Category: Decluttering

5 Biggest Challenges to Decluttering and How to Solve Them

You’ve decided to declutter and organize the hardest room in your house. Maybe it’s your basement, maybe it’s your storage closet. For me, it’s the office. This is the room in the house where paperwork goes to die — I mean be filed. Sometimes it feels like the challenges to decluttering outweigh the benefits, but I have solutions.

challenges to decluttering

It’s no secret I love to organize, but that doesn’t mean that everything I have is organized or that all of my spaces are organized. It simply means I love the process of organizing and even more so I LOVE the feeling of being organized.

Ever since I made the move to work from home I knew that our office needed to be organized so that I could be more productive. Hence my 2018 SMART goal.

Now the time has come to begin and I am overwhelmed just like so many of you. In fact, I am having complete paralysis of where to start. I want to help all of us overcome this paralysis and get started on our biggest clutter challenges.

If you, like me, are struggling with where and how to start, it’s okay. You are not alone, even lovers of organization struggle sometimes.

the office: a declutter challenge

How to Overcome the Challenges to Decluttering:

Challenge: I don’t have enough time to devote to complete the project.

Solution: You are not alone. Most of us cannot dedicate an entire weekend to one organization project, and even if you could, you may not want to. The solution is to devote just 15 minutes a day to the project. I know it doesn’t seem like you can get much done in 15 minutes, but you’ll be surprised. Set a timer, turn on some music, and get to work. Stop after 15 minutes and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.


Challenge: I don’t have the space to empty everything out of the room to get started.

Solution: You don’t have to. Yes, it does seem ideal to empty out the room and slowly put only the items that you need and/or want back in. However, that’s just not feasible for most of us. Instead, you need to declutter first, which will make it look much messier at first. Then, reassemble the room in sections. Be sure you have your donation station set-up to make this process even easier.


How to Completely Organize Your Home in One Year, and not feel overwhelmed

There is no end to organizing.

I know it’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth.

Just like there is no end to cleaning or laundry or making meals. As long as you live there will always be more to do.

You will find more peace in your life the sooner you accept this as a fact.

While there is no end, it doesn’t mean we can’t strive for more organization in our lives. Says the woman who loves to organize.

organized home in 12 months

For 2018, I have decided to try a new tactic for my organizing so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. I am going to tackle one room/area each month. Some are going to take a lot less time than others, so I will plan those accordingly.


Declutter before Christmas

The holidays are coming, and it is the perfect time to declutter before Christmas. Out with the old and in with the new!

Any holiday that means gifts are coming into your house is a great time to assess what you have and what you don’t need anymore.

If you are like me, being asked what you or your children want for Christmas queues anxiety to kick in. My immediate thoughts are, what could any of us possibly need, and more importantly, where will I put all the “stuff.”

I know, I know, gift gifting at Christmas isn’t really about what we need, but what we want or what would be fun. As a person who wants to simplify her life and home, acquiring more “stuff” is the opposite of what I want.

4 things to declutter before Christmas

I know it’s not fair to my children to put my values on them. Plus both of my daughters LOVE their “stuff” and think of it all as treasures. Yes, even the ridiculous McDonald’s toys are treasured by both of them.

There is a way to find a happy medium and keep my anxiety in check – at least a little bit.

4 Things to Declutter Before Christmas

  1. Toys

Big shocker to see this one on the list. You know that new toys will be coming into your house, so it’s the perfect time to declutter toys. Have your children go through their toys and make some decisions on what they want to donate. If you have children like mine, who treasure everything, be sure to check out, “How to help a pack-rat get organized.” The tips will work great for decluttering with your children.

toy declutter before Christmas

When we declutter toys, we have the girls decide which ones they don’t play with any more. Toys that are being decluttered will be donated, sold (they get to keep the money), or put away in storage for future grandchildren. Only our absolute favorites are put away for future grandchildren and then kept in the attic.


Three Simple Solutions for Clutter

Why do you have clutter?

The million dollar question, right?

No, not really.  There is a simple answer.

You have clutter because you put off making decisions and you don’t have good systems in place.

I bet it’s not because you actually like clutter, and if it is then stop reading. You don’t need my help.

Think about it.

That pile of papers and miscellaneous items in your kitchen, what is all that?

I bet it is all papers that you put there because you didn’t know what to do with them.

Maybe some require action be taken, and you didn’t have time to do the action right away. Maybe some you weren’t sure if you should keep and others, well, you simply got distracted. You set them down and never returned to figure out what they were or where they were going.

If you are not a successful minimalist – and I argue some of them still struggle too – you will always have clutter.

It is what and how you deal with the clutter that will determine how messy and unorganized your home is.


Set Up a Donation and Resale Station

Every home should have a donation and possibly resale station.


Because every home has excess stuff that needs to be dealt with.

No matter how often we declutter our homes and donate items, it is a never-ending process.

There will always be things your family “outgrows,” whether it is clothes, toys or items around the house. Our tastes and needs change over time.

The sooner you recognize and accept this, the sooner you deal with your household clutter.

You need to set up a donation/resale station in your home.

This is a spot where all items that you are donating or selling (varage sale, Craigslist, LetGo, eBay, etc.) are stored.

Technically, it is probably two separate areas: one for donations and one for items you are selling.

Some of you may decide that it is not worth it for you to sell items and you just want them out of your house as fast as you can. Another factor in determining whether you should have a resale station is the amount of free space you have in your home.


Declutter Challenge Recap

declutter challenge wrap-up


You have made it 46 days, decluttered 460 items (or more) and spent 460 minutes give or take reclaiming your home.

How are you feeling?

I know I am feeling rejuvenated from all this purging. It’s like a huge weight off my shoulders.

However, whenever I complete some sort of challenge or training program I always feel a little lost when it’s over. There is no longer someone or something telling me what to do and when to do it. I know this feeling well (it happens after every single half marathon I train for) and it becomes all too easy to lose the momentum we had going.

before declutter pic     kid drawer after pic


The pictures above show one of our drawers that we decluttered. I was able to eliminate and move enough things to turn this drawer into a kid friendly drawer. It now holds the kid size cups, bowls, etc. The best part about it is that it’s a bottom drawer so now even Amelia can get the items for herself.

before declutter pic
Utensil drawer before. It was hard to find anything in there.
after declutter pic
After decluttering (we eliminated at least 2 dozen utensils and gadgets) we moved items into two separate drawers. It is so much easier to find things now.

I don’t want you to slip into your old ways.

You have come too far to go back now, and 46 days later you have developed a great habit that takes just 10 minutes out of your busy day. Capitalize on this momentum and keep going.


Why Declutter?

What is your why?

There is some reason you decided you needed to declutter your home?

It is important to remember that why as we enter our final week of the Declutter Challenge.

Were you sick and tired of the overflowing drawer of utensils, half of which you have never used?

Was it because you realized you really didn’t need more storage containers, you just needed less stuff to store?

Were you overwhelmed by the piles of stuff in your living room, bedroom, and kitchen?

Whatever the reason, it pushed you to the point of making change.

It hasn’t been easy change, but it’s been worthwhile.

So far you have removed over 400 items from your home. That is 400 fewer items you have to clean around, organize, or decide what to do with.

By eliminating just 400 of the thousands and thousands of items in your home you have simplified your life in countless ways.

For instance, in my house, I decluttered quite a few clothes. Now choosing what to wear in the morning is much easier. I got rid of a lot of utensils in our kitchen we didn’t use, which makes it much faster to find the ones I do need when I’m cooking.

The less stuff you have the fewer decisions you have to make.

Hopefully, this will allow you to make it through the day with your willpower intact and encountering decision fatigue less. You should have more time back in your life to enjoy the things you want to do.

A quote (source unknown) I saw that I love is,

“minimalism is not about having less, it’s about making room for more of what matters.”

My “why” for decluttering is my time. I’m making room for my time because time is finite. I want more of my time to be spent on things I enjoy and not on cleaning, organizing, and sorting a bunch of “stuff.”

When my daughters ask me to sit and do a puzzle or go to the park I want to say yes. I don’t want to be overwhelmed by my stuff and the amount of work I have to do to keep up with my stuff.

What is your why?

Declutter Challenge Week 5

340 items

Your house should have at least 340 less items in it than it did on February 28.

Are you feeling a big weight lifting off your shoulders?
Are you feeling energized or overwhelmed by this process of decluttering?

It is completely normal to feel either or both at times. The process of removing things from both your home and your life can be physically and mentally draining.

One of the reasons that I suggest spending just 10 minutes each day decluttering is because that is a manageable chunk of time. If you spend too much time, you will encounter decision fatigue. Your willpower gets weaker the more decisions you are asked to make.

Have you ever noticed that at the end of the day it’s harder for you to make good decisions?

This is probably the time of day that you are most likely to cheat on your new diet plan or sit down and veg out in front of the TV.

You have been making decisions all day and your body and brain are just down right tired by the end of the day.


New places to declutter in your home

Congratulations, you’ve made it over halfway through the Lenten Declutter Challenge.

28 days are completed and only 18 to go.

For some of you the process is getting easier with each day. For others it’s becoming more challenging, because you don’t know how much more you can get purge.

Maybe you feel like you’ve decluttered everything you possibly can. If that’s the case, then you were probably living a very simplified life before this challenge started. I bet you if you really dig deep you can still complete this challenge.

For me it is getting harder each day to find more places to declutter. I want less stuff, but not so few things that I could live in one of those “tiny houses” that seem to be so popular with extreme minimalists these days.

I’m hoping that at this point you are seeing some major progress which is motivating you to keep going.

I have heard from several people that they have already decluttered 460 items, but are still going. (Mom and Dad!)

Great job!

For those of you that are struggling with what to declutter next consider these areas:

  • Dresser drawers and closets (I have revisited my dressers and closet two separate times to really simplify) (Do you need 14 old t-shirts?)
  • Kitchen utensils (Do you really need two pizza cutters? How about the broken spatula)
  • Junk drawer (I bet you can find at least 20 items in there you can get rid of)
  • Jewelry box (There are probably items in there you didn’t even know you still had- I found 3 watches and I don’t even wear one anymore)
  • Kitchen cupboards (Make sure all of your Tupperware has a bottom and lid. If it doesn’t it’s time to get rid of it. Do you really need that many cups and coffee cups?)
  • Garage (As the weather starts to get warmer it’s a great time to pull things out of the garage and do some purging)

I’m certain you have come across some items that have a lot of memories, but you don’t necessarily need to keep the item. I have run in quite a few races in the past few years and most of the shirts are very nice; however, how many dry-wick short sleeve or long sleeve shirts does one person need?

For me I wanted to remember the race so I took a picture of each of the shirts and then donated the shirts. Now I can put the picture of the shirt in my scrapbook and remember that race day fondly (or not so fondly depending on the race).

Megan's running shirts
Four of my running shirts that I donated after taking this picture
Cassidy is my very nostalgic child who would like us to keep absolutely everything she has ever done in school.

She is certain she will look back at it all when she is grown up. In fact she has looked back at the storage totes of her preschool-1st grade item several times. She loves these little trips down memory lane.

Getting rid of things in her room can be challenging; however, when I suggested we take a picture of her with some of the things she liked, but didn’t need to necessarily keep, she loved the idea.

Cassidy's items
A few of the items Cassidy threw away after getting her picture taken with them

What type of things are you holding on to in your house that a picture would suffice?


Take some times this week to find a new area to declutter. Perhaps you need to explore the ones I suggested above. Remember you’re over halfway done with this challenge. If you have been making your trips to the donation center and selling items, then you are probably feeling the freedom from stuff.


To date we’ve taken two car loads of stuff to our donation center and we’ve made $55 on items we’ve sold on Varage Sale.

Declutter Buddy

21 days.

Studies show that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

CONGRATULATIONS you’ve formed a new habit: Spending 10 minutes every day decluttering.

Tip for Week 3: Find a Declutter Buddy

If you haven’t already, it’s time to find a declutter buddy.

Who: your buddy could be a friend or a family member.

Where: They could live in your house, in your town or across the world from you.

What: You will check in with each other, motivate each other, share stories with each other, challenge each other to keep going and dig deep when you’re struggling to part with things.

Sometimes we just need someone else to push us. This may just be the one thing that leads to yoru success in decluttering.

My declutter buddy has actually been my 7 year old daughter. In her room I’m usually the one holding things up while she decides whether it stays or goes and in my spaces she encourages me and challenges me to do just a little bit more.  Remember she’s the one that challenged me to not count things that are getting thrown away.

Many days we’ve actually gotten a day or two ahead because she’s so motivated to keep going.

It’s awesome to watch her go through her things and really debate whether they are worth holding on to or not. As we were working in her room one day she said,

“Oh no, my pack rattiness is coming back. Do you see all that stuff in my room?”

Of course I had, but I was amazed that she had too!

It’s not too late to encourage a friend to start this challenge. You may just be the push they need to start decluttering in their own lives.

Think about the weight that is being lifted off your shoulders as you get rid of things.

Don’t you think others deserve that feeling too?


If you don’t have a buddy yet, or even if you do, join us over on Facebook to share how it’s going.

It’s most important taht we inspire each other to get through the second half of this journey.