Declutter. It’s one of my favorite things to talk about. I love helping moms do this in their homes because it matters just so much.
For moms especially, there are a lot of negative effects of having clutter. One study found that when moms’ homes are cluttered, their stress levels significantly increase. And then when the clutter is gone, the stress goes away.
This is pretty powerful. And it tells me that all of our stuff has a huge effect on how we feel and live.
I love helping moms declutter their homes because when you let go of what you don’t need, you make room for what matters most to you.
Now with this said, I am not a fan of just flying by the seat of your pants with purging. While I think there’s a time and a place to take a garbage bag around your home, I want to help you set up a strong foundation to your purging skills so that you’re in it for the long haul.
Which is why I’m going to share with you the 5 biggest mistakes moms make when trying to purge. I don’t want you to waste time or get frustrated along the way. I want you to make progress and feel good about the spaces you work through.
So let’s dive into each of these 5 mistakes.
1. OVERWHELM PREVENTS YOU FROM TAKING ACTION
So often starting is the hardest part. You look at a room filled with so much stuff and feelings of overwhelm start to set in. You begin playing mind games with yourself, and think about all the reasons why you don’t have time to dive into that room today. The hard truth is, you have two options when this happens. The first is, you can turn around, close the door and leave it for another day, which really means never. OR you can beat your mind and just stop overthinking it, and start!
Mel Robbins teaches something called the 5 second rule. She says, when you count 5-4-3-2-1 and just go take action, your brain doesn’t have time to talk you out of it. I teach my Calm Your Chaos students about this concept because it really does work.
The next time you feel overwhelmed to take action on that purge, I want you to close your eyes, take a deep breath, count 5-4-3-2-1 and just GO! Don’t start the mind games. Once you start, you’re going to feel so good about your progress.
2. STARTING IN THE WRONG PLACE
I really want you to hear what I’m about to say. When you start to declutter, please do not under any circumstances, start purging in a place filled with sentimental things. You need to get used to the purging process, get some quick wins under your belt before tackling anything with sentimental value. Once you start feeling really great about your spaces, you’ll begin to build your confidence and feel ready to take on those more challenging, sentimentals spaces and items in your home.
So where do you start then? I would recommend starting somewhere really neutral like a bathroom.
Chances are, you aren’t going to feel any emotional attachment to throwing away old hair products or that crimper you haven’t used in years. Once you’ve tackled the bathrooms, move onto another easy space like the utensil drawers in the kitchen. Give yourself a few easy wins before moving onto the more challenging spaces.
3. MOTIVATED BURN OUT
What do I mean by motivated burn out exactly? I’ll tell you. When you decide you’re going to get in and declutter your home and do a deep purge of all the things, here’s what I typically see moms do. They carve out an entire Saturday to declutter because they’re motivated to get in and go through all the things.
You go girl! Right? No. Please do NOT do this.
The problem with this approach is that it’s not sustainable. Sure you may cover a lot of territory on that Saturday but guess what’s going to happen? You’re not going to address anything else the next week or the next week, because you’re burnt out! And in time, the clutter is going to pile up again, and you’re never really getting ahead. Because you haven’t learned to make purging a lifestyle for you. It’s just a one and done every 6 months or so kind of a thing.
Here’s what I recommend. Instead of doing a deep dive for an entire day, I want you to dedicate small amounts of consistent time to purging. Set an alarm on your phone for 15 minutes a day and do a purge for 15 minutes. And then stop, and come back to it the next day. You can do anything for 15 minutes and this approach will take you much further long term. I know it may not feel like you’re making progress on day 1, but trust me, you are making a lot of progress.
And as you do this consistently, clutter will stay at the forefront of your mind. Which means your buying habits will start to change and how you approach your stuff will begin to shift. It’s really a pretty powerful progression!
4. GETTING CAUGHT UP ON ORGANZING
Let me be really clear, decluttering and organizing are not the same thing. I have so many moms tell me, “Oh Krysten, I would love for you to help me organize my home.” And while I do love a closet filled with pretty organized bins, my house is not filled with these. Why? Because it doesn’t need to be and neither does yours.
When you declutter and scale back, just keeping the things you actually need and use, you don’t need a bin for every single thing. Now don’t get me wrong. There are certain things I do think you need bins for, and I go into more detail about this in the Calm Your Chaos course. But, not every item in your home needs a bin! I don’t have appliance organizers in my kitchen drawers because they aren’t that full. I don’t have bins in my bathroom drawers because they aren’t that full.
You see where I’m going with this?
Don’t go to the Container Store and blow your budget on bins. It’s not necessary and it’s ridiculously expensive. Do your purge FIRST, and then evaluate what you need from there.
5. NO FOLLOW THROUGH
How many times have you purged your kids clothes or toys, filled up all the garbage bags, and then left them sitting in the closet for months. Or better yet – until December 31st (whew, just made that end of year donation deadline)!
Here’s the truth. You are not done with decluttering until you’ve bagged up all of the things and either taken them to the trash, the donation facility, or blessed them onto someone else. Moving the crap from one area of your home to another, is not exactly completing the purge. You’ve just moved all of it. So once you’ve completed a space, and you’re done purging, get rid of the stuff! Do what you need to do with it, but make sure you don’t just move it to another area of your home.
Now here’s the key takeaway I really want you to remember before you start purging. You CAN do this. Start to feel empowered, knowing that you are in control of your stuff, it does not have control of you. Start to take ownership of your spaces, and take action until you feel at peace with your spaces.
If you aren’t sure where to start, I have a 15 Day Declutter Challenge that will help you tackle the hot button spaces of your home. I show you exactly what you need to do, to work through these spaces in just 10 minutes a day.