Inside: Sick of the clutter? Here are the 5 things you should know if you’re overwhelmed by a messy house and don’t know where to start decluttering.
I have a bone to pick with the home organization industry. They shout “buy these products!” and “follow these hacks!” making it seems like a clean home is just the flick of a wrist away.
That’s a problem.
You see, for most people, we don’t need a strategy or a decluttering method, and we most certainly don’t need another plastic organizer.
That’s because clutter isn’t the problem. Rather our thoughts and feelings that make our homes cluttered in the first place — that’s the problem.
You can go around your whole life trying the next best organization hack, but fail every time.
Why? Because hacks and tricks don’t address the deep root of why we hold onto clutter.
In this post, I’m going to share the 5 things I wish I knew when I was overwhelmed by a messy house.
#1: A Messy House Is Just That — a House That Is Messy
When I was in the thick of being overwhelmed by a messy house, we lived in chaos.
The counter and sink were covered in dirty dishes. Every flat surface was covered by books, video games, and yet to be paid bills. Dog fur rolled across the floor like tumbleweeds in the Wild West.
My friends had somehow figured out how to keep a clean house with homecooked dinners, all while working full time jobs and raising young kids. Meanwhile, I was struggling to remember to move the wet laundry over to the dryer before it started to stink.
But worse than the state of my home was how I felt about myself. I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought my house being messy meant I would never be successful in life.
Let me tell you:
Being overwhelmed by a messy house doesn’t mean you’re lazy or that you don’t care.
A messy house is just that — a house that is messy. It’s a reflection of your habits. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that habits can change, and I’m here to help you.
You know those people that “have it all together”? They’re not any better than you. They’ve just been taught the habits to keep an organized home.
Habits are not a natural talent than we’re born with; they’re something that are taught. And if those super organized people can learn the habits to keep a clean home, you can too.
#2: You Are Worthy
A lot of people, especially moms, tend to base their self worth on external factors.
“My house isn’t clean enough.” — “I’m not skinny enough” — “I’m not pretty enough.”
All of these phrases translate into meaning we’re not worthy as human beings.
But here’s the thing…
You are worthy because you are worthy.
You don’t have to do anything to prove your worthiness as a human being. You are worthy just because you are.
Being overwhelmed by a messy house doesn’t mean you’re less valuable. And the opposite is true: having a sparkling clean house doesn’t mean you’re any better.
You don’t have to declutter your life to prove that you’re valuable…you already are. ❤️
#3: It’s Not About the Strategy
Let’s be honest. Decluttering isn’t hard. You can read all the decluttering books (I did) and watch before and after videos all day long (did that) and still not feel any closer to having a decluttered home (that was me! 🙋♀️)
There is a fundamental issue with pretty much every decluttering strategy out there.
Everyone wants to tell you the how…that’s the easy part. You pick up an item and ask yourself if you should keep it or not.
You know what the problem with this is? It doesn’t address the emotional baggage that often comes with living in a messy house.
I truly believe that most people overwhelmed by a messy house didn’t get there because they’re lazy and just don’t care.
But rather, there’s something psychological going on that makes it so hard to part with clutter. I’m not a psychologist or therapist, but based on my experience, here are some of the reasons it’s so hard to get rid of clutter:
- Difficulty making decisions
- Guilt with throwing things in a landfill
- Giving up the dream of what you were going to do with that item
You don’t need a decluttering method. You’re stinkin’ smart and can figure out the how of decluttering.
What most people struggle with is the underlying emotions of what it means to get rid of clutter.
I used to keep things that were broken beyond repair because I felt so guilty sending them to the landfill. Eventually, I realized that my house was not a landfill and I deserved much better.
Instead of only considering the landfill when it comes to the decluttering phase, I realized that my choices needed to change on the front end. I learned to focus on good quality items that are less likely to break in a short amount of time.
Learn more: 4 reasons the KonMari Method doesn’t work
#4: Give Yourself Grace
In the last five years, I have decluttered my whole house (several times) but it wasn’t until recently that I realized I would never happy until I learned to embrace imperfection.
Our brains like to have black or white scenarios and have difficulty when the situation is complex.
You can be content with your messy home, but still strive to get organized.
You can have fun and be nice to yourself, even if it’s “gotten this bad”.
You can be grateful with your life, even if there are things you want to change.
It got to a point in my decluttering journey, when the house looked pretty dang clean, yet the thoughts in my head still told me I wasn’t doing enough.
Give yourself grace. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by a messy house because you’re raising young kids. Maybe you’re recovering from an illness or injury. Or maybe you were never taught the habits to keep a clean and organized home.
Give yourself some dang grace! You’re doing a great job!
I get emails all the time from women who are so stinkin’ down on themselves because they’re not living up to a standard of perfection.
Instead of berating yourself for the state of your home, practice giving yourself a pat on the back every time you do something good (even if it’s it’s tiny.)
Give yourself grace!
#5: Focus on Progress, Not Perfection
If I was into face tattoos, I’d get this phrase tattooed on my forehead backwards so I would see it every morning when I looked in the mirror.
Perfection is a myth; it doesn’t exist.
So when you shoot for perfection, you will fail every. single. time.
You will see more progress if you take one tiny step every single day (or most days) for a year, than if you work for 3 hours but give up before you finish.
I’m going to be honest with you. Decluttering stinks. It’s not fun, but it’s so worth it. Anyone who makes it seem like you can declutter your entire house in 30 days is lying. Either that, or they didn’t really have a cluttered home to begin with.
Focus on progress, not perfection.
When you focus on perfection, no matter how hard you work, you’ll never be happy. The negative voice in your head will keep berating you for what you haven’t done, and you’re more likely to give up before you see any serious progress.
On the other hand, when you focus on progress, you learn to celebrate every step forward. And when you do that, you feel good about yourself and find the motivation to declutter bigger and bigger projects.
Got rid of some old magazines junking up your coffee table? Boom! Pat yourself on the back.
Flattened and recycled all the Amazon boxes that cluttered up your entryway? Woohoo! Do a little happy dance.
Threw out some expired food in the pantry? Yay! You’re making forward progress.
Do you see how good it feels to celebrate yourself for every step forward?
Focus on progress, not perfection.
Don’t Leave Empty Handed!
You’ve made it this far, so I can tell you’re committed to changing your life and taking steps towards a home you love.
Listen, if I had a penny for every time I was overwhelmed by a messy house, I’d take those pennies to the bank and exchange them for dollars. 😉
I don’t want to leave you empty handed, so I created this free decluttering checklist to get you started.
I know you’re busy and often exhausted at the end of the day, so a decluttering checklist is a great way to declutter in less than 15 minutes a day.
Click the big orange button below to grab that!