Inside: You want to declutter your life, but don’t have the fainted clue where to start. Read this post for five tips that will help you declutter your life now.
Four years ago, if you told me I’d live in a house that is mostly clean most of the time, I wouldn’t believe you. Not only would I not believe you, I wouldn’t even think it was possible.
You see, I’m a messy person. I was the child with the room jammed packed full of stuff. I was the nightmare college roommate with clutter spilling all over the floor.
And I became the messy wife who convinced her tidy husband to stop cleaning and sit down and relax. Every. Single. Day.
It all changed when my first son was born. When he came into this world, I came into the world of stay-at-home-momming and all of a sudden, the internal pressure was on to keep a clean house.
I was plagued with thoughts of what I was teaching my child. Will he grow up to be a slob or to have no respect for his things?
“Will my child be ashamed to bring friends home because of the mess?“
As these questions swirled in my head, I came to one cold hard truth: I didn’t know how to keep a clean house.
Okay, so yes, I knew how to wash dishes and put clothes in the washer. But I couldn’t figure out why so many of my friends could keep a clean house, work a full-time job AND put home-cooked dinner on the table every night.
Meanwhile, I was sitting in the middle of my fur-covered mess, trying to figure out how to remind myself to move wet laundry over to the dryer before it started to smell mildewy.
Little by little, I pulled myself out of my clutter and anxiety, and I believe you can do the same. While I’m not perfect, my home is mostly clean most of the time.
It took a lot of hard work, tears of frustration and trial and error until I found what worked.
I rolled up all of my hard-earned knowledge into this post so you can short cut the process and live a life you love.
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The ultimate guide to declutter your life for complete beginners
Even if you’re a complete beginner you can follow these steps to declutter your life and live the life you’ve always wanted.
#1: Determine your desired result
As Zig Zigler said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” This may be your first or your tenth attempt to simplify your life by decluttering.
But if you don’t know what you’re working towards, you don’t have an idea of when you’ve accomplished it.
Pause for a minute. What would you do with an orderly home?
Would you play with your kids more? Or pick up a long lost hobby? Maybe you’d start a business or volunteer for the bake sale at your kids’ school.
Whatever it is, write it down. If it’s many things, write them all down.
Your goal is to come up with a vision so clear you can see it as a reality. Instead of seeing your home as it is, you see it for what it can be.
You no longer see a cluttered kitchen table, you see a spot where you’ll bake cookies with your kids. Or the guest room, instead of seeing it for the junk holder it is now, you see it for the crafting area it can become.
You could do all these amazing things…if only your clutter wasn’t holding you back.
It’s important to see your clutter not as cherished items but as physical roadblocks holding you back from achieving your goal.
#2: Write a decluttering checklist
Once you have your vision of what life would be like in an orderly home, now it’s time to get to work.
Look around your home. What projects do you need to tackle? What clutter do you need to clear?
On a blank piece of paper, write down everything you want to do to declutter your life and free your home from clutter.
From that brain dumped list, pick one project to work on first.
The key to writing an effective decluttering checklist is to break each giant project into small manageable tasks.
Keep breaking down each task until each item on your list takes no more than 15 minutes to accomplish.
Learn more: Where to Start Decluttering When You’re Stressed Out
#3: Determine a quick win
Imagine yourself as a giant boulder at the top of a hill. It would take an entire village plus some heavy machinery to move you an inch.
But, as you roll down the hill, you pick up speed. And you roll faster. And faster.
Before you know it, you’re rolling so fast, the terrified villagers grab their kids and run to safety before you come barreling through town.
That’s what quick wins do.
You pick a tiny project you can finish in less than 15 minutes but one that will make a noticeable impact.
Related: 5 Clutter Busters You Need to do Right Now
Our town doesn’t have curbside recycling pick up. We sort recycling into multiple bins where it collects until we have a chance to drive it to the recycling center.
One time, the recycling bins were so full, a tall mountain spilled out of each bin and covered the floor surrounding the bins.
It took less than 15 minutes to load all the recycling in the car. And it made a world of a difference.
What are the quick wins you can find in your home? Do those first.
You’ll make so much headway, you’ll be motivated to go on to bigger projects. Before you know it, you’ll be rolling with so much speed, it would take a massive wall to stop your progress.
#4: Decluttering is a journey.
I know it’s tempting to read articles that promise you can declutter your entire home in a weekend.
But I’m here to tell you, if you truly struggle with clutter, you’re not going to declutter your entire home in a short amount of time. #truthbomb
I once saw a blog post about how to declutter your home in an afternoon. Girl, if you can declutter your entire home in one afternoon, you don’t have a cluttered home! 😂
Clutter removal is a long, slow — and sometimes painful — process. That’s the bad news.
The good news is when you go slow, you completely change your habits. You allow your mind time to adjust to the new lifestyle before moving onto the next thing.
You learn to love your new space. And you learn the maintenance habits necessary to keep it that way.
#5: Focus on progress, not perfection
Last, but most importantly, learn to focus on progress, not perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist. It’s a myth.
When you focus on shooting for unattainable perfection, you will never reach your goal. You waste your life striving for something you will never attain.
On the other hand, when you focus on progress, every step you take towards your goal is a reason to celebrate.
Got rid of those old magazines camped on your half wall for the last six months (or last six years)? Way to go! You took a step.
Finally got around to folding and putting away the clean laundry that was piled up like a mountain on your couch? Congrats, you now have a place to sit!
Took a few boxes to the thrift store? Woohoo, you’re on your way!
See how good it feels to focus on progress and celebrate every step (even tiny ones)?
Let me ask you a question. If a friend asked you to do a favor and then picked apart every little thing that wasn’t up to their standard, how would you feel? Would you want to do another favor for them?
Heck no! You would probably kick that friend to the curb!
So, why on Earth would you put up with that behavior from yourself? Don’t put up with that little voice that reminds you of all the things you haven’t gotten around to doing yet.
Kick that perfectionist voice to the curb and embrace progress.
It may not come naturally to you at first. Who cares? Schedule a time or set an alarm on your phone to go around and notice the progress you’ve made.
Pat yourself on the back, because girl, you deserve it!
You can do this!
Decluttering is a lot of hard work and determination but it’s not rocket science. You can figure it out with the time and the tools you have available.
If you find yourself feeling frustrated, remember these five simple tips to declutter your life:
- Determine your desired result.
- Write a decluttering checklist.
- Determine a quick win. (Then go do it!)
- Decluttering is a journey.
- Focus on progress, not perfection.
You’re going to do amazing things once you clear the excess. I know it!
Now go, and take that first step!