There are so many declutter experts and gurus out there these days, you’d think we’d all have decluttered everything by now wouldn’t you?
Sadly, we haven’t.
Loads of us are still buried under a crazy mountain of clutter. It makes us angry, ashamed and deep down miserable but we still can’t shift the stupid stuff, can we?
How on earth can that be?
Can’t we all just follow Marie Kondo to the letter, fold our socks neatly, and be done with clutter once and for all?
Under The Mountain
Well no, because you see, lots of the gurus never had clutter. They were always tidy. Always organised. They were never buried under the mountain, so they don’t know what it feels like to have to dig yourself out.
And they don’t know just how much motivation you need to keep digging when it feels like you will never see the light of day!!!
So having shared lots about how I cleared my clutter – Everest levels of it – I’ve been thinking hard about what kept me going.
And I came up with 14 big declutter motivation tips – I did try to trim them down but actually reckon they’re all super important.
And they’ll help clear clutter once and for all this year whatever declutter method you use.
Every Declutter Method
But they are all marathons and not sprints and the secret – no surprise – is sticking to them.
We all need lots of help sticking to them when the burden feels heaviest. So use as many of these motivation tips as you can.
They will light a way to help you keep digging. And the results, I promise you, are worth it. I am so much happier without clutter.
14 Declutter Motivation Tips
- Be honest: brain dump just how bad clutter makes you feel. Anger, shame, debt, depression, arguments, waste, guilt. The whole lot. This is the real price of clutter – I come back to it whenever I am clinging onto stuff or am tempted to buy more.
- Stop the blame game: we all feel guilty about clutter. The waste. The chaos. The grubbiness of our homes. Don’t. It’s not a personal failure. Our whole economy is based on crazy clutter and it’s hard to resist. But – see #1 – the price is not worth paying.
- Join a gang: we’re embarrassed by our homes but our friends are in the same boat, so gang up and fight clutter together. A local group helped me big time. As did online support. Come and join me on Facebook or try the Decluttering Club (super supportive) or Becoming Minimalist (great insights on our clutter culture).
- Believe in you : lots of declutter gurus are tidy, disciplined and incredibly organised. I am messy, chaotic, fairly lazy and addicted to Twitter. But I still managed to declutter 3,000 odd things. And you can too.
- Remember the tortoise: clutter drives us insane and often we want to chuck the lot instantly. So we dive in, clear 12 bags, feel pleased with ourselves and go back to our crazy cluttered lives. Most of us must shift hundreds of bags so a power purge helps but the tortoise wins the race. Let go just 10 things a day to clear 3,500+ in just one year.
- Enjoy gifting : I picked up this tip from the Swedish Death Cleaning book and it is so powerful. Us humans really, really love gifting, so when we’re clinging onto stuff we remember how much more someone else could enjoy it if we gift it away.
- Focus on faves : I didn’t get on super well with Marie Kondo but this tip kind of comes from her and is basically, focus on finding the stuff you love. If you laser in on your faves, you won’t actually have to wade through the rest wondering if it will “spark joy”, so it will be a whole heap quicker.
- Don’t make more mess: where I really disagree with Marie Kondo is on yanking everything out. Don’t do it. Really don’t. Most of us will end up with another big mountain of mess on the floor. And another mountain to dig ourselves out of it is the last thing we need to stay motivated.
- Start saving: one of the things I found most motivating about just 10 things was how it helped me sell small low value items locally. Making 20 quid or so week in week out is a grand over the year for almost no effort. Seeing that grow in a cash jar or savings account or against a credit card debt is seriously motivating.
- Be an eco warrior: we all care about the planet, right? But did you know passing on clutter to someone who can actually use it is one of the most eco friendly we can do because it cuts down new stuff. We don’t want to go overboard but a good bit of virtue signalling now and again can be massively motivating.
- Get the habit: we all get tempted by grand projects but science shows its habits that change the world. Making a little ritual of decluttering 10 things a day or one box a week becomes a habit before you know it. Then it is easier to do it than not do it and effortless motivation.
- Become obsessed: bizarrely lots of us who are real hoarders make excellent declutterers because we are obsessives. I totally am. Channelling my obsessive tendencies into finding new homes for things – rather than collecting things – has super powered my decluttering. So once you’ve got the declutter habit unleash your inner obsessive and clear the lot!!
- Indulge laziness : the best thing about a clutter free home is it lets you be lazy. Cleaning, tidying, finding, mending etc are 90% less effort when you have less stuff. My home is far from immaculate – I am far too lazy – but with much less stuff, it’s only ever 30 minutes away from perfectly presentable. How motivating is that?
- Keep up with the Jones: but there is one final big motivation you shouldn’t ignore and that’s the Jones, who we’ve all been struggling so hard to keep up with. The truth is, of course, they are buried under their own mountain of clutter – and debt – and pretty miserable too!! So to really get ahead of the neighbours, the trick now is to clear as much stuff as you can, as quickly as possible and claim bragging rights on your wonderfully minimalist new home!!
I am joking but there is some truth in it, a little healthy competition does keep us going. And it does help us see we are all in this together.
That great mountain of clutter in our homes isn’t a personal failure. It’s a problem with the world today and we won’t beat it on our own.
So do reach out for help and together we can conquer those crazy mountains of clutter, reclaim our homes and enjoy life clutter free.