THE CURSE OF PERFECTIONISM AND CLUTTER

Many people struggle to start decluttering and organizing their homes, but have you ever considered why? In today’s post, we’ll tackle this issue and defeat everything that is holding you back from decluttering. Let’s look at the curse of perfectionism and clutter. How do you really declutter? Is it unclutter or declutter? What’s holding you back?

Bonus: Check out this video to see where your clutter problems may originate:

When we look at a space in our homes, we often visualize it as a large project. It seems overwhelming, too large a task, too time consuming, etc. We know it needs to be done, but we put it off…again.  

Consider what actually keeps us from simply starting. What is holding us back? I believe the answer to that question is what I’ll term the “curse of perfectionism.” 

THE CURSE OF PERFECTIONISM AND CLUTTER

THE CURSE OF PERFECTIONISM AND CLUTTER

You might say, “I’m NOT a perfectionist. Look at this mess.” But consider this. We ALL have perfectionist tendencies in how we approach our life, our work, our home, and our relationships. For example, have you ever thought or said these phrases or something similar?

1. I can’t declutter because I have a messy spouse/kids/roommate and they will just mess it up again. So why even start?

2.Or…I can’t declutter because I’m so busy with work or raising little ones.

3.Or…I can’t declutter because I’m so exhausted from the day’s tasks and responsibilities. I can’t add another thing to my schedule.

4. Or…I can’t declutter because the task is so large it would take hours, weeks, or months to complete.

THE CURSE OF PERFECTIONISM AND CLUTTER

I have said all of these things on many occasions, but what I’ve found to be true is this. IF YOU ARE GOING TO CHANGE ANYTHING, YOU SIMPLY HAVE TO JUST START. You can’t wait on the planets to align!

You don’t have to complete it all in a day or a weekend. You just simply take one step forward. That one step leads to the next step which will lead to completion at some point. But that FIRST STEP is THE most important. 

I took a video course some years back on productivity and what blocks it. The take-away lesson for that course was to create specific steps to complete big projects. It looks something like this. For example, let’s say you want to paint a room. You would break it down like this.

Project: Paint bedroom

Steps:

1.Pick out paint color and buy it

2.Buy paint supplies

3.Prepare room by moving and covering furniture

4.Tape trim work and baseboards

5.Paint

6.Clean up

7.Put furniture back in place

THE CURSE OF PERFECTIONISM AND CLUTTER

So, you see how we took one big, overwhelming project and broke it down into action steps. Before doing that, you might look at that project as being too large, too time-consuming, too exhausting to complete.

Therefore, it never gets done. It gets stored in the back of your mind and it nags at you. It becomes a constant reminder every time you enter that space in your home. It zaps your joy. That is de-motivating.

But, by writing it down and breaking it down into steps, you can work a pace that moves you toward completion. It shows you that even if you can’t get it done in one day, you are taking one step a day toward completion. 

THE CURSE OF PERFECTIONISM AND CLUTTER

Now, we’ve answered the cause of our delay in starting…Perfectionism. Next, let’s look at the WHY of decluttering. Have you considered how clutter and disorganization affects you and others?

1.Clutter robs your joy, energy, and creativity.

2.Clutter costs you money. You buy things again because you can’t find them.

3.Clutter costs you time. You may run late because you misplace something important and need to find it before you leave.

4.Clutter can cause disputes with those you live with.

5.Clutter breeds other clutter. Most people pile stuff and drop off items daily in the same spots throughout their home. It could be the kitchen counter, the dining room table, the desk, the bedside table, etc. Then the clutter breeds and grows until it is dealt with. This creates chaos and robs your peace.

Now that we’ve established the WHY of decluttering, let’s look at the WHAT. Specifically, let’s decide WHAT you hope to accomplish. 

Whenever I am looking at a room in my home, I always ask these questions first. If you are like me, it may help to write it down. 

1.What’s working?

2.What isn’t working?

3.What do I desire in this space?

4.How can I make this space more efficient?

5.What would my dream space look like in this room?

Think carefully through these questions and decide how you’d like to change your space. Think of spaces that are similar to yours and think of what you LOVE about those spaces. Look on Pinterest for inspiration and think of how you can incorporate that inspiration into your home. The questions above help you create a VISION PLAN.

Next, we are creating our ACTION PLAN. This is the HOW to achieve the WHAT of your Vision plan. For a kitchen, it may look something like this…

1.Create better storage for water bottles

2.Create better storage for reusable containers and lids

3.Create better storage for pots, pans, and lids

You get the point. You have decided on WHAT needs to be done in your Vision Plan, and now you write out HOW you plan to implement your desires. This is very important, so don’t skip over that step.

Without a written, visual plan, this Vision is simply a mental project you have started. If you don’t write it down, it will very likely NEVER get accomplished. By writing it down, you have moved it from being accomplished SOMEDAY to  ACTUALLY being accomplished. 

Finally, you should decide how much time and when you plan to carry out each step. Can you only devote 30 minutes a day? If so, DO that, and Don’t feel guilty! You work at a pace that suits your lifestyle.

You can actually accomplish quite a bit in only a half hour a day. You just keep following your steps and don’t get distracted or side-tracked. Maybe you have extra help you can use by recruiting family members to help. Whatever your schedule allows, just start!

Stop letting perfection hold you back! Someday is now. You CAN do this. You and everyone in your home will benefit from your efforts. You will feel a sense of pride in what you accomplish. So, go grab and pen and paper and get started today!

HOW TO DECLUTTER:

Supplies Needed:

1. boxes -preferably ones you can donate (Avoid plastic storage bins because you may be tempted to just store the items and not part with them.)

2. sturdy trash bags

3. marker/pen to label boxes

Decluttering Tip: Avoid using storage bins to declutter. Storage bins tend to tell your brain to “store” the items for later. That is just delaying decisions. If you aren’t getting rid of items when you declutter, you are not truly decluttering. This is why I recommend a trash bag, also. A trash bag tells your brain to “trash” the item.

Obviously, recycle if you have that option. The boxes you use should be ones you are willing to part with, so I recommend sturdy cardboard boxes. As to donations, there are many charities that will come pick up your items for you at your home.

I use one in particular where you can book an appointment for pick-up online. This is so convenient, as it saves you the hassle of hauling stuff away yourself. Scheduling that pick-up also motivates you to declutter by a certain date.

How to Declutter:

1. Start by eliminating trash first- use a sturdy trash bag

2. Sort items by category if needed so you can see what you have

3.Get rid of duplicate items, broken items, outgrown clothes and shoes, anything you’ll never use again

4. Box up the donations and trash/recycle the rest

5.Select a charity to donate your items and schedule the pick-up if that is an option

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to my site by leaving me a comment below. I’ve created a free year long declutter plan to help you become more organized.

Need to deep clean? I have lists for you to guide you along.

My How to Deep Clean Your Kitchen list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Bathroom list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Kids’ Rooms list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Living Room list can be found here.

My How to Deep Clean Your Bedroom list can be found here.

Also, to keep up the general housework, you may need to create a daily housekeeping schedule that suits your specific needs. To do so, I have created a helpful series you can read here.

Need to Declutter Every room? I have declutter checklists for every room and every space in your home to guide you along below. Is it unclutter or declutter? It doesn’t really matter. Let’s just start with a few simple checklists.

How to Declutter the Guest Room or Your Kid’s Room checklist can be found here.

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How to Declutter Your Laundry Room and Patio checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Coat Closet/Hall Closet/Linen Closet checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Home Office checklist can be found here.

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How to Declutter Your Attic checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Garage checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Living Room checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Kitchen Checklist can be found here.

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How to Declutter Your Entry/Foyer/Mudroom checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Clothing checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Bedroom checklist can be found here.

How to Declutter Your Bathroom checklist can be found here.

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Happy Decluttering!

To Subscribe to this Declutter Series, drop me a comment below. Your email will be sent to me but will not be posted publicly. You’ll receive a daily declutter task via email for the daily task we are working on. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Happy Decluttering!

To Subscribe to my Year Long Thorough Declutter Series, drop me a comment below. Your email will be sent to me but will not be posted publicly. You’ll receive a daily declutter task via email for the daily task we are working on. You can unsubscribe at any time.


We declutter 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The Year Long Thorough Declutter Series is designed to help you declutter every room and every closet in your home. When you subscribe you’ll receive a daily task in the room or area we are currently working on decluttering. To Subscribe, leave a comment below.

New to deemiddleton.com and don’t know where to start? I recommend going in this order:

Step 1: Check out this post on the 1st step you should take to get organized.

Step 2: Create a daily Housekeeping Schedule. You can use this series to start to set up your own schedule. You can also use this simplified weekly schedule.If you often ask: What is the fastest way to clean a dirty house? Or, if you struggle to get organized and have tried and failed time and again, you can likely find out which of these 11 reasons cause you to fail to get organized.

Step 3:   How do you remove clutter?.…Sign up for the Declutter Series and get your entire home decluttered in just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.”Declutter Your Home” checklists are provided in each email.

Step 4: What is the fastest way to clean a dirty house? Use a timer and use the Deep Cleaning Checklists above. They will help you get your home sparkling after you’ve decluttered. 

Interested in becoming a full-time blogger like me? Check out my blogging series. At the top of every page on my blog, you’ll find a drop down menu. Just select the BLOGGING category.

Check out the most popular posts on deemiddleton.com: 

14 Things That Make Your Home Look Cluttered

How to Do A 1 Day Declutter

How to Create a Daily Housekeeping Schedule

How to Clean House When You Are Completely Overwhelmed By Clutter

What is Preventing You From Getting Organized?

Also, check out a great post on decluttering over here from becomingminimalist.com. Joshua Becker has some great tips on decluttering and minimalism.

For further reading, check out the fly lady here. She has some great cleaning and decluttering ideas plus excellent organization tips to get you started.