9 Mistakes People Make When Decluttering

Clothes and other items spell out the word DONATE

Why wait for spring cleaning? Goodwill has 50 convenient drop-off locations to help you declutter. Donate items in February and take 25% off your next purchase. Some restrictions apply.


If you think your home feels a little cluttered right now, you’re not alone. It seems the holidays leave our homes in a bit of disarray. New gifts and toys, stacks of old items that were replaced, and maybe some piles of items you’ve been meaning to find a place for. So how can you make sure you conquer the mess in the most efficient way possible? We’re going to cover the most common mistakes people make when decluttering.

First though, for a little motivation, it’s great to understand why decluttering is important. An Indiana University study found that people with cleaner houses are healthier than those with messy houses. Connections have also been found between cluttered spaces and stress, anxiety and fatigue. What better motivation could there be to clean up than for a healthy body and mind?

Now that we’ve established that there’s no need to wait on your “spring cleaning,” let’s go ahead and look into the top mistakes that people make when tackling the job.

  • Holding on to things you think you’ll need. Have you ever cleaned out your closet just to find a pile of untouched clothes that you kept the last time you cleaned out your closet? Be honest with yourself. If you’re not likely to wear those items, they’d be much better utilized by donating them to someone who will.
  • Waiting until the mess takes over to declutter. We’ve all been at that point where the mess that you have walked by week after week has gotten out of control. You realize it needs some attention and it needs it now. It ends up taking you twice as long because you didn’t maintain the area regularly, so the problem built up. By taking care of messes regularly, you can keep the avalanche of clutter from accumulating, saving you time and effort in the long run.
  • Hoarding items from the start. If you find yourself cleaning up little items that you thought you’d need, just to clear them out and toss them later, save yourself the time and toss it from the start. Receipts, broken items (that you’ll fix someday) and items along that line are some of the biggest culprits.
  • Organizing instead of decluttering. Don’t get confused — organization is not the same as decluttering. Decluttering means to clear out the clutter, not find a new place for it. So if your goal is to get rid of the chaos, it’s time to let go of some things, not just move them around.
  • Being too attached to things. It’s human nature to become attached to belongings. Whether something was a gift, or you spent too much on it, we can feel guilty getting rid of it. But it’s necessary to consider whether or not that item plays an important part in our day-to-day needs. Sometimes you have to be a little less emotional and little more practical.
  • Tackling large areas at one time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on big projects all at once. This can be intimidating, time consuming, exhausting and sometimes even impossible! Instead, dedicate yourself to small areas, one at a time. Give yourself time to finish and then it’s on to the next one!
  • Relying on storage space. It’s easy to go with the mantra, “out of site, out of mind” but when you just move things to storage space, you’re not doing yourself any favors. If you find yourself thinking that you won’t need the items you are storing away, consider donating them instead of letting them collect dust.

Clearing out the clutter in your home might sound like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be if you are going about it the right way. Plus, there are so many reasons to declutter! Why wait to reap those benefits?


Guest blog by Sarah Carlson, Real Housewives of Minnesota

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that envisions a world where everyone experiences the power of work.
A proud partner of the American Job Center network. Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a tax exempt organization. Tax Exempt#: 8357182.
© 2018 Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota 553 Fairview Ave. N, St. Paul, MN 55104 651-379-5800