Decluttering doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be downright enjoyable with the right mindset and a few helpful tips. If you want to make decluttering easier on yourself, start by following these simple hacks. Soon enough, you’ll find that decluttering is a breeze – and you may even enjoy it!
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the idea of decluttering
There are so many things that need your attention! And it can seem like there is never going to be enough time in one day to do all the things you want and need to do. But, just as a messy home leads to an unhappy life, having a clean space can lead to a much more contented one. The trick is finding ways to make decluttering easier so that you can get it done and move on with your life.
Simple Tips To Make Decluttering Easier
#1 – Start With The Least Emotional Stuff
Sentimental items are always going to be the hardest to go through when you declutter.
They will take more time, and emotional energy from you – and you’ll feel more drained after that sort of decision making than any other type of clutter in your home.
So, instead of plunging in wherever you decide to start decluttering in your home – have a plan in mind.
If you find it easier to make decisions about certain types of items, then start with them.
Once you get the ball rolling you will find it all the more easy to keep going, and hopefully the momentum of what you are doing will carry you a little easier through the harder decisions.
#2 – Have The Right Kit Ready To Go
When I was a professional home organiser, my kit was invaluable in making any decluttering task easier.
When you have the right things to hand, you don’t have to stop what you’re doing and get distracted – you can just focus.
So one of the best decluttering tips I can give you is to create your very own decluttering kit that’s ready and waiting for when the decluttering bug bites…
Some examples of what you can keep in your kit are:
- Cleaning supplies – to wipe down surfaces as you get to them
- Bin bags and boxes
- Pen to label what’s in each bag/box
#3 – Wear Comfy (And Old) Clothes
Decluttering is a physical task – there’s no getting around it.
As such, it’s always easier to prepare not only your kit for the job ahead, but also yourself.
That starts with what you wear.
Just like when you do fitness, you need to choose clothes that have the following attributes:
- Easy to move / stretch / bend in
- Not valuable – things you don’t mind getting dirty or damaged
- Things that keep you at a decent temperature (not too hot or too cold)
#4 – Stock Up On Food And Drink Supplies
Another way to stop decluttering in its tracks is to not have snacks ready to go.
Not only will having things to hand make life easier for you, but you will also be able to last longer as you will be keeping your energy levels up.
#5 – Start In A Room Where You Can Close The Door
Decluttering creates mess before it gets better – that’s just the nature of the beast I’m afraid. This can create an emotional response just as much as actually getting rid of things.
If you can start decluttering in a room that is less visible, then you can simply close the door on that mess and open the door the following day or when you are next able to carry on.
If you have to continually look at more mess then it can lead to a more negative emotion, and you may want to stop decluttering (“after all, it’s not working….”). This is exactly what you don’t want to happen.
Just as with a diet and exercise – you may very well put on weight at first when you start exercising as you are putting on muscle – but stick with it as you will find that you will steadily lose that weight and more over time.
If you can get through the first room you declutter – then you will know a little more of what to expect, and in the rooms you can’t shut away you will be able to focus on the end goal that bit easier – making it less emotional for you.
#6 – Focus On The Positives
A simple trick to make decluttering easier rather than feel so so hard, is that instead of focusing all your energy on what you want/need to get rid of – focus instead on what you are getting to keep.
You’ll be able to enjoy the things you truly love that little bit easier when you can see them!
#7 – Get Help From A Friend / Professional / Group
Decluttering can be lonely – and so it feels harder to motivate yourself by yourself.
it can also feel really hard work – and overwhelming.
Both of these are very valid reasons to look at getting some help.
Think about WHY you want help – and look for the right type.
Do you just need a friend to chat to, or do you need a professional to take you through things step by step?
There are LOTS of ways to get help – and you should do what’s right for you to make things easier – but here are a couple that you could consider:
- Hire a professional – in the UK you can check out APDO, the US equivalent is NAPO, and there are others around the world (just search for professional organising association in yours). These are the associations where you can find a local and reputable person for what you need. A lot of professionals also have certain specialisms including hoarding, paperwork, clothes etc….
- Search on Facebook for a group that’s helpful, supportive, and kind. OMH has a fantastic group which you can check out if you like (and it would be great to welcome you there…) – just click here for more details.
#8 – Listen To Something You Enjoy – Music / An Audiobook / A Podcast
One of my absolute favourite ways to make any chore easier is to have something good to listen to while I do it.
Decluttering is no different.
You can make it a treat and save your favourite episodes of a podcast, or start a new audiobook (my favourite way to read as I can do exercise or chores at the same time) – whatever makes decluttering that bit easier for you.
#9 – Take A Break
Focusing on anything for any length of time can be exhausting and hard work. Yet, we expect ourselves to be able to tackle a large decluttering project in one go and still be able to make emotional decisions easily.
This isn’t going to work!
If you take a break every half an hour – a walk around the block for some fresh air is perfect – then you’ll come back rejuvenated and decisions will be more easy than if you were tired and struggled on through.
#10 – Do A Little A Day
If decluttering feels really hard to accomplish (for whatever reason), breaking it up into really small pieces will help.
You could look at doing one of the following (use as inspiration and by all means create your own mini-challenge!):
- Declutter one small area in a room per day (a drawer, a shelf, etc…)
- Declutter five items a day from a specific category (clothes, shoes, home accessories, out of date food, etc…)
When you read these ideas they may seem like too small an accomplishment, but over time it will add up – trust me!
And if you want proof – do the maths – 5 things a day for a month adds up to letting go of around 150 items in total.
Plus, one of the bonuses of doing little and often is that it can be a great way to get in the habit of decluttering.
#11 – Trust Your Gut
Decluttering involves making a LOT of decisions.
You have to decide what to do with every item you pick up.
It therefore stands to reason that we can make decluttering easier by making the decisions more easily.
As such, get into the habit of listening to your gut.
It’s usually right…
A lot of decisions around whether to keep items are based not on whether you actually want or need the item, but rather guilt about the fact it was a gift, or that you may need it one day.
You often already know deep down when you want to get rid of things – but the struggle against your inner self can create all these negative emotions that make it so hard.
If you learn to trust your instincts then you will find things a lot easier.
#12 – Follow A Plan
Any big task is easier when you split it up into smaller chunks – and to do this effectively you need a plan.
Whether you create your own plan of action, follow a plan from a decluttering course, or take advice from a professional organiser who’s with you in your home – just make sure you have some sort of steps to follow so you can stay on track, feel progress, and achieve things at every stage.
#13 – Start When You’re REALLY Ready
Only YOU can decide when you’re ready to declutter any area of your home.
You have to be ready for it otherwise you will feel all manner of emotions – most of which will be negative, because you will be fighting an internal struggle to get something done when you don’t want to.
Why make it harder than it needs to be?
#14 – Practise!
As with most things in life, you can learn the skill of decluttering by practicing it whenever possible.
Get into the habit of making decisions about things on a regular basis and you will find that you’ll more naturally be able to make the more difficult decisions when you start a harder decluttering job.
As an example – practise with a small area like your kitchen counters.
Aim to keep these tidy on a daily basis for the next week.
I’ve chosen this because they’re somewhere you’ll be using daily, so you can’t forget about them – AND it makes sense to start clearing somewhere that you can see a real difference and feel progression.
Kitchen counters tend to be a place that collects stuff over the day, most of which isn’t kitchen related at all. So – if you can make the habit of decluttering that smaller space each day then you will make it easier to continue that new habit into other areas too when the time comes.
It will start to feel like second nature to you – and that in turn will make it so much easier.
#15 – Take Away Any Distractions
Getting distracted makes decluttering SO.MUCH.HARDER than it needs to be.
As such – take a bit of time to try and get rid of (or reduce) the amount of distractions you may have when you’re working on things.
Here are some ideas:
- Get the kids out the house if possible. Swap a days childcare with a friend, or ask the grandparents to have them for a bit.
- Turn your phone onto silent (if you really need to hear the ring in case of emergency, just switch all notification alarms off instead)
- Know what distracts you specifically (we’re all different) and make sure it’s gone. Don’t judge me(!), but I tend to start singing and dancing when music plays – which is a HUGE distraction – so I tend to stick to audiobooks and podcasts instead. Know yourself!
#16 – Know Your Style
Sometimes when decluttering is hard it’s because we really don’t know whether something should be kept or gotten rid of.
We start to second guess ourselves a little too much. Things then start to accumulate in the ‘maybe’ pile (why I never recommend having this!), and it all starts feeling too hard.
One way of taking the guesswork OUT of the situation is to know your style.
By this, I mean that if you take some time up front to REALLY know what you like – then you don’t have to guess as much – because you know what will work for the goal you want.
For example: If you visualise your decluttered home being very neutral and relaxing in colour and tone – you can much more easily see that that red cushion you love (but are torn about keeping as it’s comfy and was expensive etc…) won’t go with the style you’re after – and so it needs to go.
You can do the same not only with colours and decor style – but also with lifestyle. If you’re decluttering to make room for a new hobby, a baby, a new house etc… – then you may well have ideas for what your new lifestyle will look like. Does each item you pick up help you move towards that ideal, or away?
It’s a powerful way to make decision making a lot less emotionally draining and much more of a positive (and therefore, easier) task.
#17 – Allow Yourself To Have Memories
If you’re finding it too hard to part with some items as they’ve got special memories attached – make it easier by keeping them but get rid of them at the same time.
What I mean by this is that you may not be able to keep the actual item because of space restrictions etc… – but could you take a photo of that item and frame it, or create a memory box that you can treasure?
You don’t necessarily need to keep the whole of an item for it to still be with you and for you to feel those emotions in a positive way still.
This will really help make letting things go a lot easier.
#18 – Hire A Skip
Decluttering should produce lots of stuff you don’t want to keep any longer.
A lot of these decluttered items will be rubbish.
Trouble is – after a full day of decluttering, the last thing most of us want to do is to pack it all into the car and take it to the tip.
Enter: Hiring a skip!
When you are decluttering a lot – always consider hiring a skip so you can simply throw the unwanted items away and then it all gets picked up and taken away for you.
Yes, it costs. But it ALSO saves you a lot of time and energy – and what’s the price you’re willing to pay for that?
I know I’d rather spend that saved time relaxing in the bath…
#19 – Create Momentum
Decluttering can feel like a never ending task – so we want to make it feel easier by creating momentum as soon as possible.
You can get this by first tackling larger areas before the smaller items.
For example – if you start to decluttering your paper clutter by going through the filing cabinet – yes – it needs to be done, but it’s going to take HOURS. If you tackle the surfaces of your home office first, you’re more likely to feel like progress is being made – and that momentum will make it easier to tackle that filing later down the line.
Or what about the living room? Tackling a large bookcase may keep you bogged down for the day, whereas you could probably finish the rest of the room in a couple of hours.
Overall – tackle the spaces you can see first (what’s out and visible in a room – including anything on a flat surface or the floor) – and then start on the smaller stuff like drawers, the wardrobe, storage space, etc… one at a time at a later stage. (The other bonus of doing it this way is that you’ll feel more decluttered more quickly as well).
#20 – Don’t Let It Build Up
The last decluttering tip to make it easier is to prevent the overwhelm from setting in in the first place by stopping the clutter before it starts.
Make it a habit to donate things / throw things away straight away when you come across them, rather than waiting until you have a decluttering session.
Often it’s the thought of how much you have to do when you declutter that make it feel harder than it needs to be.
Do You Now Feel Ready (And Able) To Make Decluttering Easier?
I hope so.
It really shouldn’t be hard for you to do something that has so many benefits – although it can be truly overwhelming at times just given the nature of what needs to be done.
Just remember a few of these ideas the next time you’re looking at continuing on your decluttering journey, and you’ll make a hard job so much more easy on yourself.
The whole decluttering process will feel easier, and as a result you’ll probably do it more quickly so you’ll get those brilliant results that bit faster.
What more could you ask for…