We tend to collect a lot of stuff. As our lives get busier and busier, we become tired and don’t have the energy to deal with the “stuff” gathering dust in corners or clogging the closet.
The problem is, the more stuff we collect, the more overwhelming the task of cleaning and decluttering becomes. Not to worry. We have organized a method to help you manage your motivation and clear the clutter.
The best way to get yourself motivated to clean and declutter is to make a realistic plan and work through it step-by-step. The clutter didn’t arrive in one day, so you shouldn’t expect to clear it all out in just one day either. First, understand your goals for decluttering. Next, create a plan and a schedule for working through your home.
Start small so you can focus on successes. Finally, celebrate the progress you are making and keep up the good work. Decluttering your home is satisfying and rewarding, and you can do it without becoming overwhelmed.
Check out these 10 steps to create motivation, keep it going, and celebrate your successes in cleaning and decluttering your home.
How to Get Motivated to Clean and Declutter Your Home?
1.Establish WHY You Need to Clean and Declutter
This may seem to have an obvious answer — because the house is messy. However, that may not be sufficient motivation to get you up and moving through. What is a deeper reason you want the clutter gone?
Maybe you have wanted to paint the living room. You definitely can’t do that if there are baskets of laundry piled in the corners and pictures stacked on the end tables. And kids’ toys! Whew. Perhaps you are planning to downsize.
Your kids are graduating and heading off to college. You don’t need a huge house for them and all their friends to hang out in anymore. Maybe you are moving to another city for a job prospect.
An excellent exercise to envision your home clutter-free would be to take a few minutes and find some Pinterest-perfect rooms you love as inspiration. Keep them digital, though. You don’t need to print them and add to the clutter!
Whatever the reason is, it helps to figure that out and keep it forefront in your mind as you go through the decluttering process.
2.Plan What to do With the Clutter you Remove
You’ve decided to declutter and set your eyes on a goal. What are you going to do with the collection of 100 t-shirts from college or the boxes full of craft supplies in your closet? What about all the clothes and toys that your children have grown out of?
You have options! You can donate gently used toys and clothes to a local charity or thrift shop. You can have a yard sale (but have a plan for what doesn’t sell.) You might even post a few items on the Freecycle network.
Remember, as you sort through your belongings, it may be tempting to hold on to something because you might use it in the future. If you haven’t used it in the last appropriate season, you aren’t going to. Let it go to someone who needs it.
Keepsakes are especially hard to let go of sometimes. But they can also take up space you don’t have. Consider taking photos of those objects. The memory is in your heart, not the object. Photos will help you share the memories and not clutter your home.
3.Schedule Your Decluttering Sessions
Your ability to push through the clutter will be different than someone else’s. For example, you may be able to take on an hour every couple of days, or even several hours on Saturdays.
If that is not for you, no problem. Don’t feel compelled to keep someone else’s schedule. Take 10-15 minutes each day and clean one project until it is done.
You don’t have to clean your entire closet in one day. But, 15 minutes of concentrated effort each day will make a surprising difference in just a week.
As you start to see progress, your motivation and cleaning stamina will build. Maybe the next week you do 20 minutes a day. But don’t beat yourself up if you drop to 10 minutes. Do what you can. Every little bit helps.
Making plans is one thing; actually getting started is another. Pick the time of day to do the cleaning while you still have energy. If you come home from work and sit down, turn on the TV and relax, are you going to get up and moving again?
Consider taking that 15 minutes of cleaning in the morning or as soon as you get home before you get comfortable. Your rest will be more satisfying if it is genuinely restful.
Another point to consider is to start small. You may need to declutter the whole house, but that idea will leave you wandering around unfocused. Instead, pick one area that you see all the time, like the table or kitchen counter.
Do that spot first, and keep it clean. Having one clean and lovely place will inspire you to work on that closet you don’t see except once a day.
5.Celebrate Your Successes
Your first goal may be to clean the kitchen counters and junk drawer. What will you do for yourself when that is accomplished?
You don’t need to go buy anything. That will bring more clutter into the home. Instead, take the time to do something you love. Feed the ducks at the park. Go for a bike ride. Take a bubble bath. Give yourself a little reward for checking tasks off that decluttering to-do list.
We are into the long haul now. Motivation is easy at the beginning of the decluttering marathon, but somewhere between your master bedroom closet and the legos, you may be running out of steam.
Getting the clutter out is just like building any other habit. Revisit those picture-perfect living rooms you looked at earlier. Think about how easy it will be to keep your home clean and tidy when you have less to deal with.
Set the timer for 15 minutes and keep going!
7.Track Your Progress
Sometimes we lose sight of just how much we have accomplished. Take some before and after photos to remind yourself of the fantastic work you have done.
You may also like to have an actual to-do list. It is really satisfying to cross off those list items at the end of each project.
8.Have Some Fun
What?! Decluttering can be fun? Anything can be fun if you let it. Play some loud music and rock that clutter out of the house. Get the kids involved in a declutter relay. See who can pack their box first.
Give each person one bag a day to fill up with items they can part with. Imagine what you will have removed in a month!
If you want a real challenge, try this Minimalism Game and come up with a reward for whichever family member sticks with it the longest.
Remember, the reward should be something you do, not something that you buy and bring home. That would defeat the purpose of the game. Instead, take a trip to the zoo, or go see a movie.
9.Get the Family Involved
Everyone in the home contributes to the clutter and should contribute to clearing it out. However, getting the kids involved can be the hardest part. They may not fully understand the need to declutter, and they (just like adults) develop strong emotional bonds to their belongings.
Remind them that it is easier to keep a tidy space if there is less to clean up. Set limits on what they can keep: for example, one large storage tub of legos or one tub of art supplies.
Model what you want them to do. If you want the kids to part with some old clothes or books, you need to do the same. Help them set a reasonable goal. Tell them, “In the next 10 minutes, you need to choose 3 dinosaurs to donate to other kids in need.” Then follow through with the donation.
There are some cleaning and organizing heroes out there who can tackle a house in a few days and have it ship-shape. Those are amazing people. For the rest of us, remember that it took a long time for all that clutter to build up, and it can take a long time to clear it out.
If you have lived in your home for 10 years, you should not expect to clear out the clutter in one weekend. Instead, give yourself the time to clear out and process the clutter. Consider it a marathon, not a sprint.
Other Thoughts on Cleaning and Decluttering
When you need more inspiration, watch cleaning or decorating TV shows. Hang motivational quotes around the house to inspire yourself.
You will get to the home stretch, and if you need something to push you over the cleaning and decluttering finish line, host a lovely dinner party.
With a firm date set, you will need to get the job finished, and you will get to show off your newly cleaned and organized home to your friends and family. Then, you can finally serve dinner at that kitchen table that has been covered with mail and school supplies.
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- What is the best cleaning schedule for a home?
- How can I clean a messy house quickly?