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Netflix specials, self-help books, unsolicited advice from your mom—it seems like everyone has some magic method to declutter your home.

And while getting some pointers is always nice (it’s why you’re reading this blog, isn’t it?) there’s no real one-size-fits-all solution to decluttering a home. Everyone needs to eventually work out their own approach and methods to help them sort out what they’re keeping and what they’re not, and it’s best to do this on your own over time.

HOWEVER! There are absolutely things you shouldn’t do during your next big decluttering project. No matter the size of your home, the scale to which you’re decluttering, or even what you want to declutter, there’s a number of pitfalls that you can easily fall into during house cleaning that you may not even expect.

Take a look at these five common decluttering mistakes and see if you can make your next decluttering or home cleaning project even easier on everyone:

 

Don’t stress yourself out

The biggest hurdle a lot of people encounter is the desire to take on too much at once. It’s an understandable issue—you’ve spent so long without the motivation to clean or get much done that you want to make the most out of this sudden burst of energy.

This, however, can lead to massive burnout and a lack of desire to get any of it finished. Instead, take some time to set smaller, more manageable goals. Instead of doing the entire house (or even one entire floor) in one day, carve out some time to start on one of the most cluttered rooms and go from there. It’ll make you feel just as accomplished without running the risk of burnout or frustration.

 

Don’t organize before purging

A lot of people tackle a home cleaning project and think they can do it all in one go. This leads to people trying to reorganize before they actually start throwing anything out, which can be counter-productive in the long run.

Sure, the fun part is when you run out and buy a ton of wall shelves and storage bins to hold everything and make your house feel more tidy. This can cause more problems than it solves, however, as you may fall into the trap of just moving stuff around or hiding it in a box and never thinking about it again, which is the opposite of decluttering. Make sure to take stock of everything you want to purge first, and then sort it out from there.

 

Don’t leave things just lying around

Similarly, you might get a brief rush of endorphins by organizing everything you want to get rid of into tiny piles, but you need to remember to actually do something with them. Even if you bag or box them up before you take them to get donated, leaving them there is still creating clutter—and isn’t that what we’re here to avoid? Try to make sure you can actually get things out of your house and donated before you start resting on your laurels, otherwise you’re not actually getting a lot done.

 

Don’t be tempted to keep things “just in case”

One of the hardest parts of decluttering may be resisting the urge to hold onto everything. Some stuff is going to be harder to part with than others, particularly if there’s any sort of sentimental value attached to it. Decluttering is going to require you to be a bit more of a hard case in regards to most of the stuff you’ve already got, so steel your nerves and prepare to throw out some stuff you haven’t considered throwing out before.

 

Don’t set unrealistic goals

Finally, when you begin your big purge, don’t hold yourself to unreasonable standards. A lot of people think they’re going to suddenly start living a minimalist lifestyle and get rid of everything holding them back, but that’s just not feasible for most people. And that’s okay!

The most important thing is simply to start. By trying to declutter anything you’re already doing more than most people would, and every little bit is going to help along the way. Instead of making some big lofty lifestyle change for yourself, just focus on the immediate task at hand and see how much cleaner your house becomes and how much easier your life gets. You’ll be glad you did, even if you’re not suddenly the new Marie Kondo.

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