How To Stay Motivated And Kick Your Clutter To The Curb For Good!

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You have tried a thousand times before to get rid of the clutter in the house, but it keeps coming back. How on earth do you not just get rid of it–but keep the clutter gone for good?

Stay motivated and kick your clutter to the curb for good with these decluttering tips.

Honestly I am still working on this problem too, but I am getting closer to the “livable” clutter free home I keep as a goal in my head. I emphasize livable because I am not aiming for zero clutter, instead I guess I would say an 85% clutter free home.

I can’t see my family ever not having a small pile of clutter here and there–it just doesn’t suit our creative personalities. I can, however, see a day when the thought of a guest opening up the attic door no longer fills us with fear. In fact, each day we get a little closer to that happening.

How To Stay Motivated And Kick Clutter To The Curb For Good

 

Have A Clear Vision

Did you see those important words in the opening paragraphs? Let me repeat them: “but I am getting closer to the “livable” clutter free home I keep as a goal in my head.”

You can easily swap the word “goal” for “vision” in that sentence–especially since the goal is extremely visual, at least it is for me. When I close my eyes I can see what I desire my home to look like when I reach my goal level of clutter removal.

The kitchen counters will be clear of all but a few daily essentials, the cupboards will have space in them. The attic, oh that dreaded attic, will be clear of all but a few bins full of Christmas decorations and camping gear. You will be able to walk into our shed, see exactly what you want, grab it and exit without stepping over things or fear of things falling on you.

As I said, my family isn’t there yet, but we get closer every day because I know what the finish line looks like and when you know the direction you are racing towards it makes it easier to race it.

 

Keep The Vision Alive

Life is busy! Decluttering is time consuming and sometimes very emotionally draining. There are so many other things that we could be doing than attacking our clutter so why bother?

Don’t give in to this train of thought. You are worth it! A decluttered home is a haven at the end of the day, a cluttered one just adds stress.

Stay motivated to reach your clutter free vision by talking to friends in the trenches (my decluttering Facebook group is a great place to find some). Read all you can get your hands on about decluttering (find more about that at the bottom of this post). Make a vision board of your ideal home on Pinterest. Not your dream home necessarily, but pictures of rooms with just the right amount of clutter for your life. Rooms that you look at and go, “Oh, I could so relax there,” “Wow, I would love to serve my loved ones a meal in that room.”

 

Create A Plan And Stick To It–Or Change It To One You Can Stick To

With a vision in hand and a way to keep it alive you now need to do the work. This is the hardest part. As I have said before, decluttering isn’t fun. It is often mind numbing. Items can tug at our hearts in much more powerful ways than they should and sometimes what we find under the clutter or in it can be downright nasty.

This is where having a plan can help. A plan can give us the discipline we need to touch the hard and boring stuff.

There are so many ways to declutter, here are a few to get your mind whirling about what would be the best plan for you:

 

Keep Attacking It For The Rest Of Your Life

I am sure I am not the only one with chronic health problems and here is the thing that hit me one day: clutter is a chronic HOUSE problem.

One of my chronic health problems is low iron. Doesn’t sound like a big problem, but when I stop taking my daily iron pill I slowly spiral to the point where I live my day in a fog and can’t concentrate on a thing. That is a problem!

Sometime in my 30s I finally learned that when my iron levels reach healthy levels I can’t say, “Well that problem is taken care of,” and stop my iron supplements. I can cut them back to a lower level, but I can’t stop. When I do I lose weeks of precious time to brain fog.

Clutter is the same. It isn’t ever really gone for good. We are constantly accumulating new things. Things are constantly wearing out or we lose our need for them.

Treat clutter like a chronic health problem; create a plan to keep it at bay for the rest of your life.

For me that means committing to filling a box full of items to give to a local thrift store each and every month. It also means taking one month a year to go through our home from top to bottom to gather things to sell and then what doesn’t sell goes to the thrift store.

So you need two decluttering plans, one to beat it back to acceptable levels and another to keep it that way. When you develop those two plans you will achieve your vision of a clutter free home and you will have kicked clutter to the curb for good!

Some Great Books To Help Keep You Motivated

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
  2. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own

  3. Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul

  4. 31 Days To A Clutter Free Life: One Month to Clear Your Home, Mind & Schedule

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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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