Today’s post is all about how to get into a decluttering mindset and get yourself ready to declutter.
Sometimes decluttering feels easy. It feels easy to ruthlessly let go of the things you don’t use, need or love.
But other times, not so much. You might feel tired, extra emotionally attached to your stuff, overwhelmed by the thought of tackling a space, or something else completely.
During those times when you feel less motivated to declutter, use the tips in today’s post to help you get into a decluttering mindset. All so you can declutter more efficiently, more effectively and continue making progress toward reaching your decluttering goals.
12 ways to get into a decluttering mindset
1. Have a clear vision and “why” for decluttering
One of the best ways to get into a decluttering mindset is by having a clear vision to guide you through the process.
Your vision tells you exactly how you want the space to look, feel and function after decluttering. It gives you a specific goal to work towards. Making it easier to let go of what doesn’t align with your vision.
Beyond your vision for your home and each space, it’s also helpful to have a clear “why”. Your why tells you exactly what you want to achieve by decluttering. What do you want more time, space, energy and attention for? And what do you to spend less time, space, energy and attention on?
Whenever you’re struggling to let go of clutter, bring your vision and your “why” to the forefront of your mind. Use those goals to help guide your decluttering decisions and encourage you to be more ruthless as you clear the clutter.
2. Have a clear plan
Another common roadblock when you’re decluttering is simply feeling unsure or overwhelmed about where to start decluttering, what to work on, where to work next, etc.
A simple way to avoid this is by having a decluttering plan in place before you start decluttering. Whenever you’re not sure what to tackle or where to declutter next, simply refer to your plan to make it easier.
Your decluttering plan can include things like which spaces you want to declutter, what order you want to declutter them in, when you’ll declutter, what projects in each space need to be done, etc.
Check out this post for more about making your own decluttering plan.
If you’d rather have a “done for you” decluttering plan you can simply follow along with, check out Your Clutter-Free Home. It’s a complete decluttering guide, including room-by-room decluttering checklists for every room in your home!
3. Break the work down into small steps
Another great aspect of a decluttering plan is using it to break a space down into small steps you can take to declutter the space as a whole.
It might feel overwhelming to think about decluttering an entire room. Which can definitely get in the way of you getting into a decluttering mindset.
If that’s the case, stop thinking about decluttering the entire space. And instead, break the space down into little projects you can tackle one at a time.
Make a list and work your way through the list to clear the clutter one drawer, one shelf, one cupboard, one pile, one box, etc. at a time.
4. Remember slow progress is still progress
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to a decluttering mindset is that the transformation isn’t instant. Decluttering takes time and sometimes that can feel frustrating.
As you’re decluttering, keep reminding yourself that slow progress is still progress. Small steps add up over time to give you big results.
Even when it feels like you’re not making progress, remind yourself that every piece of clutter you remove from your space is taking you one step closer to reaching your vision for the space.
Adjust your expectations of yourself and the process. Think of decluttering as a marathon, not a sprint to help you keep going when you feel like your progress isn’t happening fast enough.
5. Celebrate your wins
A great way to celebrate the progress you’re making, even if it’s slow progress, is by noticing and celebrating the progress you’re making along the way.
I always recommend taking before, in progress and after pictures of spaces you’re decluttering.
If you’re slowly working to declutter, it can be easy to lose sight of the difference you’re making in a space. Simply because you forget how the space used to look as you slowly declutter it.
Look back on previous pictures of the space and celebrate the difference you’re making with your decluttering efforts.
It’s also fun to reward yourself when you reach a decluttering goal.
For example, reward yourself with a coffee at your favourite coffee shop once you finish decluttering a closet or room. Or treat yourself to a manicure after decluttering your bathroom.
Make it fun and celebrate the progress you’re making!
6. Finish one space completely
When you bounce around working to declutter multiple spaces at once, sometimes it can be harder to see the progress you’re making.
A great way to help you get into a decluttering mindset is by working on one space at a time and completely finishing decluttering it before moving on to the next space.
Finishing one space completely is a great way to make it easier to see the progress you’re making. As well as keep you focused so you aren’t bouncing around too much and finishing a space completely before moving on.
7. Remind yourself of the benefits of decluttering
When you’re in the midst of decluttering, sometimes it can be easy to forget why it’s worth it. Instead, you feel bogged down, overwhelmed or even defeated by the work you’re doing and the work ahead of you.
A great way to give yourself a boost of motivation and get back into a decluttering mindset is by reminding yourself of the benefits of decluttering. Reminding yourself why it’s worth it to put in the time and effort to clear the clutter.
For example, decluttering gives you more time, more space, less time spent cleaning, less stress, more confidence and so many other great benefits!
Check out this post for some great benefits of decluttering. And check out this post for some more unexpected benefits of decluttering!
8. Remember less doesn’t mean none
Sometimes getting rid of stuff (even if you don’t use, need or love it) can trigger a scarcity mindset. Triggering fears that you won’t have enough, you might need it someday, or should keep it “just in case”.
It can be helpful to remind yourself that choosing to have less clutter and stuff doesn’t mean you won’t still have everything you use, need and love. Less doesn’t mean none!
It simply means getting rid of what you don’t use, need or love so you have more time, space, energy and attention to enjoy, use, find and appreciate the things you do use, need and love.
Decluttering isn’t about depriving yourself of what you use or love. Just the opposite in fact!
It’s about giving you more time and space for what you use and love. Simply getting rid of the clutter and distractions that were getting in the way of the things, activities and people you love most!
9. Notice guilt and let it go
There are so many reasons feelings of guilt may come up as you’re decluttering.
Whether it’s guilt over getting rid of something that was a gift. Or guilt over the money you feel like you wasted on clutter. It could be guilt about getting rid of something sentimental or with memories attached to it. Or it could just be general feelings of guilt about feeling wasteful in your consumerism habits that resulted in the clutter.
Wherever the guilt is coming from, holding onto clutter because of guilt is never the solution. Instead, notice the guilt. Pay attention to the lesson it’s trying to teach you. Then let go of the clutter and the guilt that it holds.
Choosing to forgive yourself, release the hold the guilt has over you, learn what you can from it and move forward. Creating a home that serves you well now. Rather than a home full of things that leave you feeling guilty.
10. Know when to take a break
Some days decluttering and letting go feel easy. On other days it feels really hard to let go of anything.
This is normal! Some days you simply feel more ruthless than others and letting go is easier.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a break from decluttering when letting go feels hard. Do something else and come back to try again later.
Even try telling yourself you only need to declutter for 10 minutes, then can take a break.
Often, coming back refreshed with renewed energy after taking a break will help you make faster and easier decluttering progress than if you push yourself to keep going when you’re not in the right mindset.
11. Give yourself time and space for the tricky items
Some items are easy to decide to get rid of. Other items might be a little trickier to make a decision about.
If there are a few things you’re really struggling to let go of, try using a “maybe box” to give yourself some time and space away from the items to help make a decluttering decision with more clarity.
A maybe box can be a really helpful decluttering tool. Here’s how it works. Put the items you’re really struggling to make a decision about in a box. Seal the box and put it somewhere out of sight. Then set a reminder in your phone to come back to the box after a set amount of time. Maybe 1 – 3 months from now.
When you get the reminder, if you haven’t needed, wanted or even thought about the items in the box, let them go knowing you’ll be just fine without them.
A maybe box is like a decluttering safe net. Letting you experiment with being more ruthless with your decluttering decisions without fear of regretting getting rid of something holding you back.
Use the maybe box selectively so you aren’t just shuffling clutter from one spot to another. Instead, use it for the really tricky items you aren’t sure if you’re ready to let go of.
12. Stop the inflow
And finally, the last tip to help you get into a decluttering mindset isn’t about what you’re getting rid of. Instead, it’s about becoming more mindful of what you’re allowing into your home.
If you’re working to declutter, it’s equally important to slow the amount of stuff coming into your home as it is to take stuff out of your home. If you’re continuing to bring more stuff in, you’ll slow your progress decluttering or maybe even cancel it out altogether!
Get in a decluttering mindset by paying attention to and reducing the flow of stuff coming into your home. This will help ensure your decluttering efforts have the biggest impact possible. And help you start experiencing the benefits of decluttering sooner too!
Simple ways to get into a decluttering mindset
I hope these tips will help you get into a decluttering mindset so you can clear the clutter with more speed, efficiency and ease!
I’d love to know, what’s the best way for you to get into a decluttering mindset?
For me, I find reminding myself of the vision I have for the space is the best way to get me back in a decluttering frame of mind. What about you? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Friday 24th of February 2023
Thank you for taking time to share your experiences. Make a lot of sense.
Simple Lionheart Life
Friday 24th of February 2023
I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading!
Thursday 2nd of February 2023
I have enjoyed decluttering over the years under the guidance of Melissa and I have gotten to the place where I am happier with the home and how it looks. Some parts of the home have not shifted due to how difficult it is to part with some items that I have been attached to as very costly items. I put all the clutter in to the garage and slowly moved the goods on to charities. I have a lovely dining table and chairs which was once used and not used now, as there is only 2 of us in the home now. My SADNESS, is the unforseen. A relative's home burned down from a clothes dryer 2 weeks ago. A young woman with 3 young children and a bad start to the New Year. If I had left the items in the garage She could have been able to use many items. Happy I procrastinated over getting rid of the other items. I can now donate them to this family to make their lives better and I will feel liberated donating the dining table and chairs and other items I forgot in the garage. It took a tragedy IN LOSING EVERYTHING, to help us as a family to evaluate what is important in life and how easily one can lose it all. It has taught us all to change our shopping habits and to realize what is important in building a family and relationships. To control the material things we bring in to our homes and to be content and value life and each other. FAMILY!!
Friday 24th of February 2023
@Doreen, THANKS FOR YOUR STORY. I NEED TO BE CONTENT AND STOP BUYING LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO MAKE ME HAPPY. THANKS
Simple Lionheart Life
Wednesday 22nd of February 2023
You're so right - it definitely gives you a new perspective after witnessing such a devastating loss. Good for you for letting those lessons sink in. I'm so glad to see your comment, I've been wondering how you're doing and am delighted to hear from you! Thanks for reading :)