6 Reasons Decluttering Efforts Fail

Published by Deanna Yates on

6 Reasons Your Decluttering Efforts Will Fail

6 SECRET reasons your decluttering efforts will fail. The first point is super important, but #4 was the hardest for me.

Are you nervous your decluttering efforts will fail? Have you started projects in the past only to abandon them halfway through because you no longer have the energy to keep it up? Have you decluttered before and now you feel like your home is a mess again?

The Truth is You Can Succeed with Decluttering

I get it because I have been there. I thought organization was the key, but it was a never ending process and I wanted to stop organizing forever. Minimalism has always held a special allure, but not too long ago I thought it was not for me. We had a family and I did not want to deprive my daughter of a fun childhood or live in a sparse white home devoid of personality.

So many of the minimalist bloggers and outspoken examples are single people in their 20’s without kids or partners. Sure, I thought, if I were on my own, this would be so much easier. But, there’s no way I’d trade my family for minimalism.

However, as I really thought about why I wanted to live a more minimalist life, I realized that we can do both. Minimalism is not one-size-fits-all. I do not have to live in a sparse home in order to embrace the ideas of living with less.

The benefits of decluttering have been amazing and helped me move toward a life that works for my family. I want these same benefits for you!

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Don’t have time to read the whole post? Why not pin it for later?

6 reasons your decluttering efforts will fail. The first point is super important, but #4 was the hardest for me.

Top Reasons Your Decluttering Efforts Will Fail

1. Not getting clear on WHY you are decluttering

So, you’ve decided you want to get on board the decluttering bandwagon. Great, but why?

Do you want to live a less frantic life? Do you want to cut spending so you can stay home and raise your children? Are you constantly looking for lost items in the morning which leaves you stressed as you head out the door on your way to work? Does your home look like a tornado came through 15 minutes after you finish cleaning it?

Until you figure out why you want to declutter your home, you will spin your wheels getting it done. Decluttering is not for the faint of heart and when you hit a roadblock you’ll need to be able to tap into a greater purpose for why you are doing this in the first place.

Think about the life you want to live. How do you see your life in a year? Five years? Ten years?  If it works for you, create a vision board and put it somewhere you will be able to see it everyday so you can be reminded of why you are working so hard.

2. Not knowing HOW you really use your home

Remember, how I used to think decluttering and minimalism were only for single people without a family? Sure, that might be the easiest way to start, but it is not the only way. When you think about starting to declutter your home, you need to get really clear on how you use your home.

Do you love entertaining on the weekends? Are you the family that always hosts playdates? Do you love sports and have enough equipment to outfit a small sporting goods store? None of the answers to these questions are right or wrong.

However you answered the questions, you need to really think about what makes your home function. Once you know how you use your home, you can focus on what items help you with these activities and bring more joy to your family.

Remember, just because Pinterest if filled with holiday hosting ideas and awesome kid crafts you do not have to do these things to be a great mom. If these are not things you love to do, bringing items into your home for these activities will create clutter and overwhelm.

3. Trying to declutter TOO much at once

Raise your hand if you just want to get to the end result already! That is totally me. Once I decide I want to do something, I just want it to be 100% complete, like, now!

But, this can get you into trouble with decluttering. If you are not clear on why you want to declutter and how you use your home, just throwing things away can come back to bite you in the butt.

You’ll go looking for something and realize you donated it. There will be part of you that resents tossing your stuff so haphazardly. On a good day, you may realize that you can get by without it. But, on a bad day, you may throw in the towel on this whole decluttering and minimalism thing and go back to your old ways.

Decluttering is a process. You will not be able to go through your whole home in a day, a weekend, a week, or maybe even a month. We’re moms, wives, friends, and may even work outside the home. We are busy and we need to give ourselves time (and grace) to work through the process.

4. Putting others WANTS first

Remember that decluttering is a personal process. This is about you living YOUR best life.

I see most people get into trouble because they are living a life they think will make them happy. They are checking off the boxes of how others say life should be lived without much thought to if that is how they want to live their life.

If you are living your life for someone else or based on another person’s standards, you could easily get to a place where you look back and no longer recognize the person you’ve become.

Decluttering and minimalism is about figuring out how to live your life in a way that makes you and your family the happiest and most fulfilled.

For my family that is traveling. We’ve spent the last 8 months traveling around Europe. Most of our friends probably think we are crazy, but we love it and having less stuff makes this lifestyle possible for us.

What would be possible for you with less stuff?

5. Letting FEAR hold you back

One of the toughest parts of decluttering is thinking about all of your items as a single unit. When most people start thinking about decluttering, they quickly jump to family heirlooms, gifts from parents or friends, or other personal belongings that hold a lot of emotion.

It can be very scary to think that someone is telling you to get rid of Grandma’s china, Dad’s coin collection, or the nicknacks you collected as a kid that brought you comfort.

The good news is, there are ways to honor (and even keep) these items if they are very meaningful to you and serve the life you want to live.

But, not all of our items hold such big emotions to them. There is a process for working through your belongings starting with items that are less emotionally-charged and working up to the tough items.

Don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back from the life you dream of. Decluttering is a process and no one can make you do something without your consent.

6. Trying to do it ALL alone

Finally, your decluttering efforts will fail if you try to do it all alone. It is difficult to make a big lifestyle change. The people closest to you in real life may not understand why you want to do something different. They may resist your efforts.

But, you do not have to work on decluttering alone. There are so many resources available for you if you are ready to get the ball rolling.

I recommend checking out the following books and TV shows:


TV Shows:

  • Consumed – a look at how a family sheds 75% of their belongings (with help) so they can live a better life.
  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo – based on the bestselling book and principles in the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up book.
  • (Both shows are available on Netflix)

And I am here for you! I’d love for you to join my 7-Day Break the Clutter Cycle Challenge. It is free and will walk you through a roadmap for succeeding with your minimalism and decluttering efforts.

At the end of the email series you will be equipped with tactics and strategies for determining why you want to start decluttering and how to make your dreams a reality. It may be a small step, but it’s one in the right direction toward living the awesome life you want.

Yes! You can have it all…as long as you know what it is you want.

Won’t you join us? After all, what do you have to lose?

Don’t forget to pin this for later (or to share with a friend)!

6 SECRET reasons your decluttering efforts will fail. The first point is super important, but #4 was the hardest for me.
6 reasons your decluttering efforts will fail. The first point is super important, but #4 was the hardest for me.
6 reasons your decluttering efforts will fail. The first point is super important, but #4 was the hardest for me.
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Categories: Minimalism


Suchot · January 26, 2019 at 9:14 pm

Love this. As I look around me at the tons of toys around me I feel conflicted. My minimalist heart wants to get rid of at least half of all of it but my sentimental heart is filled with gratitude for the gifts my little girl has been given over the last 3 years and the fun she has had with them. I really like how you captured the gray area in this post 🙂

Amy · January 26, 2019 at 1:47 am

Love this post. You are getting me motivated to declutter. Thanks.

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