How to Declutter, Even When You Think You Can't

Life change takes work- any sort of life change takes work. It’s difficult work too, changing habits take intentionality and drive.

What happens when you get discouraged and you don’t see yourself following through, even though you want it?

All of us want things to come easy, but the hard truth is, anything worthwhile, takes a whole lot of work on our part.

How to Declutter, Even When Following Through Isn't a Strong Suit.


When we set a goal for ourselves, we tend to have a certain standard we hold ourselves too, often it’s a bit over the top and stems from our perfectionism. When we say we’re going to declutter the living room, that’s all good, but we want it done perfectly and we want it done in a short amount of time.

Often we forget life in that equation. We’re all busy people, taking on the job of decluttering our entire home is a big job.

But let’s imagine we’re moving right along, getting a ton accomplished and boom: We have “one of those days.”

Are you immediately critical of yourself? Do you beat yourself up for failing your decluttering goal for the day/week/year?


For me, yesterday was one of those days. The 3 littles were sick, I had a headache and my poor husband came home sick from work. The only things that got accomplished were the necessities. I didn’t get my daily routines done. In fact, the only reason the dishes got done was because my 15 year old did them.

Does that mean we’ve failed?


Never allow your thoughts to go there.

Don’t beat yourself up. It’s life. This is the way life works.

In order to succeed, you must never allow your thoughts to tear you down. Instead you have to be your #1 cheerleader!

For many of us, it’s a standard we set for ourselves during childhood (in order to be accepted, I must excel at everything I touch) or one we picked up through older people that taught us (if you’re going to do something, do it right the first time).

But the perfectionism behind those thoughts are keeping us paralyzed. Many of us don’t have time to do it right. Who even determined the “right way” anyway??

That standard of perfectionism is a lie.

The truth is: it’s better to do something than nothing.

You don’t have time to declutter your entire living room in a day, that’s ok. You probably have time to declutter a couple items or even one drawer or one shelf.

Break down your decluttering tasks to small doable jobs. If it doesn’t work out to tackle an area today, give yourself a break. Tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow will be better.

Any action you take to declutter your home is a positive action. Any action. It doesn’t matter how small. It still means that you decluttered something.

To get your home decluttered, even when you think you can’t:

  • Think positively. Your brain is powerful. People have cured themselves, overcome severe shyness, built a successful business from ground up, because they believed in it. You CAN do this. It’s not going to be fast. It’s not going to be easy. But you can do it.
  • Believe it’s already working. I just can’t stress this enough. Your thoughts determine the way you live your life. If you want to be a minimalist, call yourself a minimalist. If you want a clean and organized home, wake up in the morning and tell yourself you love having a clean and organized home (see below).
  • Repeat a mantra. I know it sounds cheesy- but it’s changing how your brain works and what you think about your own actions. Think of your motivation, write it down and say it to yourself every morning. Repeat it during the day. Here is an example (keep it positive!) “I am a clean and organized person. I love having a clear space to live in and I feel refreshed when I am home.”
  • Visualize your goal regularly. For some, this is a vision board on their bathroom mirror. For some it’s a board on Pinterest. For others, it’s closing their eyes and picturing their home they way they want it.
  • Be content. Too often we can get caught up in what we don’t have. We can declutter the living room, but it still has our old furniture. Allow that to be enough. Think positive thoughts when you walk in the room: “The floor is clean! I love how the house feels when the floor is clean and clear!”


If you feel you need more help, please check out these workbooks: 30 Days To A Clean & Organized Home. Which will take you step-by-step through the home,in small doable daily tasks along with daily maintenance routines to help your home stay clean and organized.

More decluttering articles:

About the author, Rachel

Hi there! I’m the Joyful Space Specialist. it’s my desire help others create a joyful space of their own and enjoy their time spent at home.

1 Comment

  1. Good article and eye opening. I think maybe the reason I am not really a minimalist is that I am not sure I want to be. I do want some less stuff but not sure I really want to pare down so much. Gives me something to think on.

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