Do You Have Decluttering Paralysis? 5 Ways to Break Through!

Wednesday, September 7, 2022


Today's post is another one from a blogger I have just adored for a while now - Jessalynn Jones from Doable Simplicity.  

If you are like me you are busy, tired, and maybe just a little lazy. I mean, when I have an afternoon off the first thing that comes to mind isn’t tackling a huge decluttering project. I don’t want to tear up my house. I want to sweep the dirt under the rug, straighten a couple of throw pillows, and pretend the piles aren’t on every surface! Good enough! But are those excuses just a form of decluttering paralysis? Well maybe…

If you are like me you are busy, tired, and maybe just a little lazy. I mean, when I have an afternoon off the first thing that comes to mind isn’t tackling a huge decluttering project. I don’t want to tear up my house. I want to sweep the dirt under the rug, straighten a couple of throw pillows, and pretend the piles aren’t on every surface! Good enough! But are those excuses just a form of decluttering paralysis? Well maybe…

Why Should I Declutter?

I’m not going to lie. There have been times when I haven’t felt like decluttering and I’ve let things pile up. That’s just part of the ebb and flow of life. Sometimes we don’t have the capacity to address anything “extra”.

But the sad fact of the matter is that your decluttering paralysis may be adding to the problem. Your clutter might be the very thing that is wearing you down, stressing you out, and eating up your time.

When you can’t find your car keys or matching socks you can thank clutter for the hassle. If you feel like your house isn’t big enough but it takes too long to clean the problem is too much stuff. And if you have this nagging sense of anger and frustration when you are at home, it may be caused by the heavy burden of your stuff.

Decluttering in and of itself is not the funnest thing to do. But it can bring you so many benefits! When you have a clutter-free home you will find your keys and find extra pockets of time in the day too. Without the mess, your house cleaning will become a lot easier. And when you free up the mental energy all that junk has been stealing you might just have time to rest, enjoy family, or do something creative and fun!

Why Is Decluttering So Hard?

So now that you know why you should declutter you are totally ready to go right?! Not so fast! I bet you still have decluttering paralysis. Feelings of dread and overwhelm are boiling inside of you and you just want to run the other way.

Why is decluttering so hard? Simply put, we get in our own way. We feel too overwhelmed and busy to start, we run out of energy, and we make excuses. In fact, we make this simple job of getting rid of stuff a lot harder than it has to be.

So how can we get over all of this and break through decluttering paralysis? Let’s talk about each roadblock and how to get over it!

Decluttering Paralysis Cause By Overwhelm

The first roadblock you are going to face in your decluttering journey is that of overwhelm. And I don’t blame you!

When I watch those decluttering shows on TV or Netflix I get overwhelmed too. I mean, these poor people have to pull all their stuff out at once and create a huge mess in their house! They have to live in that mess until they finish untangling the web of junk they’ve woven for years.

But you, you are not on a decluttering TV show. You do not have to stick to a filming schedule. In fact, you need to stick to your real life schedule and declutter in your precious spare time. That’s what normal people do. That’s what I do.


You can easily declutter your home in bite size portions that don’t overwhelm you. The time frame you get your decluttering done in only has to please you. It’s ok if it takes a month or even a year or more!


I Don’t Have Time to Declutter!

Another reason we get decluttering paralysis is feeling like we just don’t have time to do it. We want to dedicate a whole weekend to decluttering and then another one or two weekends to yard sales. But those weekends never come.

Instead, take your time. Realize that your not going to be able or even ready to declutter everything in one weekend. And find the small pockets of time when you can declutter.

Start decluttering with the small and easy stuff. First, look around your house for trash like empty kleenex boxes and Amazon packages.

Next time you have a few minutes look for broken or worn-out stuff like destroyed dog toys, dried-up nail polish, and socks without mates.

Finally start tackling everything else one drawer or cabinet at a time. Set a 15-minute timer and see what you can accomplish!

I Don’t Have the Energy to Declutter!

Another big problem we face when we declutter is that we run out of steam.

This may happen physically, especially if you are dealing with health problems or limited mobility.

But it can also happen mentally. And when we are tired of making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of we often err on the side of keeping things. That defeats the purpose.

So how can we beat decluttering fatigue? Again, time is the answer. Take your time. Plan on it.

Get a basket and put just 10 items to donate in it a week. Then take it to the donation center at the same time as you get groceries.

Sit down by one of your piles and sort just that one pile into trash, donate, and put away. That is your only task for that day.

Choose just one drawer or cabinet at a time or set a 15-minute timer.

Last but not least, don’t hold back from asking for help. Your family, friends, or neighbors can help you get rid of junk you can’t use anymore. I especially love getting help from strangers when I sell something on Facebook and they have to haul it off in their truck!

Excuses That Cause Decluttering Paralysis

Finally, one of the biggest reasons we have decluttering paralysis is that we make a lot of excuses to keep our clutter. That’s right. When we finally have the time and energy to declutter we sabotage ourselves by coming up with some crazy reasons to keep our stuff.

A lot of these excuses spring from two emotions, fear and guilt. Those are really negative emotions. Do you want to be controlled by them? No! Of course not! So we need to learn how to counter even our best arguments.

When you don’t want to get rid of something because it was expensive when you bought it, remember that the money is gone. Keeping the item in a dark closet won’t bring your money back. Let go of the guilt and let go of the item.

If you are afraid to get rid of something because it was a gift let go of that fear. The person who gave you that item is very unlikely to come and do an audit of your home. And if they do, well you have bigger problems to worry about.

When you are tempted to save something just in case you or someone else might need it in the unknowable future say it out loud. “I will need this inflatable pool Flamingo the next time I make a Legally Blonde style entrance video for Harvard.” See? It’s pretty unlikely.

And for all those beautiful sentimental things you are hiding away in the deepest darkest closet of your house, find the best of the best! Choose the most meaningful thing that represents your memory and bring it out of the dark. Use it or display it. And don’t keep more than that. Your memories should be in your heart and mind, not your closet.

From Decluttering Paralysis to Fearless Decluttering!

Now that you can see clearly the reason you have had decluttering paralysis, you can finally break through!

You will find yourself making big changes with all your small decluttering sessions. Life will get a lot easier in your clutter-free home and you will find yourself less busy and less stressed out than ever before!

If you ever feel like you're not decluttering fast enough, or you're not letting enough go, don’t worry. You can take it at your own pace. Every time I declutter I am ready to let go of something I wasn’t ready to let go of before. All progress is progress, even if it’s small, so enjoy the journey.

And most importantly of all, let go of fear and guilt and start decluttering fearlessly! 


Jessalynn Jones writes her blog Doable Simplicity with the goal of helping you simplify your life so you have time and energy for matters most to you! Her blog will help you declutter your life and home so that you can follow your dreams! 


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