So you decluttered. You decluttered hard. And yet, even after all that work, you’re living in a space that’s been decluttered but still too much stuff remains.
Don’t give in to the ‘I have too much stuff’ feeling of defeat.
With the specific help in this post along with my other decluttering tips, you can absolutely conquer the last of that clutter!
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Common Reasons For Having Too Much Stuff Left After Decluttering
First, let’s talk about the possible — and very likely — reasons you’ve decluttered and still feel like you’re living in a disastrous mess of a house. If you recognize any of these situations, rest assured that you’re perfectly normal and not alone!
Honestly, you simply haven’t finished the job yet. You absolutely CAN do this!
There are several reasons why you might still have a lot of stuff:
- The clutter hasn’t actually left your home.
- You skipped some steps during your clutter clearing and missed some areas or items that are making everything seem messy.
- You haven’t been realistic about your available space.
- You’re holding on to too many things from the past, like old clothes that don’t fit anymore or books you never got around to reading again.
- The items left after your decluttering journey are scattered everywhere rather than neatly stored away where they belong.
And each of these possibilities requires a different solution, which we’ll discuss in this article.
In the end, it’s up to you to make your house a clean and organized space. No one else can do it for you — although family members certainly can and should work WITH you.
With a little extra effort, you CAN finish decluttering and organizing your way to a simpler home and life.
Let’s talk about how to solve the problems and make your clutter-free home a reality…
1. Make sure the decluttered items aren’t stuck in a ‘holding pattern’
The first step is to ask whether or not you’ve actually removed the clutter from your home? Or is it in limbo…
Waiting to be donated.
Waiting for that final sort.
Waiting to maybe be fixed.
Waiting for someone to come and pick up the things they said they wanted six weeks ago.
Waiting for you to have a garage sale or list and sell the stuff that ‘might’ be worth money.
Here’s a tough truth bomb… it’s probably not worth what you think. And even if it is worth a few dollars, does that make up for the time, energy, space you’ve already spent on it? Not to mention the frustration you’re feeling because the clutter is still in your house.
For all of these reasons, I nearly always recommend you declutter and donate everything you possibly can.
Your home cannot be clutter-free until all that stuff is GONE. Pack those things up and get them out.
2. Ensure you have decluttered every space properly
If you THINK you have decluttered properly but are still left with too much stuff, it’s time to go back through all the rooms and closets and declutter again.
This time, be more thorough in your efforts and make sure to declutter every single space in your house.
This means going through each area — the junk drawer, the nooks and crannies of the kitchen cabinets and the living room, basically the entire house — and decluttering everything, including areas that are often overlooked, such as the back of the closet, under the beds, and the guest room.
Another thing people don’t often think about is whether they have too much furniture. We get so used to those items that they just become part of the ‘normal’ and removing some pieces might work some magic in making the space feel like a less cluttered house.
Look at each space with fresh eyes and I’m sure you’ll find more items to let go or things you missed. I wouldn’t be surprised if you still have some of the things on this list of 62 things to declutter that you’ll never miss.
3. Be realistic about your available space and what to declutter
You need to be brutally realistic about how much space you have, what you need and love, and what you can actually get rid of.
Just because you have too much good stuff doesn’t mean you need to keep all of it. Evaluate your needs and be ruthless in getting rid of the things you don’t need.
I’m going to throw a difficult truth bomb: One thing that is NOT a valid reason to live in a cluttered home is claiming ‘I have too much stuff and not enough space.’
Your space is not too small. That’s an excuse, not a reason.
You do NOT need to run out and rent storage space.
Most of us live in homes that allow plenty of room for the things we need and love. I live in a 1400 square foot house where my husband and I raised two children. Even with four of us living here, there was plenty of room for everything once I finally changed my decluttering mindset and got the clutter under control.
Okay, I’ll give you a little break… your feelings are definitely more valid if you live in an 800 square foot apartment with your partner and 7 kids. Families aren’t perfect and children don’t stay little. Enjoy your kids and maybe stop worrying so much about toy clutter.
The thing is… even with a small space, you can still make a (mostly) clutter-free space work, but you have to be super hardcore about things like enforcing space limits in the common areas.
You’ll probably have to re-think your truly important things, your ‘just in case’ items, and the duplicates you own of… well… everything. (I know, I’ve been there.)
It may also be time to get rid of the paper clutter. Imagine how much time and frustration you could save if you didn’t have to dig through piles of paper on a regular basis. Check out the blog post The Ultimate Guide to Going Paperless for more details.
4. Let go of sentimental items from the past
Decluttering sentimental items can be especially difficult. Often, we hold on to a lot of clutter from our past for emotional reasons, even though we no longer have a use for them… or even really like them.
If you’re hanging on to too much clutter from the past, it’s time to let go. Ask yourself if you really need all those things and be honest with yourself about what you can get rid of. Don’t keep anything just because it was a gift or out of misplaced guilt because it belonged to someone special.
Here are a few tips for decluttering sentimental items:
- Be honest with yourself about why you’re holding on to the item. if you can’t come up with a good reason, it’s probably time to let go.
- Try to think of ways to honor the memory of the item without keeping it in your home. For example, you could take a picture of it and write down your memories of the item in a journal.
- Be prepared to cry. Decluttering sentimental items can be very emotional, but it’s also very liberating.
- Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself. Letting go is a process and it takes time. Take things one step at a time and you’ll get there eventually.
Many of us also fear decluttering clothes, which can often fall into the ‘sentimental’ area of clearing clutter.
As someone who lives with a very small closet and no dresser, I can assure you that you can let some of those clothes go. You’ll be just fine and still have plenty to wear.
5. Make use of proper storage solutions
Maybe… just maybe… you DON’T have too much stuff after decluttering.
One of the reasons why people may still feel like they have too much stuff even after decluttering is that they haven’t organized any of their belongings with good storage solutions.
This can be solved by using storage containers such as boxes, decorative storage bins, baskets, and vertical storage that are chosen specifically for your space and your stuff. These are effective ways to organize your entire home and make it easier to find things.
And there will always be a little bit of clutter-y stuff in your home. To help keep that contained, check out Storage Ideas For Clutter: 8 Dynamite Ways to Organize the ‘Must-Keep’ Stuff.
More Decluttering and Organizing Inspiration
Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff – Myquillyn Smith
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondō
Decluttering is a process and not an event. It’s important to remember this when you’re working because it means there may still be clutter in your home even after you’ve initially finished all the steps.
I think of it like peeling back the layers of an onion… you work through the clutter one layer at a time. It takes time and hard work before you finally finish the decluttering process and get to the center.
And then you do another round, because it’s likely you missed a few things the first time.
If you’re struggling with that leftover extra stuff, take some time to evaluate why there are so many things left and what specific solutions would work best for you.
You’ll soon see that after taking these extra steps, your home will be decluttered and organized! And that’s a beautiful thing. So, what are you waiting for? Get to it!
You’ve got this!
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