Motivation for decluttering: 12 easy tips to get and stay motivated

by Anousheh

Are you ready for a clutter-free home and living a simpler and more minimal life? You feel sick of all the stuff around you, but you just can’t seem to find the motivation for decluttering your home?

I get it. Waiting for that spark of motivation to get started, and also to keep going, can take forever. That’s why we don’t want to wait until the motivation magically hits us out of nowhere (which, let’s be real here, probably won’t happen).

We want to take action towards our goals and proactively take matters into our own hands. These 12 tips will help you find the motivation for decluttering and help you keep the momentum so you actually follow through with your goals.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Motivation for decluttering: How to stay motivated when decluttering

How to get motivated to get rid of stuff

I know that decluttering your entire apartment or house is a huge project. And having such a huge task ahead of you can be a real motivation killer.

You start asking yourself “Where do I even start? How long is this going to take? Can I do this?”

And let’s be honest here, motivation is not something we always have. I’m definitely not always motivated to go through my stuff and get rid of the things I don’t need anymore. But that’s exactly why we don’t want to rely on motivation to just come to us naturally to accomplish our goals.

These 12 tips will not only help you find your motivation for decluttering, but they will also help you gain momentum and keep going easily.

12 easy ways to find motivation for decluttering

1. Use “the gap exercise” for a clear vision of why you want to declutter

The “method” of decluttering is really simple. What’s often lacking is the mindset and the motivation for decluttering. You know what to do, you just can’t seem to find the motivation to actually go through with it.

In order for you to change your mindset towards action-taking, you have to get suuuper clear on your vision and why you actually want to declutter in the first place.

A great way to do this is what I call “the gap exercise”. Essentially, it’s about finding the gap between where you are right now and where you would like to be.

What do you want your life and your home to look like? Why do you want it to look like this? What’s missing for you to take action towards your goals?

This exercise will show you exactly what you need to be doing next and why you want to do it.

2. Go for a time and date

calendar and pen on desk

Do you know what’s even more important than motivation? It’s consistency. If you’re waiting on motivation for decluttering, you could potentially wait a really long time. Instead, focus on moving towards your goal consistently.

Commit yourself to go through your stuff. Mark it in your calendar! That way you make a commitment with yourself and your vision. Take a certain amount of time out of your day, say 30 minutes, and make time for it.

Once the time has come, set yourself a timer and go through your clutter for that amount of time. Once your timer goes off, I want you to stop. Even if you’re in the flow. Because if there is one thing that kills motivation, it’s being overwhelmed and fatigued with making decisions.

This will automatically portion out the task into bite-size pieces. And you will program your brain into thinking “Hey, this wasn’t so bad! It only took me 30 minutes and I can already see results!” And that is what’s going to continuously give you the motivation for decluttering.

You need to be consistent, and you won’t have the motivation for decluttering all the time. That’s why setting a time limit and a time frame in your calendar makes decluttering easier to stick to. You’re not waiting for that sudden burst of motivation (which rarely kicks in), but you already know exactly what to do and when to do it. This makes it so much easier for you to stick to your plans.

3. Make the process fun!

The best motivation booster is having fun and enjoying the process. That’s why I want you to make decluttering as fun as possible for you.

Put on your favorite playlist, podcast, audiobook, or whatever you enjoy the most. You can blast motivational music or put on your favorite show on Netflix.

Whatever it is, make decluttering fun.

The task of going through your stuff, sorting it, and putting it on piles can get a little monotonous. So why not spice it up with something to do along the process? This step also helps a lot of people with “getting in the flow”.

If you’re only focusing on decluttering, you can tend to overthink each decision. However, if you’re listening to your favorite music and dancing along to it, those decisions come to you so much more easily, which will give you even more motivation for decluttering.

4. Acknowledge your blocks

sitting place next to a window with a candle and a hot beverage

If you’re reading this, you probably already made the decision that you want to downsize. You probably also have a pretty good idea of how to do that. But you came here for motivation.

Why is that? Acknowledge what exactly is holding you back. Are you dreading how much time you will have to spend? Do you not have a clear goal in mind? Or do you lack a clear guide of where and how to start?

Whatever is holding you back, recognize those blocks. That is the first step you need to take, so you can then clear them. Most usually, it’s not really the motivation that’s missing. There’s something else in the way. Find out what it is and make it easy for you to overcome it.

5. Focus on your task

The biggest motivation killer has to be distraction. You know, how you want to start cleaning, but then a message pops up, or you quickly want to post that picture on Instagram, and all of the sudden… Oops, how did 3 hours pass? (I’m definitely guilty of this!)

That’s why it’s really important to set yourself up for success by creating a distraction-free zone for the time you set yourself to declutter.

Get rid of everything that could possibly distract you. Put your phone on airplane mode, turn on your headphones and don’t let yourself get distracted.

If you’re following tip #2, you set yourself a timer. Until that timer goes off, you will focus on the task at hand, which is decluttering. And nothing else.

6. Start with the easy stuff

A great way to get the motivation juices flowing is an instant success. We as humans are wired to always seek instant gratification. Our brains love immediate results.

You can use this to your advantage. If you need motivation for decluttering, start with the easy stuff. Now, this can be different for everyone, but definitely start with stuff that has no emotional value to you. I always recommend paperwork, but you could also start with the area in your house that annoys you the most.

You can find more tips for paperwork in this post on how to organize paper clutter.

Those quick wins are going to keep up your motivation for decluttering and will show you that it’s not that hard. And that’s exactly what you need to keep going.

7. Break it up!

calendar with monthly goals

Along those lines, you should definitely break up your decluttering goal into small goals and categories. Trying to declutter your entire home in a day or even a weekend is a disaster waiting to happen. And that failure will demotivate you to keep going and accomplish your goal.

That’s why I want you to break up the task. The best way to do this is by dividing your home into categories. Use whatever works for you, but don’t use categories that are too broad. Instead of going for “bedroom, kitchen, …”, go for “closet, nightstand, dresser,…” I would go for categories that will take about an hour (max!) to go through.

Breaking down a task into bite-size pieces is a great way to get motivated, and will help you get the motivation for decluttering your home.

8. Be kind to yourself

The fact that you are reading this post means that you made your first step towards owning less stuff and simplifying your life. And that’s already a great start!

But life as a minimalist doesn’t happen overnight, and that’s okay. Be kind to yourself during the process. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you declutter. Don’t compare yourself to others and where they are in their journey to minimalism.

You are exactly where you need to be. Putting pressure on yourself won’t help you reach your goal any sooner. So don’t be too hard on yourself for not always having the motivation for decluttering.

9. Get yourself a decluttering buddy

person going through a pile of clothes

Sharing a goal and journey with someone is a huge motivator. There’s a reason why most people try to find a gym buddy when they want to work out more.

So why not get yourself a decluttering buddy? Setting goals with someone else will make you a lot more accountable to actually go through with the task. Because now that you’re not in it alone, you kinda have to do it, right?

10. Use a guideline to stay on track

Decluttering involves a lot of decision making. And making decisions can be extremely tiring, which will lead to your motivation slowly but surely disappearing.

That’s why using a guideline or a road map helps along the process and boosts your motivation for decluttering. If you have all the steps already laid out in front of you, there are way fewer decisions for you to make. And why start by scratch if there is someone who already worked out exactly what to do?

And this is exactly where I come in. I walked the walk and am now here to talk the talk so that you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. You could join my free 30-day decluttering challenge. Or if you need particular help, check out these posts on how to get rid of clothes or how to get rid of sentimental clutter.

And for that weekly motivation (and sometimes kick in the butt!), you can sign up for my newsletter!


11. Rewarding yourself is the best motivation for decluttering!

Oh yes, I love a good reward. A great way to boost your motivation for decluttering is treating yourself to something special once you made it.

And you don’t have to wait until you’re all the way done. Give yourself little rewards for every step along the way (for example every category you successfully minimized). What’s a reward is unique to everyone, so choose something that motivates you. Anything goes, as long as it’s not more stuff (except if you treat yourself to something that will really bring a lot of value to you)!

12. Just get started and profit from momentum

And last, but definitely not least, the ultimate and best way to get motivation for decluttering is to just start.

The best motivator is momentum.

Waiting forever to start and pushing it further away just makes the task a lot more dreadful. By procrastinating, you are making the task so much harder in your head. So just start with something, even if it’s something super small.

For example with these 37 things to get rid of in the next 30 minutes. Even if it’s literally just one drawer. I promise you that you won’t stop once you’re done.

You can do this!

I hope these 12 tips gave you all the motivation for decluttering you need to start right now.

What has been your biggest motivator on your decluttering journey? Share it in the comments below!

Do you want to come back to this post the next time you’re in a rut? Pin it to your Decluttering Board for later!

Lacking the motivation for decluttering? Get inspired with these 12 motivational tips to get you started!

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