How To Stop Being Embarrassed By Household Clutter

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I asked the members of my decluttering facebook group a while back if clutter ever stopped them from enjoying their home as much as they could and many answered yes.

Several went as far to say that clutter stops them from inviting people into their home. I can only imagine that the core reason for this is that they are embarrassed by household clutter.

Dear cluttered friend, I have been there too. In the past I have looked around my home and thought, “No way am I inviting so-and-so over! This place is too much of a mess and I can’t possibly get it looking good enough for visitors by….”

Stop being embarrassed by household clutter!

 

But I am happy to say that those words hardly ever come out of my mouth now. Please don’t get me wrong, I am still dealing with clutter, but it no longer stops me from inviting people over.

How To Stop Being Embarrassed By Clutter

1. Come up with a doable plan to attack your clutter

I am not suggesting in this post that you decide to just feel good about your clutter and invite people over to eat dinner between the piles on your dining room table–nope! Clutter does need to be dealt with.

Clutter is not only embarrassing, it is a health hazard. Trust me, clutter is weighing you down both mentally and physically.

However, I want you to be realistic with how long it will take you to attack your clutter. In order to do that you must also be truthful about your decluttering personality.

Are you a weekend purger or a little at a time type of person? Whatever your decluttering personality type you need to write a plan that suits and stick to it.

If you prefer to follow a pre-written plan here are a few books that can help:

You can also try my 52 weeks to a simplified home.

You can always change your plan if it isn’t working for you, but you cannot stop attacking your clutter. Keep at it!

2. Declutter the most public areas of your home first

Guests generally don’t enter all areas of your home, so focus on decluttering those they do first. Once these areas are clutter free inviting someone over isn’t as scary. Simply shut the doors on the other areas. It is a rare friend that would dare enter areas with closed doors without permission because truth be told almost everyone has a “closed door for a reason” room.

  • The entrance way (for some homes this may include the front porch leading to the entrance way)
  • The living area closest to the entrance way
  • The bathroom guests use
  • The kitchen
  • The dining room (or wherever the table is that you use to share a meal with friends)

How to Make Time Spent Decluttering FlyHow To Make Time Spent Decluttering Fly By

3. Make keeping them decluttered a priority

Too many times I have said, “Good, those areas are decluttered now I can move on to…” and then I do and I forget one essential step–keeping the public areas free of clutter.

If you want to get rid of clutter shame for good, you need to devote some time each and every week to removing clutter from the public areas of your home. Clutter grows quickly. A pile of unopened mail here, a pile of craft supplies there, a pile of stuff from the back of the car there and then BAM! The piles seem out of control and you cringe at the thought of company.

However, if instead each time you carve out time to declutter you devote the first portion of it to maintaining the public areas you already decluttered, it won’t have time to grow and your home will stay company ready.

Another way I keep continuing the fight against clutter in public areas in my home is by repeating these 3 simple steps over and over each day. After a while I just started doing them without thinking and they truly are my greatest weapon in keeping my home “almost” company ready at all times. To me “almost” company ready means that my home is fine for close friends, but about an hour away from making its best first impression on new friends.

4. Realize everyone is human

Trust me, your friends don’t live the clutter free lives they portray on Instagram. I for one will admit to actually temporarily removing a pile of clutter out of the way so I can take an awesome picture of the dessert I baked that turned out perfect for once!

Stop waiting for your home to be 100% clutter free in all areas to invite friends over. Instead, get the public areas of your home 80% decluttered and start inviting people over anyways.

Honestly, they won’t say anything about your random pile of your child’s school papers on the corner of the kitchen counter because they have one of their own at their house.

5. Come up with a visitor plan

I have two different visitor decluttering plans. I have the invite friends over because it will help me catch up on my clutter piles plan and the “Oh no!” a friend just called and said she is dropping by in 15 minutes decluttering plan.

In the first I purposely set a date for someone to come over and then make a plan to intentionally remove clutter piles from public areas of the home before they arrive. I like doing this because it gives me a reward of something I like doing, spending time with friends, in trade for sticking to something I hate doing, decluttering.

My “Oh no!” plan includes grabbing laundry baskets from the laundry room, throwing all random piles of clutter from the public areas of my home into them, and then shoving those baskets into my bedroom and shutting the door.

Both plans have their place and both work well for me.

4 Essential Items for Efficient Decluttering4 Essential Items For Efficient Decluttering

6. Never stop decluttering

I know this one is hard to hear, but in our consumer society we fight what can sometimes seem a losing battle with conquering piles of stuff.

It might not even be stuff we buy, but stuff given to us as gifts or for free from events we attended.

I knew when I finished my 52 weeks of decluttering I needed a way to keep clutter at bay in my home, which is why I went on to making myself fill one box each month with things to drop off at the thrift store. I plan to make this a forever habit. Every month for the rest of my life a box is going to the thrift store–no exceptions.

7. Know you are not alone

You are not the only one fighting a clutter battle. Just check out the slew of decluttering books out there. Those authors don’t write books no one will read.

If you need decluttering support, join my decluttering facebook page. In the group we discuss areas we plan to declutter over the next week, post pictures of progress and cheer each other on.

You are not the only one to feel embarrassed by your clutter, but you are the only one that can put an end to those feelings.
Stop feeling embarrassed by your home and start a plan of action that will make you feel good about it!

More decluttering help:

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How To Start Decluttering When You Feel Overwhelmed

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Clutter piles to the left of you, clutter piles to the right, piles in front and behind. They are everywhere!

You want to deal with your clutter once and for all, but you are simply overwhelmed by how big of a job you have in front of you.

How To Start Decluttering When You Feel Overwhelmed.

I have so been right where you are. After I lost my parents I spent about a year in a fog where I just let clutter piles get out of control. When grief lifted, it was overwhelming to look at all those piles.

How To Start Decluttering When You Feel Overwhelmed

Just start!

I want you to repeat those two words above with me-just start. In fact, do something even better: write them on several post it notes and scatter them around your home in places where you will see them day after day.

What you are struggling with is a form of anxiety and the only way to make it go away is to start getting rid of the source–the clutter.

How to get started

1. Make a Plan That Suits You

Don’t pick the 15 minute a day decluttering plan because some blogger you have been following is having great success at it if you know that dealing with clutter even for just 15 minutes a day isn’t going to work with your personality or schedule.

Take some time and really think about what method of decluttering would work for you.

For me it was dividing up my home into 52 different areas and attacking one area a week for an entire year. The next year, to keep my home fairly clutter free (I don’t think I will ever be 100% free of clutter piles; my creative mind likes a current project pile or two) I set the goal of filling up 1 box with things to give away each month.

These simple goals worked for me, but they might not work for you. Take a few moments to think of a plan that you think will help you get started and if you find that you just hate it when you do–pick another. Eventually you should stumble on a decluttering system that works for your personality, but don’t let not knowing what will work stop you from trying.

Choose a plan and dig in.

2. Find Motivation

What will motivate you to start and keep decluttering ?

Inviting people over to your home so that you have a set deadline to deal with your stuff?

Posting pictures of uncluttered spaces you love on your fridge?

For me, reading books on decluttering really helps. here are few of my favorites:

Lose 250 Pounds This Weekend: An oldie but a goody. This book helped me get rid of 3 truck loads of stuff over one weekend more than 16 years ago. I found it so motivating that I had to put it down part way through and just get started–I could not wait a minute more.

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own: I recently read this book and was very touched by its message. It helped me fill my box of the month in one afternoon. It has also inspired me to try a new decluttering challenge or two in the months to come. (of course if they work I will share them here on the blog)

31 Days To A Clutter Free Life: One Month to Clear Your Home, Mind & Schedule: If you want someone to hold your hand and help you declutter each room step by step this book is for you. However, don’t believe the 31 day part–only a rare person is going to be able to get rid of the clutter in then home within a month. Chances are you didn’t collect it all in a month and therefore it is going to take more than a month to get rid of it all. 

3. Find Your Grit and Dig In

I wrote an entire post about how to stick to decluttering even when you don’t feel like it you can read it here.

Basically you need to dig deep and keep going until it is done.

Decluttering is going to be boring at first–painfully boring!

 SolutionTry listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks to pass the time.

When you begin decluttering it is going to feel like you are getting nowhere!

 Solution: Snap a picture before you dig in and then another when  you are done for that day; it will motivate you to continue.

It is going to be worth it.  Repeat that over and over because it is true.

I am so glad I stuck to 52 weeks of constant decluttering and that I have tossed a box of stuff a month this year. My home is feeling more and more bright and airy and wonderfully un-stressful. I don’t cringe when people come over unannounced anymore. I am not moving a pile from here to there--okay, I still do this sometimes if I am in the middle of a project.

So one more time…

Repeat after me: JUST START!

(psst…Gain support in my Snail Pace Clutter Removers Facebook group where we are dealing with our clutter on a consistent basis one inch at a time.)

More posts on decluttering & cleaning …

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How To Get Your Home Clean For The Holidays — Before The Christmas Rush

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Nothing feels better than sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal with friends and family in a clean and cozy home. It just starts the holiday season off right.

For me, however, the clean part is always so much harder than the cozy part–although it is totally worth the effort.

This post contains two plans to help you get your home clean for the holidays -- before the Christmas season even begins.

Summer into early fall around our home is a flurry of activity, which often leaves our home looking a bit neglected.

As much as I like to enjoy the downtime between the end of summer and early fall activities before the start of the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) I know if I use this time to give the home a top to bottom fall cleaning I will thank myself for it during the hustle and bustle of late November and all of December.

How To Create Your Own Plan Of Attack To Clean Your Entire Home Before Thanksgiving

In years past I blogged my way through my Christmas cleaning plan.

However, this year I am going to lay out for you exactly how I create my plan of action to give the house a good top to bottom cleaning before a single Christmas decoration is brought out.

The Little At A Time Christmas Cleaning Plan: 6 to 7 weeks

In years past I have started the first full week of October and ended the week of Thanksgiving, giving me roughly 6 to 7 weeks  each year to execute my plan.

This year the division of weeks would look as follows:

Week One—October 3rd through October 9th

Week Two—October 10th through October 16th

Week Three—October 17th through October 23rd

Week Four—October 24th through October 30th

Week Five—October 31 through November 6th

Week Six—November 7th through November 13th

Week Seven—November 14th through November 20th

I would then divide up my home into areas so that each one was hit by the time the week of Thanksgiving rolled around so I could then turn my attention to decorating our home for Christmas.

Week One—Family Room

Week Two—Dinning Room

Week Three—Living Room

Week Four—Kitchen

Week Five—Back and Front door entrance ways

Week Six—Bathrooms

Week Seven—Bedrooms

You will notice I haven’t included storage areas like basements, attics, hall closets, etc. These areas generally get a good go-over at other times of the year, but during my Christmas cleaning I hit just those areas guests frequent.

After I know when and what I work on the how.

Some years this means I work 15 to 30 minutes each day on the area of the week. Other times this means I devote an entire day of the week to cleaning that area. It all depends what works better for me that week.

The Christmas Cleaning Bee Plan: 2 to 3 Saturdays

Now that the children are older the annual Christmas Cleaning routine is getting a overhaul!

Saturday One: November 5th–The attic

Saturday Two: November 12th–Bedrooms

Saturday Three: November 19th–Main floor rooms (kitchen/family room/dining room/living room)

Now don’t freak out–I know that looks like a huge amount of work for one person and it is. I am not going to be doing these areas myself, instead I am throwing three Family cleaning bees.

We will start at 10:00 and end at 4:00 and there will be takeout pizza at the end of the day. Everyone will have an assigned area to clean from top to bottom.

Now you might notice I added in the attic in this plan, which is a storage area. As I said, normally these are done at a different time of year but this year we have a big trip planned that starts right after Christmas and I want the whole home ready for the house sitter to enjoy. Should she need to go into the attic to take care of a household issue I don’t want her to have to step around boxes that were not properly put away.

The Cleaning Tools

I like to make sure we are well stocked with all the cleaners we need for a family cleaning bee at least a few days in advance.

Here is the list of cleaning tools we use at our house:

I like to make sure that we have at least two of each item so that more than one person can be using it at once. Of course, if you are working alone then you only need one of each.

A Few Ways To Make Cleaning More Fun

Audio books

I LOVE audio books for passing the time when I am cleaning. My kids love them too. We use the Hoopla app. We are able to get a free membership to it through our local library. Libraries also offer One Digital and Overdrive. It depends on your library as to how many of these apps they might offer or if they offer any at all.

If you library doesn’t offer these apps with audio book selections, you could try Audible. They offer a free 2 month trial that allows you one free title per month for two months.

Christmas tunes

Even though I am cleaning for Christmas way before Christmas, I often like to indulge in some Christmas tunes using Pandora while I do my pre-Christmas cleaning. It helps me stay motivated since a reminder of my goal of a clean home for Christmas is literally being piped into my ears the entire time I clean.

Special Rewards for Hitting Goals

You might have noticed above that I said our family Christmas cleaning days will end with takeout pizza. This isn’t just because we are all tired and don’t want to dirty the kitchen they just cleaned–it is also a reward.

We don’t get takeout pizza that often and usually for special nights like this we skip the cheaper pizza joint for the gourmet one –provided everyone has cleaned hard and had great attitudes about it.

The goal that motivates you might be different–spend a bit of time brainstorming and I am sure you will come up with something.

I would love to hear if you do a similar pre-Christmas cleaning and if so, how? Tell me in the comment section.

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This post contains two plans to help you get your home clean for the holidays--before the Christmas season even begins.

Are you interested in keeping things simple? Do you want a good deal, but you don’t want to spend time chasing after it?

If so, you need to try out Grove Collaborative where you will find effective green cleaners at affordable prices delivered right to your doorstep. Yes, it is a subscription based program, but you decide what you want to order and how often.

Use my referral link (these words in blue) to hop over and join Grove Collaborative and you will get $10 off your first order

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