3 Top Ways to Avoid Decluttering Burnout

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Congratulations! You are on your way to making the decision to avoid decluttering burnout for both for your business and personal lives! Downsizing things, reducing debt (big one), letting go of toxic relationships and overbooked schedules are all part of minimalist living and you’ll reap huge benefits from all of it. But first, you have to get there. The question is, where exactly is “there”?

The truth is, your destination is completely up to you. Minimalism isn’t a one size fits all solution. Your definition of minimalism probably isn’t the same as it is for someone else. Some people choose an extreme shift (giving up cars (even a home), not having a TV, downsizing to a basic cell phone or not having one at all), while others opt for a more laid back approach (we are in this category). It’s an individual choice how extreme or moderate you go in your minimalist journey. 

Certainly, one thing’s for sure though – you have to start somewhere. That begins with purging the possessions and clearing the clutter, and that alone can be overwhelming. In order to keep your sanity and avoid burnout, here are three top ways to avoid decluttering burnout:

1. Make a Plan on how to Proceed

You may think you don’t need a plan. After all you know you need to just get rid of things to clear the clutter and free the space around you of junk. That’s true, but if you go into this lacking a plan (or vision), you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed, stressed, not sure where to start, and find yourself burnt out.  

Instead, spend some time visualizing what minimalist living means to you. Will you downsize your home? Cut back on your wardrobe? Spend less on Christmas and birthday gifts?

Now transfer that planning to your business. How can you consolidate processes, inventory, and staff? How can you and your business work most efficiently without wasting time, money, and resources?

Consider writing / typing your thoughts out so it’s visual for you.

These decisions and others will help you evaluate the things you can and can’t live without. Once you have the vision/plan, you’re ready to take action! 

2. Start Small – Pick One Room

The fastest way to confusion, chaos, and burnout is trying to do too much at once. Take it one room at a time. Start with the smallest room first so you can see progress quickly and don’t move on until this room is completely finished. This does not mean that you have to tackle the room all at once.  Take time each day to work on that room until you are happy with it. Consider doing it in 15 – 30 minutes increments so you don’t feel overwhelmed. This timer would be perfect for such a situation. At that point, move on to the next room.

How exactly do you declutter? This goes back to having a vision for what minimalism means to you. But here’s a general tip that is easy to follow regardless of how much you’re keeping or getting rid of: 

avoid decluttering burnout - graphic
Trash Sell Donate Keep Infographic

Make four piles – trash, sell, donate, and keep. As you go through the room, every single item you pick up should immediately be put into one of those four piles. Once you have everything sorted, get rid of the trash pile first because it’s the easiest one to let go of. Place it in your garbage can or take it to the dump.

Then create a plan for getting rid of the sell pile. Consider how will you do it—online listings like Craigslist.org, Facebook Sell Groups, or eBay are all fantastic options. Then move to the donate pile – load it up and drop it off at a local resale shop or wherever you decide to make the donation. The last pile, keep, can be set aside for now. More than likely, you’ll need to go through this pile again to keep whittling things down. 

3. It May be difficult, however Don’t Let Emotions Make the Choices

As you start sorting through your stuff, you’re going to come across possessions with sentimental value. For instance, maybe you just found your yearbooks. The middle and high school years hold fond memories for a lot of people but that was perhaps 20 or more years ago. What are you really going to do with that yearbook after all this time? Look through it once in a blue moon and remember your past.  I finally got rid of my yearbooks as I rarely looked through them.

Depending on how your memories were of your school years, consider getting rid of it. You don’t need it, especially moving into a minimalist lifestyle. This doesn’t mean you to have toss it in the garbage, though. Consider donating it instead (maybe back to your alma mater); you never know who can use it! Or how about that wedding dress that you only wore once?  Find ways to either repurpose that dress, or donate it!

Follow these three tips and you’ll avoid decluttering burnout and moving towards a life of minimalism doesn’t have to result in overwhelm, and chaos. Instead, these tips can help it be a less traumatic experience. 

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