Most of us are not experts when it comes to decluttering and organizing our homes. Unfortunately, when decluttering, it is common to get about halfway or even completely through the job, only to discover we have gone about things in a poorly planned manner. Perhaps you discover the process is taking much longer than you thought, and you end up with things strewn about the room for weeks because you simply do not have the time to get back to the job. That is just one common example of why so many avoid this stressful process. However, knowing what not to do when decluttering can help to ensure you do not end up with such frustration.
Do Not Overdo It
It is unwise to get overenthusiastic and think you will sort through an entire houseful of possessions in one day. It is unrealistic. Doing so may even cause you enough frustration to give up on the project entirely. Avoid burnout by setting aside a smaller time frame to complete each area. It is okay to go through the entire house the first day to find anything you can throw away.
Look at each room in the house and decide what you think you can tackle in one block of time. Creating a plan that allows you to continually finish each segment will give you a sense of accomplishment which in turn will help you continue on.
Do Not Organize Before Purging
When decluttering, part of the process is organizing everything in a neat and tidy way. While this is great, you first need to purge your home of all those things that are taking up space. Often, people want to skip to the fun part. So they buy the pretty containers, bins and storage boxes before they are ready. This strategy is usually a waste of time and money because it is impossible to what you need until you are able to assess your remaining possessions after the purging process.
Long ago, when I first started decluttering, I bought a ton of containers and bins before I was ready to put things inside. I thought it would help motivate me. Next thing I knew I had more containers that were not the right size than were. Many did not match either which bummed me out. Having the wrong containers also slowed me down because they were in the way.
Do Not Only Complete Half The Job
A big mistake made by many is setting aside items for the church rummage sale or thrift store donation to be delivered on another day. You may think it makes sense to leave that bag of sweaters intended for Aunt Pam sitting in your closet until you see her next. In reality, all of these things simply leave your decluttering project looking unfinished and can deter you. Take the extra effort to remove all unwanted items from your home immediately. You may never find the time or energy for that garage sale you want to have.
At one point during my previous decluttering, I realized I needed to just throw away a large box of things and take the others to the thrift store myself. The boxes and bags waited too long in my garage taking up space I needed for other things. It actually caused my decluttering journey to come to a halt. I finally loaded the boxes and bags into my car and got rid of them.
Well, I am at that point again in my new house. Today, I added more items to one of the garage sale boxes and realized that I’m doing it again. Saving up items for a garage sale is not worth the prolonged clutter for the little bit of money I might earn. This week it will all be gone, so I can move on.
Do Not Reward Yourself With More Stuff
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Finally, no matter how much you may be tempted, never reward yourself for all of your hard decluttering work by purchasing more things. This mistake simply continues the cycle of the bad habits that led to your clutter problem in the first place. An exception to this rule may be the decision to buy a new armoire or another piece of storage furniture to replace the one you just gave away, as this does not add clutter. It improves aesthetics.
I’ve been a Type A most of my adult life. Yet, my closets do not look like those in magazines or in photos. My drawers are sometimes messy and some of them are always messy. Decluttering is a lifelong process of practice and constant upkeep. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.
Remember, things change throughout your phases of life. What works for you today may not work for you later. What you are trying to accomplish are repetitive habits of not accumulating clutter and making things easier to take care of and keep clean and tidy.
Avoid these common decluttering mistakes, and you will be well on your way to an organized, comfortable space. Reward yourself with a nice cup of tea or coffee while enjoying your beautiful surroundings.
Until next time…