10 Reasons Why Decluttering is Hard

10 Reasons Decluttering Is Hard

Many people struggling with decluttering their homes. Sometimes it’s because we don’t know where to start, we’ve got no time or we don’t know what to do with our unwanted stuff. Check out this post for 10 reasons why decluttering is hard and some tips on how to make decluttering easier.


When I was brainstorming for this post, I looked back over some of the questions I’ve been asked about decluttering.

I thought about the common problems, challenges and even excuses that people give for not starting or not following through.

These questions form the basis of this post on reasons why decluttering is hard and there are some tips to help you find a way around each one! I hope they help!

#1 My partner doesn’t want me to declutter

I would suggest you map out areas. Work out which areas of the home are more under your control and agree which areas are in his. Where do you each spend the most time?

For example, are you mostly in the living room and he’s in the garage? Or maybe he’s in the kitchen and you’re in the garage!

Declutter the areas that are yours but leave his stuff alone until he’s ready to either do it himself or ask you to help.

#2 My family doesn’t understand why I’m decluttering

Here’s a case of lead by example and often one of the main reasons why decluttering is hard. Show them the benefits of decluttering applied to different aspects of your daily life.

  • It’s quicker for you to find things because you’re organised, tidy and there’s little stuff for you to sift through. You’ve made things much easier for yourself by only having what you need and getting rid of anything that you don’t.
  • You can quickly and easily get dressed every morning, love your clothes and look great as you’ve decluttered your wardrobe and only have clothes that you love and look good.
  • You’ll be able to find all your paperwork because it’s organised, filed and you’ve only kept the absolute essentials.
  • You can find that email because your inbox is up to date and not full of junk and spam and emails you don’t need.
  • You’ve suddenly got more free time because you’re spending less time tidying and cleaning your home because there’s less stuff in it.

#3 How do I know what to declutter?

Ask yourself 3 questions:

  • Do you love it?
  • Do you need it?
  • Does it add value?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then keep it. If the answer is no to any of them, then get rid of it.

I find that keeping it simple really helps. Otherwise you start to overthink things and just get bogged down or side-tracked.

#4 Do I have to throw everything out?

No! There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to decluttering and you don’t have to throw everything out. Ask yourself the 3 questions above whenever you’re decluttering and listen to the answers you give.

Remember that you’re only getting rid of the stuff that you don’t want, don’t love or don’t add value.

So, if the item is a ‘yes’ for any of these questions, then you’re going to keep it. But I think you’ll be surprised at how much you answer ‘no’ to!


10 Reasons Why Decluttering Is Hard


#5 Decluttering my home is too big a task

Another of the common reasons why decluttering is hard. Try decluttering in waves. Do a quick sweep of each room or area to declutter the obvious stuff. Then go back in smaller waves and each time you’ll notice something new in the room that you hadn’t noticed before.

Decluttering gets easier with practice so just dive in and get started!

You could also start your decluttering in an easy place such as the bathroom, just until you find your feet. Tackling clutter hot-spots like the garage or attic when you’re just getting started is probably going to put you right off!

#6 Decluttering is a waste of money

Personally, I think that the waste of money happens when you purchase the item in the first place instead of when you get rid of it, so try thinking of it that way if it helps.

If you’re really worried about wasting money then consider selling your unwanted items and you’ll get some money back, especially if they’re high value items and in great condition.

Generally, however, I’d always suggest people donate or recycle their unwanted items so you don’t get bogged down by the whole selling process. And, what do you do with your unwanted items whilst you’re waiting for them to sell?

#7 I’ve always got the kids with me

Encourage the kids to help you and get the kids involved by making it fun.

Choose a time when you’re all in a good mood and make it a fun experience by turning it into a game. For example, who’s the quickest at bagging up 5 toys they no longer play with to give to charity?

Depending on their age and ability, maybe you could explain to your children that there are many other kids who don’t have so many toys and by donating some of theirs, your children are making other children very happy.

calm family home
#8 What if I like shopping or want to get something new?

Avoid the build-up of new clutter by spending money on making memories, not buying things. Suggest to your family that you spend your money on experiences rather than material possessions.

If this doesn’t work, then try using the one in/one out rule and make this a habit for all of you.

If you buy something new, then swap it out for something old. If you like clothes shopping but still like the idea of a decluttered wardrobe then buy a new bag by all means, but maybe give one of your existing bags away to charity?

That way you still get to go shopping and enjoy a new bag, but your wardrobe doesn’t get bigger in the process.

The other trick is to be more intentional about your shopping.

Shop with intention

#9 What do I do when my family and friends give me gifts?

First of all, don’t get caught in the trap that just because someone gave you a gift, you must keep it. It’s the thought that counts not the actual present.

Remember that although they were kind and generous to give you the gift, you’re not compelled to keep it. Just say a big thank you and pass it on to a friend or donate it to charity a bit later.

You could try explaining to your friends and family about your decluttering and what you’re trying to achieve, and of course, answer any questions they may have. You might convince them to try it for themselves!

Say thank you for the gifts you’ve received but suggest that if they would like to buy a gift in the future then perhaps it could be an ‘experience’ rather than an actual item. There are lots of gift experiences on offer these days.

Alternatively, you could put together a list of items that you would especially like to receive. This is really useful at Christmas and on birthdays. It makes it easier for the person buying the gift to know what to get you, they know that it will be something that you really want, and you can be really specific about what you allow into your home.

#10 What do I do with the stuff I’ve decluttered?

You can either donate or recycle it, throw it away if it’s worn out or broken, or sell it if it’s valuable and you know you can sell it easily and quickly.

Deal with your unwanted items straight after you’ve decluttered. It’s all part of the process.

Don’t be tempted to sit back and think you’re done until the rubbish bag is in the bin, the donate and recycle bags have been donated and recycled. Otherwise you’ll find your family rooting through the bags pulling out items they’d forgotten they had and now want to keep. All your hard work (and theirs) will be undone.


These are some of the most common questions that also present some of the biggest barriers to decluttering.

Hopefully you’ll now be prepared and know what to do if you get stuck!