My House Is So Cluttered I Don't Know Where to Start

My House Is So Cluttered I Don’t Know Where to Start

Sometimes, the house just gets away from you. It can start with a small pile of stuff in the corner, and then spread like a plague throughout the entire household. Where do you even get started when everything needs to get done?

Anything Can Be Accomplished in Simple Steps

First: breathe. Even the worst of messes can be cleaned step-by-step. Don’t get bogged down wondering “where you should get started.” The important thing is to get started to begin with. As messy as your house is now, there have been houses that were messier, and there are ways that you can get out from under the pile.

Deciding Where You Want to Start

My House Is So Cluttered I Don't Know Where to Start

Do you want to start in the hardest area of your home? Or do you want to get started with something simple and manageable? It all depends on your own unique cleaning style. You need to select a starting point that’s going to be rewarding to you.

Here are some common methods of starting on a large cleaning project:

  • Hardest tasks first. Some people want to deal with the most difficult task first. After the most difficult task, everything else is much easier. Other people can’t deal with difficult tasks first: they need to work up to it. Hard tasks may include going through the entire home to throw items out, boxing up items to go into storage, or deep-cleaning the kitchen.
  • Easiest tasks first. Sometimes, it’s easier to ramp up to the hard stuff with some of the easier tasks. Taking out the trash, doing the laundry, or washing the dishes can make you feel accomplished, and make it possible for you to move on to more intensive tasks. If there’s something that will only take five to ten minutes, just do it now.
  • Tackling the smallest area. Maybe your home office has been driving you crazy. Maybe it’s your laundry room. Completing a small, contained room can help you take control without having to complete the entirety of your house. Often, it gives you more of a sense of satisfaction to have a single area completely clean, than every area a little clean.
  • Tackling the common areas. Are you feeling discouraged because you can’t invite guests over? Consider tackling the common areas such as the entryway and the living room first, and leaving more private areas such as bedrooms for later. You can focus on the living area or the dining area; when your home looks presentation-worthy, it may be less discouraging.

Everyone is different. Some of these strategies may sound great to you. Others may sound horrible. But what’s important is that you choose one and you stick to it.

Getting Started With Your Decluttering Process

Getting Started With Your Decluttering Process

You know where to get started, but the process itself may still feel overwhelming. How can you tackle a project that extends throughout your entire home? Here are a few important tips for decluttering without losing your sanity.

  • Start in small bursts. Clean an hour at a time, so you remain energized throughout. Otherwise, you could find yourself losing interest in cleaning, and the quality of your cleaning and organization could decrease.
  • Reward yourself for cleaning. After you finish cleaning, reward yourself with something you enjoy, such as watching a favorite show, or going out to eat.
  • Set aside an entire day. Even if you don’t clean throughout the entire day, you at least won’t feel pressured to rush through cleaning to accomplish other things.
  • Recruit help from others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other members of your family, or even call in a professional for a one-time deep cleaning. There’s no shame in needing some help.
  • Get rid of as many of your items as possible. Decluttering isn’t possible if there are a large amount of extraneous things around. Try to get rid of as much as possible during your initial stages of decluttering. It will make the entire process much easier.
  • Consider long-term organization. Don’t just put things away. Think about the long-term organizational strategy for your home. You want to place things where they belong, not just tuck things in closets for further exploration.

Once you’ve chosen where to start, it’s really just a matter of getting started. You can do it! And remember: the fewer items you have available, the fewer items you have to declutter.

5 thoughts on “My House Is So Cluttered I Don’t Know Where to Start

  1. Johanna says:

    Hello Mary, I Enjoyed Reading Your Text To Cher O, I Found It Uplifting. It Seems To Make A Lot More Sense Reading It From A Stranger Than Myself Constantly Telling Myself The Same Information.
    I Am 71yrs Old, Took Over The Tenancy Of This Rented House 20 Years Ago After My Mam Passed Away.
    Gradually Over The Years Parted With Many Items Of My Man’s That Had Precious Memories.
    Therefore The Advice You Gave Cher To Help Reorganize Her Thoughts, Help Maintain The Motivation Needed, Was Kind And Wise Advice.
    I Can Understand Your Own Feelings About The Expensive Bedroom Suite. Also How It Can Be A Struggle To Let It Go.
    I Would Keep It If You Have Any Grandchildren Or In The Future Will Have Any,That May Stay Over At Grandma’s House. If That Is Not An Option, I Would Ask At Church To See If There Is A Family Who Are Down On Their Luc.Who Could Benefit From What You Have To Offer.
    Especially If You Bless It With Love And Let It Go With A Good Heart. Which I Know You Have, Reaching Out To Cher O Showed That.
    I Do Not Tell Many People My Story, I Am Telling You Hopefully It May Help You.
    My Parents Separated When I Was 7Yrs Old, Those Days A Lady Could Not Rent A Home Of Her Own, Or Buy On Credit Any Furniture And No Social Benefits, After 1yr We Got Our Original Rental Home Back, Minus Any Furniture Or Carpets. My Mam Walked Into That House Which Had Once Been Our Home With Nothing But 4 Children.
    My Mams Uncle Came With Two Double Beds, A Cooker Where The Oven Worked And Two Out Of The 4 Rings Worked. Some Bedding Two Chairs, 5 Various Pieces Of Cutlery, A Few Pans And Pots. Suddenly These Few Items Made Our House Feel Like A Home.Where 5 Minutes Earlier It Had Felt Empty Cold And Hopeless.
    I Still Remember That 1st Night After Mam Made Those High Thick Wooden Beds, Where We Would Have To Run To Climb On Top Of Them Which Made Us Laugh.
    The Laughter, Excitement Happiness And Gratefulness Of Having A Bed Only To Share With My Sister. After A Year Of 4 Of Us Sharing A Bed, Top And Tail Together. Our Prayers All Those Years Ago Where For The People These Items Belonged To At One Time.
    Now I Am Still Grateful For The Individual Or Individuals Who Had Made Way In Their Lives To Let Those Items Go And Come To Us.
    Because They Brought So Much Joy And Happiness Were It Was Needed.
    Has You Say To Cher O, Once We Find A Good Home For The Various Items That Are Not Serving Us In Our Life. The Space Around Us Frees Up For Loving Memories And Items To Come Into Our Lives.To Enjoy, Grow And Develop.Thank You God Bless

  2. Cher O. says:

    Am moving to retirement community from 3bedroom home of 33yr. I have started and stopped more times than I can count. Things have gone from very bad to worse. I am 69 yr, disabled & broke. Please advise as mentally this is not helping & very stressful.

    • Mary says:

      Hello Cher. I am a fellow “hoarder” (let’s call it that for the sake of this exchange). I am 52 and have been living in my current house for 23 years. My first child was almost 3 yo when we moved in; second one was born here. Needless to say there is a lot of history, belongings and memories here. While I am not moving to a retirement community, I am an empty “nest-er” and have been thinking of selling. By answering your query, I hope to help you and I both. Some of us tend to accumulate belongings and souvenirs over the years, for the right and the wrong reasons. We then find it hard to part form them because they either have sentimental value, financial value or some other form of perceived value. We however have to keep in mind that the things that no longer serve us today may actually have “negative” value and weigh us down by either being in the way or causing us anxiety because we are conflicted about how to “manage” them. So here are a few ideas to help you sort through your own process. 1) Take pictures: Some things have no actual use but are souvenirs, such as children drawings, birthday cards, travel memorabilia, or are simply “decorative”. By taking pictures and putting them in an album (whether physical or virtual), you will be able to view them any time you wish and continue remembering and enjoying the precious memories associated with them, without them occupying physical space or gathering dust. Then, based on their nature and/or condition, either give them away (to a charitable organization for instance), recycle them or throw them away. 2) Broken or damaged items: My drawers are full of clothes and knickknacks that would only take me a few minutes to fix (if only I could find the missing piece or sew it back together) but that I never got to. If these things have been “put aside” for more than a year, again depending on their value, usefulness and condition, give them away (for instance to a seamstress or a handyman for them to fix and use, sell or give away), recycle them or throw them away. Commit to disposing of the remaining items if you have not fixed them within the next 3 months. 3) Large, useful and valuable items: My house is overfilled with furniture. For instance, when we moved in, I bought my older one a very complete, high quality and pricey bedroom set that was meant to last a lifetime. I was hoping to pass it onto her for her own children, but it turns out she doesn’t want it, not even a little bit! I could try and sell it but fear I would not get half of what I paid for 23 years ago, so I don’t even try. As beautiful as it is (at least in my eyes), it occupies a whole room in the house that I could otherwise use as a home office or a hobby room that I would enjoy and use a lot more than an empty child bedroom! So it all comes down to making conscious and intentional decisions about what matters most to us
      now, what we need and how we want to live our lives TODAY, not how we lived it twenty-some years ago. Getting rid of the clutter not only makes the space around us lighter, healthier and happier, but it also frees our mind! So “thank” these things for the role they served in your life and the joy they brought you, then let them go peacefully knowing that by doing so, you create space and opportunities for other joyous memories to manifest in your life.

  3. Kim says:

    That’s great idea but if you are just sitting in it and waiting to take it somewhere you may end up going back to those bags and finding items that you might want to keep I would suggest you feel them whatever you want to take and take it right away to your best charity cuz we always get that second thought and we let him say oh no I should have kept this yeah and that’s what I do I’m just giving you that suggestion

  4. Patsy says:

    I am really getting rid of “important” stuff! I can breathe easier. It will take a while, but knowing I am working on it, helps all areas of my life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *