How To Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed

Congratulations on making the decision to learn how to start decluttering when overwhelmed and make your farm and your life more peaceful! That is the hardest place to get to.

You have already won half the battle. It’s not going to be easy but it is so worth the effort it takes to get there. 

Downsizing things and reducing “stuff” as well as letting go of toxic relationships and overbooked schedules are all part of decluttering. Did you know that?

If you are here reading this post you are likely searching for something. You want to FEEL calmer and have a life you can enjoy. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and like you are spinning in circles. 

That includes decluttering more than just the stuff in your home. I promise. Today we are going to simply take it one step at a time. 

You’ll reap huge benefits from all of it. But first, you have to get there. The question is, where exactly is “there”?

The truth is, your destination is completely up to you. Some people choose an extreme shift, (like having one change of close for every day of the week, and that’s it), while others opt for a more laid-back approach. It’s an individual choice how extreme or moderate you go with your decluttering goal.

One thing’s for sure though – you have to start somewhere. That begins with purging the possessions and clearing the clutter, and that alone can be overwhelming.

In order to keep your sanity and avoid burnout, lets start small and take it one step at a time.

1. Make a Decluttering Plan

You may think you don’t need a plan. After all, you know you need to just get rid of things to clear the clutter and free the space around you of junk.  

That’s true, but if you go into this lacking a plan (or vision), you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed, stressed, not sure where to start and find yourself throwing up your hands and saying “forget it”.  

Instead, spend some time visualizing what having a decluttered home would look like to you. Will you downsize your kitchen tools and utensils? Cut back on your wardrobe? Clear out old Christmas decorations and home decor?   

Now transfer that planning to your small farm.  

….Maybe even reduce the number of livestock you have for each species. I know this one can be hard for some.  

woman making a plan to declutter

If you’re feeding one or two why not just bring enough to feed four? But reducing the number will take a level of stress off of your shoulders I promise you that.  

How can you minimalize the steps you take during feeding time?   

How can you and your business work most efficiently without wasting time, money, and resources?  

These decisions and others will help you evaluate the things you can and can’t live without. Once you have the vision/plan, you’re ready to take action!

2. Write It Down

Write out every signal space, drawer, cabinet, or closet you want to declutter. The smaller the better. Because if you find yourself with an extra 20 minutes you can look at your list and find one thing you could work on in that short amount of time. 

woman writing down her decluttering plan

Your list should look like this.

  • Bathroom
    • Medicine cabinet
    • Beauty products
    • Bath towels
    • Cleaning supplies
  • Bedroom
    • Shoes
    • Tops
    • Paints
    • Nightstand 1
    • Nightstand 2

Then keep doing this for EVERY space you plan to declutter. The smaller you go the less overwhelming it will be.

Don’t think you are going to get it all done in a weekend. Give yourself a month to complete a full list.

3. Start Small – Pick One Room

The fastest way to confusion, chaos, and burnout is trying to do too much at once. For the love of all things cute and cuddly. Do not start the decluttering process with the idea that you wall do your entire house or your barn or really a huge project all at once. 

Take it one room at a time.

a woman starting with a small table to declutter

Start the decluttering process with the smallest room, drawer, or cabinet first so you can see progress quickly and don’t move on until this room is completely finished. Even if it takes you a few days to get it done.

If you start in that room and you get an overwhelming feeling like you can’t finish that room then start with the corner of your kitchen table, coffee table, or one side of that table if a certain junk drawer feels like too much. 

Small baby steps win the race.

4. How Exactly Do You Declutter?

The short and sweet of it is this. 

Remove trash, get rid of things that you don’t use, find a space for EVERYTHING that is left. If you can’t find a space for everything then you need to remove more stuff.

That is the simplest way to explain the decluttering method.Ready to start sorting through stuff?

Make four piles – trash, sell, donate, and keep.

As you go through the room, every single item you pick up should immediately be put into one of those four piles.

Once you have everything sorted, get rid of the trash pile first because it’s the easiest one to let go of.

woman creating piles of stuff to get rid of

Then create a plan for getting rid of the sell pile. Consider how will you do it—online listings like, Facebook marketplace, or eBay are all great options.

If you have a friend that lives in a good space to do a yard sale you could see if she wants to have a fun day doing it together. 

While yard sales aren’t always the more profitable they can be fun. However, I would recommend selling your more valuable items on eBay or Mercari which is a good place to sell clothing.

Then move to the donate pile – load it up and drop it off at a local donation center, resale shop, or wherever you decide to make the donation.

The last pile, keep, can be set aside for now. More than likely you’ll need to go through this pile again to keep whittling things down.😜

Creating simple steps to clear out the clutter is far better than making it too complicated.

5. Don’t Let Emotions Make the Choices

As you start sorting through your stuff, you’re going to come across possessions with sentimental value.

For instance, maybe you just found your high school varsity jacket. The high school years hold fond memories for a lot of people but that was perhaps 20 or more years ago. What are you really going to do with that jacket after all this time? Nothing.

Get rid of it. You don’t need it. This doesn’t mean you to have toss it in the garbage, though. Consider donating it or giving it to a young relative like a niece or grandchild who would love to wear it instead; you never know who can use it!

Another thing you can do is take a picture of it with your phone and store your favorite items on a flash drive so you can still go back and look at those old memories. 

Like Marie Kondo says only keep the things that spark joy.

6. If You Want To Keep Something Centamental, Use It

If you have the room to keep a few things that remind you of the good old days then go ahead and keep them. 

If you keep something put away (whatever it is) and never leave it out to be enjoyed people will never know why you had it or what it meant.

When you pass your kids will have no idea why you kept it. They may sell it or just throw it out. BUT if they know why it was there because of the stories and have heard you sharing what it meant they are more likely to find someone to love it more. 

Personally, I think that is far better than keeping something put away and in 50 years never to be remembered.

decluttered counter

7. How To Keep A Clutter-Free Home?

This takes time to learn especially if you are not a naturally neat person. Creating decluttering habits will change your life.

Create mindset shifts and train yourself to ask every time you go to buy something, put something in a drawer, or even put clothes away. 

Do I need this?

If you regularly assess individual items as you use them (or don’t use them) it will keep you from having to take a day to declutter an entire space. 

If you can master this decluttering tip and work it into your daily routines you will be so much better off as time goes on.

8. Wait To Organize!

woman organizing her laundry room

Don’t waste time and money by organizing things that you don’t actually need. Instead, get rid of the clutter first! 

You will think you need more space than you really do if you try to organize the stuff you don’t truly need or intend to get rid of.

You’ll save yourself lots of time, money, and stress. Plus your house will be easier to keep clean and neat.

9. Everything Has A Place

Remember the keep pile? Is there anything in that pile that doesn’t belong in that room? 

If so get rid of it. Put it in the keep pile for the room it belongs in. If it will be a while before you get to that room then put it in the place where you think you will keep that item. 

Some people organize by size or what makes sense. 

I have a whole other take on this. 

Where do you naturally go to get that tool or item? If it works in that space then put it there. You will be more likely to keep a space organized if it feels natural to you and you are not fighting with the way you are wired. 

You will have a much happier life if you with WITH yourself rather than against. 

10. One In, One Out

Fast forward to your next shopping trip and you see that cute top that you must bring home with you. 

What are you willing to let go of to make space for it?

Yep! If you want to bring something else into your home you have to make space for it. What are you willing to let go of?

minimal food items

11. Make Time Do Declutter

You may have to shift what you are currently doing to make time to declutter your home. Even if it means letting go of something else temporarily.

Once you’ve made space in your calendar, you can move forward and declutter more efficiently. 

Instead of watching a tv show, you may have to use that time to clean up your home and take advantage of the extra time to declutter.

12. Put Decluttering Checkin On The Calendar

Decluttering doesn’t happen by accident. You have to make time for it.

It is easy to become too busy or distracted by other things to declutter. You are going to have to be intentional about KEEPING your home decluttered and putting time on your calendar every month.

Even if it is just giving a room a simple once over to see if something can be gotten rid of. This will help with keeping a room under control and not letting it get out of control.

woman putting decluttering on the calendar

13. Make It Fun

Something that I appreciate my mom teaching me when I was young was making a chore you hate doing a little more fun. That could look like playing a podcast while you declutter. Finding stories to listen to while you work. Or listening to an audiobook.

I don’t recommend playing the TV while trying to declutter because you will end up taking 5 times longer.

Decluttering your home is impactful on the daily lives of everyone in your home. The feeling of overwhelm affects everyone. Even the kiddies. 

You can concur the clutter! I know you can!

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