Four Roadblocks to Decluttering

Four Roadblocks to Decluttering

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It was about this time last year that I stumbled across the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I was completely fascinated by her Japanese methods organizing a house and ended up getting half way through the process.

What is still astounding to me is that those parts of the house that were done a year ago are still gorgeous!

In the fall we had a Ten Week Decluttering Challenge on the blog here and I made it through the rest of the house.

I have been thinking about why I have struggled in the past to declutter and I wanted to hit on

Four Roadblocks to Decluttering

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1. Time! 

Decluttering is soooo time consuming! I have found that scheduling time each day to declutter works well, but not more than two hours. This seems to be the sweet spot, enough time to see significant progress, but not enough time to become completely overwhelmed and lay down in the middle of the floor crying.

While I agree in getting it done as quickly as possible so you can get on with your life, that doesn’t mean the whole house is purged in a weekend or really even a month.  Ten weeks is about right for our 2,000 sq. ft. house, but some people need six months.

Either way, I suggest setting a firm deadline to be finished by.

2. Asking too many questions about items

How much did I pay for this? Will I need this in the future? Is it wasteful to get rid of something perfectly functional? Will I hurt so and so’s feelings by discarding this? Etc.

When you ask just this one, powerful question, it suddenly becoming simple and doable to work through your things.

Does this spark joy?

If your answer is “No”, or even “I don’t know”, then the item gets discarded. Those four little words have indeed become life changing in our house.

       3. Distractions

Many times I get pulled away from my focused decluttering by phone calls, my kids, my schedule, anything really. Now I know to turn of my phone, turn off music, block off time, get my kids occupied and whatever else I need to do to get the job done. If I come across something that requires more attention, I will write it in my planner and address the issue another day.

4. A place for everything

Once the initial decluttering process happens, it is time to find a very real and logical place for each item that made the cut. I love baskets, glass jars and wooden crates for everything! Also, there is something to be said for storing things vertically instead of stacking them. This was a new concept that I learned in The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Once something is beautiful and easy to put away, it becomes so much more realistic to do the “maintenance decluttering” of daily life.

Don’t forget to grab your FREE Decluttering Printable by clicking the image below!

And, if you are working on multiple New Year’s resolutions like I am, I am offering one of the classes from my course for FREE addressing successful planning.

I hope you can join us!


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  1. Ter'e
    January 3, 2017 / 5:06 PM

    I have the book and am currently reading it. I am excited to see if I can go back and read how you tackled it last year.
    Whoa……..better get the Aleve and the Kleenex. ?

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 5, 2017 / 11:57 AM

      Good for you!! 2017 is your year, my friend. Watch out for the dust.

  2. Tanya Hulbert
    January 3, 2017 / 5:16 PM

    I really try to go through the house every few months, looking through closets, drawers, toys etc. I need to start asking myself “that one question” rather than trying to think who to donate it to, whether or not to sell it, or how much I paid for it. I bet I could let go of even more things. This is doable and practical. Thank you!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 5, 2017 / 11:58 AM

      I know someone who would gladly be your coach, she is little short and blonde. (wink)

  3. January 4, 2017 / 3:14 AM

    Well…signing up for your courses for sure! You are speaking my language and I need a little motivation right now.

    Thanks for the encouragement.


    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 5, 2017 / 11:59 AM

      Yay Lynn!! So glad you are joining us.

  4. January 4, 2017 / 7:08 PM

    Distraction while decluttering has always been a problem to me.
    Just signed up.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 5, 2017 / 11:59 AM

      I hear ya, girl! So happy to see you taking the first step, I think you will love the Kon Marie method.

  5. January 5, 2017 / 2:36 AM

    I feel like I’m one of the last people in America that still hasn’t read the book! 2017 might just be the year I bite the bullet and read it. Definitely agree that time and distractions are big hurdles to decluttering for me. But my biggest challenge is the pushback I get from everyone else. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 5, 2017 / 12:01 PM

      It’s Ok, I will break it all down in the email series. And yes!! I know exactly what you mean about the family pushback. I address that in the first week because it can be such a discouragement.

  6. Brenda
    January 16, 2018 / 9:22 AM

    I went through most of the decluttering course with you when you did it initially. One area that has maintained its decluttered integrity is my chest of drawers. The correct folding, the amount, the organization that makes finding things so easy, has all held its own and I simply love having it this way.

    We have a basement that is basically storage and I am starting to work on it. Along with the decluttering is the question, as an older adult, is what do I want to spend the last lap of my life engaged in? What crafts? What activities? It is a huge look at one’s life and will be reflected in what is kept and what is given away. It is basically a decluttering of life and stuff.

    You are such a mindful and intentional young woman and I so appreciate your ministry.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 24, 2018 / 6:48 PM

      Brenda, good for you, I’m so proud of all your hard work. My dresser drawers are doing really well, too. You bring up some excellent points about deeper thinking and intentional living.

  7. Shannon
    June 8, 2018 / 5:41 PM

    I’m having a hard time de cluttering my grandparents home it’s now going to be my home again it’s the house I grew up in now I’m living there again with my husband and kids except my grandparents have passed and my mother has passed so it’s very hard to change anything to much grief did you write anything about how to get through grief and de clutter ? Thank you ❤

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      June 15, 2018 / 11:32 AM

      Yes, I think grief and sentimentals are the very hardest to deal with. I made decluttering printable that might help and once you download it, you might want to try my 10 Week Decluttering Plan that will pop up. I address the sentimental items in this ebook. xoxo Thinking of you, sweet friend!

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