Where to Start Decluttering When Your House Is a Disaster

If you’re overwhelmed, if your house is a disaster, if you’re wondering where do you start decluttering, I’m here to help:

There is no such thing as a mom’s life balance. 

Someone once explained life like this … think of yourself as balancing on a big rubber ball. If you’ve seen an acrobat artist balancing on the ball you’ll see that the juggler is never staying still in one position for long. But they are making small shifts to compensate for their weight. They are never staying still. They are never in “perfect” balance. 

This is like us and our lives. We never have it all figured out, everything will never be running smoothly, there will be no perfect place to get to, no secret level that some super mom out there has figured out and you need to figure out too. It’s never like that. 

When we as busy moms are paying attention, focusing on, and acting in one area of our lives then it is that we are letting something go in another area of our lives.

It’s like a give and take relationship with all those different plates of responsibilities that we are trying to spin in our lives. All the different areas of responsibilities. 

It’s like you are going to focus on personal development and journal out your thoughts every night and get that to be a habit for you while letting go of sweeping the kitchen floor every night before bed. You are making shifts. You are making trades. And that is normal, fine, and perfect. 

Because once you have done the work and have made journaling before bed a solid habit that you do without thinking then guess what!? 

Something super magical happens, but it’s like this quote … when the waters rise in the ocean, then all ships rise. I probably butchered that quote, but you get the gist right?! When one area of your life is much improved and changes a piece of you for the better you are confident and ready to take on and change more. 

Finding Time for You This Week

One small change can impact your life in one area and yet change your life all around by starting a chain reaction in your life. 

If you’re wondering how this answers “Where do you start decluttering?” just hang with me for a minute. It all relates.

Take the journaling your thoughts example. Say you made it a habit and every night before bed you journal out your thoughts and why you are thinking them.

Because you are thinking those thoughts you are feeling the feelings that you are feeling and because you are feeling those feelings you are acting a certain way. And you acting a certain way can be traced back to all those thoughts that you’ve been having. 

Successfully journaling out your feelings helps you to uncover your thoughts. Looking at your thoughts non emotionally helps you to change the thoughts that you are having.

The outcome then is that you are changing things that you do throughout the day.

Perhaps you are less stressed and because you are less stressed you are not snapping at the kids and because you are not snapping at the kids then you are happy and less guilty and your kids are happy.

And there you have it. You have not only changed your life with one simple life-changing habit such as journaling before bed but you have also changed a piece of your entire life because you have made a small change elsewhere. 

Equals — all ships rise. 

Related Post: How to Declutter When You Have No Time

The same thing can be said about decluttering. 

Spending a little time in one area of your life — like on your physical stuff — will be an easy way to “raise the ships.” 

So how do you do that? 

Where do you start when you have a limited amount of time, space in your calendar to work on this and your house is a disaster?

Where do you start decluttering???

Start with the bag method which is where you walk around your house and pick up all the garbage in it. Then you’re left with all the junk that you are not sure you should have. This is easy to put away because they fall into 3 main categories: toys, food, and clothes. 

Related Post: When You Don’t Know Where to Start Decluttering

When your house is a disaster start with these 6 easy steps to declutter 

1. Don’t try to declutter everything at once

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your house makeover. You need to be realistic in your expectations of how far you are going to go with decluttering today. And the truth is 15 minutes or one drawer is fantasia. 

2. Use a garbage bag first 

Walking around the main living areas of your house, walk with a garbage bag in your hands, and throw out all the garbage that you find. 

3. Whatever is being donated, take out right away

Leaving what you have sorted out as needs to go and be donated in a garbage bag in the room you just sorted means that you may be tempted to go back through the bag and keep some stuff inside. Think of it leaving your house as a success in decluttering.

4. Use 3 simple questions to sort out your stuff 

This I did not come up with myself but Kathi Lipp said to make decluttering easy on yourself by making sure you use only these three questions to answer if you need to keep this or not. And those questions are 1. Do you love it? 2. Do you use it? 3. Would you buy it again? If you answered yes to any one of these three questions then keep what you have. 

Check out her post explaining this here: How to Declutter Your Home Fast: 3 Clarifying Questions You Must Ask

5. 15-minute timer

All you need to start with is something that is super low bar and easy to go for. This is why a 15-minute timer is an easy way to start something hard to do. Something that feels near impossible when the house is a disaster. 

6. Make it a habit

The number of people that live in your house is not about to change anytime soon and the amount of stuff that is in your house is in a constant state of flow. As in each week, you are bringing out stuff, at the very least garbage, and you are always bringing in stuff, at the very least groceries. Doing a little bit of decluttering one drawer at a time, one 15 minute chunks at a time. One item that gets moved out of the door at a time is a success. Is a win 

You can make change one small habit at a time

So where do you start decluttering? By changing one small habit.

It doesn’t need to be in one grand sweeping gesture but an intentional habit that slowly builds on itself. Here’s a little math for you. If you spend 15 minutes a day — 5 days a week — and accomplish one drawer for every 15 minutes decluttering session, in a year from now you will have completely decluttered 260 drawers, or shelves or cabinets or bins. Whoo hoo! You can do this! 

By Sharon Schuler