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How to Start Decluttering When You Have No Idea Where to Start

Start decluttering? Are you serious?? The thoughts make me wanna cringe! Or they used to! Can you identify? 

When your house is so overwhelmed by clutter that you don’t know where to start, the chances are you have tried and given up many times before.

This time is going to be different!

If you really wanna start decluttering, I’m here to help! Let’s dive in!

My House is So Messy I Don’t Know Where to Start Decluttering

Are you overwhelmed by the sheer amount of items you have in your home?

If you are, then you will definitely benefit from reading this post. If your house is so cluttered you don’t know where to start, then keep reading and I will give you actionable tips to help you cut through the clutter.

Let’s go turn your chaos into organization!

First, Make a List of Everything That You Need to Start Decluttering

Walk through your house, taking note of everything that needs to be done. Write down problem area as you go. In this list, you’ll want to write things as quickly as you think of them so you don’t forget about anything that needs to be done.

Don’t worry about making the list pretty. We’ll sort it all out in just a bit. For now, just write! Write! Write!

When you aren't sure how to declutter your clothes these helpful tips will help you start decluttering.

Then, Create the Priorities

After you’ve created your list of things that need to be done, then you’ll start by sorting everything into categories.

Categories really equal rooms or areas of your home. Think about which areas of your house are the worst and also compare that to the areas of the home that you’re struggling to be without full use of.

I highly recommend getting your kitchen decluttered first since it’s the hub of the home. If you can eat, then you can keep working through the rest of your day, right? This is of course, my personal preference!

It’s really up to you to choose which areas need to be decluttered first. If all areas are equally disorganized, then just ask yourself which areas of the house you are struggling with the clutter the most.

An important thing to note is that although paper clutter can be a very high priority, it’s also very overwhelming to sort through a ton of papers. Therefore, I recommend saving paper clutter till the very last if you are able to.

However, it’s also important to make sure you’re not missing any bills that need to be paid.

Here's how to get motivated to clean when you're overwhelmed by the mess. Let's start decluttering!

Next, Make a Decluttering Plan

At this point you should be able to formulate a pretty doable plan. Figure out how much time you can commit to decluttering your home.

Next, write down the order you plan to tackle each room.

Under the heading of each room, write down the priorities that you plan to handle.

For example, if the kitchen was my first priority, then on my paper where I’ve written kitchen, I would next write:


  • Clean off all counter tops
  • Declutter the gadget drawer
  • Organize all dishes and sort which ones I want to get rid of
  • Declutter storage containers
  • Etc.

From Your Plan, Create Easily Attainable Goals

Since you now have a plan, it will be much easier to make a goal. When I’m busy decluttering, I like to set the entire room as a goal, but I realize that may not be possible. I also end up feeling very frustrated when I don’t make my goal.

It’s much better to make a goal you can actually reach. Be realistic. We want you to reach your goals and not feel discouraged and like a failure if you can’t finish everything you set out to do.

Look around, consider how much time you have, assess how much decluttering work needs to be done, and then make your easy to attain goals.

Once you reach your goal, make a new one! (That’s part of the fun of having easy to reach goals!)

Now You’re Ready to Start Decluttering – Start with the Easiest Job and Work Toward More Difficult Tasks

Some people would argue with me on this one, but I would suggest that finding quick wins is the most encouraging way to keep de-cluttering when you feel overwhelmed.

If I know I can declutter something quickly and easily, then I’m much more likely to finish that job and continue on to the next area that needs to be decluttered.

In contrast, if I choose to declutter a junk drawer that has had stuff poured into it for years, and it takes me the better part of the day, then tomorrow I won’t feel like doing anything. At the end of the day, I won’t feel like I’ve accomplished much.

See the difference? Find the easiest decluttering jobs and work upward to the harder ones.

Commit to Working On Your Decluttering Plan at Least 15 Minutes Each Day

Thirty minutes would be even better! The more you work on decluttering your home, the sooner you’ll be able to live in freedom, feeling all the benefits of an organized house!

Having said that, even 15 minutes a day Is enough to make a difference.

The question is really how long do you want to work on decluttering your home? If you prefer to get it done sooner than later, then make sure and commit as much time as you can.

Essentially, the most important thing is that you commit some time each day to declutter your home until you’re finished.

Take Small Steps to Conquering the Clutter to Keep From Getting Overwhelmed

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if your house is cluttered, it’s not going to be fixed overnight. Please don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of decluttering you need to do. Slow and steady wins the race. (Wow! I’m full of quotes today!)

Instead, count the small victories and keep working toward the prize!

The smallest steps will lead to the biggest accomplishments if you keep doing them!

Use The Decluttering Binder to Start Decluttering

Decluttering your house is easier if you have a system for doing it. My favorite way for decluttering any room in any house is The Decluttering Binder.

I created it to help you have a fool-proof plan for decluttering your home. It’s easy to use, actionable, and dare I say, even fun?! My customers have even told me that they’ve been able to quickly organize their entire house in no time at all. They’ve even enjoyed it!

I highly recommend you check it out. Click this link to find out what you’re missing!

Here's how to get motivated to clean when you're overwhelmed by the mess. Ready to start decluttering?

Resist the Urge to Organize

I feel it’s necessary to tell you that while you’re decluttering, you don’t need to be organizing. Organization has its place, for sure, but during a decluttering session is not one of them.

You’ll find that it’s easy to get sidetracked if you’re trying to organize while you declutter. (I know! It sounds a bit counterintuitive, I’ll admit, but just go with it! You’ll see!) You can come back to the organization part of things, and it will be much easier once you’ve decluttered your whole house.

 Whatever you do, don’t organize right now!

Now, Rinse and Repeat

That’s it, this simple process will help you declutter your house when you have no idea where to start.

But the true victory comes in keeping up on the decluttering and not letting your house get so overwhelmingly messy again. We definitely don’t want that to happen! You’ve worked so hard!

Continually repeat the steps until your house is minimized and organized. You’ll be amazed at what a big difference it makes if you cut your clutter off at the pass!

Additional Tips to do When Your House is So Cluttered You Don’t Know Where to Start:

1. Ask Your Friend to be an Accountability Partner

Having someone hold you accountable will definitely help you stay on track while you declutter your house. But please remember to be honest. If you’re struggling, let your friend know because that’s what she’s there for!

2. Share Your Goals With a Friend 

If you do decide to ask a friend, make sure and share all of your goals with her so she knows exactly what you’re up to. I don’t know about you, but when I know someone else knows what I’m hoping to accomplish, then I’m more driven to complete the task.

3. See if a Friend Will Do it With You 

You could ask that same friend if she would like to declutter her house at the same time. You never know, she might need motivation to declutter her house as well. When you’re both working on your homes at the same time, you’ll have something in common to talk about. I’ve done this with my best friend and it’s fun to send each other pictures of our accomplishments! It really adds to the motivation!

4. Work on Your Houses Together

Another option is to share the task. You could take a turn at your friend’s house and later she could come to yours. Sometimes having someone help you declutter is exactly what you need if you’re so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start decluttering your house.

5. Hire a Babysitter (or Swap with Your Friend)

It’s much harder to declutter your house when kids are under foot. If you need to, make it a priority to hire a babysitter. You won’t regret it and your kids will thank you!

6. Use a Bin to Clear the Clutter

One neat trick for clearing clutter fast is to walk around the house collecting stray items into a bin. Once you’ve gathered as much as you can, then sit down and work only on the things that are in that bin. Use the tips above for sorting and decluttering.

7. Take a Picture of the Clutter

Sometimes you don’t realize how bad things are until you get a glimpse from the outside. Take a picture of the mess in your house and see it from another perspective. That may be exactly what you need to motivate you. Not only that, but you might be able to see a starting point from a picture’s point of view.

8. Set up a Time Lapse Video

To me, this one is just so much fun! One time I had to declutter our family’s toy room and I dreaded it for days. I finally decided to do a time-lapse video so I could have a fun record of what I did at the end.

I worked on it all day and let the time lapse video go. It was so fun to watch all of my accomplishments throughout the day, when I actually felt like I wasn’t really getting much done at all! And the bonus was that my family had a good laugh! I will admit, it was pretty funny!

9. Set a Timer and Just Get Started

There’s something about being under pressure that just makes you work harder and faster! Set a 15-minute timer for yourself and see if you can beat the clock to get a certain decluttering job accomplished. Not only will that motivate you to work harder, but sometimes thinking about only working for 15 minutes is not so overwhelming. Besides, once you finish 15 minutes of decluttering, you might actually be ready to do some more!

10. Get Rid of Things You Don’t Use Anymore

You must, must, must get rid of things! After all if you’re not getting rid of anything, then it’s actually not called decluttering! 😉 

11. Get Over the Money You’ve Wasted

You’ve likely spent a lot of money for the things you’re now getting rid of, but unfortunately, that’s now water under the bridge. There’s nothing you can do about what you’ve lost, but you can declutter your home so that in the future you’re more careful about what you buy.

12. Consider the Cost of Keeping Your Clutter

Keeping your clutter isn’t necessarily cheap! Think about it, do you rent a storage unit? Is it taking up valuable space in your home that you pay to live in? Yes, keeping your clutter does actually come at a cost!

13. As Soon as You Decide to Get Rid of Things, Get them Out of Your House

Don’t wait or you might change your mind! It’s so important to get things out of your home as quickly as you can once you’ve decided to get rid of them. Load up your vehicle and move stuff out! I tend to look at this part of the de-cluttering process as my reward. It feels good to get rid of so much stuff!

14. Clear All Flat Areas First

Clear off any countertops, tables, beds, and anything else that’s flat. Once the flat surfaces are cleared off, it’s much easier to work on decluttering.

15. Ask Yourself When the Last Time Was That You Used an Item

Be honest! If you haven’t used the item in a long time, the chances are very likely that you will never use it again. If it’s not being used, get rid of it!

16. Make Piles of Like Items

It’s much easier to sort through items of the same type than it is to be back and forth between items that are very different. It keeps your mind engaged and focused.

17. Organize Room-by-Room 

This one is so hard, but resist the urge to go from room to room. Discipline yourself to work in one area at a time and finish decluttering that room before you move on to the next room.

18. Stick to the Task

Just keep at it! Decluttering isn’t fun and it definitely takes mental, physical, and emotional energy. When you’re getting tired, take a quick break and get right back to it! 

19. Use Storage Bins 

I love storage bins of any shape or size. There’s something about containerizing all my things! Storage bins are my love language! (Seriously, they are!) They’re so helpful to keep things decluttered and organized. Consider investing in some as you are able.

20. Remember the Prize!

It’s not easy, for sure, but nothing of value rarely is. Just keep focused on how peaceful your home will be when you’re all finished.

21. Reward Yourself When You’re Finished 

You’ve done a good thing and it wasn’t an easy task! Make sure and give yourself a reward when you’re done. Hint: if you decide on your reward ahead of time, you might be more motivated to keep going!

22. Use the Decluttering Binder

I’ve set up The Decluttering Binder to take you room-by-room through your house and declutter. It’s laid out in a super easy-to-use fashion. You’ll definitely want to check it out here!

You Need a Shift in Your Mindset

You need to think about your house differently. Take pride in the fact that you live in it and make sure you are doing everything you can to keep it neat, clean, and organized.

Do you see your home as a haven? Is it a place of rest? If not, then think differently about your dwelling place. Seeing your house in a different light will definitely make you want to keep it clean and declutter it often.

Develop New Habits

Going forward, you definitely need to develop new ways. Sort things out as you use them. Periodically evaluate the items in your home. Are you using them? Or are they just taking up space?

One of the best ways to stop your home from getting so cluttered, is simply to put things away when you’re finished using them. Make sure everything has its own place and be diligent to store it there when it’s finished.

Here's how to get motivated to clean when you're overwhelmed by the mess. Ready to start decluttering?

Plan to Declutter on a Regular Basis

Unfortunately, decluttering isn’t a one and done. It takes regular effort to keep your home from getting overwhelmed with stuff, cuz for some reason things just seem to multiply!

Pick a regular time when you will declutter, whether it be on a weekly basis, a monthly basis, or whatever you decide.

The next time will be easier, I’m sure of it! The first time’s always the hardest because you have so much stuff to think about.

When You Start Decluttering Remember Nothing’s Perfect

It’s important to note that your house will never be perfect and that’s totally okay. What we’re looking for is progress and not perfection.

Don’t feel overwhelmed by the fact that you can’t have things exactly right and then in turn, you do nothing at all. Don’t do this! 😉

Give yourself a little grace and a pat on the back!

Be Patient with the Rest of Your Family

It’s also important to remember that if you live with anyone else, then their habits and your habits will likely not be the same. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you’re patient as you teach your family a new way to live.

You can make decluttering a fun part of your everyday living (yes, I did say fun!) And hopefully those around you will catch the vision!

Hire it Out

If all else fails, it’s not wrong to hire it out. If you can afford it and your house is extremely cluttered, then you may want to call in the big guns!

It’s not wrong, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Going forward, you can use the tips I’ve outlined above to help you keep your house from getting so cluttered again!

If You’re So Overwhelmed You Don’t Know Where to Star Decluttering, and This Whole Process Makes You Wanna Cringe, Then Try This:

First Go Through Your House and Clean Up What You Can

This first step is easy because it requires very little thought. Just start grabbing whatever you can and putting it away where it belongs. (It’s a good idea to clean up what you can before you start decluttering. Just don’t go overboard or you’ll lose track of your decluttering mission.)

A good way to feel like you’ve accomplished something is to start with putting away the big things.

At this point I don’t want you to worry about cleaning up anything too small. It’s a much more tedious job and your progress will be slower. You risk becoming discouraged much more easily. 

Now, Sit Down in the Middle of the Mess and Start Decluttering What You Can Reach

Once you’ve put away a good handful of larger and easy to clean up items, now you’re ready to start decluttering.

I find it very easy to sit down in the midst of the mess and just start picking way. As you declutter, remember to ask yourself these very important questions.

Be sure to make piles and sort your items into those piles. You’ll need a keep pile, a donate pile, a sell pile, and a throw away pile at the very least. In The Decluttering Binder I’ve made cute labels to help you out with this!

Keep moving around from mess to mess, decluttering as you go.

Related Organization and Decluttering Articles:

How about you? Are you ready to start decluttering but you’re so overwhelmed with your clutter that you have no idea where to start fixing it? What tips have you tried? What will you try from this article? Comment below and let me know!

Wanna start decluttering right now? Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of The Decluttering Binder mini pack. It’s an instant download so you can get started decluttering right away!

Here's how to get motivated to clean when you're overwhelmed by the mess. Dive in so you can start decluttering!

When you aren't sure how to declutter your clothes these helpful tips will you start decluttering !


Are you overwhelmed by decluttering? That's Ok! Come inside and I'll help you figure out how to start decluttering your home. It's easier than you think!

How to Start Decluttering {When You Have No Idea What to Do}


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