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Overcome Decluttering Fatigue: 10 Tips When Decluttering is Exhausting

Overcome Decluttering Fatigue: 10 Tips When Decluttering is Exhausting

Decluttering isn’t always easy. It’s a lot of work – physically, mentally and emotionally. And sometimes decluttering is exhausting!

If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a decluttering rut, like decluttering is exhausting or you just need a boost of motivation to keep going, today’s post is for you!

I’m sharing 10 tips to help you when decluttering is exhausting. Practical strategies you can use to get back in your decluttering groove and continue making progress in clearing the clutter from your home!

10 tips when decluttering is exhausting

Decluttering fatigue is a real thing. Sometimes you do so much decluttering that the thought of doing more, or of making another decision, simply feels exhausting.

When this happens, don’t give up!

Instead, use the tips in today’s post to overcome the decluttering fatigue and get back to clearing the clutter with renewed motivation and gusto!

1. Remind yourself of your “why”

One of the most effective ways to rekindle your decluttering motivation is remembering why you started decluttering in the first place.

Your “why”, or reason for wanting to clear the clutter, is an excellent way to remind yourself why the work is worth it.

Remember what you want to achieve in your home by decluttering. What you want more time and space for. And what you want to devote less time, space and energy to. Remember what pain points are you looking to solve by simplifying and decluttering.

Coming back to your “why” reminds you that the work you’re putting in will be worth it. Even when decluttering feels hard or exhausting!

2. Create a clear vision for each space

Similar to remembering your “why”, another great way to build motivation is having a clear vision for each space you’re decluttering.

Get really clear about how you want the space to look, to feel and to function.

Having this clear vision helps guide your decluttering decisions and gives you a goal to work towards.

For example, decluttering your living room might feel vague. But clearing the clutter in your living room to create a quiet corner for reading and a space that feels welcoming, inviting and like a lovely gathering spot for your family gives you more direction and guidance.

3. Break the work down into small steps

Sometimes decluttering feels exhausting because you’re thinking about all the work you need to do to finish a space or your whole house. That can be really overwhelming!

Instead of thinking about the space as a whole, try breaking the work down into small steps. Little actions and tasks you can do to eventually declutter the room as a whole. But instead of thinking of all the work in total, just focus on one task at a time.

For example, decluttering your kitchen might feel like a lot to take on. But breaking the work down to one cupboard/shelf/drawer/pile at a time likely feels less daunting. It’s a lot easier to think about decluttering one cupboard than all the cupboards.

Focus on small steps and trust that they’ll add up to great progress over time!

4. Take action to build momentum

Sometimes the best way to overcome decluttering fatigue is by simply getting started. Momentum usually builds on itself and one step leads to the next step. And before you know it you’ve made a lot of decluttering progress!

But getting started can sometimes feel hard.

The best way to overcome this? Start by doing something really easy.

Start by looking for garbage in the space that just needs to be thrown away. Maybe it’s a wrapper, a broken toy, a pen that doesn’t work anymore, etc.

Whatever it is, looking for garbage gets you started and starts building your momentum. Once you’ve done a sweep for garbage, move on to looking for easy things to get rid of. Things you know you don’t use, need or love and feel no attachment to.

Each of these easy steps builds your momentum and keeps you going.

5. Focus on visual clutter first

Another great way to get started is by focusing on visual clutter first.

Visual clutter is anything sitting out that you can see as soon as you enter the space. You don’t need to dig into cupboards, closets or drawers just yet. Simply start with the stuff you can see as soon as you walk into the room.

Not only does this limit the amount of stuff you’re dealing with right off the start. But it also makes a big impact on how the space looks and feels once you’re done. And seeing that big impact and a big difference in how the space looks and feels right away can be really motivating!

6. Make a schedule

Sometimes a big project like decluttering can feel easier when you don’t have to worry about when you’ll declutter and instead a make schedule that makes the decision for you. The fewer decisions you have to make to get started, the fewer hurdles there are to overcome.

Figure out ahead of time when you’ll declutter, add it to your schedule and hold yourself accountable.

It can be as simple as deciding you’ll declutter every day for 10 minutes after supper. Or scheduling one Saturday afternoon a month to work on a decluttering project.

But take the guesswork out of it and decide when you’ll declutter ahead of time.

7. Set goals (with rewards!)

Another great way to avoid decluttering fatigue is by setting goals you want to achieve. Maybe deciding you want to finish decluttering a space by a certain date. Then decide what you’ll need to do between now and then to get it done.

Goals give you something specific to work towards which can be really motivating.

Another great way to make goals even more motivating is by attaching a reward to them!

Try to think of something that won’t add more “stuff” or clutter to your space, but also something that feels motivating and encouraging to you too.

For example, maybe plan to go out for a special dinner once you finish decluttering your kitchen. Or you could even plan to buy yourself one piece of clothing that’s on your wish list once you find 20 items of clothing to donate. (Just be careful you aren’t getting rid of a bunch of stuff, just to bring more stuff in!)

8. Finish one space completely

Another great way to keep going if decluttering is feeling exhausting is by focusing your efforts.

Instead of bouncing around from one space to another decluttering, focus on starting and finishing one space before moving on to the next space.

Seeing the results of your efforts is a great way to boost your motivation. And seeing a space completely decluttered and ready to be enjoyed can be really motivating!

9. Look at “before” pictures

If you’re decluttering a little bit at a time, sometimes it’s easy to forget how much progress you’re making. You quickly get used to how the space looks now and often forget how it used to look. Forgetting how much better it looks, feels and functions after you’ve been decluttering.

If you took “before” pictures, pull them up and look at them. Remind yourself how far you’ve already come and the difference the work you’re doing is making in the space.

If you don’t have specific “before” pictures, you can even look at the background of older pictures taken in the space. Maybe you’ll notice piles of clutter that are no longer there, or how much tidier the space looks now.

The goal is simply to remind yourself that you’re making progress, even when it’s slow progress and doesn’t feel like big changes are happening.

10. Take a break!

And finally, if decluttering is feeling exhausting, sometimes the best thing you can do is take a break.

The more you force yourself to declutter when you’re feeling burnt out, frustrated or exhausted, the less progress you’ll make. And the more painful any progress you do make will feel.

Take a break. Stop even thinking about decluttering for a few days. Then come back to it feeling refreshed, renewed and reenergized to dive back in and make progress.

Simple tips to beat decluttering fatigue when decluttering is exhausting

If you’ve ever noticed that decluttering is feeling exhausting I hope these tips will help.

Remember, decluttering is usually a marathon, not a sprint. It’s ok if sometimes it feels harder than other times. Use these tips to build your motivation and momentum again so you can clear the clutter and create a clutter-free home you love!

Have you ever experienced decluttering fatigue? Leave a comment below and share more about your experience.

Overcome Decluttering Fatigue: 10 Tips When Decluttering is Exhausting
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

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Sunday 19th of February 2023

I am motivating myself by donating to Ukrainian refugees. They left their homeland with NOTHING, and I have so much. It really motivates me and I like knowing that I can help. Just google Ukrainian churches, and they can tell you the closest donation site to you.

Simple Lionheart Life

Wednesday 22nd of February 2023

That's such a great idea. Very good motivation to pass on things you're not using so someone else who really needs them can have them. Thanks for reading and sharing this great tip!


Sunday 19th of February 2023

Thank you. I needed to hear this as I've been decluttering since the beginning of January. Some days it's easier than other days. I am making progress, but it is slow going sometimes. Your post was a much needed reminder of taking care as I move forward. Again, thank you and I hope you have a great day.

Simple Lionheart Life

Wednesday 22nd of February 2023

I'm so glad it was helpful for you. Thank you for reading and good luck with your decluttering!

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