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7 Decluttering mistakes you may not realize you’re making and how to fix them

Are you frustrated with your decluttering efforts? Feel like it doesn’t “stick”? Have you given up hope that you’ll ever be organized once and for all? There a few key reasons that your own decluttering efforts don’t work.

Often, the people we help tell us how they have decluttered many times on their own but can’t seem to make it stick. Then they tell us what’s frustrating them and how they are close to just giving up. We routinely hear thinks like:

Our kids are the problem! Once they are gone, I’ll have my house back.

I just need a vacation where I spend time cleaning and reorganizing.

My house looks like a bomb went off. We can’t have anyone over.

No one seems to notice when things run out. I’m constantly buying milk and toilet paper!

We’ve just outgrown this house and have no room for anything.

We have lived here for years and have so much stuff. There’s no way we can do anything about it.

This is usually followed by all the ways they have tried to combat the clutter on their own. I see the same things come up regularly and will share ways to overcome them. Let’s dive in!

1. Choosing a method that doesn’t fit you

There is not a “right” way to get organized and there is no single method of decluttering that works for everyone. Chances are the book, show or expert you’re following isn’t a good fit for your situation. It should be about changing habits, not your personality. Knowing how your space should function for YOU through marking activity zones, storage, etc. is key.

2. Your family isn’t involved

One person tackling clutter and trying to organize the entire home doesn’t work long term. Without involvement from your family and the establishment of better habits, any decluttering you do will soon fail. If they don’t want to be involved, having zones and respect for boundaries is important.  

3. It’s hard and you reach a point where you say “good enough”

The emotional journey of decluttering requires you to make a lot of decisions and confront emotions around your possessions. It could bring up not-so-good thoughts about 1. The wasted money 2. Failed endeavors  3. Loss or regret  4. Reluctance to part with things just to name a few. This leads to most people calling it “done” without addressing the roadblocks. A path gets cleared, a few garbage bags get filled and its only a matter of time before things accumulate again. Don’t tackle until you’re ready.

4. Rationalizing and rule changing  

Without a written goal, your plan will quickly collapse. If you are saying things like “but I paid a lot for this”, “someone may need it”, “my mom made that”, or anything else that allows you to keep the item, you’ll quickly find the project hasn’t given you the results you need. It can be simple or complex but the plan should be realistic for you.

5. No clear plan and no goal

Its not enough to say “I have to clean this basement” you must create a goal. Do you want the basement to be a home gym, playroom, or office? Even if you just want the room organized, it has a purpose. Write it down and stick to it while sorting items.

6. Your plan is too complicated

With a written goal and action plan, sorting is just about deciding what to keep, what to toss and what to place elsewhere. If you want to give to 10 separate charities based on item type, you’ll quickly give up. You don’t need lots of complicated rules; all you need is a simple written goal and the focus to follow it through.

7. Not allowing enough time

Since this is usually a big undertaking, anything you decide to do on your own must be planned based on your energy and motivation. Work in manageable time blocks, take breaks, and give yourself enough time to complete the project.

There are many reasons clutter happens but it really represents delayed decisions. Being overwhelmed can happen quickly and defeat your efforts before you have a chance to finish if you do any of the above things. 

While we are the experts and take charge of your decluttering, the plans we design are as unique as each client and are created with a defined goal. At Neater Digs, we believe in working alongside you to teach transferable skills, so your home stays organized.  After each project, we give our clients a success worksheet with reminders and tips. We also offer accountability check-ins to make sure the systems we’ve set up continue to work.

If you’d like to know more about our proven methods and how we can do for you what we’ve done for other happy clients, give us a shout here. 

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