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How to start decluttering when stuck at home

Lockdown? Illness? Terrible weather?

There are many reasons why you might be stuck at home for an extended period of time.

While this often seems like the prime opportunity to start decluttering, being “stuck” at home can actually be a deterrent to being motivated and productive in itself. Here are some tips for decluttering when you can’t leave the cluttered space!

how to start decluttering when stuck at home

Stuck at Home? Here’s How to Declutter

We recently interviewed Karen Mace, one of our Decluttering Coaches based in Australia, about her experience of decluttering when you can’t leave the house.

Her experience was predominantly targeted to the extended Melbourne lockdowns during the pandemic.

However, we think some of her tips can be applied to other situations where you might be stuck in the house – like because of awful weather or while recovering from an illness or injury.

If you’d like to watch the video interview, scroll to the bottom of this post!

1. Get focused

A good tip for getting started when you might be stuck is to avoid looking at the big picture. That can be VERY overwhelming. Instead pick a targeted, smaller area that you can focus on  – and consistently!

Karen recommends choosing the most annoying space in the home for this task. If that doesn’t work, focusing on the kitchen or bathroom is great since you tend to not be attached to the things that live there.

>> Try one of these 10 unusual ways to get motivated when stuck for extra tips!

2. Work in short spurts

You might be surprised to hear that decluttering for 10-15 minutes a day is an effective method for making progress. It may not sound like much (hint: It’s not supposed to), but those 15 minutes add up!

After 4 days, you’ve done an hour of decluttering!

Short spurts like these motivate you to take action because the investment in the moment is so minimal.

If you need proof of progress, we suggest doing before and after photos of the space you’re working on.

>> Check out these 10-minute miracles for inspiration!

3. Set up your sorting system

During the decluttering process, you will need to decide the intended outcome of every item you touch. Will you:

  • keep it
  • throw it out
  • donate it
  • recycle it
  • move it to another area of the home?

It’s important to have a system in place that will help you declutter to all these needs while bearing in mind you can’t leave the house. For example, create a space for your donation pile that is out of the way until you can actually head off to a donation center.

4. Celebrate your wins of any size

How do you keep going when you’re feeling overwhelmed because maybe life isn’t normal?

Karen says it’s super important to celebrate your wins and successes, no matter how small they might be. You could toss out a single piece of paper, and that can be enough.

The important thing is to celebrate that as you tend to repeat behaviors from which you get positively rewarded.

It also helps to have a support system around you who will share in your success. So, find a Facebook group or community that gets it!

5. Build habits and routines

There will come a time when lockdowns end or the snow melts, so the key to not letting your hard work go to waste is to build habits and routines.

Consistency is key to long-term success!

Those small daily declutters and house tidies will mean your progress doesn’t have to end when lockdown ends. It’s so much easier to keep the small momentum than to figure out how to declutter after a long break.

Watch the video interview with Karen:

Karen Mace is a decluttering coach based in Australia. Her passion is helping people to move past their stuck places and clear out their houses. Learn more about working with Karen on her website.

Ever been stuck at home and decluttering? How did you get motivated to make it happen?

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Welcome. I’m Sarah!

 
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!

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