Please Don’t Make These Common Decluttering Mistakes

how to avoid decluttering mistakes

You’ve decided to declutter your house and you can’t wait to start. That’s an excellent decision… but hold your horses.

Please avoid these 7 common decluttering mistakes

  • not having a plan of action
  • trying to do too much in one session
  • not removing unwanted items from your home straight away
  • being inconsistent and not following through with actions
  • not being ruthless enough
  • trying to organize the clutter
  • thinking that buying storage containers will help

Decluttering is a cathartic process with many benefits. But if you go about it the wrong way, even the best intentions can turn into a nightmare. In this article, you’ll discover a few mistakes to avoid when decluttering.

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These are the most common mistakes that people make, and it trips them up during the process. So, steer clear of them and your decluttering journey will be a smooth and productive one.

things to get rid of when decluttering

Not Making a Plan of Action

This is the biggest mistake of the lot. You must plan how you’ll declutter your house. Will you start with the living room or the kitchen or the toilets?

You should have a ‘roadmap’ of which room you’ll start with and what room you’ll move on to next after you’re done with it.

Planning is crucial for decluttering the house step-by-step.

Budget Dumpster has a decluttering plan for the whole house.

declutter plan action ideas

Trying To Do Too Much in One Go

This mistake ties in closely with the previous one. It’s almost impossible to declutter an entire house in one day. Even if it’s an apartment, it’ll be very tiring to do it all at once.

The decluttering process should not be rushed. You must think through things and understand why you’re tossing out some of the items. There’s a certain ‘therapy’ involved here.

If you’re just haphazardly throwing away things mindlessly, you’ll be robbing yourself of the opportunity to make peace with some underlying emotions you have and so on.

Start with one room… and in some cases, you may wish to start with things that are along one wall of the room. For example, if you’re decluttering the kitchen, you may just wish to clear out the refrigerator of old food items you no longer need.

This is a start. The following day, you can start on the spice rack, then the shelves and move on to whatever else needs sorting out.

decluttering tips

Not Clearing Items from Your Home Immediately

When decluttering, the goal is to eliminate what you don’t need. That will mean throwing away what no longer serves you. 

Packing all the items you don’t need into a box and placing that box in a garage is NOT decluttering. You’re merely rearranging items. You must discard what you no longer use.

If you’re planning to hold a garage sale or sell a few of the items on an auction site like eBay, it’s best to get it over and done with within a week.

If no one buys your items after a week, you can either donate them or throw them away – but either way, the items must leave the premises permanently.

Holding on to the items too long will cause you to form a bond with them that will be harder to break.

clutter free home ideas

Being Inconsistence and not Following Through

Since the decluttering process will take time, you must be consistent. It is so easy easy to underestimate the amount of time it will take to sort through all your possessions.

Personally my advice is to make decluttering a daily things. Write it on your to list. It’s on mine. Some days I just spend 5 minutes, others several hours. The main thing is to keep going.

If you’re decluttering during the weekends, you’ll need to spend time every weekend instead of once a month.

There must be consistency for there to be completion. Don’t just declutter one room and forget about the rest of the house. Follow through and see the project to completion.

questions to ask when decluttering

Not Being Ruthless When Decluttering

When decluttering, you’ll want to be ruthless. Even if an item has memories attached to it, you’ll need to ask yourself if you really need it and use it. If the answer is no, it’s best to get rid of it.

What you hold on to, will weigh you down emotionally. So, be firm with yourself and eliminate whatever is of no use to you anymore.

“Time spent minimizing possessions is never wasted.”

Joshua Becker

Trying to Organize the Clutter

When you’re decluttering, you should not try to organize any clutter this is simply impossible and it will make you stall and possibly give up on the process.

I have seen people trying to organize far too many items in their homes it always ends in tears. All that happens is stuff is moved all over the place, without it having a place to go. This is a never-ending cycle and it is very destructive to your mind as you will never finish.

The goal is eliminate clutter, not to organize it out.

Remove from your home what you no longer need. Period. This will ensure that the process is faster and simpler.

Clear space. Keep a few selected items that you love. Organize these items now there is plenty of space.

how to reduce clutter in your home

Buying storage containers

Do not buy any storage containers or boxes before you start the decluttering process. In the beginning, you can’t know how much storage you need.

The goal is to empty the rooms and house of as much clutter as possible. So, you shouldn’t need to have much storage containers.

Complete the decluttering process, then decide how much storage boxes you need, if you do need to store some items.


Avoid these 7 mistakes and your decluttering will be much more effective.

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living clutter-free forever