Decluttering Without Disaster: 3 Common Mistakes To Avoid

So you’ve decided: now is the time. You’re going to freshen up your home. You’re going to bring control to the chaos you have been living in and, after a bit of effort, be able to live in a house worthy of a magazine spread.

First of all: good for you. An intense clear out of your home could be just what you need, especially at a time of year when everywhere you turn there is a mention of spring cleaning.

Second of all: good luck. You’re probably going to need it.


Throwing yourself at your home, determined to renew it with purpose, is definitely a good idea– but it’s an idea few of us undertake while having absolute knowledge in mind of what it entails. We all have a tendency to imagine that a task is going to be easier than it actually is. In your mind, you might be picturing an amazing decluttering experience that is going to change your life for the better. It’s going to be easy; enjoyable; you’re effectively watching a movie montage in your head of how you think it will go.

The truth is… less savoury.

Decluttering is a good thing, and you will feel better when you’ve done it– but the actual doing it part is where the biggest problem lies. Every year, thousands of people embark in a huge clear-out spree, and then swiftly wonder what on earth they were thinking to start such a project.

If you don’t want to be one of those people, then you need to know the areas where your grand decluttering project could go off the rails. Learn from the mistakes of the people who have gone before you, so that you can be 100 percent confident that you’re not going to be in for any nasty surprises.

If you’re wondering what mistakes you’re going to need to watch out for, then read through this handy guide– so your decluttering can go as well as possible.

Mistake #1: Underestimating The Chaos
If you haven’t thoroughly decluttered your house for a couple of years, then there’s no doubt that you’re underestimating how much chaos it’s going to cause. You might think that you can carefully go through each area, taking your time, moving items to new homes, disposing of items that are no longer useful– and you’ll be able to do all of this with the minimum of disturbance.

Here’s an example of the actual reality you’re likely to face:

You’re decluttering your wardrobe. You throw out several outfits that are no longer your style. Then you find a dress you don’t get much wear out of, but it would be perfect for one of your friends. So you set it to one side, intending to call and ask if they’d like it. You return to the wardrobe, finding an old handbag that you haven’t used in awhile. Inside is a leaflet for a show you meant to visit; you did want to see it, so you should check and see if the show is still on. So you set the leaflet to one side, then return to the wardrobe.

You’re already creating a mess; your decluttering habits are already spreading further than the task at hand. You now have a dress and a leaflet cluttering up another area of your house, waiting for you to do something with them.

Understanding that chaos is absolutely inevitable is key to getting through your decluttering process. It’s going to be rough, it’s going to be difficult to live with, but — and you have to try and keep this in mind — it’s going to be worth it. Eventually.

Mistake #2 – Not Anticipating Your Rubbish Needs

When you declutter, you’re going to generate more rubbish in one afternoon than your household usually does in a month. Your trash will soon be overflowing, and you’ll wind up decluttering… only to have to use some of the space that you’ve created to store rubbish, until you can remove it for yourself. That rather dents the new, exciting aesthetic that you were going for, doesn’t it?

If you don’t think that you’re going to generate a lot of trash, then you’re mistaken– in fact, if there’s not a huge amount of trash to deal with, then you’re probably not decluttering as thoroughly as you need to be.

To combat this, you have a few options. You could try taking multiple breaks during the time you spend decluttering, giving you the opportunity to do a tip run with the trash you have piling up. Alternatively, you could look into skip bin hire, which means you can just throw discarded items into the skip and not have to think about them again. Either way, it’s far more effective than just letting more junk pile up in your home.

Mistake #3: Not Really Decluttering
Many people who declutter do it because it’s meant to be good for you; it’s meant to make you happy, give you the chance to reclaim your home. However, they’re not truly wedded to the idea of parting with the majority of the items they have stored in their house. Rather than actually declutter, they more “move things around a lot” and only dispose of items that are broken beyond use.

If you’re going to spend time decluttering, then do it right. You have to be brutal, examining every item without the sentimental attachment. If you haven’t used an item in the past year, then there’s a high probability that you can do without it. Obviously there is room for some sentiment, but it’s vital you don’t let sentimentality prevent you from parting with anything. Be ruthless, otherwise, you might as well spend an afternoon on the couch watching Netflix.

When done right, decluttering can clear your house and genuinely make your life better. To declutter correctly, it’s important that you avoid the three mistakes as listed above. Make the most of your decluttering experience, dodge the potential for problems, and your house will be feeling as good as new in no time.

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