Do you struggle with finding the motivation to declutter? I do! I was at a friend of mine’s house for a playdate some years ago. ( Said friend’s living room usually looked like the cover of a home decorator magazine.) I asked her what the purpose of cleaning and decluttering the house all the time was when it just got messed up again in seconds.
Yes, it’s true, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself that day and frustrated at the seemingly futile effort I kept putting forth only to have it messed up again. What she answered changed my outlook for the rest of my life. But more on that later.
How to Find the Motivation to Declutter and Decluttering Definition
Decluttering is exactly what it sounds like. It’s removing clutter from your life, your house, or any other space. As we go through life, things start accumulating. We go from having next to nothing to getting a little bit here and there. Before long, you feel over-run with stuff!
The problem further increases when you have kids. I used to walk through our tiny house after we had a baby wondering how in the world one little person could have so many things! Toys, diapers, walkers, ride-ons, things that sang every kid song known to man… you name it! And it was good for a time, but kids quickly outgrow things.
Likewise, things don’t last forever. Everything on earth decays over time. Things wear out and we have to let them go. When we hold on to the things that no longer bring us joy, they pile up and start making us feel suffocated instead. They take up valuable space in my house.
5 Methods of Finding Motivation to Declutter
As I mentioned, I struggle with finding the motivation to declutter. However, I recently came to a point that the kid’s rooms were getting overwhelming and I felt I HAD to do something because they had no place to put their newer toys. So, here I went, and I am sharing what I learned with you on how I found the motivation to declutter my own house in hopes that you can use it in yours.
1. Get the boxes
The kids really liked this part. Boxes= FUN! I stopped by Dollar General on the way home and asked if they had any boxes. As luck would have it, they had just finished stocking and had some perfect sized boxes that were about to go to the dumpster. I picked out five that I thought would do the job.
The kids were nearly scandalized when they found that we could walk out with our “treasures” without paying for them. I mean, who in their right mind would just GIVE away these awesome boxes?!
We assembled the boxes and I let the kids play in them for about an hour while I finished up some things I needed to do, and then it was time to get to work. I assigned them to go through their room and pick out things they had not played with in a long time, or felt that they were too old for and would best be passed down to a smaller child.
I motivated them to declutter by telling them how much extra room we would have for all their toys that they did play with when we finished, as well as told them to think about how much joy their old toys might bring to another child. Then, I planned a reward.
Getting the boxes is good motivation to declutter for two reasons: first, it’s hard to ignore boxes in your living room. It becomes much more visible. And second, the kids really like boxes and it gets them excited about starting the process because they get to have a box in their very own room while they are working.
2. Start with one small area
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by the mess. My oldest son’s room was like that this time. I recommend starting with one small area. When you see progress in one small area, it motivates you to clean and declutter more.
Progress begets progress, as my husband is fond of saying. In fact, I didn’t want to declutter at all until I had tackled one small area. Seeing it clean and decluttered gave me the motivation to declutter other areas of the house.
3. Put it on Your to-do list
Getting the boxes was not a random stop. It was that thing on my to-do list that kept on getting pushed to the next day, and then the next. I finally decided that if I was going to start finding the motivation to declutter it had to get done.
It’s a pretty easy thing to check off. I love checking things off my to-do list. Even if they are small things, it gives me a sense of accomplishment.
4. Set a Deadline – and a reward
I find that if I set a deadline it goes a long way towards helping me find the motivation to declutter. Because it’s something that I tend to procrastinate about, I also set a reward for myself afterward. If I know that I’m going to go do something that I like afterward, it helps to motivate me to actually start.
5. Give yourself a time frame to do it in
I do not allow myself all day to declutter. I use time blocking and allow a certain time frame for decluttering a specific area. Knowing that I’m not going to spend all day doing it helps me find the motivation to declutter, even if it’s one tiny area.
I have a shelf in the kitchen where a window used to be that is one of my problem areas. The mail seems to pile up on the shelf as well as everything else. It was a disaster full of paper and useless things that didn’t belong. I said to myself: “I’m going to have this decluttered by the time supper finishes baking.” That commitment helped me to focus my efforts and by the time supper was done, I was looking at a clean shelf!
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Finding the Motivation to Declutter
Remember I said that my friend told me something that changed my outlook on finding the motivation to declutter and cleaning that has changed my life? I used to look at it as something that had to be done that I didn’t want to do. I resented that I was the one largely responsible for the cleaning and decluttering of the house.
She told me that it was easier to think and relax in a clean environment and to her, cleaning and decluttering her house was just another way of showing her love for her family. It was an act of service that she did gladly and graciously.
Wow. What an amazing attitude! I was humbled and ashamed of my earlier attitude. Now, when I need to find the motivation to declutter, I think about what she said to me. Think of decluttering as an act of service that shows your family that you love them.
It makes a nicer and more relaxing space for everyone. Plus, it makes it easier to keep clean. When you donate the things that you declutter you help someone else in turn. I hope that my tips for finding the motivation to declutter as well as the attitude that my friend shared with me help you in your home as it has helped me in mine.
What is your best advice for finding the motivation to declutter? Let us know in the comments below!
Jennifer is a former teacher turned wife and stay at home mom. She blogs at contentmentquesting.com and loves inspiring people to chase their dreams because we all need a bit of encouragement every now and then. You can learn more about “The Pearl Perspective: How Changing Your Perspective Can Change Your Life” and get the first two chapters free in her VIP Library.