Decluttering mistakes to avoid!

decluttering mistakes
decluttering mistakes

Today instead of giving you additional organising and decluttering tips and strategies, I thought it be helpful to tell you the most common decluttering mistakes and how to avoid them!

it's all about what not to do!

This blog has LOTS of articles about decluttering. There’s a 30 day free challenge, and even an eBook that dives into the detail about how to get started. BUT…

…it’s always the ‘what TO do’ that we are told about. So today I wanted to address what NOT to do.

Even if you are following all of the ‘to dos’, you may still be doing some of the ‘do nots’ which will really hurt your decluttering efforts. Being aware of the pitfalls is vital!

So, next time you’re getting rid of clutter in your own home – think about the following things:

Trying to do too much at once

Ever started decluttering and ended up with a room that looked like a tornado hit? This is very common for new declutterers!

While it’s true that things have to get worse before they get better, it’s possible to minimise the mess along the way.

Do not set aside an ENTIRE day to declutter your WHOLE house. Very few people have the energy and/or focus to spend 8 hours on this. You’ll likely become frustrated and less efficient as the day progresses. In order to keep the motivation going, break things down into 30 mins or 1 hour slots and tackle small areas one at a time e.g the linen closet.

You have to pace yourself! Slow and steady is the way forward.

Not having a plan

When you start decluttering it’s really tempting to go in all guns blazing! However, when you are doing filling your bin bags up, you wonder why the house STILL doesn’t work for you, and why there is still ‘stuff’ everywhere…

Actually, what you are doing is just getting rid of the obvious rubbish, and things that are still clutter (items that are in the wrong place in your home) are left where they are. 

Take time up front to make a plan of who is doing what, where are the priorities, when you plan to do it, what things go where etc. Having this plan in place will make it much easier to start off on the right foot. You can use our guide  HERE to help you plan your attack!

Decluttering other people's stuff without permission

The truth is, it’s a lot easier to see other people’s messes than it is to acknowledge our own. But it’s actually much easier to deal with our own things. Plus, it shows respect for your loved ones even if they don’t agree with your position.

Focus on your own possessions or common areas first. The positive effect it will have on your home and family will become infectious and more than likely the reluctant family members will join in!

dont get sidetracked!

You start getting rid of clutter in your lounge and then you come across a jumper that needs to be put away in your wardrobe. As you walk upstairs you come across the kids shoes which need to go to the cloakroom…. and repeat…..

You get so carried away that you return to the lounge (exhausted!) and realise it still needs to be decluttered! 

So my trick is to use my favourite baskets. I place my basket just outside the room and anything that does not belong in there, goes in the basket.

Once you have finished decluttering, take the items to the correct room – this will help you maintain your focus!

Declutter, Organise, Buy... in that order!

A lot of people make the mistake of starting to organise before decluttering. DO NOT do this. Yes it may make things look neat and tidy for a while – but not for long. Organising is not decluttering – the common misconception is that they are the same thing. 

Decluttering is simply getting through all your items and working out what you do and don’t need any longer.

Organising is the next step – where you can see what you have, and decide on the best way to keep it.

Don’t buy organising items before you declutter because chances are you’re adding to the clutter. You don’t know what you’ll need to store, and where…

The 'one day' or 'just in case' items....

As you are decluttering you will always try and find a reason to keep things. The most popular are:

  1. What if I need that some day? (despite it being in the cupboard unknown for a few years!)
  2. One day I will do this candle making kit….

Keeping things just in case is a huge downfall of successful decluttering. One way to stop this is to take a pause and ask yourself these questions: 

  1. What’s the worst that would happen if I got rid of this right now?
  2. Could I borrow/rent this item if I need it in the future?
  3. Is the space used to store this item really worth keeping it?

If you are wavering and are unsure, then chances are that it’s something you feel you SHOULD keep rather than something you really NEED to keep. Be realistic. 

complete each task fully

Once you have decided where something is going to go — take it there. Never keep bags for charity or boxes for friends in your home to deliver later. Do it now. Take the bags and boxes out to the trash or recycling immediately. Even if you need to travel somewhere to deposit them, put them in your car boot so you remember to drop it off when you are next in your car.

decluttering mistakes

We don't live in showhomes

Very few people have homes that resemble those in the Next catalogue (oh how I would love that…!)

They may look great but it needs to be a space that is used by actual human beings. You will ultimately be disappointed if perfection is your goal. The goal is to set up a space that works well for you and your familys needs. 

Also take on board that while you have created a new system and style for your home, you should expect regular upkeep as always. But just be glad that the new system is far more efficient than the old one!

Have you ever made any of these mistakes? Got any other ones to add to the list?

Free 5 Step Guide to Decluttering Your Home!

Many people enjoy decluttering because it relieves stress by providing a sense of control and accomplishment. For others, getting rid of the junk frees up a little extra space in the house that wasn’t there before. Some people may just need to purge before they move to a new house. Whatever your reason for decluttering your home, our guide will help you through the process.

Simple Joy was founded by Hayley Forster, a Professional Organiser & Stress Management Coach. Hayley is an advocate of intentional living, with a passion in helping others simplify their lives in order to find their ideal lifestyle full of contentment, creativity and authenticity!

  • Meg
    March 22, 2018

    I use the basket trick all the time, even just for normal tidying. I will take a quick walk around the house and put anything that doesn’t belong in the basket, then I go out everything away.

    • SimpleAdmin
      March 27, 2018

      I love my baskets! Absolute life savers!

  • Laura | The Yellow Birdhouse
    March 23, 2018

    I’m so bad for getting rid of my husband’s stuff and not dealing with my own! And I definitely keep stuff ‘just in case’.

    • SimpleAdmin
      Laura | The Yellow Birdhouse
      March 27, 2018

      these are very common things! Dont worry

  • Julie
    March 23, 2018

    Most of the time I’ll declutter and reorganize at the same time. For the most part, certain areas of my home is already organized, it just need to be tidied up a little bit. With three girls, it’s easier to take only few things out at a time. Plus I don’t want my toddler to dig into anything she shouldn’t.

  • Kristin's Peppermints and Cherries
    March 23, 2018

    This post hits the nail on the head! I try to declutter every few months. With children, it’s a needful process! I think it’s important to start with a clean house and then declutter. That way it feels like the decluttering space is in disarray, but the rest of the house is tidy… until tomorrow at least. 😉

    • SimpleAdmin
      Kristin’s Peppermints and Cherries
      March 27, 2018

      Great tip! Making it easier for yourself will make it easier to maintain

  • Holly @ Granola on the Side
    March 23, 2018

    These are great tips. Thank you so much for this information. That is so helpful.

    • SimpleAdmin
      Holly @ Granola on the Side
      March 27, 2018

      thank you so much! So pleased you found it useful for you

  • Brandi Michel
    March 24, 2018

    “Organising is not decluttering”… Thanks for clearing that up for me! Lol I thought it was the same thing. That makes a lot of sense though. Great, great post!

    • SimpleAdmin
      Brandi Michel
      March 27, 2018

      I am so pleased you found this useful!

  • Lesly Birkland
    March 24, 2018

    Awesome tips! I love a good declutter day but I always end up burnt out and half down by the end of the day. These tips will ensure that doesn’t happen again!

    • SimpleAdmin
      Lesly Birkland
      March 27, 2018

      Good luck!!

  • Lisa
    March 25, 2018

    I did number one the first time I tried decluttering and it was a HUGE mistake. I got so overwhelmed and decided living intentionally just wasn’t my thing. Fast forward to today, and I constantly declutter and make sure that whatever comes into my home has a place and a purpose.
    Lisa Villaume | Lifestyle, Inspiration, Minimalism

    • SimpleAdmin
      March 27, 2018

      I am so pleased it didn’t put you off permanently Lisa! Well done you

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