In this post: Struggling to declutter? Here are 10 ways to ditch the drama and find the motivation to declutter your home, once and for all!
If you’ve ever tried to tackle a long-term goal, like organizing your home, it’s highly likely that you hit a wall at some point. Your plan to declutter your office was thwarted by the minion taking a 20 minute nap instead of the two glorious hours you normally get. Your clean house was ransacked by tiny humans you created. You set aside an hour to clear space in your basement but got instantly overwhelmed, so you quit and watched Netflix instead.
Maybe the motivation to declutter your home started strong, but the excitement wore off somewhere between sparking joy and thanking your socks for serving you. In an instant, the goal of organizing and simplifying your home seemed further away than ever.
If you find yourself thinking, ‘How can I motivate myself to declutter?’ or ‘How do I motivate myself to clean and organize, when I just want to binge Netflix?’, this post is for you.
Regardless of why you lost your decluttering motivation (or never had it to begin with), here are 10 creative ways to find encouragement to declutter.
1. Remember your decluttering why
What made you want to start decluttering and organizing your home in the first place? Were you sick of the constant cleaning? Tired of seeing a mess everywhere you turned? Ready to spend your time on things that were more important to you?
Something sparked your interest in getting rid of the junk and simplifying your space. Remembering why you started down this path is often the biggest motivator in helping you get back on track.
When I first started becoming interested in minimalism years ago, my why was to have a home where I could host company at a moment’s notice. I was sick of cleaning the house for hours just so we could entertain friends or family. I wanted our home to be a comfortable spot to gather and I didn’t want to have to spend hours tidying it up so that it was presentable.
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2. Motivation to declutter found in small successes
If you need encouragement to declutter, take a look at where you’ve been, not just where you want to go. You might not be where you want to be, but odds are you’re further along than where you started. Spend some time writing down your decluttering wins. When motivation is scarce, revisit your list and be encouraged at how far you have come.
When I first started simplifying our home, I used to take pictures of my progress. Decluttering before and afters helped me see how far I had come. Sure, they were not Instagram worthy, but they documented that I had made progress, and every step forward should be celebrated!
Track your accomplishments, no matter how small. All those little successes add up, and it’s amazing how they help you find your motivation to declutter when you’re feeling stuck.
3. Decluttering creates motivation
We’ve all probably heard that the key to working out is getting dressed, lacing up your shoes, and taking the first few steps. You can give yourself permission to quit once you have done those things, but 9 times out of 10, you won’t quit because you’re already moving. The action of getting ready to workout has created the motivation to do it.
This same principle can be applied to decluttering, home organization, or cleaning. Grab a bag and begin decluttering the space you’re in. Give yourself permission to quit once you have gathered X amount of items or you have filled the bag. I bet you’ll continue even after you reach the goal. Why? Because, often, getting started is the hardest part.
Once you put your body in motion by engaging in an action, decluttering motivation often follows. The trick is to just start!
4. Motivation to declutter around you
Spark your motivation by regularly being inspired. One of the most successful spurts of decluttering I had occurred the first week of January, 2019. It was a culmination of two things: starting my #decluttertheyear group on Facebook and watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Surrounding myself with constant reminders of my why helped me rid our home of nearly 700 items in one week!
Consider what inspires you and regularly take a dose for some quick decluttering motivation. Maybe it’s reading success stories of others who have gotten their homes simplified or looking at pictures of homes that have been streamlined and decluttered on Pinterest. Find a podcast or two that inspires you to get moving and take action.
5. Decluttering as a daily practice
Newton’s First Law of Motion says that an object at rest will remain at rest until a force is acted upon it. We also know that it takes more force to move an object that is at rest than it takes to move an object that is already in motion.
So what does this have to do with decluttering motivation? It’s easier to motivate yourself to accomplish something when you are already moving toward a goal. It’s less challenging to work on a task a little bit each day than it is to work on a task you set aside a week ago, a month ago, or a year ago.
To avoid the motivational struggle of restarting, create a routine of doing something daily to work toward your goal. A routine will also automate your actions because the daily tasks will simply become part of your day.
You’re tired of the junk. This will help.
Learn the simple steps to reclaim your home, and your sanity!
6. Altruism as a motivation to declutter
If your daily mantra of “I have no motivation to declutter” is getting you down, consider shifting your perspective to how accomplishing your organizational goals can benefit others.
Scientists conducted a research study on motivation and the effects of exposure to beneficiaries. They discovered that the group of employees that had direct contact with the beneficiaries of their work demonstrated significantly greater persistence and job performance than the group that did not. In other words, the employees that had a direct connection with those who benefitted from their work were more motivated to be successful in their jobs.
Knowing you’re making a difference in the lives of your spouse and children can make a difference in your motivation to do the work. If you are lacking decluttering motivation, consider focusing on how simplifying your home will impact and serve your family.
7. Decluttering motivation through novelty
Sometimes the monotony of daily life is enough to zap your motivation. If the mundane is getting you down, consider injecting some novelty into your day to jump-start your decluttering motivation. A great way to do that is through experimentation. Try incorporating a new challenge into your journey to simplify your home.
When I was pregnant with our second born, I felt an urgent desire to declutter our house and get it in shape. I got the idea to #decluttertheyear and became highly motivated to tackle my long-term goal. While I had been decluttering regularly, this new annual decluttering challenge was like an injection of adrenaline into my efforts. It created novelty and increased my drive to gain results.
Ready to try something new in your journey to simplify your home?
- Consider simplifying your wardrobe by participating in a Project 333 challenge, or learn how to create a capsule wardrobe for you or your kids.
- If you are up for a decluttering challenge, give the Minimalist Game a try (or read about my failure here and modify it).
- Feeling overwhelmed in your kitchen? Check out 13 ways to simplify the space and get back to enjoying the heart of your home.
Create novelty by determining what you want to accomplish and then find a challenge that gets you excited to tackle it! You’ll find the motivation to declutter will increase with your enthusiasm to try something new.
8. Imagine the organized end game
A great way to ignite your motivation to declutter is to think of what life will be like once you’ve simplified your home. Envision the freedom you will have when you are spending your time soaking up a quiet afternoon during nap time, or enjoying a hot cup of tea and a good book after the kids go to bed.
Imagine the serenity and peace you will feel in your home once you aren’t being suffocated with stuff. Really think about what your new reality will be, in vivid detail. The more you can visualize your success, the more motivated to declutter you will become.
Learn the secret to decluttering with ease in this free guide!
9. Bribe yourself to gain motivation to declutter
Sure, we’d like to see ourselves as mature, functional adults with completely rational brains, capable of understanding the intricacies and value of internal motivation. Reasoning and logic should be enough to accomplish our goals and spur us on, but let’s be real.
Sometimes we are motivated by external factors, like toddlers who work for candy and stickers.
If you find yourself saying, “How can I motivate myself to declutter?” just a little too often, consider giving bribery a try (I am the queen of motivation through bribery. If I have a show I really enjoy watching, I’ll only allow myself to watch it if I’m on the treadmill. Works every time!).
While it may seem silly to give yourself arbitrary rules and constructs to grow your decluttering motivation, sometimes it’s simply what it takes.
Reward yourself with something when you hit a decluttering milestone. Treat yourself to a splurge when you stick to a new home organizing routine.
Sometimes staying motivated means bribing yourself to press on through challenges in order to gain a reward, so create a list of rewards and start earning them!
10. Create a Decluttering Plan and Track Your Progress
When I was wanting to create a new routine of going to the gym regularly, I downloaded a calendar app that allowed me to put a check mark on each day of the month that I accomplished my goal. While it may seem silly, seeing all those red check marks on the calendar was motivating. I could visually track my progress. Seeing all those marks in a row motivated me to continue so that I didn’t break my streak.
Consider what you could create to visually track your decluttering progress. Maybe you could design a thermometer to track your decluttering totals.
If you’re tech-savvy, download an app that tracks items that you have decluttered from your home (I share the one I use here).
Or, create a vision board to showcase your goals for the future. Find your motivation to declutter by creating a visual representation of your plan and your progress. This visual will be a continual reminder of why you want to simplify your life.
End the “I have no motivation to declutter!” Mantra
Staying motivated on your journey to declutter and organize your home is often easy at the start of a journey; the excitement of what lies ahead ignites your spirit and encourages you to get going.
Eventually, however, the newness wears off and the doubts creep in. Life happens and the fire of your decluttering motivation may start to smolder.
If you find yourself stalling out on your decluttering goals, it’s time to ditch the drama. Lose the excuses and find your decluttering motivation using these 10 simple tricks.
Don’t accept that you don’t have what it takes to make your dreams a reality. You have the ability to truly transform your life, and the lives of your family. Change your mindset, find your decluttering motivation, and get started accomplishing your decluttering goals today!