutter in your lounge and you come across a jumper that needs to be put away in your wardrobe. You walk upstairs and come across one of your kids toys on the landing – so you head to their room. In their room there is a glass that needs to go downstairs in the kitchen….

On and on you go – until you’ve run out of time and realised that your lounge STILL needs decluttering…

Frustrating beyond belief!

So – the trick is to have a basket by the door of whatever room your are focusing on, and just adding items to this basket that need to go elsewhere in the house.

ONLY take these items to the correct room at the END of your decluttering time – and that way you’ll be so much more focused.

#3 – Buying organising products first

I LOVE the organising part of things, when I can make it all look great with pretty baskets/boxes etc…

But this ISN’T what you do when you declutter….

Decluttering is simply getting through all your items and working out what you do and don’t need any longer.

Organising is the next step – where you can see what you have, and decide on the best way to keep it.

Don’t buy organising items (ie. any storage containers you think you need) before you declutter because chances are you’re adding to the clutter.

You don’t know what you’ll actually have to store, and where…

#4 – Thinking it will take very little time

You have created your home over many years – so it makes sense that sorting out your entire house will take time as well (it’s a bit like losing weight where you have taken years to get to the weight you are – so you can’t expect a quick fix overnight).

If you know that things take time to do things properly, following the decluttering process from start to finish, you’ll get less overwhelmed by the process and let it happen.

Just remember that ANY decluttering project you tackle will take time – then you can only be pleasantly surprised if it takes less time than planned rather than always dissappointed if it takes too long and you were thinking it would take little time.

#5 – Having a maybe pile

ooooh – isn’t it tempting to not be sure about whether you want to keep something or not.

Surely it can wait until another day…?

Well, my friend, it can’t.

The truth is – clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions. You have clutter in your home because you haven’t decided on where it needs to go.

Time to get brave and say YES or NO instead of MAYBE – and I promise you’ll enjoy the process much more!

Clutter quote - clutter is no more than postponed decisions

#6 – Decluttering other people’s stuff



Never declutter anyone else’s stuff.

Got it?

Ask any professional organiser and they will tell you exactly the same.

The reason is two-fold: –

  1. You don’t know what is clutter and what isn’t, because you are not invested in the item(s)
  2. You will make that person angry/upset

It’s just simply not worth it – however tempting it is.

The answer?

Get them involved.

You can declutter together – and if they won’t declutter then just do what’s yours and hopefully they will see the benefits and join you after a while…

#7 – Keeping Decluttered items for too long

You’ve done well.

You’ve decluttered an area, and have bags of items to take to the rubbish tip, charity shop, friends etc….

But heres a decluttering tip that you need to remember:


Get them out of the house ASAP. Do not pass go, do not collect £200… (#lovemonopoly!)

It’s all too tempting to go through those bags after a few days and just take a couple of things back… – and things start getting cluttered again.

You’ve made the decision – so finish it by getting it out of the house right NOW.

Related: Where To Start Decluttering – 5 Fantastic Options To Try

Clutter in and outside a cardboard box

#8 – Keeping things ‘just in case’

There will always be a reason to keep that weird and wonderful item that you haven’t used for years – because ‘WHAT IF YOU NEED IT NEXT WEEK?!’

Keeping things just in case is a huge downfall of successful decluttering – and can be the biggest mistake – but you can stop this by asking a couple of things: –

  1. What’s the worst that would happen if I got rid of this right now?
  2. Could I borrow/rent this item if I need it in the future?
  3. Is the space used to store this item really worth keeping it?

Be realistic.

If you really needed it then it would be a simple “YES’, but if you are wavering then chances are that it’s something you feel you SHOULD keep rather than something you really need to keep.

#9 – Only getting rid of rubbish

My definition of decluttering is “anything that doesn’t belong in the space it’s in – whether because you don’t need it at all any longer, or it belongs in a different space”.

As such, clutter isn’t just rubbish.

It can be that jumper lying on the lounge floor that needs taking back to the bedroom. It can be that book you borrowed from a friend and have been meaning to give back. It is ANYTHING that is in the wrong place.

Don’t just get the rubbish out – that’s a common mistake – if you properly declutter then you’ll naturally tidy your home and everything will be in the right space…

Related: 14 Different Types Of Clutter And How To Deal With Each One

#10 – Getting overwhelmed

Wanting to tackle your whole home?

Great! – but it’s important not to get overwhelmed at the thought.

After all, taking each and every item in your home and making a decision about it is a HUGE task. Things will get messier before they get better, and it’s very physical work.

Allow yourself to understand that this will take some time, and you CAN take it step by step. Give yourself small tasks each day/week (do a drawer at a time rather than an entire room), and reward yourself for a job well done – and you’ll get there without that dreaded overwhelm setting in.

10 Mistakes To Always Avoid When Getting Rid Of Clutter

So – there you have it – 10 decluttering mistakes to avoid…

If you’ve tried decluttering before and failed, then it may well have been because one of these reasons have been messing with your decluttering effort.

Next time, you’ll be SO much more prepared – and I’m sure it will go really really well!

Read Next: 18 Signs You Have Too Much Stuff In Your Home (& What To Do About It)


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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...


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