Why You’re Not Making Enough Decluttering Progress
Have you been giving the whole decluttering thing a try, but you're just not making as much progress as you'd like? Maybe you're using the wrong method! Watch the video below or read on to see if this may be why you've stalled out!
First, there is no one right method to declutter. The right way to declutter is the one that works for YOU and that you will actually do. There is TONS of advice out there about how to declutter, but most fall into one of two categories:
- All at once– this would be the Marie Kondo type where you put all your effort into decluttering for a period of time (a week, maybe a month), do your whole house all at once, and then as long as you maintain it, you never have to go through this again.
- Little bit at a time– you focus smaller chunks of time toward it (5-10 minutes a day even), work on things gradually, and over time (years even!) your house ends up with much less clutter.
There are pros and cons to both methods, but the best method is the one where you'll actually follow through! This depends a lot on your personality type. I think most people are successful with the gradual method. Personally, I'm an all-at-once person, but that's just because it's how I'm wired.
I'm an all-or-nothing person in most areas of my life, and it's not always a good thing. It took me a long time to learn this about myself and even longer to actually accept it (because sometimes it means I don't have balance!). Now that I know this though, I try to work with this trait instead of against it. When I get into a project, I'm literally OBSESSED with it.
September for me is all about work. It's when we have our live virtual event every year, so literally all my spare time goes into thinking about work. It's just all I have on the brain. But then October tends to be all about decluttering and organization for me.
Pros about the all-at-once declutter:
- It gets it done and over with. For me, I find that once I start, I can't stop, so this allows me to get more done with more focus.
- It's more efficient– if you are buying bins for something, it's easier to buy a ton of bins at once, do three or four projects, and then return the bins you don't need. Just be sure to actually return them (ask me how I know!).
- Organizing is contagious– whenever I'm on an organizing rampage, my family also starts organizing subconsciously. It works in reverse, too. If my husband starts organizing his side of the closet, I do mine, too, because it starts to look like a mess in comparison!
- Intense bursts can really help some people who have trouble sticking with things if they don't see fast progress.
When I declutter this way, I literally make it my “hobby” for the month. I read books, watch YouTube videos, follow IG accounts, etc. that all motivate me toward organizing and decluttering. Extra inspiration is always helpful! I am also careful not to schedule a bunch of other activities or projects during my decluttering month. If I want to be super focused on decluttering, I don't want my attention torn away by other projects. But again, this is my all-or-nothing, obsessive personality at work!
Pros about the gradual declutter:
- The biggest advantage is that this method builds good decluttering habits over time. If you do it all at once and then go back to your old ways, you're going to end up needing to do a major declutter again in a year or two because you haven't built maintenance habits.
- We all have busy lives. Sometimes it's hard to commit huge blocks of time to something because we just literally don't have that extra time.
- It can feel overwhelming to do it all at once. By going gradually, you can easily handle 5-15 minutes every day.
- Most people seem to do this method more successfully.
If one method hasn't been working for you or has been stressing you out, then give the other method a try. It's always best to work with your personality rather than against it. It's also totally okay to combine the two approaches. Maybe you take one weekend a month to deep dive into decluttering, but then the rest of the month, you commit to only 10 minutes a day. It's all about what you can handle and what keeps you motivated!
Debbie Kotelnicki Says
I used to be able to do it all at once! I loved starting and getting it all done and out of the way. It gave me a great sense of accomplishment! I also had a job that I had to use my organizational skills and I absolutely loved it! I was a religious educational coordinator for the army in Germany. It was my favorite job! Anyway…..fast forward 29 years. While the brain still has the organizational skills and tells me I can still do everything in xxxx# of days, my body begs to differ. This is where my frustration kicks in. Even when I have someone who will be my feet and back for me I just don’t have the stamina to keep going! My husband is retiring at the end of the year and I am so excited! This will be his second retirement. First one was after 20 years in the Army. The hours he currently has at work make it hard for him to help me like he would like to. He’s definitely going to be a big help to me and he’s talking about the things of his that he needs to declutter. He’s ADHD, so I will have to help keep him focused. You are so very encouraging and have helped me to see myself with new eyes. I know I will succeed! Thank you!
Debbie Reed Says
A few months ago after watching one of your videos I decided to tackle my office closet. After I had my house remodeled I decided to leave the closet doors off. I had two sliding doors. They made getting into part of the closest uncomfortable. My closet is full of stackable cubs and drawers. They had been a mess for a few years but no one knew because I kept the doors closed. You were showing some of the different types of containers. After emptying out my closet all over the floor I went the next morning to the Container Store. My timing was perfect they were having a one day 25% off on everything in the store. It took me all day but I managed to throw out several things and had a few boxes to donate. When I was finished I had a closet that I didn’t have to be embarrassed if anyone went in my office and saw it. And it gives me pleasure every time I go in the office and I can easily find the things I need. My boyfriend told me he was proud of me. Just another plus. Thank you for the inspiration
Patty Allen Says
Thank you again. I try to start out with the slow method but then it’s like I get addicted and can’t stop. I did my art area yesterday and that was going to be it for awhile. Now I’m thinking of starting to work on my back bedroom today. I love your ideas. You instill so much enthusiasm into decluttering.