Decluttering is all the rage these days. Everyone’s talking about things they need to get rid of and thrift stores are overwhelmed by the amount of donations.

We’re all eager to have a clean, simplified home that we love and enjoy. And a big part of getting there is getting rid of stuff we don’t need or no longer serves it’s purpose.

In this post, I’ll talk about the #1 decluttering myth and how you can avoid it.

The #1 myth people believe about decluttering

The most important part of decluttering is not this:

You know how it goes, decluttering makes things messier before making things neater. Use this simple method for organizing your donations to make decluttering a breeze.

Related: Read my 5 best tips to declutter your life today.

So often, we think that decluttering is only about getting rid of stuff. Sure, it feels great to see the old stuff go out the door and welcome the empty spaces it leaves behind.

But that’s missing a giant part of the equation:

Decluttering is not only about what goes out —
It’s also about what comes in.

Think about it. Let’s say you lost five pounds in October, but gained 10 pounds over the holidays. Would you say that you lost weight? No, of course not.

Even though you did technically lose five pounds, turning around and gaining ten means you ended up weighing more in the end.

The same is true for decluttering. If you get rid of a lot of things but don’t get control over what is coming in your house, you won’t achieve the lifelong results you’re hoping for.

This concept was lost on me for years. In the winter, we’d declutter and get rid of what felt like half the house only to turn around and go garage sale shopping all summer.

I’m a huge fan of garage sales as a means of saving money and getting to know your local area. But our weekly hobby of shopping at garage sales during the summer led us to buy too many things that we didn’t really need or never ended up using.

As soon as we stopped shopping at garage sales, we noticed the flow of clutter into our home greatly decrease.

Overwhelmed by clutter? Start your FREE 5 Day Decluttering Challenge!

How to stop the flow of incoming clutter

Don't fall for this! Read about the #1 decluttering myth most people believe and how to avoid it.

The truth is you have to set systems in place to cut down on clutter before it enters the front door. Ask yourself these simple questions?

  1. Is this something that I need or want?
  2. What am I going to do with this item?
  3. When am I going to use this item?
  4. Seriously, am I really actually going to use this item? Okay, when? Schedule it right now.

Be honest with yourself. Don’t buy something because you think you MIGHT use it in the future. Don’t save an item unless you know exactly when you’ll use it.

Did you know? 65% of Americans who rent a self-storage unit ALSO have a garage. 😲

So often, we don’t know the answer to these questions, so our brains go blank and we say we’ll deal with it later. That feels satisfying because it feels like you’re making a decision. In reality, you’re assuming the decision will be easier to make in the future. It won’t.

Be firm on the types of items you will and will not allow into your home. Just like everything else in life, this takes time to learn and you will make mistakes. When you do, pick up the pieces and try again…and again.

Decluttering is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Just like you can’t go to the gym one time and expect to be a world-class athlete, you can’t expect to be a decluttering expert right at the beginning.

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Don't fall for this! Read about the #1 decluttering myth most people believe and how to avoid it.

4 Comments on The most popular decluttering myth…and what to do about it

  1. This is so true! I try to declutter toys all the time but every time we take a family trip to TJ Maxx we come home with a new toy. Definitely need to work on that 🙂

  2. This was amazing! Totally related to “purging” then “restocking”!!! Only to do it again and again!!!
    Time to de clutter AND follow what you posted!!! I need to keep saying to myself…do I NEED it, will I use it more than once, and will it make life easier? Other than new bathroom rugs… can’t see a single thing that is an essential to run out shopping for!
    Thanks for reminding and re-reminding me how to stay organized with a decluttered life!

    • Glad to help, Eileen! When we lived in Wyoming (100 miles from any shopping) and this was before Amazon was a big thing, we kept a list of things we wanted to buy when we would travel to visit family. 9 times out of 10, when the time came, we no longer wanted the things we put on our list. That’s worth a try, even if you have stores right down the street!

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