Ah, clutter. The bain of our existence. When you live in a small home, clutter makes it feel smaller. There are ways to find motivation while decluttering.
What do you do when organizing and the ability to put things away (or even throw them away) doesn’t really come naturally? Can you learn to purge and grow into tidy?
It’s not easy to go through your entire home and get rid of stuff. It’s a big job and can be very overwhelming.
Here are 23 decluttering motivation tips to help you overcome the overwhelm.
Make a plan of action
Start with the end in mind. Decide what you want to accomplish when it comes to decluttering. I always start to my left when I walk into a room and then continue working all the way around until I end up at the starting point.
Set a time limit
This could be a timer on your phone for 30 minutes or an extended time like having the entire house decluttered by Christmas. Either way, giving yourself a time goal will really help with motivation.
I enjoy a timer when it comes to tasks. I have a cute little timer cube with preset minutes on each side. It’s fun and functional. Even if I spend 20 minutes in the bathroom decluttering a drawer, that’s one task to check off my list.
Knowing why you want your home free from clutter gives us a huge emotional understanding. Are you tired of being embarrassed by guests? Do you find yourself frustrated because you can’t find anything? Does the clutter in your home create clutter in your mind?
Life is stressful enough without adding a cluttered home to our list.
Dedicate the time to the project until completion. Every week, consistently spend a designated amount of time getting organized and dealing with the clutter.
Don’t give up or get distracted. Life gets busy. But even if it’s one drawer on Tuesday night after dinner or one closet on Saturday morning before soccer practice, don’t give up.
Keep track of progress
Find a way to keep track of all the tsks you have accomplished. Find a coloring sheet or make a list.
I’m very goal-oriented, so I have a big whiteboard that I list off the month’s goals. I very much enjoy the process of crossing off things on the list.
Take before and after photos and post them on Instagram or Facebook. Those memories will come up each year on Facebook to remind you how good you did. It will also remind you to do a quick declutter refresh.
Who doesn’t like presents and rewards? Treat yourself after each room has been fully decluttered. Come up with a reward system before you start. The size of the reward could be dependant on the job.
If it’s a small job like the spare room, reward yourself with a fancy frozen coffee concoction from your favorite coffee place. If it’s a big job like the garage, you might need a weekend spa getaway!
Watch Netflix and Youtube
Netflix is on a roll with a few great decluttering series. There is one with Marie Kondo and a new one with the ladies from The Home Edit. They are both so good.
Also, great Youtubers share some really valuable content great for finding the motivation to declutter. I adore Cassie from The Clutter Bug. She has a blog, too, that’s so good.
Declutter something every day
I know this might be a tough one to accomplish. It sure seems like there isn’t enough time in the day to get all the normal things done, but if your assignment for this week is in the kitchen, it could be one cupboard while you’re cooking dinner or the utensil canister on the counter.
These small tasks every day will get you closer to your goal and move you along in the decluttering game. It will also give you the motivation to keep going.
Give yourself the little wins
It is absolutely ok to get excited that you finally cleaned the catch-all coat closet after five years of telling yourself it needed to be done. Great job! Celebrate that accomplishment. Dance a little and don’t forget about the reward mentioned above.
Create big goals
Creating big goals gives you something to get excited about and work towards. Getting to witness the final product of something huge will make you proud, and you’ll want to continue.
When you have a big goal of decluttering your entire house, then you fulfill that goal, you will want to continue with the upkeep because you like how it looks and how it feels.
Plan a party
One of the biggest motivators of getting your home all spiffed up is the looming thought that there’s a party planned in a month.
We did this when my youngest graduated high school. We decided it was the perfect time to do some house updating. We were still tieing up last minute things the morning of the ceremony.
Start with the smallest space
Pick the smallest space to knock out quickly. Many times a guest bathroom can be done in an hour. This will give you the momentum to keep going. Task completion excitement is a real thing.
It’s like a snowball. Adding a little bit of snow at a time while it rolls down the hill makes that snowball bigger and bigger.
Include the whole family
The more people in your house that get involved, the faster the process goes.
I love getting rid of stuff. I have very little that I keep as sentimental items. About three boxes from my life have items from my childhood, my gramma, and my dad. That’s it. If it looks like clutter and smells like clutter, it’s gotta go.
My husband likes to keep stuff. “What if I need it someday?” is his answer. But my youngest and I are slowly converting him. He has been working very hard all summer long on his garage. It looks great, and I’m super proud of him for that.
Pretend you are moving
This is a great tip. If you were moving into a new house, would you take everything in your current house? If you don’t love it, if it doesn’t fit, or if it’s broken, get rid of it. Don’t keep it if it’s not serving a real purpose.
Another trick when you’re not sure if you want to keep it is to pack it in a box and put it in the cellar on a shelf. If in 6 months, you haven’t gone down to get anything out of the box, then donate the contents of that box.
Avoid creating more clutter
If something new comes into your home, you need to get rid of something.
This applies to the entire decluttering process and every day after.
While you are in the middle of decluttering your home, it’s best not to buy anything else. Consider a spending freeze for the time being. This includes any new organizing items.
Make due with what you have while you are living with less stuff. Just for a little while until you get a feel for what you really need.
Create a list
Create a list of all the places that you want to declutter and add specifics under each room.
Or grab a cute declutter printable from Making Lemonade.
Manifest a clutter free home
Daydream what it would be like to have a house uncluttered and organize. Imagine what it would feel like to know exactly where something is and where it goes after you’re done with it.
Feel the emotions and happiness that you might feel being there – home free. Sit with it a little while, and if you don’t get excited and find the motivation to declutter your home, keep going. It will come.
When you walk into the room on your list for the day, start with something easy. Start with your sock drawer if you are in your bedroom.
Or start with the chair in the corner. Is there a pillow and a blanket on it that make you happy, or is it covered with clothes and papers?
Start with the things that will cause you the least amount of anxiety and build from there. Start with the easy stuff.
Make it a game
Keep score. Have prizes—color in circles on a chart. Eat cake. Whatever you need to do to make getting rid of stuff the fun part.
Everyone likes to win, right?
Schedule declutter time
Schedule an appointment with yourself to declutter. Block out an amount of time on your calendar or in your phone specifically created to work on your home. Make a date. Even if it’s 15 minutes. Commit.
Enlist a buddy
Having a buddy you have partnered up with for your declutter-athon will keep you on track and productive. Accountability partners are great for every big goal you might have.
They can help you break down your goals and walk you through the overwhelm you might be feeling.
Having and being a cheerleader for someone else not only helps them but can also help you. It’s a win/win.
None of these declutter motivation hacks will do any good if you don’t start. Commit to start today, even if it means getting out some paper and writing all the things down and coming up with a plan.
This is the first step in loving your home.
Don’t forget to text your BFF and have some fun.
Final thoughts on how to find motivation when decluttering…
There is peace in the simple. Keep your surroundings clean and easy. This will give you a newfound love for your home. Getting rid of the items you no longer need or want can be a daunting task. Finding ways to motivate you, so you don’t give up are a great way to get a tough job done.
Welcome! I’m Sara. I’m a wife, mama, and grammy. My husband, two boys, Bella the dog and I have been living in a small house for 19 years. I have enjoyed every minute of organizing, decorating, and raising our boys in this little home. Follow along as we learn to simplify our small houses with big love.