5 Common Decluttering Mistakes That Are Easy to Avoid

Angela | Arrow
by Angela | Arrow

Today, we're going to be talking about five decluttering mistakes that people often make when they're getting started.

Decluttering can be physically and emotionally draining, so people tend to need a lot of support and encouragement before, during, and after they take on the challenge.

By having these five decluttering mistakes to avoid already on your radar, you’ll be much more likely to complete your project successfully. Plus, I’ll offer up some tips that you can do instead, making the decluttering process as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

1. Taking on too much all at once

The first common mistake is taking on too much all at once and getting overwhelmed. A lot of times, people are so excited to start the decluttering process because they're ready to make a change in their lives, but they tend to be a little bit overzealous in what they can actually tackle all at once.

Maybe you're going through every closet, tearing everything out of it, then looking at what you have all around you. You're actually making a bigger mess doing it that way.

So, what I encourage instead, is to start very small, and find one tiny area to focus on, like a drawer or a shelf. By doing that, you're going to build up those decluttering muscles that will help you create more momentum and make progress moving forward.

2. Playing the organizing game

The second mistake that a lot of people make during the decluttering process is that they try to play the organizing game. For example, they are confronted with a lot of clutter and decide that if they get bins and matching labels, and tidy things up a bit, that this will solve their problem.

Minimalism for beginners is recognizing that decluttering is not the same as organizing. Organizing is a way to keep your bad habits going, while decluttering is actually bringing things down to a manageable level.

If you are taking the same amount of items and organizing them into categories inside boxes and bins, you're not really dealing with the clutter; you're separating it out, organizing it, and the same amount of stuff is still there to deal with.

decluttering mistakes, Decluttering

3. Heavily relying on storage

Feel like you’re still in the beginner guide to minimalism? No worries! The third mistake is a big one, and it is becoming more and more common in the United States, so you’re not alone.

Heavily relying on storage is another way to hold onto things you don’t actually need by getting them out of your sight.

That might be something as simple as boxing things up and putting them in your garage or a storage room in your home, but it can also go to the extreme of actually purchasing storage units, building extra storage sheds, and making more space for these things that you don't even really interact with on a regular basis.

The storage rental industry is booming right now, and it was built off of the idea of abundance. To successfully declutter, you must eliminate the items you keep in storage too.

4. Being overly fearful or sentimental

This actually leads very nicely into the fourth mistake that I see a lot of people making during the decluttering process, and that is to have a fear mentality or become overly sentimental and attached to everything.

During the physical act of decluttering, a person is going to handle a lot of items. They're going to physically pick each item up, look at it, and then make a decision as to whether or not they want to keep it in their lives.

A strange thing tends to happen during this process and that is that when people hold an item, even if it's something that has been stored away for many years, they become fearful of losing it or they suddenly feel nostalgia for it where they start to remember all the times that item was used or the places they went with that item.

decluttering mistakes, Organizing space
Organizing space

5. Taking too much advice from others

And the fifth and final mistake that a lot of people make is taking too much advice from other people. You've heard it said that comparison is the thief of joy, and when it comes to decluttering and minimalism, it really is pointless to do much comparing.

What one person sees as valuable and necessary in their life is not the same as the next person. Clutter is when we hold on to things that aren't adding value to our lives, so they're not useful, they're not special to us, they really don't add any value, and they're basically taking up space.

A lot of times when people think about minimalism, they are focused on the aesthetic part of it. And so, they have this preconceived idea in their minds that everything needs to be very bare and free of color because that is what a decluttered space looks like in other people’s homes.

Comparison can also be pretty defeating and a little disheartening when you notice somebody else further along in their journey of decluttering, and you feel like you haven't made any progress at all. But, in reality, it's important for you to only compare yourself to the you from yesterday.

Beginner’s guide to minimalism

I hope that you see my tips as a beginner’s guide to minimalism and that you are able to avoid these five decluttering mistakes before you make them.

I want the decluttering process to be empowering for you and a time in your life when you're discovering who you are and what you value.

You should come through the decluttering process on the other side feeling very proud of yourself and what you've accomplished. Share what you can do in your own home to succeed in the decluttering process down below.

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