How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed (Practical Advices)

Overwhelmed by the mess in your house? Don’t be! Decluttering and organizing is not that daunting.

Read this article to learn how to take control of your home. Ready? Let’s go! Start decluttering now.

Key Takeaway:

  • Overcoming clutter overwhelm requires taking action: Just get started, even if it’s a small task, to overcome procrastination and build momentum.
  • Tackling clutter in manageable chunks and creating a habit of decluttering regularly is key to maintaining a clutter-free space.
  • To make the process easier, create a plan, break the task down into smaller projects, and choose the right room to declutter first to make the most impact. Remember to set time limits for each task to avoid burnout and prioritize clearing obvious rubbish first to clear the way for progress.

How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed (Practical Advices)Pin

Feeling Overwhelmed by Clutter?

Here’s How to Start Decluttering the Easy Way. Start by understanding that decluttering is a process that takes time, motivation, and decision making.

Don’t procrastinate – negative emotions will only make the task more daunting.

Create a plan, focus on the end results, and take it one project at a time – starting small by decluttering a drawer or shelf.

Consider an amnesty for all rubbish or items to donate.

Create a calm atmosphere with perfect decisions and positive rewards. Music, comfy clothes, snacks, and exercise can make the physical work more enjoyable.

Take the decluttering quiz to identify which tactics and tips will work best for you and reap the benefits of a stress-free and clutter-free home.

1. Just Get Started: Overcoming Procrastination

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To begin decluttering, it is vital to overcome the tendency to procrastinate. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment or feeling overwhelmed, start with a small task, like clearing a single surface or drawer, and build momentum from there.

Consistency is key, so commit to spending a set amount of time each day or week on decluttering. It can be helpful to break larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks that can be completed in shorter periods to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

One unique approach is to change one’s mindset towards possessions. Rather than focusing on the sentimental value or potential use of items, consider their actual daily value and impact on the space and experience. This shift can make the process less emotionally taxing.

According to Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a psychology professor at DePaul University, 20% of Americans identify as chronic procrastinators, making it a common obstacle in the decluttering process.

By taking small steps, committing to consistent effort, and resetting one’s mindset, the process of decluttering can feel more manageable and rewarding.

2. Start Small: Tackling Clutter in Manageable Chunks

Starting the decluttering process can be daunting, especially when there seems to be an overwhelming amount of clutter in one’s environment. The key is to break it down into manageable chunks. Beginning with smaller tasks can create a sense of accomplishment, motivating individuals to continue the process.

Here is a step-by-step guide for tackling clutter in manageable chunks:

  1. Identify a specific area or category of items to declutter, such as a small drawer or a pile of paper.
  2. Set a challenging but achievable goal for that area, such as removing 10 items or organizing all papers by type.
  3. Devote a specific amount of time, whether it be 15 minutes or an hour, to work on the task at hand.
  4. Once the goal is met, take a break before moving on to the next area or category.

It is important to note that decluttering is a process and not something that can be completed in one sitting. Breaking it down into smaller tasks can help make it feel less overwhelming.

When decluttering, it can be easy to get bogged down in sentimental items or items with potential future use. A helpful tip is to ask oneself if the item improves their current life or if it serves an immediate purpose. If not, it may be time to let go of it.

Finally, establishing a regular decluttering habit can prevent the accumulation of future clutter. Designating a specific time each week or month to tidy up and eliminate excess can keep one’s room and mind clear.

3. Creating a Habit: Making Decluttering a Regular Practice

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Begin making decluttering a regular habit in just three simple steps. First, establish a designated decluttering day and time each week. Then, set clear goals and manageable tasks for your decluttering session. Finally, hold yourself accountable to your decluttering routine by setting reminders or enlisting a decluttering buddy.

In addition to these steps, consider the types of items that tend to accumulate in your space and create a plan for regularly addressing them. This may include creating a system for dealing with incoming mail or purging old paperwork on a monthly basis.

To keep your decluttering routine sustainable and effective, it can be helpful to incorporate mindfulness practices. Take a few deep breaths before beginning your decluttering session and focus on the present moment. Additionally, reward yourself for your decluttering efforts to help build positive associations with the habit.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a regular decluttering practice that will help keep your space organized and clutter-free.

4. Creating a Plan: Knowing Where to Begin and What to Do

To start decluttering when overwhelmed, the first step is to create a clear plan. Determine what you aim to achieve by decluttering and what steps you need to take to achieve your goals.

Here is a 5-step guide to creating a clear plan for decluttering when overwhelmed:

  1. Assess the situation: Evaluate the current state of the clutter and determine the reasons for it. Identify the root cause of the problem and differentiate what to keep, donate, or throw away.
  2. Prioritize: Prioritize your tasks by creating a list of critical and less critical items, an order of what to be done first.
  3. Allocate time: Allocate time to your decluttering tasks, list the allotted time to decluttering and follow your plan.
  4. Utilize tools: Use tools such as storage containers, baskets, and labels to keep items categorized and organized in a way that suits you.
  5. Break down tasks: Break down a bigger task into smaller, more manageable tasks.

To create a decluttering plan, these steps will help establish a strategy that results in less overwhelming clutter. Additionally, you can make use of apps that help automate the decluttering process.

As an example, Amanda was once in a similar situation where she was overwhelmed with clutter. She started by planning and creating small yet manageable tasks. She allocated time to these tasks and broke them down into smaller objectives, and her strategy proved effective in achieving her decluttering goals.

5. Focus Yourself: Breaking Down the Task into Smaller Projects

When feeling overwhelmed by clutter, it can be helpful to break down the task into smaller, manageable projects. By organizing your tasks into smaller chunks, you can focus on one thing at a time, and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

  1. Assess the situation – Take a step back and evaluate the area that needs to be decluttered.
  2. Create a plan – Plan out a clear strategy of what needs to be done in each segment of the project.
  3. Start with the easiest – Begin with the smallest, easiest task, to build momentum and avoid feeling discouraged.
  4. Set achievable goals – Break each segment down further, into smaller, achievable goals.
  5. Celebrate success – After each small accomplishment, take the time to celebrate your progress and stay motivated.

As you break down the larger project into smaller, manageable tasks, prioritize your tasks. Tackle the most important and time-sensitive tasks first to avoid procrastination and pressure.

According to a study by the UCLA Center on Everyday Lives and Families, the average American home has over 300,000 items. (

6. Start in the Place that Will Make the Most Difference: Choosing the Right Room to Declutter

To effectively declutter when overwhelmed, selecting the room that will serve as the foundation for a positive impact is important. This will create a sense of accomplishment and momentum to continue with the rest of the spaces. Here are five practical steps to consider:

  1. Categorize rooms based on functionality
  2. Assess the amount of time available
  3. Evaluate the emotional weight of each room
  4. Utilize the 80/20 rule, starting with the high-impact rooms
  5. Identify the room that will be the easiest to declutter

Beyond the selection process, understanding the unique details of each room’s function and importance to daily life can aid in the decluttering process. It is important to note that selecting the “right” room is subjective and will differ for each individual’s priorities and goals.

Prioritizing the selection of a room for decluttering can lead to significant life-changing outcomes. One success story is that of Marie Kondo, whose method of sparking joy through decluttering has inspired millions worldwide. Kondo’s KonMari method offers a practical approach to decluttering that emphasizes intentional living and mindfulness towards the possessions we keep.

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7. Keep It Short and Sweet: Setting Time Limits for Each Task

Setting Time Limits: Efficiently Tackling Clutter

With a plethora of tasks to handle while decluttering, setting time limits for each task is a great way to breeze through them quickly. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Categorize your tasks: Sort the tasks into distinct categories, such as paperwork, clothing, books, and so on.
  2. Allocate time limits per category: Assign reasonable time limits for each category of task, depending upon their complexity.
  3. Set up a timer: Start the timer, and attempt the tasks in each category within the allotted time.

For instance, set aside 10-15 minutes for paperwork or 20-30 minutes for sorting clothing. This approach promotes efficient decluttering while keeping you from becoming overwhelmed.

While allocating time, it’s crucial to bear in mind that, tasks must not extend or exceed the time assigned. It’s critical to possess self-discipline.

To illustrate, a friend of mine had plenty of clothes to declutter. She put it off for a long time, but she eventually attempted the task by using the three-step approach mentioned above. She put aside 20-30 minutes each day to discard old clothes and eventually decluttered her entire wardrobe in just one week.

8. Do a Rubbish Amnesty: Clearing the Obvious Rubbish First

Begin the decluttering process by tackling the most visible clutter in your space. Focus your efforts on the items that are obviously unnecessary and start with a ‘Clean Sweep: Eliminating The Blatant Clutter First.’ This will help create a sense of achievement which will, in turn, motivate you to tackle more difficult areas.

Here’s a 5-step guide for a ‘Clean Sweep: Eliminating The Blatant Clutter First’:

  1. Start with the areas that you can see instantly, like tabletops or the floor.
  2. Designate a specific area of your space to temporarily store the items you want to discard or donate.
  3. Work your way through your space systematically, focusing on one area at a time, and analyze each item to see if it is worth keeping, repairing or discarding.
  4. Get rid of the items that clearly have no use or are worn out beyond repair.
  5. Dispose of the items appropriately by donating, recycling or discarding.

It’s essential to remember that this process is about streamlining your space and your life. Avoid overthinking and be objective when evaluating your belongings. Doing so will help you take the first step to decluttering your life and creating a less stressful environment to live and work in.

Don’t let the fear of missing out on material possessions or the opportunity to make a positive change hold you back. Take the first step by performing a ‘Clean Sweep: Eliminating The Blatant Clutter First.’ The reward at the end of it all is an organized and calmer space that will help bring perspective and clarity back into your life.

9. Create a Calm Place: Making Your Bedroom a Clutter-Free Space

In order to transform your cluttered bedroom into a peaceful sanctuary, it is important to create a calm space that promotes relaxation. Here are some tips to help you make your bedroom a clutter-free zone:

  • Start by decluttering your bedroom by eliminating any items that you no longer need or use.
  • Organize your closet and drawers by sorting your clothes by season, color, or style and storing them in labeled containers.
  • Create an intimate ambiance by using soft lighting, adding plants or flowers, and incorporating calming colors, such as blues or greens.
  • Maximize your space by utilizing storage solutions, such as under-bed storage containers or a storage bench.

To maintain a tranquil and orderly bedroom, make sure to regularly clean and reorganize your space. Additionally, avoid storing items that do not belong in your bedroom, such as work materials or electronics.

Lastly, a pro tip to consider is investing in multi-functional furniture, such as a bed with built-in storage or a nightstand with drawers, to maximize your space even further. By creating a calm and serene ambiance in your bedroom, you can promote better sleep and reduce stress in your daily life.

10. Don’t Worry about Perfection: Accepting Progress over Perfection

Striving for Progress Rather Than Perfection: Overcoming Overwhelming Moments

When beginning the process of decluttering your living space, it’s important to be mindful of your mindset. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the thought of striving for a perfectly organized environment. Instead, focus on achieving progress rather than perfection. This mindset allows for a more realistic approach in decluttering.

Embrace each small step of progress made towards your ultimate goal and recognize that each step brings you closer to a well-organized living space. Do not become bogged down with the thought of perfection. It’s important to remember that decluttering is a journey rather than a destination.

It’s important to recognize that each individual has their own pace in decluttering their home and it’s okay to pace yourself. Celebrate the small victories along the way to make the whole journey more enjoyable. By celebrating each accomplishment, you are able to build momentum and keep pushing forward towards your end goal.

Remember, decluttering your living space is ultimately about making your home a place of comfort and peace for yourself and your loved ones. Embrace progress, rather than a desire for perfection, and watch your home transform into a space you love to be in.

11. Stop Second-Guessing Yourself: Trusting Your Own Decisions

Trusting Yourself: Overcoming Doubt and Making Decisions

It’s easy to doubt our decisions, especially when decluttering our space feels overwhelming. But learning to trust ourselves is key. Start by identifying what you truly value and what you want your space to feel like. Then, take small steps towards that vision. As you make decisions, remind yourself of what matters most to you. With practice, you’ll reduce doubt and feel more confident in your choices.

Additionally, remember that each item has a purpose in your life but not necessarily in your space. Analyze whether it aligns with your vision for your space and your values. And don’t forget to give yourself permission to let go of things that no longer serve you.

Pro Tip: When in doubt, ask yourself, “Does this item bring value to my life?” If the answer is no, it may be time to let go. Trusting yourself takes time, but with practice, you’ll develop the confidence to make decisions that align with your vision and values.

12. Don’t Force It: Finding Motivation and Inspiration to Declutter

Starting the Decluttering Process: Finding the Drive to Simplify

To begin decluttering when overwhelmed, one must find the motivation and inspiration to simplify their space. This task can be daunting, but it can be made simpler by focusing on the benefits of having a clean, organized living space. Surrounding oneself with fewer possessions can reduce stress and increase productivity.

One way to find the inspiration to declutter is by setting achievable goals. Start small by decluttering one area at a time, such as a closet or a desk. Seeing the progress in small steps can motivate one to continue the decluttering process.

Another useful technique is to envision a clutter-free living space. Visualizing a serene environment can provide the impetus to get started and stay focused on the end goal.

Lastly, turning to minimalist influencers and decluttering experts such as Marie Kondo and Joshua Becker ( can offer a wealth of ideas and inspiration on how to declutter and simplify one’s life.

According to a report by Psychology Today, “Studies have shown that clutter can negatively impact mental well-being, particularly among women, and that decluttering can have a positive effect on mood and stress levels.” So, finding motivation to start the decluttering process can not only simplify one’s living space but also positively impact their mental health.

13. Realize That This Is a Positive Thing: Seeing Decluttering as Self-Help

Decluttering can be seen as self-help, which has a positive impact on one’s emotional and mental wellbeing. By simplifying their surroundings, individuals can reduce stress levels and improve their productivity. Seeing decluttering in this light can help motivate and inspire individuals to start the process.

It is important to realize that the act of decluttering is not just about cleaning out material possessions. Instead, it is an opportunity to examine one’s life and regain control. By focusing on what is truly important, individuals can cultivate a sense of clarity and purpose, which can lead to an overall sense of happiness and fulfillment.

One key detail to consider is that decluttering is an ongoing process, and it is important to take small steps rather than trying to tackle everything at once. By breaking the task down into manageable chunks, individuals can avoid becoming overwhelmed and discouraged.

To start, individuals can begin by decluttering one room at a time, starting with the most frequently used spaces. It can be helpful to start with items that are easy to part with, such as old magazines or clothes that no longer fit. Breaking down the process can make it seem less daunting and allow individuals to build momentum.

Another suggestion is to use the “one in, one out” rule. For every new item that enters the home, another item must be donated or discarded. This can help prevent clutter from accumulating in the future.

In summary, decluttering can be seen as a form of self-help that has a positive impact on emotional and mental wellbeing. By breaking the process down into manageable chunks and adopting the “one in, one out” rule, individuals can simplify their lives and achieve a greater sense of clarity and purpose.

14. Make It a Nice Experience: Adding Comfort and Pleasantness to the Decluttering Process

Decluttering can be a daunting task, but making it a comfortable and pleasant experience can help. Creating a soothing environment with calming scents and soft music can reduce stress. Choosing comfortable clothing and taking frequent breaks can improve the experience.

Additionally, arranging the items in an aesthetically pleasing manner can make the process enjoyable. Emphasizing the calming and pleasurable aspects of the process can help you stay focused and motivated.

To bring comfort and pleasantness to the decluttering process, it is essential to create a soothing environment. Lighting candles or using essential oils enhance the overall ambiance. Playing soft music can also be helpful. Additionally, dressing in comfortable clothing and wearing slippers or socks can keep you relaxed and comfortable throughout the process. It is wise to take frequent breaks to prevent exhaustion and frustration.

Lastly, arranging the items in an aesthetically pleasing manner can make decluttering an enjoyable process. Rather than simply discarding items, considering creative ways to organize and display them can create a sense of accomplishment. It can lead to a more organized and visually pleasing space.

Five Facts About How To Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed:

  • ✅ Start small and work your way up to bigger projects to avoid feeling overwhelmed. (Source: Good Housekeeping)
  • ✅ Break decluttering tasks into manageable chunks and schedule specific times to work on them. (Source: Real Simple)
  • ✅ Use the 80/20 rule and focus on decluttering items you use 20% of the time or less. (Source: Becoming Minimalist)
  • ✅ Consider the sentimental value of items before deciding whether to keep or donate them. (Source: The Spruce)
  • ✅ Get rid of duplicates, broken items, and anything that no longer serves a purpose in your life. (Source: Apartment Therapy)

FAQs about How To Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed

1. How can I start decluttering when I’m feeling overwhelmed?

Starting small can be the key to overcoming overwhelm when decluttering. Begin by selecting just one area to tackle, such as a single drawer or shelf. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes and focus only on that area until your timer goes off. Then take a break and repeat the process in another area.

2. What should I do with the items I no longer need?

You can sell, donate, or give away items that are in good condition. Items that are broken or otherwise useless should be recycled or thrown away responsibly. Sorting your items into these categories as you declutter can help you stay organized and on-task.

3. How can I motivate myself to continue decluttering when progress feels slow?

The key to staying motivated is focusing on the progress you’ve made rather than how much work you still have left to do. Remind yourself of the benefits of decluttering, such as a more organized living space and reduced stress. Set small goals for yourself and reward yourself when you achieve them.

4. What can I do if I don’t have the time to declutter all at once?

Break the process down into smaller chunks that can be completed in short bursts of time. This can be as simple as decluttering for 15-20 minutes each day or setting aside time on the weekends to focus on decluttering. Consistency is key, even if you can only spare a few minutes each day.

5. How can I prevent clutter from building up again in the future?

Creating a system for organization can help prevent clutter build-up in the future. This can include creating designated storage areas for items, regularly purging items you no longer need, and being mindful of what you bring into your home. Adopting a minimalist mindset can also help you keep clutter under control.

6. Where can I find support and guidance as I declutter?

There are many resources available to help you as you declutter, including books, podcasts, and online forums. A professional organizer can also provide support and guidance tailored to your unique needs. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you feel overwhelmed or unsure of where to start.