decluttering mistakes- man holidng a sign that says common mistakes

“A failure to plan is a plan to fail” Benjamin Franklin

If you’re the type to jump into a decluttering project without thinking it through fully, this blog is for you!

Here are some mistakes to avoid when taking on your next decluttering project.


Not having a “decluttering” plan

Like all projects, things go more smoothly when there’s a plan in place.

Decluttering is no different.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Create a rough draft of your home (or area(s) you want to declutter))
  • Figure out what rooms will be involved in your project and what areas inside those rooms will be your focus.
  • Schedule your project- if it’s not in your calendar, it’s not going to happen. Not only should you schedule your project but schedule maintenance or upkeep as well.


Too much at once

 Be careful not to take too much on at once.

Break down larger tasks into sections or smaller tasks. For example, you may have a large pantry. Decluttering the entire pantry may seem overwhelming; the remedy to overwhelm is to break the pantry into sections. Maybe you declutter and reorganize one shelf of your pantry on one day and another shelf the next day.


Hanging onto Donation and recycling items too long 

Make a plan of action to move your donation items and recycling items out of your home. Get specific; write down where you will drop those donation items and when. Schedule it and write in the address of the drop-off location.

If there are items that won’t go in the recycling bin like paint etc., find out who will accept paint and when. Some areas have recycling days where they will take items like paint. Take note and schedule the drop-off.


Organizing before decluttering 

Some people get excited and want to organize before decluttering.

Remove the clutter first, then organize the things that are remaining.

You don’t want to waste your time trying to find homes for items you’re going to donate, recycle or throw away anyway.

The idea is you want more space than stuff. Decluttering makes space, and organizing makes room for the stuff left over. Organizing makes things easier to find by categorizing and planning.


Been down this road before

Once you’ve gone through the decluttering process, set up a routine for you and your family to check in on clutter and set up house rules for new items coming into the home. For example, one in one out. If you purchase an item, another item must be donated or recycled.

Routines around decluttering and organizing will help you stop clutter from getting out of hand again in the future.


Tips to help you kick clutter to the curb for good

  1. Keep an eye on areas that tend to catch clutter:
  • Tables, desks (all flat surfaces in the home)
  • corners
  • chairs
  • under the bed
  • closets
  • garage
  • attic
  1. If you find yourself shuffling clutter because it doesn’t have a home, it’s a warning that clutter is building. Catch it before it gets too out of control.
  2. If paper is an issue, set up a paper station. (see paper blog)


Need help?

If the thought of decluttering is overwhelming,  and you want to avoid these decluttering mistakes, it might be time to seek out professional help. A home organizer understands the exact tools and resources needed to complete the job in a timely manner that doesn’t overwhelm. Click here if you’d like to contact us.

You can also take a picture/video of your home or the area you want to declutter. Show it to a close friend, family member, or professional to get a new perspective or give tips on how to declutter and organize it.




MORE from Second Set of Hands…


If you’d like more information about the Calm The Clutter home organization course, click HERE.


You can also check out my new course Paper Organization: How to Declutter and Organize Paperwork HERE. A course for an unbelievable low price! The topics include

  • Benefits of organizing your paperwork
  • Paper organization goals
  • What to do before organizing your paperwork
  • What to keep and for how long
  • How to sort and organize paperwork
  • What to do with incoming paperwork
  • Where to go from here!

Before you go, don’t forget to join our Facebook group “Organize For Success” HERE.

Or download my 7 Top Organizing Tips to Get You Started for more organizing tips.