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15 Things to Never-Ever Do When Decluttering

Decluttering can feel like an endless battle against your stuff. You know it’s necessary, but every time you start, you end up overwhelmed and frustrated. 

Most people make a bunch of mistakes without even realizing it. Mistakes that turn a simple task into a stressful nightmare. 

If you want to declutter without losing your sanity, there are some things you should never do. Here’s a list of the biggest don’ts of decluttering so you can finally get it right.

1. Don’t Start Without a Plan

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Don’t even think about starting without a plan. Diving in without a roadmap will leave you buried in chaos, with disorganization and frustration at the forefront. Take a step back and decide what you want to tackle first. 

Make a checklist and stick to it. A clear plan will keep you focused and make the process smoother.

2. Don’t Declutter Everything at Once

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Trying to declutter everything at once is a recipe for disaster. You’ll end up overwhelmed and exhausted. 

Break it down into manageable chunks. Focus on one room or even one drawer at a time. Small victories will keep you motivated.

3. Don’t Keep Things Out of Guilt or Obligation

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Holding onto items because they were gifts or have sentimental value can hinder the decluttering process. It’s a trap…a guilt trap. 

You’re not obligated to keep something just because it was a gift. Let go of items that don’t serve you or bring you joy. Donate or sell them so they can find a new home where they’ll be appreciated.

4. Don’t Buy Organizing Supplies First

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Purchasing bins and organizers before knowing what you need can result in unnecessary clutter and wasted money.

Buying organizing supplies before you start decluttering is a classic rookie mistake. You don’t know what you need until you know what you’re keeping. 

So, stop wasting time and money. Declutter first, then assess what storage solutions will work best. This way, you avoid adding more clutter.

5. Don’t Ignore Emotional Attachments

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Ignoring emotional attachments will only make decluttering harder. Acknowledge your feelings about each item, but don’t let them dictate your decisions. It’s okay to keep a few sentimental things but be selective. Keep only what truly matters, and let the rest go.

6. Don’t Forget to Measure Space

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Forgetting to measure space is like shooting in the dark. You’ll end up keeping things that don’t fit and create more clutter. 

Measure your storage areas before you start. This helps you decide what stays and what goes, making your space functional and tidy.

7. Don’t Neglect to Sort Items

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Neglecting to sort items is a surefire way to create chaos. Without sorting, you won’t know what you have or where it should go. 

Create categories like keep, donate, sell, and toss. Sorting upfront makes the entire decluttering process more efficient and less stressful.

8. Don’t Procrastinate Making Decisions

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Procrastinating on decisions is your worst enemy. Delaying choices can slow down the process and lead to incomplete decluttering sessions. It piles up the clutter quickly. 

Be decisive. If you’re unsure about an item, ask yourself if it adds value to your life. If not, let it go and move on.

9. Don’t Forget to Dispose of Discarded Items Promptly

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Forgetting to dispose of discarded items promptly is a major pitfall. Keeping bags of unwanted stuff around defeats the purpose of decluttering. 

Schedule a pickup or drop them off at a donation center right away. Out of sight, out of mind—get rid of the clutter for good.

10. Don’t Declutter When Stressed or Tired

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Decluttering when you’re stressed or tired is a bad idea. You’ll make poor decisions and get frustrated easily. 

Wait until you’re in a better headspace. Decluttering requires energy and focus, so tackle it when you’re feeling calm and motivated.

11. Don’t Compare Your Progress to Others

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Comparing your progress to others is a waste of time. Everyone’s journey is different, and it’s easy to get discouraged. 

Focus on your own goals and pace. Celebrate your small wins and remember that progress is progress, no matter how slow.

12. Don’t Overfill Storage Spaces

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Overfilling storage spaces is just creating hidden clutter. If it’s crammed in, you’ll never find what you need. 

Only keep what fits comfortably in your storage areas. This way, everything has a place, and your space stays organized and functional.

13. Don’t Neglect Maintenance

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Neglecting maintenance will quickly undo all your hard work. Decluttering isn’t a one-and-done task; it requires regular upkeep. 

Set aside time each month to reassess and tidy up. Consistent maintenance ensures your space stays clutter-free.

14. Don’t Expect Immediate Results

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Expecting immediate results sets you up for disappointment. Decluttering is a process that takes time and effort.

Be patient with yourself and the progress you’re making. Focus on the long-term benefits and keep moving forward, one step at a time.

15. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goals

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Losing sight of your goals will derail your decluttering efforts. Without clear goals, you’ll get distracted and lose motivation. 

Remind yourself why you started. Keep your end goals in mind to stay focused and driven. This will help you make decisions that align with your vision for a clutter-free space. You got this!

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