How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed – 10 Motivating Questions to Ask

How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed by a Messy Home

How to Start Decluttering when Overwhelmed

My house is always a mess. Why can’t I clean my house? Do you ever wonder if your home is organized enough or if you need to do more? Is it hard to motivate yourself to start decluttering a messy home? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re normal. Most people face clutter on a regular basis and often procrastinate dealing with it. What’s the solution? Sometimes reading a helpful tip or two is all that’s needed to remotivate you to get organized.

Why Organize? 

As for the pressure to organize, the reasons are many. You might sense angst when you open an overloaded or out-of-season closet or when you walk past a messy area of your home. Outside pressures to organize are all around since home organization is a popular topic these days. For instance, you might see professional organizers’ posts or Tweets on social media. You can even watch organizing shows on Netflix or other media. Start watching The Home Edit on Netflix for inspiration and motivation. 

If you need more inspiration or a step by step guide, take “Decluttering – Complete Organizing Home, Office, Life Course” from Udemy. 

External prompts like these can either trigger guilt feelings or inspire you to make needed changes if you feel overwhelmed by clutter.

How to Start Decluttering

If it helps, rest assured that all homeowners collect stuff, stuff that is necessary for a time. Many tools and gadgets are good, useful, and needed. Other items have served their time and purpose, yet you hang onto them just in case they’re needed again.

Worse, some items carry sentimental attachments that are hard to break from. But as a family grows and changes, items they used at each life stage need to eventually be put to rest, given away, or replaced. There comes a time to sort out that which is worn or outdated, no longer needed, and not being used so that you can make room for what is currently needed or desired.

Your Plan of Attack 

The idea of decluttering and organizing your entire home can feel overwhelming. You might get stuck in analysis paralysis if you don’t have a clear strategy. Your first plan of attack for getting your home in order might be to consider which room or area needs sorting the most. Or, you could choose based on which room or area, once sorted, will give you the most satisfaction.

How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess – Ask Yourself these “Where to Start Decluttering” Questions

Don’t Know where to start cleaning? Not sure how to start organizing a messy home? My house is a mess, where do I start? Ask yourself these questions….

1. What room or area makes you feel the most frazzled? What seasonal changes do you sense are needed sooner than later?

2. What can’t or shouldn’t wait? What will happen if you put off sorting for several more weeks?

3. Is there any deadline for tidying? For instance, will you have visitors or perhaps a property tax assessor or real estate agent coming soon?

4. Which part of your home may be unusable because of clutter? This might include an overpacked drawer, closet or shelf.

5. Have any of your immediate family members expressed frustration over not being able to find something? Do you have a home for everything and good habits for returning items to their homes?

6. Is there something causing a tripping or fire hazard, or simply taking up too much space? Can you move or remove items to solve the problem? 

7. Is any area at risk of attracting rodents, insect infestations, or causing some other potentially dangerous issue? A clear line of vision in rooms and under counters will help you detect new problems quickly.

8. Are you paralyzed by messy house? Do you miss deadlines or abandon projects because of not having your papers, supplies, or tools organized? Do bills get paid late due to a faulty paper handling system?

9. Do you have trouble discarding objects, or with excessive shopping for items you may not need? Can you think of a house rule that sets boundaries for these types of challenges?

10. If you work from home, does clutter distract you? Does clutter keep you from enjoying quality leisure time?

How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed – Choose an Area and Set a Time Limit

My house is a mess where do I start? My house is so cluttered I don’t know where to start. The action of decluttering and re-organizing often takes more time and physical energy than one might first presume. Included in the process is decision-making. Make a plan about where to start. Sentimental attachment can be a huge emotional obstacle to overcome. 

Then there is the standing, bending, walking, tearing, and bagging or boxing that can be physically taxing.  For these reasons, it makes sense to choose one location to work on at a time and to set a time limit. Give yourself anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours at a time to work on a project. Can’t do an entire room? Do a closet. Can’t do the entire closet? Do a quarter of the closet.

When organizing, build in time for tidying up after too. Leaving a mess is never a good idea because even if you think you’ll get back to it right away, you may not. Also, build in time for energy recovery breaks between tasks.

How to Start Decluttering and Organizing When Overwhelmed – Don’t Just Create a New Pile, Release Your Stuff

Once you have created a discard pile, make a plan for when you will deliver the items where they need to go. Electronics may need to be taken to a specialty electronics recycling center. Other good-quality items may require a trip to a local thrift shop. Removing what’s been sorted the same week or within days is a good plan even if you’re not finished decluttering — once items are out of sight, they’re out of mind.

Ultimately, the process of decluttering and organizing isn’t to please anyone else but yourself. Somehow you know the result of a refreshed space will offer more joy and peace. Is that a motivating enough reason to get started?  

Try These Resources to Organize and Decluttering your Messy Home or Office

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