decluttering problems

Decluttering Problems & How To Fix Them

Decluttering your home can be tricky! Here are some common decluttering problems and how you can fix them so that you can enjoy the benefits of a clutter free home!



Have you been trying to declutter your home and just can’t seem to get there?

Maybe you got fed up with the clutter and just started ditching stuff willy-nilly? But unfortunately, some things that you threw out, you kind of needed…

Or maybe you started with good intentions when you emptied your entire closet onto the floor. But, now it’s getting late. And you’re over it. You’d rather just go to bed. Except the bedroom is now far, far worse than when you started.

And you’re not sure when you will get back to it…and it’s highly likely that it will just sit there for a few weeks….

Sound familiar?

These are just some of the problems that we face when trying to declutter our homes. It can be stressful and even quite emotional to clear out physical clutter.

Hopefully, knowing some of these common problems with decluttering can help to ensure that you don’t end up frustrated and overwhelmed. Because, trust me, I’ve done them all!


1.  You Go ‘Decluttering Crazy’


You’ve had enough! The toys are overtaking your home.

You’ve read some ‘minimalist’ articles on the web and they all rave about the calm, stress-free lives they now live beyond the clutter.

You’re beyond motivated, you’re got your garbage bags and if anybody in your home stands still for too long…they too may be donated.

But…I’m almost positive that your house didn’t get this way in a weekend, so don’t start thinking that you can declutter it all quickly either.

Not only will you end up creating a mad mess, you will get frustrated and lose the will to live.

It can be an enormous, overwhelming task but by breaking it up into little, manageable chunks, you can attack those ‘problem’ areas first and start to see some progress, therefore motivating you to keep at it.

Check out the Decluttering Challenge for inspiration on how to break-down the often-ominous task of decluttering your home!

Related Post: ​Declutter Challenge: A Non-Overwhelming Way to Make Real Progress!​​​

2. You Buy Fancy Organizers Before Decluttering


I love buying all those fancy organizing containers and gadgets as much as the next person, but it’s smarter for your pocket to declutter first.

It’s near impossible to understand what size/shape/type of storage you need until you’re able to assess what you really want to keep.

For example, you might be organizing your bathroom cabinets, including your make-up and toiletries. Pull out what you’ve currently got, assess what you want and need to keep and then get rid of the rest.

Now look at what’s remaining – this is when you can think about can they be grouped together (i.e. Hair care, makeup, nail products, etc.)? How do you want to organize these things? Do you need them to be quickly accessible, on the counter? Or kept neatly in separate baskets under the sink?

This way, you can work out what you need, the shapes and sizes that will work and how many different types you need to organize those bathroom cupboards, before you hit up the two dollar shop or Ikea for unnecessary purchases.


3. You Don’t Finish The Job


Just like in my closet example above, a major problem with decluttering is not actually seeing the job through.

If you start on a particular room/drawer/section of your home, then try setting a timer and get it done all in one go – including physically getting rid of the piles that are leaving the house altogether – get them out!

That way, you create momentum and reduce the chance of ‘piles of things’ just making their way back in.


4. You’re Not Convinced Of The Benefits That Decluttering Will Bring You


I can honestly say that decluttering your home is therapeutic, calming and a great motivation booster.

The benefits of decluttering are plentiful and as individual as you. So, have a think about why you want to declutter.

Don’t just do it because it seems to be a trend.

Is it causing you stress, costing money, taking too much time to find things, unhealthy, creating bad habits for your children or causing frustration?

Think about your reasons and use it as motivation to drive you forward in your decluttering efforts.


5. You Don’t Know What To Do With All The ‘Stuff’

Declutter Labels


If you’ve checked out this post on How To Declutter Your Home Fast, you can see how you can sort your items into one of 4 different boxes :

  1. Keep,
  2. Donate or Sell,
  3. Throw or Recycle,  
  4. Maybe

With each area of your home, sort it all into 4 piles only. Sort fast and think about the last time you used each item, the cost to replace it if you did actually need it, and if it has sentimental value.


6. You Don’t Set Aside Time To Declutter


Life gets busy. But decluttering is an ongoing process and it’s amazing how quickly stuff can accumulate again in the home.

Once you’ve done an initial declutter of your home, or even if you’re approaching it slowly, set aside an hour a week at the same time to focus on decluttering.

You can set up the areas of your home into ‘zones’ and work on decluttering a few of these ‘zones’ at the designated times each week.

It easily becomes  a habit and you stay on top of the clutter in your home.


7. You Think Decluttering Will Fix Your Problems


Now this one is a doozy. But we’ve all done it and it’s important to remember:

Clutter is merely a symptom.

And decluttering once, is not likely to fix an underlying problem. As you analyze each item of your home, you can reflect on the reasons you made the purchase or why you have held onto each item.

Decluttering does help you to be aware and more mindful, but be sure to take the time to reflect on what has led to the clutter in your home in the first-place, and evaluate what your lifestyle goals are going forward.


8. It Causes Guilt


The feeling of guilt can also be an emotional problem of decluttering.

Perhaps you can’t part with a family heirloom, a ridiculously pricey pair of shoes you never wear, the gazillion paintings that you’re kids have done or those unwanted gifts?

These items should get put into the ‘Maybe’ pile when you declutter. Then you get to reassess them a bit more.

They’re your things and there is still space in everybody’s life to keep treasured things. So don’t feel pressured to declutter everything just because you don’t use it.

Could you take photos or digitalize some of these items instead (ahem…the kid’s paintings..)?

But be mindful of why you are feeling guilty and have a think if this item could be better treasured or adored by somebody else.


Decluttering Made Easier


Most of the time these decluttering mistakes are easily avoided, once you’re aware of them and the reasons behind them.

Physical clutter has a big impact on stress and a calm, serene home environment so it’s well worth reflecting on what problems you might face with decluttering.

My biggest success has come when I’ve ignored the overwhelm and approached decluttering with a slow and steady pace


Check out the following posts for more tips on simplifying your space:

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