Overwhelmed with decluttering?

Am I the only one?? I want to be more minimalistic, but then I look at the (mostly disorganized) STUFF all over, and I get more paralyzed and overwhelmed than inspired and motivated. Anyone have suggestions on how to overcome? I know the mantra of 'pick a small area'.. but I don't really have that many "small" areas.


  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Another tip is usually the "10 minute sprint". Pick an area and clear out whatever is in the wrong place or garbage in that allotted 10 minutes.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Tracy Lynn has a really great sustainability website, but she also has an amazing decluttering site too! I have enjoyed it.


  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2021

    Just going through and removing garabage and anything broken or semi damaged makes a huge difference.

    My mother needs to declutter her room. Anything that she does not know what to do with in the house goes in her room. I have her do a yes, no, maybe and garbage box. The yes get removed unless she has a place for it The no is gone. Maybe get saved 6 months then gone through or just moved on elsewhere. Moms issue was if she did not know what to do with something she would put it in a box so one box turned into 4 boxes. We are slowly decluttering her room. At 92 you end up with a lot of "stuff"

    This spring I had to decide what art and projects I really wanted to do and move anything else on. It was not easy but I was tired of moving things or storing them.

    I have a jar where I place money from anything I sell. If I find I got rid of something I had held on to for years , then all of a sudden need it, I can go oput and buy a new one with money from sales and not feel guilty for getting rid of sopmething I made have needed. Its made it easier to get rid of things.

    We also had the issue here where some items were gifts but you can't keep every item. So we put those items in a group, made it look cute and photographed them. Now we have the memory but won't be dusting things or storing them

    Good luck @Paradox you will feel better when you move things on.

    @Michelle D Nice site. Thanks for sharing

  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 577 admin

    I can relate...and I don't have much advice to offer ;)

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A constant issue with me. Since moving, I have even less space for things, and I do like my things.

    I am sorting (slowly) through books and papers. I have so many interests. I'm having to pick a few to keep and some to downsize. Between reading and crafts, it is really hard.

    I'm trying to consider every bag of trash taken out, and every box donated or sold to be a win.

    It's a slow process. Begin. Celebrate the small steps. Continue.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It also does not help when you inherit the "pack rat" gene from both parents.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2021

    And it does not help when you move into a home that has been in the family for 4 generations and they all left things behind.

    I am just getting around to cleaning out the barn. Four generations and six people have items stored over there. Four are no longer here so its going to be a sell or toss party.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭

    My son came in my house the day and announced it was "messy. I can find everything and since I have bad hips and knees I have started taking about 10 minutes at different times throughout the day to straighten and throw away. I told him I am in the middle of freezing blueberries. I am always in the middle of "something"!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    I had a reply typed last night, but pressed the wrong button. I need to quit doing that. 😖

    I was going to suggest Flylady. Cleaning the kitchen sink...like really cleaning it is strange, but it does do something positive in the brain. Her system works, but her site reminds me of the house & just looking at the layout seems overwhelming. She does have good & workable ideas though. This is good for general cleaning, decluttering & downsizing.

    I've heard of using 3 boxes...give away, move to another room, garbage (broken, etc.). Have your goal be at least 21 things to go (big or small).

    What I still do is 1 room at a time, no rush (but I do like to get something done uninterrupted once started), and start going around the perimeter. Not looking behind me, just in the direction that I pick to go...like clockwise. This seems to work well and is less overwhelming. It is like reading one word at a time when learning to read and not worrying about the whole book! Then I do the middle & floor, kind of thing.

    It always helps to put a good podcast or music on. Either you are learning great new stuff or enjoying great music.

    I also use this (below). I put this in a place that I see it daily. Dwell on the questions & take them to heart. The freedom you after getting rid of things that you feel that you need to keep out of guilt is fantastic!

    If you love it...you need to REALLY love it and it has to fit your vision if you are to keep it. Maybe someone else will love it more.

    You have to watch that you don't rationalize with the first & second question. Don't!

    Replacing...don't hang on to it because someday you might use it. If you don't have a specific use for keeping it right now, you most likely won't use it in the future either. This is a tough one.

    Remember, in the end, it is just stuff. Did you live fine without it before? Can you live just fine without it after you send it on its way? I bet in most cases, the truthful answer is yes.

    Be firm in your decision when parting with things. Decide beforehand to not regret your decisions.

    If it is a matter that children or grandchildren want something, ask them first to make sure and tell them that it is okay if they say no. Mean that. Label it for them and deliver it at your next visit. Don't just surprise them with stuff and pass the problem that you've felt, on to them. Be courteous.

    That's all I've got! Turn some good listening stuff on & just start. One thing at a time. No pressure. You will be surprised what you can accomplish.

  • Paradox
    Paradox Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    VERY TRUE. I've done a lot to conquer it over the years, but all four of my grands lived through the Depression as 20-somethings. But it's so hard to get started, and then there are all those things that have some sort of value, but I don't know what that value is or where to go about selling it (like my Dad's amateur radio stuff).

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Paradox You are not alone! Just when I get one area cleaned and move to another, that spot gets messy all over again!

    One area I am doing better is getting rid of books, I did a 100 day reading challenge and was able to get through 4 hardback books which are not scheduled to be donated & I took a hard look at some of the books I have obtained over the year and realized that I no longer care to read the genre (scary or horror type books) so they I have three more in the donate pile. A couple of months I went through one of my bookshelves and got rid of some books plus I scanned recipes from cookbooks that only had a few I was interested in and donated them. I have managed to get rid of about 30 books!

  • monica197
    monica197 Posts: 332 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It is sure a process, isn't it?

    I can declutter an area and then go back to that same area and realize that I can declutter it even more. I have decluttered one area abut 3 times already!

    My next declutter project is to organize the photos into scrapbooks or something. When I get that done - WHOA, LOOK OUT! There is gonna be some dancing and jigging!