The BEST Way to Start Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed

The Best Way to Start Decluttering When You're Overwhelmed

When you’re faced with piles of clutter everywhere you turn, it’s easy to feel completely overwhelmed. It’s hard to know where to start or what to do. Don’t panic… this is completely normal! Today, I’m going to teach you exactly how to start decluttering when you’re overwhelmed.

I got a late-night call from one of my close friends. It was pretty unusual for her to call at this time of day, so I was a little concerned. When I picked up the phone, she was crying.

  • She was tired of being the only one who cared enough to clean up!
  • She was fed up with tripping over piles of crap her family members had left behind!
  • And she was done with never being able to see her dining room table and never being able to use her kitchen counters!

As I let her vent to me, I realized there was one main reason for her frustration… clutter in her home! She simply had too much stuff to deal with.

She was at the point where she knew she needed to get the clutter out of her home. But she just didn’t know HOW!

How do you start decluttering when you’re completely overwhelmed with stuff? How do you start when everywhere you turn there’s another pile of stuff?


Get the FREE checklist of 100+ easy things you can get rid of… guilt free!

And so as we talked, I gave her ONE step to follow. Because when you’re completely overwhelmed, you don’t need a 10 or 15 step process. You just need ONE thing to focus on.

You need ONE thing that’s going to make all the difference. And that’s what I did for her.

A few days later, when she called me back, she was much calmer. She had taken my advice to heart and had actually started clearing the clutter from her home.

She’d only cleared a few small areas, but she already felt like the burden was being lifted from her shoulders. Just by getting started, she had a breakthrough and started making progress.

Decluttered dining room table

She had a MAJOR WIN: She could finally eat at her dining room table without shoving aside piles of books and papers and other random stuff!

Plus, she’d gotten past the feelings of overwhelm and had come up with a plan to tackle the rest of the clutter in her home.

Maybe you can relate to some of these feelings? Maybe you’re also in a similar situation and are wondering where to start? Maybe you’re overwhelmed with clutter and just DONE with looking at piles of crap all over your home?

Today, I’m going to share with you the same advice I gave to my friend. The ONE thing that made all the difference in her home. So that you, too, can take control of the stuff in your home and learn exactly how to start decluttering when you’re overwhelmed.

This simple decluttering tip is a GAME CHANGER when it comes to decluttering your home. It’s part of my popular 4S Decluttering Method that I go more in depth about here. And today, I’m going to share it with you.

The Importance of Perspective

Before I share my #1 tip, I want to talk with you a little about mindset when it comes to decluttering. It’s not something that’s talked about enough.

And it’s really important, because mindset can literally make or break your decluttering progress.

Mountain climber at bottom of mountain

Imagine you’re about to climb a mountain. You’re standing at the bottom and looking all the way up at the top. It seems SO high… It looks like a long journey… And it might feel… impossible.

In fact, if you’re not in the right mindset, you might give up before you even start.

That’s why before you can tackle any sort of life-changing task, like climbing a mountain or even decluttering (because let’s face it, decluttering IS life-changing!), you need to make sure you have the right perspective.

Decluttering Affirmations mockup

Because if everywhere you turn you’re faced with piles of clutter, and every closet and drawer in your home is overflowing, that’s you standing at the bottom of the mountain and looking up at the top.

You’re feeling so overwhelmed that it’s easier to tell yourself you’ll deal with it another day. Or maybe next month… or even next year. Meanwhile, those piles of clutter are only going to grow bigger if you ignore them.

That’s why it’s crucial to change your perspective so that you can face that clutter head first, so that you can take those first steps and start making progress towards a clutter-free home.

So what if, instead of standing at the bottom of that mountain and looking at the top, you just focus on taking the first step. Just put your head down and put one foot in front of the other.

One bag, bin, box at a time decluttering quote

Because that’s exactly how you climb a mountain. One step at a time. And that’s exactly how you’re going to declutter your home. One bag, bin, box at a time.

RELATED: The Slippery Slope of the “1 In, 1 Out” Rule of Decluttering

When I’m struggling with a task, I’ve discovered one of the best ways to change my mindset is to use affirmations. Affirmations are a form of positive self talk. By repeating these encouraging words to yourself on a regular basis, they can change the way you think and inspire you to action.

Decluttering affirmations mockup

If you need help with this, I specially designed these Decluttering Affirmations to motivate you to take action on the clutter in your home. They’ll help change your relationship with clutter, and give you the confidence you need to declutter your home.

The BEST Way to Start Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed

This is THE little trick that makes all. the. difference. when it comes to decluttering your home. It’s a crucial part of my 4S Decluttering Method, and one you CAN NOT SKIP when it comes to decluttering your home.

Instead of viewing all the clutter in your home as one huge, overwhelming mess with no beginning and no end, you’re going to break it down into manageable bits and pieces.

This is KEY to decluttering your home when you’re overwhelmed with too much stuff. Instead of looking at the entire room as one huge mess that seems too overwhelming to even know where to begin, you’re going to break it down.

That is exactly how to start decluttering when you’re overwhelmed with clutter and mess.

Every room in your home can be broken down into smaller sections. Here’s how to do this in your own home. For example, in the bathroom, you might have:

  • floors
  • counters
  • drawers
  • cabinets
  • closet
  • tub/shower

Each of these areas is its own separate section that you can focus on decluttering one at a time. So you’re going to break it down and break it down until it’s manageable enough for you to handle. And then you’re going to declutter each section one at a time.

Just like climbing that mountain, you’re going to put one foot in front of the other. You’re not going to worry about reaching the top or all the other clutter in all the other places. You’re just going to focus on the ONE section you’re decluttering at that time.


Get the FREE checklist of 100+ easy things you can get rid of… guilt free!

And if, for example, you break the room down and you’re working on decluttering the drawers or cabinets, and you still feel overwhelmed, break it down even further.

  • Focus on one drawer or cabinet at a time.
  • Focus on one section of the floor at a time.
  • Focus on one small bit at a time.

Break it down until you’re no longer overwhelmed. Then, don’t move on to the next thing until you’ve finished what you’re working on.

If you need ideas for things to get rid of, my FREE decluttering checklists include 100+ things you can declutter guilt free.

Free Decluttering Checklist Mockup

The FREE checklists are divided by room so that you know exactly what to focus on in each area. These are seriously no-brainer things that you won’t feel bad getting rid of or even miss when they’re gone!

What the Results Show

When you follow this simple method, and you declutter bit by bit, all those baby steps add up. And before you even realize what’s happened, you’re standing at the top of that mountain.

Progress is progress, no matter how big or small. And just like anything else, decluttering takes time.

Just think of how long you’ve lived in your home. Maybe it’s only been a year or two, but maybe you’ve been there 10 or 20+ years.

RELATED: 8 Essential Habits for a Clutter-Free Home

That’s YEARS of clutter you’re working through. You simply have too much stuff and have to get it out of your home.

It took years for all that stuff to find its way into your home. And it’s going to take time to get it back out.

So show yourself some compassion and grace. Don’t fret about all the stuff you have left to do. Focus on how far you’ve come. Keep working at it, and I guarantee you’ll start seeing results.

I created the 4S Decluttering Method to help give you a simple framework to follow to get the clutter out of your home. It’s the reason I get messages like this on the regular:

Decluttering testimonial from Lisa for Simplicity Story

If you’re struggling with clutter and looking for simple, easy ways to declutter your home that actually work, grab your free decluttering checklists here. And then visit the Simplicity Shop for more resources designed to help you get the clutter out of your home.


Start your journey to simplicity here!

Cut down on clutter & eliminate the excess with this FREE guide!

Steps to Simplicity Mockup

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One Comment

  1. Celeste, you are the best …but dont you think we need some rest?
    (must make you a limerick soon)
    But you know…I am wondering. These ladies did not get all that clutter themselves.
    Much of it is familee clutter! if everyone put away their ‘stuff’ that would help. Here’s a plan.
    One large box for each member of the family…whatever they leave round – books, keys, jackets, papers, shoes, hockey sticks, whatever. just chuck it in there.
    they have to learn to help themselves!

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