How to Declutter When You’re Overwhelmed by a Messy House

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How to declutter when you're overwhelmed by a messy house? Get motivated to clean and declutter your house in 7 steps.

Clutter causes stress. When there are piles of clutter around the house, I feel anxious and overwhelmed.

That’s why I love minimalism. Decluttering excess stuff, and having a clean and organized home make me more time and energy to focus on things that matter.

I believe everyone can live better with less stuff. Do you want a clutter-free home but don’t know where to start?

Today, I wanted to share some decluttering tips on how to clean and declutter a messy house. Check out these tips for finding your motivation to start decluttering.

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How to Start Cleaning and Decluttering Your Home When Feeling Overwhelmed

Do it right now

1. Just do it.

Yes, just get started! Just do it right away!

The hardest part of a decluttering project is to get started. Stop being lazy. Stop making excuses to procrastinate on a decluttering project.

Ask yourself why you want to have a clutter-free home.

2. Break It down Into small tasks.

You need to know the reasons why you are procrastinating before you deal with it. There should be some reasons that you are putting things off.

If you are overwhelmed with the big clutter everywhere in your house, break it down into small tasks every day.

Start with just five minutes. Decluttering in 5 minutes at a time and make it a habit.

Related house decluttering tips:

16 Five-minute Decluttering Tasks You Can Do Today

12 Decluttering Methods When You Have Too Much Stuff

Set a Goal

3. Focus on why you love to have a clutter-free home.

Get out there and make it happen. Never wait for the right time to clean and declutter. That will never happen if you just wait for the right time to do it.

4. Make a Plan and find motivation.

Visualize what would you want your home to look like. Write down a list of tasks that you want to complete and specify a time for doing them.

Set a timer for 20 minutes and start decluttering. Keep going if you feel like you can do more.

Get Your Family On Board

5. Schedule a time like create a weekend decluttering and get your whole family involved.

Get the kids to clean up their own rooms and teach them to put their things away. Don’t forget to celebrate the progress with your family.

6. Don’t be discouraged if your partner is not on board.

My husband is a hoarder and he has a hard time letting things go and that’s okay.

Over the years, I’ve learned to clean my house cheerfully. I’m doing this for my family and I’m happy to have a clean home.

So start with your own things and show him it can be done. He’s more willing to declutter when he notices the difference in your house.

Related house cleaning article:

My Minimalist Cleaning Schedule

How to Clean Your House Fast and Efficiently

How to Keep a House Clean

Focus on One Area at a Time

7. Make a list and prioritize.

Make a plan and write down each area you want to tackle. When your home is extremely messy and the clutter piles on every flat surface in your house, I suggest you clear the clutter on the floor first.

8. Start small.

Once your floor is cleared, choose one area or one room to start decluttering.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the mess in your home. So focus on one small area to start with, like a drawer or a closet.

The small victory helps to motivate you to keep going to a larger room and feel less overwhelmed.

Have 3 Bags and 1 Basket with You

9. Ruthlessly purge all your unnecessary stuff.

I love using the “touch things once” rule. That means being decisive is necessary during the decluttering process.

Whenever I’m thinking about what to keep and what to purge, I make my decision right away.

I don’t keep things just in case. I don’t want to waste my time and energy on organizing and purging the same thing again next time.

10. Have 3 bags and 1 basket ready for the decluttering project.

One bag for trash, one bag for donation, one bag for recycling, and one basket for keeping the items. Personally, I don’t keep a bag of “just in case” items.

11. Here are a few questions you have to ask yourself to help you declutter.

Do I use it regularly? Does it fit me or my home? Do I love it? (If you love it, do you have space for it?)

Develop Good Habits to Overcome Procrastination

12. Routine. Routine. Routine.

Yes, you need to build a decluttering habit and make decluttering part of your daily routine.

For example, committing to decluttering and blocking off 20 minutes a day to clean can make a big difference over a month.

13. Put things back right after you are finished using them.

Always put things back where they belong. Creating a habit of putting things away.

You may also use labels to help you and your family members to put things back and find them again easily.

14. Clean as you go.

A quick wipe down the bathroom sink after you use it in the morning. Clean spills as soon as they happen. Wipe down your stovetop right after each use.

Don’t let the dirty dishes pile up in the sink. Hand wash them or put them in the dishwasher right after eating. All these habits will help you to reduce stress and make your life easier.

Related cleaning and decluttering articles:

How to Get Motivated to Declutter Your Home

Summer Decluttering Checklist

7 Areas to Declutter Before Christmas

5 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Home

How to Have Less Stuff

Set a Deadline

15. Set yourself a deadline.

This completion date is your goal to keep you motivated. Setting a deadline will give you a time frame to finish the job and keep you on track.

In order to make decluttering easier, you need to make a plan, create a schedule to follow and stick to it.

Okay, once you’ve finished the decluttering, now what? Make sure you develop the habits that will help you to keep a house clean.

I’ve created a Decluttering Checklist for you. Sign up for the form below to grab the free printable 100 Things to Declutter Checklist and start getting rid of things right away!



Want to have more decluttering and organizing inspiration?

Read on to find out the books that will help you simplify, declutter and organize your home like a pro!


The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day

Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff

Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day

Handy tips on how to clean and declutter a messy house. Let you know how to get motivated to clean and declutter your home in 7 steps.

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  1. We have this “junk room” that we’re hoping to turn into an office but we got to go through quite a bit and declutter first. As a family of procrastinators, that can certainly be difficult. We’re really going to try to follow your tips to get it done. Then we’ll get the carpets cleaned and equipment set up (and hopefully keep it junk and clutter free). Thanks for sharing.

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