5 big mistakes while decluttering DIY


As a professional organiser I have seen mistakes happen for clients who started the declutter on their own. I thought I’d outline some of the most common mistakes I’ve seen along the way to help you from making them too on your journey.


  1. Over extending yourself. You know what I’m talking about. Ok guys this weekend we are decluttering our wardrobes. So you pull everything out and get started….then kid one gets invited to a mates place, so that takes you out for an hour. Get home, back into the shirts, then kid 2 & 3 are hungry. Feed, clean, back into the pants, kid 1 calls, I’m ready to be picked up. An hour later, you get home, get a load of laundry started and bam….you’re going to bed, and it's covered in this mornings grand idea of clearing the closet. You're a mum. We don’t get chunks of spare time, we are always on call, always have 1000 other things to do. So don’t go big, go small and take small bites. Pull out just the shirts. If you get them done and then have time, move onto something else.

  2. Worrying about other peoples stuff. Stick to your own junk. I’m sure there is more for you to declutter, whether its material items, items on your calendar, IT related, stick with your own stuff.! Don’t be that annoying housemate that gets onto a bandwagon and then yells and screams for everyone else to do the same. It will naturally progress, people will see the ease at which you're living and jump on, in THEIR OWN TIME. But get on the decluttering road, with the full expectation that your roomies, partner or loved ones may never join. This is ok too. Everyone has different standards that they want to live their lives, what makes them feel warm and fuzzy and stressed out. Let them be and focus on yourself.

  3. Decluttering other peoples stuff. NEVER assume you have the right to move other peoples stuff on. I recently had a client who tossed a band t-shirt out of her husbands. She hadn’t seen him wear it in over 20 years. Oh how wrong she was! This held great sentimental attachment for him and he was beside himself with anger. We don’t know what is going on inside someones head. Just because its not worn, read, played with doesn’t mean its no longer a big part of someones life. We must always ask. Pop it in a pile, to be sorted, and then let them make the final decision. This has some caveats but that’s a whole other blog.

  4. Not having a purpose. Decluttering can be overwhelming, it can be time consuming and it can be so frustrating that you give up after a few attempts. The best way to help this is to have a purpose. Have a few goals in mind before you start. What am I doing this for, who am I doing this for, what aesthetic do I like, what am I going to gain from this? By having your WHY sorted the decisions and actions you take along the way will make the whole process so much easier and more enjoyable.

  5. No plan. Have you ever done this on your day off? Wake up, create a list of 100 things you're going to achieve today, go to the kitchen make coffee, oh washing. Start the washing, hang last nights washing outside, see some weeds, start picking those, play on the tramp with the kids, oh lets put the scooters away, oh the shed is a mess, lets organise it, toilet break, oh that needs a wipe down, find cleaning supplies, pull laundry out of dryer, clean the lint tray, phone rings, chat for an hour, lose all sense of time, its dinner time, the dishes aren’t cleaned, wet washing was never hung out, bathroom wasn’t cleaned, shed is pulled apart and chaos, and don’t even get me started on that to-do list you created this morning. You know what I’m talking about? Well that’s what decluttering without a plan is like. You can move all over the house and just feel like you're creating half done jobs along the way. Plans give you a road map to follow, stick to it and you will get more done, more efficiently and you will see results much faster.

We will all make mistakes along the way. But please don’t let the fear of making a mistake stop you from your decluttering journey. Some mistakes are a huge deal at the time, oh no I tossed the photo, or that band t-shirt, but in the long run you realise what the point of the declutter was and it makes it ok. Some mistakes are just lessons you will learn along the way (hopefully by reading this you have avoided the most common), but if you do get overwhelmed, or off track it's ok. Breathe, take a minute and move forward. If you're just so overwhelmed, and keep coming across mistakes, regrets, or frustrated roommates, get in some professional help. Experienced organisers know how to avoid these big mistakes and help the entire process run smoothly and enjoyably.

Have you made any of these mistakes before? Did it stop you in your tracks or where you able to keep moving forward? I’d love to hear about it, pop over to FB and let me know!


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