Many people want to declutter their environment but have a hard time knowing where to start. It’s overwhelming and causes people to freeze. However, this post will show you exactly how to start decluttering when overwhelmed so that you can create the space of your dreams!
Before I get into the details, I do want to say that I’ve been there. I’ve simply closed the door to a room so that I didn’t have to see the mess.
What changed for me was my circumstances. My husband and I downsized our home by more than half and into a studio apartment, so I had to declutter my things.
The good news is that you don’t have to move to declutter! That’s just what got the ball moving for me.
How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed
There are many ways to declutter, but there is only one simple way to start decluttering when overwhelmed.
Start with your mindset
When you take the time to imagine what your home will look like when it is decluttered, you give yourself internal motivation and a road map on getting started.
It is important to write out what isn’t working for you right now and how you want those things to change.
You may not have all of the answers right away, but the more you work at it, the easier it is to see how to get to where you want to be.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you know where to start with decluttering when overwhelmed:
1 // How did I get here?
2 // What habits created this overwhelm?
3 // What is lacking in my current routine?
4 // What new habits do I need to create?
5 // How can I create a routine that supports me and keeps my home decluttered?
6 // How much time am I willing to invest in decluttering?
Answering each of these questions honestly will help you start to feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
It is important to remember that you are your own best friend, so don’t judge your answers. You simply want to identify what got you to this place and answers for getting out of it.
Where to start decluttering when overwhelmed
Once you have your vision for how you would like your space to be once it is decluttered and an idea of what needs to change, it is time to start decluttering.
Start small and use a timer
Working through your mindset will help you gain motivation to declutter, but you may still be overwhelmed. This is why you need to start very small and see that any progress is good progress.
The best way to start is with the space that bothers you most.
Making progress in this space may seem daunting, but you can do it!
I suggest setting a timer for 30 minutes and just find a place to begin decluttering. Once the timer goes off, you simply stop and acknowledge your progress, which we will discuss further down in this post.
Do these things add value?
As you’re decluttering, ask yourself if the things you have add value to your life. There is no right or wrong answer, but this does help you think of your things differently.
How I determine value is if I use the item, find it beautiful, or if my husband finds value in it. It is important to respect how you and the people in your home value items. You don’t want to declutter things your spouse finds useful.
Related Post: 6 Tips for Living with a Non-Minimalist
What to do with decluttered items
The whole point of decluttering when overwhelmed is reduce your overwhelm, so it is important to get the items you declutter our of your home as soon as possible.
This could look like many different things, so let me share with you the options.
1 // Sell
Determine what price you need for one item to make it worth the effort. You want to take your time and effort into consideration and not just the return you’ll receive by selling the item.
For example, I don’t sell anything that would be valued under $20. I live in the country and have to drive to sell anything, so the it takes to actually sell an item is pretty high.
If you live in the city and can do front porch selling, you may set the value much lower.
Remember to take into account the different people you’ll have to talk with, too. That can take just as much, if not more time than actually selling the item does.
2 // Donate
If you don’t want to worry with selling or have items worth less than your minimum, donating is a great option! This allows other people to get use out of the things you don’t need.
I personally choose to donate to Salvation Army, because they work with many local organizations and are a non-profit. I also donate to our local homeless shelter and library.
If your only option is a for-profit donation center, that is still better than throwing good things in the trash.
3 // Reuse or Recycle
Have something that could serve you better in a different way? It’s okay to reuse these items.
For example, old t-shirts make great cleaning or shop rags.
Don’t have another purpose for it? See if you can recycle it. I use Earth911.com to see what and where I can recycle things.
4 // Toss
Can’t sell, donate, reuse/recycle? Then you may have to toss it. However, by going through the other options, your trash pile will be significantly less!
Celebrate your progress
The most important thing to do during the decluttering process is to celebrate any and every achievement!
The more you celebrate your achievements, the easier it will be to continue decluttering when overwhelmed.
As you continue, the overwhelm will decrease and you’ll see that you’re closer to having an environment that helps you thrive.
Celebrating brings awareness to what you’re capable of and who you no longer want to be.
The perfect person to use as an example is Mrs. Heart on YouTube. Watching her journey to healing her hoarding disorder is so inspiring and shows you how celebrating the small achievements can make a big difference!
It really is this simple to start decluttering when overwhelmed. You don’t need any more instructions than this to get started.
All you need to do is get started.
Once the overwhelm has decreased and you feel like you need more direction, I do have three things you can do.
1 // Get exclusive access to my Resource Library where I have checklists and other fun things to help you declutter.
2 // Check out my other decluttering posts that dive deep into specific areas of your home.