DECLUTTERING GOALS AND WHY THEY’RE IMPORTANT
In this article I want to share some thoughts on decluttering goals. We’ll be exploring what they are and why they’re important to help you simplify your home and life. There’s also a free printable worksheet you can use to set your own decluttering goals!
WHAT ARE DECLUTTERING GOALS?
Decluttering goals are a set of targets or outcomes that will help you declutter your home. Put another way, knowing why you want to declutter will help you understand how and what to do!
Decluttering goals don’t necessarily need to be written down, although they can be if you find that easier. No-one will hold you accountable to them, unless you want them to, and they can be changed as and when you want.
The decluttering goals that I’m talking about in this article aren’t the same goals that you might set yourself for the year ahead or in a meeting with your boss, but they’re based on the same principle.
In order to stay focused and on track, it’s good to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. And, added into that, it may be helpful to have a timescale and set of steps and an action plan to help you achieve those goals.
WHY DECLUTTERING ISN’T EASY
If you’ve ever tried to declutter before, you might have had varying degrees of success! Despite its popularity and the enormous benefits that a decluttered home and life might give you, getting to that clutter-free stage is often a challenge. Simplifying life isn’t easy!
Whilst many of us might have started in an easy place, the bathroom for example, or had a boost of enthusiasm to sift through part of the attic, garage or a bookshelf, sometimes we get stuck.
We get stuck in a decluttering rut for a number of reasons – we run out of time, energy and/or motivation. Perhaps we don’t have support from anyone else in the family or we get to a difficult-to-declutter area such as a box of our child’s artwork and school projects, or our art and craft supplies for hobbies we might enjoy.
Perhaps you have so much stuff you don’t even know where to start, you can’t decide what to keep or what to get rid of, you keep things in just in case or you feel wasteful and guilty.
Some of these problems might sound familiar to you and, if so, you’re not alone. Decluttering isn’t easy.
And, of course, once you’ve decluttered your home, the trick is staying clutter-free when busy life invades your space in so many ways!
WHY WE NEED DECLUTTERING GOALS
With all these potential problems, it’s helpful to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve by decluttering your home. You need a goal or set of goals to focus on and keep you motivated and on track.
After all, when we don’t know why we’re doing something and it gets a little bit tough, it’s easy to stop, get distracted, procrastinate, make excuses and give up.
Your time, space and freedom is valuable, more valuable in most respects than the stuff in your home and having some clear decluttering goals will remind you of that and spur you on!
TIPS ON SETTING DECLUTTERING GOALS
Here are some tips on setting decluttering goals for yourself, your home and your life.
1. Keep them simple
As you read this article and consider your own decluttering goals, don’t overcomplicate things. You don’t need to write a huge long list of targets. You can write them down in your notebook or keep them on your phone or on a post-it note to remind you and refer back to, but you don’t need a long set of bullet-pointed goals or precise details. Decluttering is most effective if you keep it simple.
2. Be realistic
When we set goals that are unachievable, we feel like we’ve failed if we can’t meet them. This leads to frustration, upset and giving up. Keep your expectations practical, sensible and realistic. Decluttering won’t magically make your life worry-free but it will make it easier.
Set realistic goals with realistic time-scales that suit your life and the commitments you have to keep. Decluttering needs to fit into your life otherwise it will be a burden and source of stress. Here are some other tips on setting goals for your life generally.
3. Don’t expect other people to share your goals
Goals that involve other people don’t often work out so well. Other people have different priorities and, in this instance, they may not feel that decluttering is as important as you do, which is ok. Different people need different things at different times.
If decluttering feels important to you, then set your own decluttering goals that focus on what YOU can declutter without relying upon or involving anyone else but you. Of course it’s nice to have support and help but you can do this on your own too! Here are some tips if you want to declutter but your family isn’t on board.
4. What’s your why?
What do you want to achieve by decluttering? You need to be clear on why you’re doing it and what a difference it’s going to make to your life. What do you hope to achieve or expect to change? You might go to the gym to lose weight, get fitter and stronger. If you didn’t want these things then it’s highly likely that the time, motivation and commitment needed for regular gym visits would soon get to you and you’d give up. Having clear fitness goals reminds you why you’re going to the gym.
Decluttering is no different. It requires time, motivation and commitment too. So, find your why as a clear decluttering goal to remind you why you’re decluttering in the first place.
5. What do you expect to change?
Building on the point above, a decluttering goal is about the actual act of decluttering but it’s also more than that. It’s about the transition you hope to see and what you expect to change. You’re probably not decluttering for the sake of it.
What do you want decluttering to do for you? Create space, make your home easier to manage, help you downsize, make it easier for your children to deal with your stuff when you can’t manage it any longer, prepare to move home, make some money?
6. Setting timescales for your decluttering goals
Decluttering can be quick if you find it relatively easy to declutter but, depending on how much stuff you have, and your confidence levels, decluttering can take longer than we expect. Be realistic with how much time you’ve got to declutter. Is it little windows of time here and there or can you set aside a whole weekend? Don’t overcommit or overstretch yourself. It’s better to achieve more than you expect and feel good, than underachieve and feel deflated. Here are some tips on how to declutter fast.
7. How will you know when you’ve achieved your decluttering goals?
Decluttering goals, like any other goals, need a clear outcome. Apart from what you expect to change, how will you know when you’ve achieved your decluttering goals? Could it be when a certain room is clear, or you’ve sifted your books down to just one bookshelf, or your child’s toys no longer spill out of multiple toy boxes around the house, or you can find what you want to wear each morning without stress and hassle?
8. Decluttering goals make it easier to decide what to keep and what to get rid of
When you know why you’re decluttering, it makes it easier to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. If you want to create a stress-free morning routine and you can never find what you’re looking for then here are some tips on how to purge your closet quickly. If you’re downsizing to a smaller home, you’ll probably know that you’ll need less furniture. If you’re decluttering to make it easier for other family members to deal with your stuff when you’re gone, then you might want to look at how much sentimental stuff you’ve been holding onto throughout the years.
9. Decluttering goals help when decluttering is difficult
Apart from keeping you focused and on track, decluttering goals give you a clear reason to keep decluttering even when decluttering feels difficult. You might meet resistance from your family, criticism or questions about why you’re getting rid of stuff. Being able to articulate and explain clearly what you’re doing and what you want to achieve (because you’ve already got those clearly defined goals) will make it much easier on you and maybe get those unsure on your side!
10. Find a method that works for you
Decluttering goals reflect what you want the end result to be, but decluttering and simplifying is as much about the journey as the ultimate destination.
In fact, when I first started out decluttering my own home, I didn’t really know what I wanted to achieve and I definitely didn’t have a set of clear decluttering goals. I just knew I wanted more ease and less stress in my life and I’d read that having less clutter could be a way to achieve that. I made many mistakes and false starts and I think I’d have had less of these if I’d taken a moment to define my decluttering goals and work out the best way to achieve them.
You could take a decluttering challenge, buy a guided workbook and checklists, or pay a professional but without learning by taking action (not just reading or letting someone else do the work for you), clutter will come back even quicker than you decluttered it!
HOW TO USE YOUR DECLUTTERING GOALS FOR SUCCESS
So, now you’ve got a clearer idea of what your decluttering goals might look like, how can you use these goals to measure, track and see progress with your decluttering? Here are some tips on how to use your decluttering goals for success.
1. Decluttering progress not perfection
Decluttering progress isn’t always perfectly linear. Sometimes you’ll find it easy, sometimes you’ll get stuck. Sometimes you’ll think you’ve decluttered but then clutter will find a way to creep back in – through the letterbox, your inbox, your child’s school bag and so on. Don’t get caught up on finding the perfect way to declutter. Don’t worry about perfection, just stick to your goals and your ultimate aim.
2. Review your decluttering goals often
Like any goal-setting, it always pays to review your goals often. Life changes, we change and so too do our goals. Check in with your goals and make sure they still makes sense and align with what you want your home and life to be like. Here are some tips on how to refresh your goals at home and in life.
3. Change your goals if needed
If your goals no longer suit you then don’t be afraid to change them. You might be set on clearing all your clutter but, when it comes to it, you’re not ready to be so ruthless. Change your timescale, change your approach and change your goal. Changing your mind is not a sign of weakness or failure. It’s just that you’re aware and intentional about what you’re doing and why.
4. Celebrate your wins
If you hit a goal, however big or small, make a big deal of it and reward yourself. Make decluttering fun, create incentive and give yourself praise for achieving something that’s going to help you change your life!
RESOURCES TO HELP WITH YOUR DECLUTTERING GOALS
Here are some articles and resources to help you declutter and simplify your home and life:
- How to declutter your home and life
- How to live clutter-free and 7 ways to get started
- 32 things that make your home look cluttered
- Clutter-blindness – what it is and how to overcome it
- Minimalist goals to simplify your life this year
WHAT ARE YOUR DECLUTTERING GOALS?
I hope you found this article and the ideas I’ve shared useful. I’d love to know if you have any decluttering goals and what they are! Why did you want to declutter your home and simplify your life? Did your goals change at all as you went through the decluttering process? Have you got any more tips to share? Leave a comment below!
A FREE WORKSHEET
To help you create an action plan for your own decluttering process, pop your details in the box below and I’ll send you a printable Decluttering Action Plan worksheet so you can get started!