How to recover from a setback that feels like a failure

Ever had a decluttering fail?

Maybe you were sure you’d get your closet decluttered this time. You carved out a weekend. You were ready to do the work.

And then you got overwhelmed or something came up or you hit the messy middle…

… and your best intentions were squashed.

It feels like failure.

Failure happens, and you can recover from this setback.

In fact, I believe you should seek out failure (what??) Yep. I want you to look for chances to put yourself in situations where you might failure.

If you know how to recover from failure the way I’ll show you in this video, you won’t have to be afraid of it any more.

Watch the Video Now:

In the video, we discuss the 4 steps to this process:

  1. Realize it’s going to happen. It’s not a question of “if,” it’s a question of “when.”
  2. Normalize and neutralize. What are the facts? Separate them out from the story you have about the failure.
  3. Remember that your failure doesn’t mean anything about YOU. It’s separate from you.
  4. Know that successful people aren’t without failure; they are successful BECAUSE they’re willing to fail, not in spite of it.

How do YOU recover from big decluttering setbacks? Let us know in the comments.


Failure happens in life. Learn how to deal with it and recover from it with this 4 step process.


Keep Reading

If you have questions related to your purchase(s), please do not leave a comment on the blog. Contact our customer success team for assistance.

6 thoughts on “How to recover from a setback that feels like a failure”

  1. Great advice. It’s better to be trying and making some progress, even if mistakes are made along the way. Only way to learn.

  2. Hi Sarah!

    I grew up in a home where MANY walls were covered up with bookshelves (my dad was a professor). So it is no surprise that I love books. I homeschooled, so that was another reason that I acquired TONS of books, CDs and DVDs.

    Through the years I have given away a LOT of books, CDs and DVDs—to libraries and to fellow homeschoolers. But I STILL have a lot of books (easily still thousands).

    Last year I realized that there were still a lot of books that I have that homeschoolers could use. I asked my sons if they wanted me to save the books for them in case they ever got married, had kids and wanted to homeschool. They both said that the books I was talking about would be fine to pass on since they could be used right away. So I gave a lot of books away.

    But that still left me with lots of books. Yesterday it occurred to me that I could give even MORE books away if I decided to give away books that had not been my special ones from my childhood or from my kids’ childhoods, because I still had a lot of good children’s books. I decided to “cull the herd” down to just the EXTRA special ones. That still means I will have a lot of books, but this last step is one I have been putting off “just in case” the books might be special to any grandkids I ever have.

    So I guess you could say that I am moving forward, willing to fail by letting a possibly special book go so that other children can enjoy them NOW.

    It is not the final chapter of my book decluttering, but it is a new risk that I am willing to take🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗

    Thank you, Sarah, for ALL that you and your team do. GREAT video—that can apply to relationships as well as to decluttering.


  3. Absolutely love this! My motto has been we are on this earth once (maybe twice), make the most of it, don’t be afraid to ask or fail. I’m the first to admit my mistakes (and I make whoppers) and it’s so frustrating that several of my colleagues rely on obvious lies instead of owning up. When I was a student teacher I found that the “remedial” kids tried harder and were so much more creative than the came by it easy “honor” students. And of course you just reminded me of what I forgot I already knew when it comes to decluttering: I’m still guilty of seeing my snail’s pace as failure but in light of my work schedule (and even if it wasn’t ridiculous) I’m just where I need to be.
    Once again you are like oxygen to me. Thank you.

  4. Hi Sarah, Great video! I had reached the point of feeling I was a failure to the point where I did not try anymore except at work. I am putting together a calendar for this week and if I am knocked off course will not take it personally but take it as life. Thanks so Much, Bev

  5. I just want to let you know that we do value mistakes as learning opportunities in math class now. As an educational math consultant we endorse a growth mindset. Our first Math Practice Standard is to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.


Leave a Comment

Welcome. I’m Sarah!


I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

Search Articles

© 2023 Mueller Creative Inc. All rights Reserved.                             Disclaimer