Joyful Downsizing: 10 Decluttering Mistakes to Avoid

Kim Kubsch

Time is precious, and decluttering takes time. By avoiding the 10 decluttering mistakes, you clear the clutter to make room for the good stuff!

1. Touching each item a bunch of times

You won’t make much progress if you move items over and over again. Touch it once, decide what to do with it and where it goes, and then put it there.

2. Putting off decisions

When you touch something, decide immediately what to do with it. If you have a “maybe” pile, make sure it doesn’t get too big—not everything can be a maybe!

3. Shifting or hiding clutter

Don’t hide clutter. If you need to get rid of the visual clutter quickly, don’t shove it into a drawer or move it to another room. This can make your space look better, but you are only hiding the problem this way, not fixing it.

4. Do it your way. Do not follow someone else’s decluttering advice.

Do you want to dive in and do it all at once or make slow, gradual progress? Both methods work, but one way will work better for you than another. Put some thought into how to best attack the clutter, and you’ll be much more successful.

5. Not watching what comes back into your home

If you want to stay clutter-free, you have to keep a sharp eye on what comes back into your home. Except for paper items, follow this guideline: If one item comes in, one item goes out!

6. Thinking it’s a one and done situation

Decluttering is an ongoing process. Once you get rid of the clutter, you have to maintain it. You’ll have to keep decluttering. It is an ongoing process, and you’ll need to keep donating or getting rid of stuff regularly, or you’ll end up right back where you were.

7. Keeping things “just in case”

When things pile up, it causes mental stress and saps energy from managing the items. Is it worth keeping it? Will you even be able to find it if you need it?

8. Riding around for weeks or months with donation boxes

Declutter, take the boxes to your car, and don’t just let them sit there. Schedule a drop-off time in your calendar or schedule a pickup. This gives you a deadline if you’re doing a lot of decluttering.

9. Dreading or complaining about decluttering

Your family is more likely to want to do it themselves if you have a positive attitude! You’re also more likely to enjoy it or at least dislike it less. A positive attitude is key!

10. Getting distracted by your clutter

This mostly applies to sentimental items. Reminiscing is good, but set aside a time to do that later or make a note, but don’t get distracted from your goal of decluttering and lose momentum.

Decluttering mistakes happen. Don’t let them discourage you. Just keep decluttering little by little! The most important message is to touch each item only one time, and if a new item comes into the house, one item must leave!

To propel your downsizing efforts prior to your transition, contact me for a Free 30-minute consultation. Contact me at 480-720-8566 or [email protected].

Check back monthly for more ideas about organizing, decluttering, and downsizing! Visit to order my book, Getting Your Life Together Organizer. The book is available in printed paperback or downloadable and editable eBook.