IN THIS POST: The idea of developing a decluttering mindset may seem impossible as you sit trapped inside your fortress of clutter. But you can overcome that feeling — and conquer your messy house — with the simple suggestions in this post and some of my favorite declutter tips.
Here’s a little of my story. Tell me if it sounds familiar…
I spent a lot of my life as a victim of clutter. Keeper of all the things. Moving a bin or a pile every time I had to get to something that I wanted to use. Accumulating ‘just in case’ items and ‘great bargains’ that were ‘too good to pass up.’
It was exhausting. Having to constantly move things actually made me angry at times.
But what else was I going to do?
We lived in a fairly small home — less than 1500 square feet for 4 people, no basement, with a detached garage that held so much stuff we were never able to park our vehicles inside.
I had children and a spouse who all had stuff.
We couldn’t afford to purchase a larger home — and quite honestly the prospect of cleaning something bigger was nearly as scary as how I felt about the clutter.
So there I was — rotating storage, collecting stuff, moving bins and piles, keeping all the things, pretending that someday I was going to get organized and make all those things look pretty instead of messy.
I dreamed about a clutter-free house — literally.
If you’re reading this, you probably have many of the same feelings and similar dreams. We’re going to work through what it takes to go from feeling like a cluttered failure to building a decluttering mindset and how it will help you finally achieve that decluttered home you dream of…5 simple steps to stop being a victim of clutter Click To Tweet
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What IS a Decluttering Mindset?
When you feel overwhelmed and trapped by the sheer volume of your stuff, or you constantly think everything would be okay if you just had more space, you’re actually living under a victim mentality.
Instead, you need to start thinking like a minimalist.
‘Whoa,’ you say. ‘I don’t have any desire to give away all of my things and live in a 100-square-foot tiny house.’
Relax. That’s not what I mean. 🙂
Let’s talk about victim mentality, the decluttering mindset, and how that relates to minimalism. (Hint… it’s not about the stuff…)
- gives in to defeat and overwhelm
- refuses to believe change is possible
- can’t imagine any other way to live
- has a history of poor decision-making skills
- feels like everything in life is a battle to be lost
I hear statements like the following all the time from people who suffer from victim mentality. Notice, not all of these are specific to clutter. It’s a pervasive attitude that affects every part of life.
‘Only rich people can live in beautiful and clutter-free homes.’
‘Even if I try to declutter, someone comes along behind me and messes it up again.’
‘I’m just too old/exhausted to change now.’
‘It’s too hard.’
‘Why start something when I know that I never finish?’
Here’s the thing… those are lies and excuses you’ve repeated so often that you believe they’re true. They are NOT true!
In contrast, wouldn’t you rather think and feel like this…
- feels peace in clear and tidy rooms
- develops strength and excellent decision-making skills
- is open to the possibility that life can be easier
- is ready to work hard and finds satisfaction in each small victory
This mindset is like minimalism in that it’s about positivity and gratitude. You can have appreciation and respect for both what you keep AND what you discard.
Reducing your possessions allows you to donate generously, which in turn means others gain by acquiring items necessary to their own life and comfort.
At the same time, you realize the importance of caring for PEOPLE above THINGS. And this helps you break out of the trap of being Keeper of the Things.
With space in your home and mind, you are more open to having guests and pursuing deeper friendships.
Regularly expressing appreciation for what you already have goes a long way toward making this change. The less you buy and the more you give away, the less you’ll find you ‘need.’
Flipping the Switch on Your Mindset
You may feel intense overwhelm and some fear right now when you think about doing a full declutter of your home. But developing the positive mindset discussed above will make every step of decluttering so much easier and more satisfying.
Some people just wake up one day and realize they’re sick of the clutter and the mess.
Some read a book like The Magic of Tidying Up and immediately decide to go all in.
Some watch an entire season of ‘Hoarders,’ alternately feeling horrified at some scenes and uncomfortable because others are a little too close to reality. That in itself can be a scary wake-up call.
Those things are great if they motivate you, but they don’t just happen to everyone. Plus, properly making up your mind to declutter — and keep going until the job is finished — involves a little more.
Mentally Prepare to Declutter
A great decluttering job involves big picture thinking. If you can’t imagine your space as decluttered, peaceful, and comfortable to use… well, you may not keep up the momentum to finish the job.
Here are five steps to help prepare your mind for successful decluttering:
1. Start with the end in mind. So always ALWAYS remember the goal you’re working toward.
2. Spend time envisioning your decluttered space. How will you use it? How will you feel about the freedom of clear and clean areas?
3. Journal your thoughts. Write out how you feel now, how you WANT to feel, and your WHY for wanting to declutter.
4. Set a goal that is connected to greater life freedom or flexibility.
5. Understand there will be some setbacks. Overcoming a victim mindset doesn’t usually happen overnight. But as you work toward your goal and fill your mind with positive thoughts, you’ll get there!
More Ways to Inspire Your Desire to Declutter
Picks for Clutter Freedom and Organization
It really IS possible to make the switch from being a victim of clutter to having a positive decluttering mindset. Following the strategies in this article and taking ACTION every day will get you there!
You’ve got this!
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