Getting rid of stuff is hard and some mistakes make it even harder. Check out which de cluttering mistakes you’re probably making and some simple tips for avoiding them.
De cluttering is a hot topic these days and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. it’s a journey, and like any other journey, it’s a lot easier if you can avoid some of the most common pit falls.
So today you get to learn from others decluttering mistakes! I’m sharing the de cluttering mistakes a “friend” has made and how you can avoid making the same mistakes too.
What de cluttering isn’t.
Dictionary.com defines clutter as: Removing a mess or clutter from a place. De cluttering is not synonymous with simple living or minimalism. It’s possible to de clutter with out getting rid of everything.
Decluttering can get confusing because you have Joshua Becker teaching about becoming minimalist, Marie Kondo coaching people through the Kon Mari method of Tidying up, and everything simple living and decluttering inbetween.
I’m a huge fan of the de cluttering, but I don’t claim to lean toward a simple living or minimalist mind set. Truth be told, I just hate to dust and clean, but I love a clean home.
I’m also a bit lazy, so having fewer things makes it quicker to dust and clean my home, and easier to avoid some common cleaning mistakes. To that end, I’m always looking for ways to make de cluttering and cleaning easier.
Here are some of the top de cluttering mistakes people make (in no particular order) and how you can avoid them.
1 Start a major de cluttering project with out a plan.
How to avoid decluttering with out a plan.
Set yourself up for success and create a de cluttering plan that keeps you working through a room in a logical pattern. Break the room into separate sections or tasks so you have starting and stopping points incase you’re interrupted during the process.
Always start with the quick de cluttering wins. To help you gain momentum and get you into the de cluttering mind set before you tackle the bigger tougher areas.
2 Not using a sorting system while de cluttering.
Whether you’re doing a quick de clutter or tackling an entire room, leaving the room to put stuff away is a huge decluttering mistake and a sure fire way to get distracted, which will ultimately derail you’re decluttering session.
You need to stay focused on the task at hand.
How to avoid the sorting system mistake.
Set up a sorting system before tackling your decluttering project. One of the most widely used is the 4 box method. Where you label 4 boxes as follows: Trash, put away, donate/sell. and store.
I use the 4 box method but instead of just boxes, I use a garbage can for the trash, a large storage basket for the collecting the put away items, a card board box for the donate/sell stuff, and a clear platic storage bin for the store items.
3 Hanging on to donate/sell items too long.
One of the secrets to decluttering success is getting the items out of your house quickly and permanently.
Setting them in the garage in a box waiting to take them to a donation station or have a garage sale is not decluttering, it’s rearranging.
It’s also hazardous to your progress because it gives you the chance to bring the items back into the house.
How to avoid keeping clutter too long.
Get rid of things immediately or make sure it’s scheduled in the very near future.
If your donating things to a charity, put the boxes in your car to drop off the next day. Don’t put them in the trunk and forget about them.
Place a sticky note by the speedometer of your car, and a not on your bathroom mirror so you remember to leave some extra time in your schedule the next day.
If your planning a garage sale, box similar items together, then tape the boxes closed and write the likely date of the garage sale on them. If the date has passed and you don’t have a sale coming soon, just drop the boxes at a donation station.
4 Trying to organize before de cluttering.
This is one of the most common de cluttering mistakes I see. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard somebody say “i’m so excited to start my de cluttering, I stopped by the dollar tree and bought all these amazing baskets.
If you already bought storage baskets, you’re not decluttering, you’re organizing your clutter.
How to prevent organizing instead of de cluttering mistake.
STOP – Do not buy ANY organizing baskets!
You can’t possible know what types, shapes, and sizes of baskets you’ll need until you have a clearer picture of what you actually need to organize.
Remove the clutter first, place your things in the area you want them, then live with it for a bit before you create an organizing plan and start buying organizing baskets or systems.
5 Trying to de clutter everything all at once.
De cluttering is a process, and a very tough one if it isn’t one of your regular habits. Trying to do it all at once will lead to frustration and overwhelm and can be the one blunder that makes you hate de cluttering altogether.
How to stop trying to de clutter all at once.
When creating your de cluttering plan, break things into sections, then schedule them out. If you have a full day to devote to de cluttering, divide everything into 20-30 minute increments with 5-10 minute breaks in between.
6 Getting wrapped up in the sentimental items.
Get ready, because this ones a biggy! Sentimental items that you have emotional attachment to will be one of the biggest de cluttering road blocks you’ll face. They will be the items that over whelm you the most and stop you dead in your tracks.
Sentimental items will be the ones that cause you to stop de cluttering completely or keep you from getting started at all. They can also have a deep emotional effect.
How to avoid the sentimental de cluttering mistake.
Leave sentimental items for last.
When you begin your de cluttering journey one of the best things you can do is build momentum with quick wins. If you leave the sentimental items for last, you’ll have more of a de cluttering mind set and will be more equipped to deal with and de clutter the sentimental things.
7 Attaching a monetary value to your clutter.
I used to be super guilty of the de cluttering misstep. It’s human nature to associate the purchase price of an item when you start considering disposing of it. This makes it particularly difficult to part with expensive items even if you no longer use them. And they’re just in your way.
How to avoid the money trap.
Change your mindset! Instead of thinking about the money you spent on it, think about the money your wasting by storing it.
Come to terms with the fact that the money was gone the minute you made the purchase. The only monetary value the item has now is the money it’s costing you to store it in your house.
8 Keeping things just in case.
You hang on to things “just in case” you need them.
I think the only people not guilty of this mistake are the truly extreme minimalists. Not a minimalist? I’ll bet you can ;look around the room you’re currently in and spy at least one thing thing you’re keeping just in case you need it.
Can you say new clothes? This is one of the most obvious examples and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m super guilty.
I have a clear plastic storage bin with 5 pairs of jeans, 5 pairs of shorts, and 12 blouses tucked under my bed waiting for the day they fir again.
And that takes progress. I actually started out with 3 full hanging racks in an extra bedroom that I turned into a walk in closet. I de cluttered that room 3 months ago and got rid of a bunch of those clothes that I don’t think I’ll ware again.
In another 3 months, my plan is to get rid of the rest. If I manage to fir into those sizes again, I certainly deserve some new clothes.
How to avoid the just in case de cluttering mistake.
This is another mind set thing. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, just in case isn’t likely to come in a timely manner.
Think about the item and what you might need for it. Identify how often that’s likely to occur. Figure out if you have something else you could use in its place, or is there some way you could rent or borrow, if you do happen to need it.
9 Not starting with the room bothering you the most.
I’m all about quick wins, but if you de clutter a drawer in the bathroom and what bothers you the ost is the kitchen counter, chances are the joy and momentum of your accomplishment will be short lived once you walk into the kitchen and see the same old mountain of clutter.
Most people need to see positive progress to stay motivated and on task. I know I certainly do.
How to avoid the easy way out mistake.
Start with the room that bothers you the most, but make sure you break it into manageable tasks. If the thorn in your side is those kitchen counters I mentioned, start with those to make the biggest and quickest impact and get your quick win there.
10 De cluttering other peoples stuff.
Want to start an argument or fast track your frustration, this miscalculation will get you ther fast. Just try to declutter somebody elses stuff and let me know how that goes for you.
You can’t make those “keep or toss” decisions for somebody else. At least not with out consequences.
These are personal decisions and reguardless of what they say, people have hung onto things for a reason. They need to work through those reasons.
How to avoid de cluttering other peoples stuff.
Offer to help them, encourage them to de clutter, but don’t force them or do it for them.
Helping can be as simple as sitting there and keeping them company while they’re sorting thru things. It can also be as complicated as helping them deal with some pretty deep and raw emotions with each item.
I do make one exception to this. Clutter from the loss of a loved one. Don’t ever do it with out consent, but if someone asks you to take care of it, don’t hesitate.
Sometimes that kind of clutter keeps a person neck deep in their grief. If you find yourself helping with this, I suggest boxing the things yp, taping the boxes shut, and placing them in the garage.
After a predetermined period of time, donate those boxes with out revisiting whats inside of them.
11 Not maintaining the clutter free state.
De cluttering is a process and needs to be maintained. Don’t just de clutter once and think that you’re finished. That’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.
Clutter will re appear and continue to collect until you create, and stick to a system for preventing it.
How to avoid letting clutter pile up again.
Create new habits that keep clutter at bay. Create systems for dealing with and preventing clutter.
If the mail always piles up on the kitchen counter, create a command center system for dealing with it as it comes into the bhouse.
Ensure your success by avoiding common de cluttering mistakes.
Before you begin any de cluttering project, set your self up for success by avoiding some of these common de cluttering mistakes.
Create a plan and sorting system to move you through the precess. Make sure that plan includes how and when you’ll dispose of de cluttering items, what you’ll do when you get stuck associating a cost to things, getting sentimental, or just in case.
Start with the room that is bothering you the most, don’t make the mistake of de cluttering somebody elses stuff.
Adopt some new habits to help you maintain your new clutter free state.
What de cluttering mistakes are you making that I didn’t include here?
Leave a comment below and share any de cluttering mistakes I might have missed and you go about avoiding them.