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How to Declutter When Overwhelmed

How to Declutter When Overwhelmed

I’ve gathered some tips and tricks to help you know how to declutter when overwhelmed.

If you read my post last week called Facing the Clutter in that One Dreaded Room, you know I’ve been busy decluttering around here, and honestly was quite overwhelmed when facing my own clutter. I talked about how we cleared out the study (that had become a storage room) and put all clutter in one area upstairs.

I purposefully transferred all clutter to an area where I could not close a door or drawer and ignore it. It is in our upstairs landing area, a place that I must walk through to get to my bedroom. I can’t stand seeing it every day, so I have been very motivated to chip away at the clutter.

In the process of dealing with my own clutter, have gathered some tips and tricks to help you declutter when you are feeling overwhelmed, too.

How to Declutter When Overwhelmed

 

~Just start. There is no system or checklist that is going to do the work for you. You have to just start.

 

~Don’t be an overthinker. If you think too much, you will be paralyzed and get nothing done. This is when procrastination happens. Stop analyzing and just get busy!

 

~Clear out a small space, then keep plugging away at the rest. Think progress, not perfection.

 

~Have bins/boxes and black yard waste bags all ready to grab and use.

 

~Use black yard waste bags. You can’t see inside the bags so you won’t second guess or retrieve, and neither will your kids! I have one kid that is notorious for searching through my donate bags.

 

~Use these 3 things:

  1. Keep Box or Bin
  2. Donate Bag
  3. Trash Bag

*Notice I did not include a ‘Sell’ box. This has tripped me up too many times. I end up keeping clutter thinking I’m going to sell it, which just creates more work and does not help me embrace simplicity. No more ‘sell’ box for me. It all goes to the ‘donate’ box.

Cube Timer- Great for decluttering!

{My FAVORITE timer. Click here to buy on Amazon}

~Set timer 15, 30 or 60 minutes. You choose. When the timer goes off, go make yourself a cup of tea. Then repeat or give it another go the next day. Pace yourself.

 

~ Find trash first. Scan the area and get rid of obvious trash. When trash bag gets full, take out the trash and keep going. Only use one trash bag for trash at a time. 

 

~Start with easy decisions–the easiest being gather obvious trash. Make harder decisions, like what projects to keep and finish or what sentimental items to donate, for later. Set them aside and move on to something else.

 

~Self-talk is important. When you feel overwhelmed, change your thoughts. A ‘can-do’ attitude makes a difference!

“I can do this.” 

“I don’t have to do it all now.”

“A little bit every day will get the job done.”

“I will be amazed at what I can achieve in a short time”

“One session done quickly will add up to a finished room in time.”

“My worst room might just become my best!”

These type of thoughts will lift your spirits and help you get the job done.

 

~Those items that are hard to let go? A helpful way to think about them is, “Am I holding onto someone else’s blessing?” Just because something has value does not mean you need to hold onto it. It could bless someone else.

 

~Use the 20/20 rule. This is a great tactic I’ve read about. If you can replace it for under $20 within 20 minutes, don’t keep it just because “WHAT IF I need it in the future?” Many things that are hard to part with can be found at your local thrift store, less than 20 minutes away and less than $20. So let it go, because if you truly need it in the future (you most likely won’t) you can get it in 20/$20!

 

~Take the ‘donate’ bag right to the car when full, and replace with a new bag. Doing this with both donate bags and trash bags will keep your area clear and you will see progress quicker, which will reward and motivate you. This tip is key for me! It is so motivating to see the area I am working on getting more and more clear as I take out the bags. It is so rewarding!

 

~Go through the ‘keep’ box as it fills up. If you find duplicate items or if one item replaces another, get it right to the donate bag. Put items you want to keep into ‘like with like’ piles.

 

~Ask a friend to help. Have them be the one to put things in ‘like with like’ piles, while you move quickly and take the items from the piles to their home.

 

~Make it fun. Play music or listen to a favorite podcast.

 

~Be ok with stopping but make sure you pick it back up the following day. A little each day and you will get it done!

 


How about you?

Do you have a dreaded room that needs decluttered and that is overwhelming?

Do this tips resonate with you? If so which one?

Please share your favorite decluttering tips!

  • Anne Koehler September 19, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I like the idea of putting all my clutter where I can see it not behind a closed door! Also just start and don’t over think it?

    • AmyNewNostalgia September 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Yes! Love that encouragement…to simply do it and don’t think too much. Great advice…overthinking makes me pause and often get stuck!

  • REK981 September 19, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I am going to use these tips in my closets. One at a time. Thanks!!

    • AmyNewNostalgia September 25, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Yes! One at a time. Saturday I set my timer and would declutter for 15 minutes, then reward myself with reading a novel for 20 minutes. I did that all day long and had the BEST most productive buy lazy day! (My teens were all busy so didn’t have kid distractions) Baby steps work, one at a time.

  • Sue September 18, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    This is great. Thank you!

    • AmyNewNostalgia September 25, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      You bet! Thanks for the encouragement!

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