Does the thought of inviting company over send you into a panic-induced crazy cleaning person? Don’t get me started on that person who says they are going to swing by the house in ten minutes, and you think, oh my goodness, they cannot come inside my house!!! I’ve been there. It drove my husband absolutely insane to watch me get so upset and overwhelmed. I had to declutter my home. I was an anxious, overwhelmed mess…all the time.
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My cluttered home made me feel like a failure
My husband always asked me, “Why do you care what other people think so much about our home?” I don’t know that it was I cared so much about what other people thought, but more that I felt like such a failure for not being able to keep up with basic cleaning tasks. General pick-up would take hours. Deep cleaning such as dusting and mopping seemed like a pipe dream, and we were running out of storage space in our home, quickly. We were even talking about getting a bigger house because all of our stuff did not fit in our current home! Our house was plenty big, so that was nuts.
A new beginning
When I decided to declutter my home, it was actually the result of a New Year’s resolution to stop buying clothes. I was spoiled really, spending way too much on things I did not need, especially clothes for my growing corporate career. After realizing how much lighter I felt from not spending money, I was inspired to do more to live with less. That’s when we decided to declutter our home, better known as “The Big Cleanout” in our house! Even if it feels like a daunting task, you too can declutter your home.
Decluttering seemed like an impossible task
I wasn’t going to try and tackle the entire house all at once. In fact, that thought made me a little crazy and even more overwhelmed. After getting started, I knew things were going to take time. They ended up taking a lot of time. I was even discouraged at times. I remember searching Google for “how long does it take to declutter an entire home” hoping for some magical timeline and magical direction to get done what needed to be done. I found no magic timeline. I found no magic checklist to declutter my home.
Books on decluttering
I did read some books, and I was inspired about how to declutter my home. I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Joshua Becker’s The More of Less. While both books were very different, they carried a similar theme. That theme was to live a life with less. More stuff does not make us happier. In fact, more stuff can be the physical drain that makes being at home stressful, not the peaceful retreat we need it to be every day.
3 secrets to declutter your home:
After months of pursuing my mission to declutter our entire home, I finally stumbled on what I think are the three best places to start. One of these places isn’t even a room, it was a new ideal I needed to embrace if I was ever going to be successful, and if was ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel for my cluttered home.
1 – Start with you.
The playroom is a mess, I get it. There are toys strewn everywhere. You can’t even walk in your kids’ rooms because you would have to first clear a path. Been there, done that. You are not alone mama.
However, if you want to make a real impact in your home, and you want to really see a difference in your family maintains your home, you have to start with you. A little tough love here for a moment. You cannot walk through your home with a garbage bag and start throwing away stuff that belongs to your family. Well…you can, but I don’t recommend it. There will be anarchy.
The biggest way to expect your family to embrace change is to first show them, leading by example. I tried the other way first. That lasted all of a day, and my family members were hurt and angry. How on earth was I going to tackle the entire house when I was fighting them on every little trinket and every little book?!
Here is the room where I recommend you start when tackling the clutter in your home:
Start with your bedroom.
If you want to set an example for your family, start in a place that should bring you absolute joy. Start by decluttering your bedroom and decluttering your closet. How amazing would it be to end a busy day in a clean, bedroom retreat? Imagine walking into your bedroom after work, or after putting the kids to bed, and your bed is made, inviting you to relax on it. Your dresser is cleared from clutter, and only a picture of your family and the most recent book you are reading occupy the space. There are no random clothes on the floor, and your closet space is no longer overflowing. In fact, you have some empty shelf space in your closet. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
But no one sees my bedroom!
Having a clean, inviting space in your home where the toys and dirty clothes don’t overrun your space is possible. You may be thinking, why oh why would I start with the one room I know my guests won’t see? Why would I declutter my bedroom first, that’s the space where I hide stuff right before company comes over? I know you. I was you.
Out of all the spaces I decluttered first, and out of all the cleaning hacks I have developed over the years, my bedroom has always been the one space that has brought me the greatest joy when decluttering my home. We don’t have a very large master bedroom, but we have a relaxing retreat.
Our house could be an absolute disaster (yes, that still happens from time to time, especially on cold, winter days when we are all kept indoors all day), but my bedroom is always clean. I’m never willing to compromise that space.
2 – Declutter the quick hit areas
Once you are done decluttering your bedroom, you will have built some momentum, but the idea of tackling the rest of the house may still seem a bit impossible. That’s ok. Divide and conquer, that’s my motto. I also want you to look for the quick wins.
Ever hear of the snowball effect?
When you start with something small, it snowballs, getting larger and larger and larger. That is what it is like when you start building momentum decluttering with the small things. Pick one area, one drawer, one shelf. It doesn’t have to be an entire room at one time. When you start small and gather your quick wins, in a week or two you will see some major wins. Pick areas you can declutter in 10 or 20 minutes or less.
Related post: 20 Areas You Can Declutter in 20 Minutes or Less
3 – Stop the inflow
One of the biggest reasons we have so much clutter is we have not figured out how to turn off the inflow of stuff. Unnecessary stuff equals clutter. Clutter eats away at our space, and more importantly at our time. You spend time cleaning and picking up clutter day after day. You spend time moving clutter around from one spot to another so you can access your space. The only guaranteed solution to clutter is not more organization and not more space. The guaranteed solution is to stop bringing in the clutter and to start living with less stuff more intentionally.
Pay attention to what clutter is taking up space in your home. How does it get there? Is it needed stuff or just things you buy for whatever reason? Is it mail you don’t need? Take an inventory of the things you are getting rid of and figure out ways to stop letting it take up precious space in your home.
Use the Declutter Your Home Starter Kit to find other things to do with your family or for yourself that brings you joy rather than going shopping for fun. Find ways to turn off the inflow of mail. Get creative with managing the plastic junk your kids bring home or the freebies that are picked up around town. You can do this. When you figure out the inflow problem, that alone will guarantee your decluttering process has started, without giving away a single thing!
Declutter Your Home Starter Kit
Don’t let clutter overwhelm you and take over your home. You don’t need to spend all your time cleaning, and you deserve more free time for yourself and with your family. You also don’t need to bust your butt and go into debt to buy a bigger house only to store stuff you really don’t want or need. There is a better way, and that is intentionally living with less. You can do this. It may seem overwhelming, but it is more than possible.
Download my free Declutter Your Home Starter Kit. Let me walk you through those first few steps so you can build the momentum you have been so wanting to achieve when you declutter your home. You’ve got this!