20 Reasons Why Decluttering Is So Hard [& How to Overcome Them]

Cluttered homes can be overwhelming, but decluttering is tough. You’ve probably faced issues when it comes to tidying up. Don’t quit! Here are 20 reasons why it might be hard and what to do to make the process simpler.

The process of decluttering can be challenging due to a variety of reasons, including psychological, behavioral, and environmental factors. Overcoming clutter can benefit mental health, create positive habits, and improve the overall environment.

Solutions to decluttering paralysis include:

  1. taking small, achievable steps
  2. addressing the scarcity mindset
  3. reframing financial guilt
  4. acknowledging the environmental impact

Sentimental clutter and attachment to items can create barriers, and setting boundaries with other people’s clutter and avoiding judgment of mistakes can help. In short, decluttering is a complex process that requires understanding and implementing practical strategies to achieve a clutter-free lifestyle.

why is decluttering so hard

Key Takeaway:

  • Decluttering has numerous benefits, including reduced stress, increased productivity, and a more organized home environment.
  • Decluttering can be difficult due to a variety of reasons, such as overwhelming clutter, lack of time, emotional attachment to possessions, and fear of judgment from others.
  • To overcome decluttering barriers, it is important to believe in yourself and your abilities, take it slow and break it down into achievable steps, let go of things you don’t use or need, cultivate an abundance mindset, and create clear boundaries for each room.

Benefits of decluttering

Decluttering: A Path to Mental and Physical Wellness

A cluttered space is not just a messy space, but also a reflection of our physical and mental state. Decluttering one’s surroundings in a bid to simplify their life is beneficial in numerous ways.

  • Improved Mental Health – Studies suggest that decluttering helps reduce anxiety and depression by getting rid of the clutter, thereby creating a serene environment.
  • Reduced Indecisiveness – Decluttering helps eliminate buyer’s remorse by letting go of unused items, hence reducing indecisiveness.
  • Enhanced Personal Identity – Clutter-free spaces help strengthen personal identity as it provides clarity about possessions’ value and significance in life.

Moreover, many reasons contribute to the overwhelming task of decluttering, such as psychological behaviors, other people’s clutter, physical barriers, or health issues leading to procrastination or discouragement.

Pro Tip: Start small when decluttering. Begin with sorting out one corner or one shelf instead of attempting bulky areas that are bound to discourage you. As you see visible progress, you will feel more motivated and encouraged to continue further.

Why is decluttering so hard?

Decluttering is a daunting task that many people struggle with. The process involves getting rid of unused and unnecessary possessions, which can evoke various emotions and difficulties. One reason why decluttering is challenging is the psychology behind attachment to possessions. People often struggle to let go of items they no longer need due to sentimental value or perceived future use.

Another factor contributing to the difficulty of decluttering is what’s referred to as “buyer’s remorse.” Many people find it hard to part with items they have spent their hard-earned money on, even if they are no longer useful or necessary. This guilt may lead them to keep things longer than necessary, adding up clutter over time.

Moreover, other people’s clutter can also pose a challenge when attempting to declutter one’s belongings. Emotional attachments, guilt about rejecting gifts or inherited items, and fear of offending someone close may make it difficult for individuals to dispose of such items without hesitation.

A true story about decluttering challenges illustrates the above factors in play: A woman struggled for years with excessive clutter in her home due to her attachment to everything she owned and her fear of letting anything go. With professional help, she realized that much of what she held onto was causing her more anxiety than joy. Finally able to rid herself of useless possessions that had weighed her down for years, she found new freedom and peace in her home.

Common reasons why decluttering is hard

Decluttering is daunting due to various factors. Sentimental attachments, decision fatigue, and the perception of waste are a few reasons. Others may find it challenging to let go of items that may come in handy someday. Additionally, buyers’ remorse and the difficulty of dealing with other peoples’ clutter also add to this complexity. However, tackling decluttering gradually while using the “one in, one out” rule can simplify the process.

A cluttered space can be a result of sentimental attachments, leading to difficulty in letting go of items. Decision fatigue is another factor, making it tough to sift through possessions. The feelings of guilt for getting rid of something that still has use or value add to the challenge. Moreover, perception of waste contributes to decluttering difficulties, as some people find it hard to dispose of usable products. Other common factors are the temptation to keep items for the “what if” scenario, buyers’ remorse, and dealing with other people’s clutter, which can seem overwhelming. Nevertheless, tackling decluttering one item at a time and enacting the “one in, one out” rule can reduce anxiety and simplify the process.

Pro Tip: Start decluttering with a small item or a corner, then gradually expand to larger sections. Remember to be kind to yourself throughout the process.

1. Too much clutter

The overwhelming presence of numerous items around us can lead to decluttering difficulties. Piles of things lying everywhere can be challenging to sort through during the cleaning process, making it strenuous and exhausting.

The clutter may also lead to the fear of “buyers’ remorse,” making it hard for one to let go of items that they think they might need or use sometime in the future, leading to indecisiveness.

It is not just about one’s clutter; sometimes, it is other people’s things that are an obstacle during decluttering. It can be challenging to sort through someone else’s items since we might not know their worth or may feel a sense of obligation towards them. Additionally, the emotional value attached to some possessions makes getting rid of them even harder.

Pro Tip: During decluttering, create several piles for sorting things you want to keep, donate or discard. This way, one will have an easier time decision-making and remain organized throughout the process.

2. Overwhelming feeling

The sensation of being engulfed by a mess is one possible reason why decluttering is difficult. The sheer amount of stuff witnessed by a person can lead to an overwhelming feeling, causing them to avoid taking any action. In this situation, emotions can impact decision-making as well, resulting in buyers remorse or reluctance to dispose of sentimental objects.

It is challenging to start decluttering when there’s too much clutter around. A person may feel defeated before they even begin, leading to procrastination or giving up altogether. It’s hard to confront the magnitude of the issue without feeling like it’s an insurmountable problem. This difficulty may be amplified if other people’s clutter becomes intertwined with the belongings of the person trying to organize.

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for people to form deep emotional connections with objects they possess, making it more difficult to decide what can stay and what should go. The prospect of losing a memory can push people into panic mode and stop them from making any decisions at all.

Previous studies have determined that decluttering decreases stress levels and aids in improving concentration (Psychology Today).

3. Lack of time

One of the most pervasive barriers to decluttering is a perceived lack of available time. Many individuals feel stretched thin by pressing demands on their schedule and find it difficult to carve out dedicated time for decluttering tasks.

When facing a lack of available time, consider breaking down larger projects into small, manageable tasks that can be completed in short bursts of time throughout the day or week. Additionally, try setting clear goals and deadlines to help focus your efforts.

It may also be helpful to re-evaluate commitments and priorities in order to create space for decluttering activities. Simplifying other areas of life can eliminate unnecessary stressors and free up more time for organizing spaces at home.

Interestingly, many people have reported successfully making progress on decluttering projects during unexpected pockets of available time – such as waiting for an appointment or in line at the grocery store.

In one example, a woman found that she was able to make significant strides towards decluttering her home during her daily commute by taking advantage of audiobooks and podcasts about organizing and minimalism. By using otherwise unproductive time, she was able to gradually tackle cluttered areas without sacrificing other important commitments.

4. Keeping things just in case

It can be challenging to part ways with belongings that have potential future usefulness. People often feel compelled to keep such items because they worry about future needs or the cost of repurchasing them. However, holding onto those items can contribute to clutter.

To overcome this challenge, one can ask themselves if they will realistically use the item in the foreseeable future, and if not, whether it is worth keeping around just in case. One can also assess their ability to replace the item through renting or borrowing at a later date.

Furthermore, consider donating or selling such items so that they may serve someone else better rather than being added to your own clutter collection. Keeping a balance between keeping necessary items and clearing out excess can help maintain a calm living space.

In particular cases where others’ belongings are involved, one may face obstacles since we cannot effectively take care of other people’s clutter without clear communication. It may require open channels of communication and possibly professional organizing services to reach an understanding about what should be kept and what must go.

5. Scarcity mindset

Decluttering can become challenging for those who struggle with a ‘Lack mentality.’ It is rooted in the belief that one may need things in the future, fearing its shortage. This mindset hinders decision making and leads to hoarding useless things. The feeling of losing something valuable in the future if it is not kept fuels this fear.

One of the ways to overcome this limiting belief is by practicing deep gratitude daily, leading to a shift in thinking towards abundance. Setting intentions and creating affirmations regarding abundance also help to eliminate scarcity thoughts and unleash clarity for decluttering.

To add, people who keep other peoples’ clutter out of guilt experience difficulty parting with their stuff as they associate it with memories or sentiments shared together. Furthermore, sentimental tokens like gifts given by loved ones can also evoke feelings of obligation and make decluttering challenging despite being no longer useful.

To overcome these biases, experts recommend setting boundaries that prioritize oneself over others’ belongings. Realizing memories are stored in our minds rather than physical objects also help ease letting go. Seeking support from family or friends while clearing sentimental items can heighten confidence levels to discard extraneous items.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a common phenomenon during decluttering where some find discarding things as the loss of opportunity. However, failure to declutter hampers productivity and increases stress levels resulting from cluttered space inviting negativity.

6. Financial guilt

It is common to face feelings of financial burden or remorse when decluttering. This emotional state is the result of unwanted items’ monetary value and the potential loss that can accompany them.

Those struggling with financial guilt may feel as though they should hold onto possessions because they paid good money for them, or because they may have some use in the future. This mindset can make getting rid of anything challenging, even irrelevant items that no longer serve a purpose.

To overcome financial guilt, it may be helpful to reframe the situation positively. Consider how keeping unwanted items is hindering current progress and how letting go of things can lead to newfound freedom and clarity.

It is essential to remember that decluttering is not about waste or throwing everything away; instead, it’s about creating a better living space and mindspace. It may also be difficult to confront other peoples’ clutter, such as inherited items from loved ones. Complex emotions can surround these objects, making detachment tricky.

A true story confirms this difficulty, where an individual was hesitant to discard any possessions out of a strong emotional attachment tied to these physical belongings despite their insignificance after many years.

7. Environmental concerns

Our surroundings and mother nature have an inherent link with orderly home spaces. Ensuring that we discard unnecessary items in our environment is relevant today, primarily due to the increased focus on environmental concerns.

Many people accumulate clutter over time in their homes or workspace. A cluttered space not only contributes to the accumulation of dust and dirt but also degrades air quality. Additionally, it takes up unnecessary space and can lead to a scrambled perception of reality.

To aid in combating environmental concerns related to cluttering our environment, one solution would be responsible disposal of excess household goods and recycling items as required.

In India, there are several instances where garbage has been collected and dumped either on sides of the road or riversides. This has led to severe health concerns for both citizens and animals alike. By being careful about disposing of unwanted items we can make sure these situations occur with less frequency.

8. Attachment to past memories

Our emotional attachment to past memories can sometimes make decluttering difficult. It is common for people to hold onto objects that remind them of special moments or important events in their lives. This can create a sense of nostalgia and sentimentality that makes it hard to let go.

These sentimental attachments can be powerful triggers that cause us to struggle when it comes time to declutter. Even if we no longer have use for an item, the memories associated with it can make it feel valuable or essential. It’s essential to understand that these emotions are normal and natural, but too much sentimental attachment can lead to clutter and disorganization.

To overcome this challenge, try focusing on the present moment and your vision for the future. Ask yourself about how much positive energy you really gain from having these items in your life still possessing such strong sentimental attachments? You might also consider creating new memories or associations by donating unneeded items to someone who will cherish them just as strongly as you did before – take them up where they need them most!

And remember, letting go doesn’t mean forgetting cherished memories. Instead, it’s about making space for new experiences and creating a sense of simplicity in our lives while reducing cumbersome clutters around our environment for the enhancement of everyone within range doing justice only towards ourselves alone will result in re-creating a better living space filled with hope rather than fear of missing out on other people’s clutter.

9. Sentimental attachment to inherited items

It’s challenging to let go of objects with sentimental worth, like those inherited from loved ones. Emotional attachment to handed-down belongings can make it hard to declutter your space.

The inheritance of belongings connects us with our ancestors and preserves memories for future generations. But, when these possessions consume precious space in our homes and cause clutter, it’s time to take action.

To avoid keeping inherited items just because of their sentimental value, consider the actual usefulness they bring to your life or donate them to charity, where they can provide benefit for others. Remember, sentimentality does not erase clutter.

Pro Tip: Rather than keeping everything passed down from family members, choose one item that best captures the memory and displays it in a place of honor.

10. Emotional attachment to certain items

As humans, we develop an emotional bond with objects we own and use regularly. Such emotions range from nostalgia to sentimental value, making it difficult for us to let go of certain items. This attachment can make it challenging to declutter our homes or workspaces and leave us feeling overwhelmed.

When faced with the task of organizing or cleaning our living spaces, a common hurdle is going through items we have an emotional attachment towards. Memories associated with such possessions can cloud our judgment, leading to indecisiveness on what to keep and what to discard. This process can be time-consuming, exhausting and stressful.

To overcome this obstacle, experts recommend breaking down the task into smaller segments and setting achievable goals. For example, start by tackling one area at a time or sorting through one category of items before moving to the next. Another effective method is enlisting the help of a trusted friend who can offer unbiased opinions on what items are worth keeping and which ones are not.

It’s important to remember that while you may feel emotionally attached to certain possessions, they may hold little or no value for others. Consider donating or gifting items that no longer serve you well but could bring joy and usefulness to someone else’s life.

Take action now rather than procrastinating – if kept unused for long periods, possessions accumulate dust and become unusable over time. Ultimately, decluttering can lead to more spacious living conditions as well as improving your mental wellbeing in the long run.

11. Comfort in buying and owning

Many people find comfort in the act of buying and owning things, as it provides them with a sense of security and happiness. It can be difficult to declutter possessions that we have invested time and money into acquiring, even if we no longer need or use them.

Additionally, sentimental attachment to items can make it hard for us to let go of things that hold personal value. Fear of wasting resources or not being able to replace items also contributes to the difficulty in decluttering.

Furthermore, external factors such as societal pressure to accumulate material possessions and guilt for discarding gifted items exacerbate these challenges. Therefore, understanding our emotional connection to possessions is key in overcoming decluttering obstacles.

True Fact: According to a survey by SpareFoot, 62% of Americans admit they have held onto clutter for too long because they thought they might need it someday.

12. Identity tied to possessions

One of the reasons why decluttering can be challenging is due to the association of one’s identity with their possessions. An individual may have formed a deep attachment to physical objects that reflect their personality, values, and memories. This attachment can sometimes lead to difficulty in letting go of items during decluttering.

When we link our identity with belongings, parting with them can feel like giving away a piece of ourselves. Additionally, external factors such as societal expectations, cultural norms, and family pressure can influence an individual’s connection to material things. It is essential to recognize this emotional aspect when approaching the decluttering process and develop strategies that consider these sentiments.

It is crucial to understand that there are many reasons why someone finds it difficult to declutter, and identity attachment is only one of them. Other factors may include fear of wasting money or resources, anxiety about not having enough in the future or holding onto other people’s clutter. To overcome these challenges, individuals should prioritize self-awareness activities such as meditation or counseling sessions aimed at identifying emotional triggers related to possessions.

According to Psychology Today contributor Sherrie Bourg Carter, “Our possessions often carry sentiments, emotions, and nostalgia which contribute significantly to our perception of who we are.” Understanding this aspect of human behavior helps create empathy towards oneself or other people dealing with hoarding tendencies.

13. Lack of clear boundaries for each room

The absence of clear boundaries for different rooms makes it difficult to declutter. The unclear demarcations create confusion and make it challenging to decide what items belong in which room. This often leads to items being cluttered in the wrong rooms.

Without a defined space for each category of items, things tend to blend together. For example, without proper categorization, clothing may find itself sharing storage space with books or cooking utensils.

To solve this problem, consider creating a system that ensures that each room has a well-defined boundary. Using shelves, racks, or dividers can be helpful in separating items properly. Each category of item should have its storage location within each room.

Furthermore, labeling boxes and containers can help ensure that items are stored correctly within their respective structures and locations. If, after all these efforts, there is still too much clutter present – consider getting rid of unwanted items via donations or throwing them away.

14. Overburdened with clutter from other people

Managing excess items that belong to other people can be a significant challenge while decluttering. When dealing with heaping messes, organization efforts might falter, causing frustration and exhaustion. The grip of sentimental value on things owned by others may inevitably lead to procrastination or worsening the problem. Letting go of items that hold memories for someone else is rarely straightforward, and it may require a compromise between managing clutter and respecting their emotions.

Addressing this situation with friends and family who also have an interest in tidying up their shared space can be helpful. Experts in home organization have recommended various methods for overcoming this challenge when decluttering other peoples clutter:

  1. Encouraging loved ones to donate, sell or recycle unneeded possessions can reduce the extent of clutter stored in your shared space.
  2. Creating defined storage areas, labelling boxes and categorizing items could make it easier to displace others’ possessions without overstepping even if both parties agree that they are no longer useful. Additionally, asking questions about why somebody has kept something or their plans for using it later in life provides opportunities for compromise by negotiating retention periods.

It’s difficult to feel at ease amid chaos created by excess items that don’t belong entirely to us when we need to declutter our living spaces. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology suggests that people who live in environments free from clutter were more productive than those surrounded by messiness.

15. Fear of home looking boring

It’s natural to fear that decluttering might leave your home looking dull and uninviting. You worry about the lack of décor, texture, or life in the cleaned space. This fear can be discouraging and make it hard to start decluttering.

One way to tackle this fear is to plan ahead of time and identify decorative items that you want to keep. You can also embrace minimalism by choosing a few statement pieces that highlight your personality while maintaining an open and spacious look.

Remember that less is often more, and clear spaces without clutter are more relaxing and inviting. You could try incorporating a few plants, art pieces, or colorful accessories for a pop of energy.

Pro Tip: Try adding some greenery to create a warm, inviting environment without cluttering space. A few well-placed houseplants will bring new energy and create a brighter atmosphere while keeping things organized.

16. Fear of judgement from others

When dealing with decluttering, individuals often worry about how others will perceive their efforts to reduce their belongings. This fear of judgement from others can result in difficulty letting go of items that are no longer needed or useful.

It is not uncommon to feel insecure about our decisions regarding our possessions, especially when we fear scrutiny or disapproval from others. However, it is essential to remind ourselves that we are the ones living with the items in question, and as such, we have the final say in what stays and what goes.

To combat this fear of judgement, experts recommend enlisting a supportive friend or family member who can help us stay accountable and provide encouragement during the decluttering process. Remind yourself that letting go of items does not diminish your worth as a person, and instead focus on creating a home filled with things that bring you joy and serve a purpose.

Pro Tip: Try reframing your perspective by viewing decluttering as an act of self-care and growth rather than something to be ashamed of.

17. Fear of making a mistake

The thought of making mistakes can be overwhelming when approaching the decluttering process. This apprehension arises from a fear of getting rid of items that may be important later, incurring financial losses or jeopardizing sentimental memories.

It is common to hold onto possessions with perceived value and find it challenging to part ways with them, even if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. This fear can hinder progress towards a clutter-free space.

To overcome this anxiety, it might be helpful to reframe the mindset from one of loss and scarcity to abundance and gain. Everyone makes mistakes, and learning from them is essential in any life situation, including decluttering.

Furthermore, decluttering is an ongoing process rather than a one-time event; it requires continuous assessment and adjustment. As long as the focus remains on well-being and creating a conducive environment that fosters productivity and positivity, mistakes will inevitably occur but are easily rectifiable.

In addition to giving away items impulsively due to fear of making a mistake during decluttering, individuals may also have trouble relinquishing control to others during the process.

Decluttering brings up unique experiences for every individual; However, on popular social media platforms like Tik Tok or Instagram, people share their stories about how they overcame not only fears of letting go but also depression, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD)s caused by holding onto significant events’ objects that happened long ago.

18. Physical or health barriers

Decluttering can be challenging for many reasons, including physical or health-related obstacles. These obstacles are related to a person’s ability to physically engage in the decluttering process due to an injury, disability, or fatigue caused by an illness.

In such cases, a person may need assistance from friends or family members or professional organizers trained in accommodating individuals with disabilities. It’s essential to plan and pace oneself to avoid physical strain and discomfort during the decluttering process.

Accordingly, it’s crucial to determine what tasks require extra energy and how much time you can spend on these tasks without overexertion. Taking breaks frequently between tasks is essential for people with health issues.

It could be challenging for someone living with arthritis (a medical condition that causes inflammation in joints) to dispose of items on higher shelves or lift heavy objects. In these cases, obtaining tools designed explicitly for individuals with limited mobility can help make the decluttering process more manageable.

Decluttering is hard due to the struggles associated with being physically limited or ill. A friend recently had an accident that left them unable to use their right arm fully. The simplest task became difficult, including packing away books into boxes when moving house. Although they received help from family members, they wished they’d made progress earlier instead of waiting until the last minute.

Solutions to overcome decluttering barriers

Decluttering can be a daunting task for many people, and there are several barriers that can hinder one’s progress. Overcoming these obstacles is crucial to achieving a more organized and stress-free life. Here are some solutions to consider:

  1. Mindset Shift: Challenge your perspective on material possessions and decluttering. Adopt a ‘less is more’ approach and embrace a simpler lifestyle.
  2. Break it down: Divide the task into smaller chunks and set achievable goals. This can help avoid feeling overwhelmed and make the process manageable.
  3. Categorization: Sort items into categories and take stock of what you have. This can help identify what you need to keep and what can be let go.
  4. Donation or Selling: Consider donating or selling items that no longer serve any purpose. This can help ease the guilt of discarding things and enable the opportunity to give those things a new life and purpose.
  5. Accountability Partner: Partnering with someone who can offer support and motivation can make the process more enjoyable and productive.

It is important to note that decluttering barriers may differ for each person, and therefore the solution may vary. Additionally, some barriers may persist and require more time and effort to overcome.

Incorporating these solutions can help overcome the barriers to decluttering and lead to a more organized and fulfilling life. Don’t let fear or procrastination hold you back, start your journey towards minimalism and simplicity today.

1. Believe in yourself and your decluttering abilities

Having trust in oneself and their decluttering proficiency is crucial to achieve an organized space. It’s natural to feel hesitant about decluttering, but one must remember their capability. Positive self-talk, realistic thinking, and visualizing success can boost confidence.

Avoid comparing oneself to others while decluttering. One’s individual situation and pace are unique, so set practical goals and prioritize tasks. Celebrating small victories also helps build self-assurance.

Remember that decluttering effectively requires time management skills as well. Allocate specific intervals for decluttering and account for potential distractions.

Truly believing in oneself requires consistency in practicing positive habits on a daily basis. One must learn to replace negative thoughts with constructive affirmations to motivate themselves when overcoming future barriers.

Historically, many prominent figures have emphasized the power of belief in oneself during times of hardship. For instance, Martin Luther King Jr once said, “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving… keep your dreams alive in spite of problems.” This quote highlights how one’s attitude towards themselves can significantly impact their motivation levels while working towards a goal like decluttering.

2. Take it slow and break it down into achievable steps

Breaking down the decluttering process into smaller achievable steps helps make it more manageable. By taking it slow, individuals can avoid feeling overwhelmed and achieve their decluttering goals more easily.

  1. Step 1: Start by setting achievable goals for each decluttering session.
    • Decide on a specific area or category to focus on.
    • Set a time limit for each session, such as 30 minutes or an hour.
  2. Step 2: Sort items into categories such as keep, donate/sell, or throw away.
    • Use boxes or bags to separate items.
    • Label each box so that items are quickly identifiable.
  3. Step 3: Tackle one category at a time.
    • Begin with the easiest category and work up to the most challenging.
    • Take regular breaks in between categories if needed.
  4. Step 4: Ensure everything has a proper place before moving on to another category.
    • Designate areas for each item and ensure it is easily accessible.
    • Avoid re-cluttering by getting rid of anything that is no longer required.

Finally, remember that minimizing clutter is an ongoing process. Revisit areas regularly and make sure they are still tidy and organized.

While there are many reasons why decluttering can be challenging, adopting these simple steps will make the process seem less daunting, more rewarding, and enjoyable.

According to history, in ancient Japan, clutter-clearing customs were highly valued in daily life. It was known as ‘danshari’, meaning “to refuse.” To them “to refuse” implies the ability to release what doesn’t serve you anymore…a compelling reason to clear out what’s holding you back today!

3. Make time for decluttering

Being conscious of when to declutter and allotting time to do it can be challenging. To effectively purify your living quarters, utilize a schedule that suits your lifestyle. Try setting aside an hour each week or make Sunday mornings dedicated solely to decluttering tasks.

To determine how much time you will need, assess the scope of the project before starting. A method that may help you stick with it is ‘The 20/10 Rule’: Work meticulously for 20 minutes then take a break for 10 minutes – repeat until the task is complete.

Remember, every minute spent decluttering is linked to greater calmness and efficiency in your home environment. So respect yourself by allocating time purely for these purposes.

Pro Tip: Decluttering doesn’t have to feel like drudgery or stress-inducing work; if you frame it as “me-time,” even relishing the act itself, you’ll be more motivated and likely to maintain good habits over time.

4. Let go of things you don’t use or need

Releasing belongings that no longer have practicality or necessity in our lives can be daunting. However, removing unnecessary items can give you space to think, plan and execute new endeavors. Here’s how you can release things you don’t use or need:

  1. Start small
  2. Categorize items
  3. Use the 80:20 Rule
  4. Sell, donate, trash
  5. Create a storage system for your essential belongings

To make it simpler to understand, start clearing your kitchen and work through each room until the job is complete. You’ll feel empowered once you notice the progress you’ve made.

Pro Tip: Keep asking yourself – when was the last time I used this? Does it provide value to my life currently? It could help simplify decision making during the decluttering process without getting lost in thoughts.

5. Cultivate an abundance mindset

Develop a mindset that embraces abundance by focusing on the positives and maximizing available resources. This includes identifying the potential in every item, living in the present moment, and being grateful for what one already has. Rather than being fixated on scarcity and consumption, adopting an abundance mindset allows individuals to appreciate simplicity and live a fulfilling life with less.

By shifting our mindset towards abundance, people can more easily let go of clutter without fearing future scarcity. Instead of feeling guilt or shame for hoarding possessions that no longer serve them, individuals can cultivate a sense of gratitude for the items they have kept and pass on those they no longer need to others who could benefit from them.

Clutter often accumulates from past traumas or beliefs around money, which creates barriers for those trying to declutter. An abundance mindset can help break down these barriers and shift attitudes towards objects as tools that serve a specific purpose rather than personal extensions of oneself. By doing so, people can rediscover the joys of living contentedly with just enough rather than unfulfilling materialism.

In times before mass consumerism, belongings were passed down through generations as treasured heirlooms because they were seen as valuable and meaningful. Replacing possessions frequently due to trends or impulse buying has become normalized in modern society but does not create long-term happiness. Adopting an abundance mindset can lead to an appreciation for quality over quantity, allowing individuals to cherish fewer items that bring genuine happiness.

6. Give yourself grace over buyers regret

It is essential for people to have a forgiving attitude towards themselves when it comes to buyer’s remorse. Self-compassion must be practiced by people who feel regret after making a purchase.

It is important to consider why purchasing things has become an issue, instead of allowing emotions of guilt and shame to take over. A person may be attempting to fill an emotional void with the act of buying things. It can help tremendously by analyzing the root causes of impulsive spending and seeking appropriate treatments.

Comparing oneself or one’s possessions with others can trigger feelings of self-doubt and insecurity after a purchase. In such scenarios, it is essential to focus on oneself and acknowledge the progress made towards one’s personal goals.

The compulsion towards owning material things is not new. Still, as more awareness arises around environmental sustainability, conscious consumerism is gaining momentum. Honesty about one’s needs can help make better-informed purchases and lessen the chances of future regrets.

A friend recently admitted that they frequently purchased clothing items at thrift stores on sale simply due to its low price without considering if they truly needed them. They felt guilty using these items only once before donating them back in their next cycle of decluttering. By confronting the shame they felt, my friend learned how to combat the urge to make thoughtless purchases in the future.

7. Find sustainable ways to get rid of clutter

Implementing eco-friendly methods to discard the excess items from our homes is a crucial step towards sustainable living. Here are some tips that can help with decluttering and disposing of unwanted items in an environmentally responsible way:

  • Donate unwanted items to charity for a second life
  • Hold a community garage sale or swap
  • Recycle paper, plastics, and metals
  • Compost organic waste like food scraps and yard trimmings

To support the idea of eco-friendly disposal and minimize the environmental footprint, using reusable bags while shopping, opting for zero-waste alternatives, fixing broken items instead of throwing them away can also be useful. Working towards such objectives aligns well with ethical values.

Don’t miss out on those good karma points! Clearing clutter responsibly has multiple benefits – peace of mind, financial gain or savings through donations or sales, participating in a circular economy to reduce waste. Do your bit for the planet by implementing these practices – start small but make it count!

8. Create space for things that matter to you

The key to decluttering is making space for the things that truly matter. By clearing out the unnecessary items, you allow yourself to focus on what’s important in life. Begin by identifying your values and priorities – this will help guide you in deciding what to keep and what to let go of.

To create space for what matters, start small. Break down larger tasks into manageable chunks and set achievable goals. Focus on one area at a time and avoid getting overwhelmed with the overall process. Be intentional about the items you wish to keep, rather than holding onto things out of guilt or obligation.

A successful declutter involves being honest with yourself about why you hold onto certain possessions. Addressing these emotional barriers can be difficult but ultimately liberating. Practice saying no to new items that do not fit your values or goals.

Making conscious decisions about your belongings can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life. With easier-to-maintain surroundings and less clutter in mental space, your focus can shift towards meaningful experiences and relationships.

Creating space for what truly matters has been achieved by many who understand the beauty of a simplified life reflecting their true needs instead of constant societal expectations.

9. Let go of sentimental clutter

The sentiment attached to possessions often hinders their disposal. Parting ways with sentimental items can be emotionally draining and challenging.

Here is a 4-Step Guide to overcome the emotional hurdle of parting with sentimental clutter:

    1. Identify the memories associated with the item.
    2. Capture those memories in a tangible or digital form, such as photographs or journals.
    3. Choose one or two cherished items to keep, and release the rest.
    4. Find a purpose for the released items, such as donating them to charity or passing them along to family members.

Guilt and fear of losing memories are common barriers people face when decluttering their sentimental items.

Sources state that sentimental clutter takes up the most space in our homes, leading to increased anxiety levels and difficulty focusing.

True Fact: According to Psychology Today, physical clutter leads to stress and can affect a person’s overall mental health and well-being.

10. Create clear boundaries for each room

Setting defined perimeters for each room is crucial in decluttering. This approach will allow you to view your living space with a critical eye and understand what specific items are necessary versus which items need to be discarded.

To create clear boundaries for each room, follow this 3-Step Guide:

  1. Take inventory: Take an inventory of everything in the room and determine what stays, what goes, and what can be moved to another location.
  2. Visualize: Imagine how the room will look once it’s organized and clean, and keep that image in mind while sorting through your belongings.
  3. Organize with Purpose: Arrange everything within the space intentionally to maintain order and optimize functionality.

It’s essential to recognize that different rooms serve different purposes and have unique requirements. Therefore, every space’s organization should reflect its designated function.

Incorporating storage furniture such as cabinets, dressers, bookshelves, or appropriate storage containers based on a room’s function can help organize your belongings easily.

For instance, Amanda realized her child’s playroom was cluttered due to not having designated storage spaces for toys. After investing in toy boxes and cubes for books and crafts supplies, she found tidying up her child’s playroom became more manageable than ever before.

11. Lead by example when dealing with other peoples clutter

When assisting others with decluttering their space, set an example by tidying up your own belongings first. Leading through action will inspire and motivate them to follow suit. Avoid being intrusive, listen attentively and offer constructive suggestions on managing their belongings effectively to avoid hoarding.

Take the time to empathize with the individual’s connection to their possessions and assist them in identifying tangible and sentimental value. Ensure that they are involved in the decision-making process and feel supported during the decluttering journey.

It’s crucial to emphasize that decluttering is a personal choice and encourage healthy habits that are sustainable long-term. Avoid imposing your personal standards onto others and respect their boundaries.

Pro Tip – Schedule regular check-ins to ensure continued progress, provide necessary support, and celebrate milestones achieved.

12. Embrace your personal style and preferences

It is crucial to recognize and embrace your individual preferences when it comes to decluttering. Our tastes, personality, lifestyle, and memories are an essential part of us, and the possessions we keep are a reflection of who we are.

The best way to begin decluttering is by making a plan that resonates with your unique style. For example, you may prefer an open and minimalist layout or seek comfort in a cosier atmosphere with objects surrounding you. Experiment with various approaches till you discover one that inspires you to let go of things you don’t need.

Furthermore, use your creativity in designing the space by incorporating favourite colours, textures, patterns or unique memorabilia that add interest but does not clutter up space.

Finally, understand that decluttering requires time and patience. You don’t have to do it all at once; take breaks between sessions. Remember why you chose this particular path- reclaiming clear space– when you encounter obstacles along the way.

A true story: A friend of mine could never part from her stuffed animals from childhood despite having no room left for them. So instead of giving them away, she carefully organised each precious toy inside her custom made glass cabinet creating a beautiful display enjoyed by herself and her visitors alike while keeping her inner child alive in creative ways.

13. Stop worrying about others judgement

Concerns about external perceptions are a significant hindrance to successful decluttering. Many people avoid getting rid of items in their homes for fear of judgment from others. This anxiety can prevent individuals from making decisions that would benefit their mental and emotional well-being.

To stop worrying about what others think, it is vital to remember that everyone’s preferences differ based on individual tastes, values, and beliefs. Instead of focusing on other people’s potential reactions, concentrate on your own vision for a tidy living space. Once you understand the benefits of decluttering, external opinions become less important.

The notion of being judged for one’s possessions or living space is a widely held belief that can exacerbate the difficulty of parting with things. However, this mindset is not productive and can be challenging to overcome in practice. By focusing on personal improvement and prioritizing self-satisfaction, anyone can learn to value the benefits of decluttering over concerns about the opinions of others.

Emma had always struggled with letting go of her belongings because she was concerned with how others perceived her. She often kept old and unnecessary items because she felt it represented her identity and didn’t want to appear wasteful or uncaring. One day she decided to change this behavior by instead taking pride in her ability to make positive changes in her environment without fearing judgment from others. This new perspective enabled Emma to successfully declutter her home and lead a more relaxed and fulfilled life.

14. Try putting items in a time-out box before making a decision

When faced with indecisiveness over what to keep and what to discard, one can consider using a method of ‘time-out box’ before making a final decision. This technique is useful when going through items that hold sentimental value or unsure if an object is necessary.

Here is a 4-step guide to using the ‘time-out box’ method:

  1. Designate a sturdy container such as a cardboard box or tote.
  2. Label the container with the current date and set a future date for re-evaluation (e.g., 3 months).
  3. Place items that cause hesitation inside the container and store in an out-of-sight location.
  4. Revisit the container on the set future date and decide its fate – keep, donate or toss.

It’s essential to only use this method for select objects that are truly difficult to decide about keeping; otherwise, it would defeat the purpose of decluttering.

It’s vital to remember that each person may have readjustments and differences in what they want to store; hence, this technique should be personalized according to individual preferences.

Personal experience has taught me about emotional attachment to items unnecessarily prolongs decision-making time. On following my friend’s recommendation about using this technique, I effortlessly resolved hesitation on certain belongings – which enabled me declutter fast in no time.

15. Be patient and give yourself grace

It is crucial to embrace patience and self-care while decluttering. Avoid over-committing and recognize achievement to prevent burnout. Give yourself permission to adopt a slower pace and prioritize self-compassion throughout the journey.

Remind yourself that it took time to accumulate clutter, and it will take time to remove it. Perfection is unnecessary, so do not become fixated on tidying up everything overnight. Take breaks when needed, breathe deeply, and express gratitude for progress made.

Even when motivation dips or setbacks occur, trust in your process and remain consistent with small steps instead of attempting drastic changes. By accomplishing a little daily, you can obtain success authentically, rather than through shortcuts or feelings of guilt.

Ultimately, remember this process of decluttering is personal, and everyone’s pace is different. Do not compare yourself to others but focus solely on what’s working for you at your rate.

A happy client once shared how surprised she was that meditation helped her relax during her decluttering endeavor; acknowledging balance between mind and physical energy could be essential for a successful outcome!


In summary, decluttering can be challenging due to various factors such as emotional attachment to items and lack of motivation. However, there are several strategies one can employ, such as setting achievable goals and seeking external support, to overcome these obstacles and achieve a clutter-free space.

One unique detail worth mentioning is the benefits of donating items to charity, which not only helps others but also reduces environmental waste. Pro Tip: Start small by tackling one area at a time, such as a single drawer or shelf, to avoid overwhelming oneself.

Overcome decluttering barriers and enjoy the benefits of minimalist living

Decluttering can be a challenging process that many individuals struggle with, hindering them from enjoying the benefits of minimalist living. To overcome barriers towards decluttering and reap its rewards, consider the following suggestions:

  • Start small: tackling smaller spaces or tasks can help build momentum for more extensive decluttering efforts.
  • Borrow motivation: partner up with a friend or loved one who shares similar goals for added support and accountability.
  • Embrace change: recognize that decluttering requires effort but see it as an opportunity to create positive changes in your life.

To efficiently declutter, coordinating efforts by organizing items to donate or reuse can increase effectiveness alongside choosing what is essential and necessary. These small steps can have enormous impacts on mental well-being, decreased stress, and an improved quality of life.

Unique details may include effectively using digital resources such as virtual marketplaces or online donation platforms to reduce clutter while simultaneously contributing to charitable organizations. Additionally, utilizing storage space more efficiently and considering alternative uses for items no longer needed can also minimize waste and promote an eco-friendly approach to decluttering.

Suggestions may include incorporating minimalism principles little by little into daily routines, selecting high-quality items rather than excessive commodities, and implementing regular evaluations of belongings within one’s home. These changes encourage prioritizing functionality over materialistic desires while promoting mindful purchasing habits invested in happiness rather than consumption. Decluttering requires discipline but leads towards greater fulfillment in one’s physical surroundings and mentality.


1. What are the 20 reasons decluttering is hard?

Some common reasons decluttering can be difficult include emotional attachment to possessions, fear of letting go, lack of time, overwhelm, lack of motivation, and guilt about waste.

2. How can I overcome emotional attachment to possessions when decluttering?

One strategy is to ask yourself if the item brings you joy or serves a useful purpose in your current life. Another strategy is to take a photo of sentimental items to remember them without having to keep the physical object.

3. What can I do if I am afraid of letting go of items during decluttering?

Try starting with small items that are easier to let go of, build up momentum, and remind yourself of the benefits of a more spacious and simplified living space.

4. How can I find the time to declutter?

Look for small bits of time throughout your day to declutter, such as during commercial breaks or while cooking. Alternatively, schedule dedicated decluttering time into your calendar.

5. What can I do if I feel overwhelmed during decluttering?

Break up the task into smaller, more manageable chunks. Focus on one area at a time, such as a single drawer or shelf, and celebrate your progress along the way.

6. How can I avoid feeling guilty about waste during decluttering?

Try donating items to charities or selling them online to give them a new purpose. Additionally, remind yourself that the benefits of a simplified and organized living space are worth the temporary guilt about waste.