Trying to work out where to start decluttering can feel like a bit of a nightmare to begin with. All you can see around you is a bunch of mess and no space to really put anything.
I understand you, I’ve been there MANY times before.
To begin with, you really need to understand what decluttering is. Little did I realize that I had been decluttering the wrong way for many years.
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What decluttering is not
Decluttering is not just simply tidying up and finding a home for things so that your home looks nice and neat to the odd visitor.
Learning to declutter your home properly is so much more than this.
Bear in mind that decluttering can mean slightly different things to different people.
Decluttering means to get rid of things that are no longer of value to you anymore.
This does not mean monetary value but personal value.
That old record player that you no longer use and will probably never use again that you have to dust every week could probably go.
What is decluttering?
Decluttering means to get rid of things that are no longer necessary and are taking up space.
This could be in your living room, bathroom, kitchen, garage or any other room within your home.
It takes real guts to declutter because it means leaving behind things that you have become attached to.
If you have a hoarding personality (which many us do) this could be even harder for you.
Where to start with decluttering
The biggest hurdle you are going to face when it comes to decluttering is knowing where to start and to be fair there is no easy answer to this.
You just have to start at the beginning.
Your best bet though is to tackle one room at a time so that it doesn’t become too overwhelming for you. I’ve tried starting the whole house at once, let’s just say there were a whole lot of tears during the process…all from me.
I don’t recommend you start this way!
Here are 10 tips (in no particular order) to get you started with decluttering your home
1. Pick one room to start in
Pick any room and go for it. I like to test the waters a little bit so generally speaking, I would start with the smallest room in the house and then work my way up.
The bathroom usually tends to be the smallest room so start there and get rid of any rubbish that you find.
Believe me, you can find a whole lot of rubbish in a tiny bathroom.
If you have an item in your cupboard and you haven’t used it in a year. Get rid of it, you will probably never use it or it will be expired.
Give it away, sell it or whatever you need to do. Just don’t leave it in that cupboard for another year.
2. Grab trash bags, boxes and any other tools you’ll need
Make sure you have as much as you need close by to stop you having to run up and down the stairs looking for various things.
This is a sure fire way to get tired quickly and end up putting your feet up having accomplished nothing at all.
Have 3 sperate piles, one for keep, give away and one for rubbish.
3. Visualize the space that you want
Before you even do anything, think about the space, think about what you want that finished space to look like.
You can even take down some notes or do drawings. If doing these little things helps to inspire you, go for it.
Personally, I like to look at magazines and things on the internet of how I want my space to look and it helps to keep me motivated when I feel like quitting.
Doing this will also help you to work out what you would like to keep and what you need to get rid of.
4. Take a big deep breath
A big deep breath is definitely called for here because you are about to embark on a massive overall.
Breathing is not just to help with labor pains, it also helps with decluttering pains too!
5. Know that it will get really messy before it gets tidy
This is something that I realized some years ago.
When it comes to tidying up, it always gets really really messy before it gets tidy.
It’s just how things work.
As you start to declutter you will notice the area you are working in look even worse than when you first started. This is completely normal.
Just keep going it gets better, a LOT BETTER!
6. Remember the reason why you started
Remembering the reason why you wanted to declutter is so important in this process.
Without your why it’s easy to give up.
You’re why will take you through those moments of tears and frustration so hold on to your reasoning.
7. What to do when you feel overwhelmed by decluttering
Ideally, everyone would love to declutter their home. There is a sense of achievement when it comes to living in a minimalistic environment and finally being able to get rid of stuff that you no longer need.
Everything just feels lighter, you can finally think clearly again away from all the clutter you have been holding onto for so many years.
If you are feeling truly overwhelmed by decluttering then take a break.
Usually, when I feel overwhelmed by anything in my life it is usually because I need to take a break and do something else for a few moments.
It’s ok to take a break and give yourself a chance to clear your head. In fact, it’s healthy to do this.
8. Set aside time to get it done
This is so important, do you remember the saying Rome was not built in a day? Well, neither was the clutter in your home.
Give yourself time to get it done. This might mean scheduling out a time in the day where you focus on decluttering and nothing else.
Part of knowing where to start decluttering is also about getting the right time to start decluttering.
Set aside some time for your project rather than simply catching a minute here and there. If you have a time frame to get things done it will give you a lot more structure and take off the pressure.
This is even truer if you have children running around the house too.
9. Have a plan at the ready
If you fail to plan…you plan to fail.
Have a plan that you know you will stick to through the process.
You can decide on a step by step order if you are the type of person that works better with checklists.
Having a checklist will help you to keep track and let you know when you have reached or are about to reach your goal.
I love checklists, there’s nothing better than being able to finally cross something off.
Write down things like the order you wish to tackle your clutter, how many rooms or areas you would like to complete each week, the manner in which you want to sell valuable items and where you will donate the rest.
This proactive step can go a long way towards making it all seem more manageable.
10. Don’t be afraid to be harsh
One of the most difficult things about decluttering is getting rid of the sentimental items in your home.
I understand, I’ve been there too. It took me ages to get rid of my sons baby rattle even though he is now 10 years old.
It was passed down to all my other children and held so many memories for me but in the long run, I had to admit that it was a bit of a pain.
I never really knew where to put it, and found that I was always moving it from place to place.
In the long run, I realized that it would be better served in a family that would actually use it so I gave it away.
I’m sure we all have stories like this of things that we hold dear to us but sometimes it pays to be a little bit harsh and give it away or throw it away especially if you don’t have the storage space for it.
Final thoughts on where to get started with decluttering
There will be times where things seem overwhelming but start with baby steps and work your way up.
The hardest part of decluttering is actually starting.
I said it before and I’ll say it again, a checklist is going to be your best friend in this process.
Just start and before you know it, it will be done and I can assure you you will never want to build up clutter like that again.
You will only need to maintain what you have already done.
You got this!