Messy House? – Find the Motivation to Declutter

Do you struggle with finding the motivation to declutter?  Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the mess.  Maybe you don’t know where to start.  Perhaps you feel paralyzed when it comes to making decisions about the clutter…what to keep, what to discard.  Keep reading if you want a tip that will help you find the motivation to declutter.

Mom and daughter motivated to declutter clothes with text Overwhelmed? Find the Motivaiton to declutter.

The Key to Find the Motivation to Declutter

Picture this, you return home from vacation.  You walk into your house, place the keys on the counter and breathe in the fresh air.  The hardwood floors are clear from clutter…you almost see a shine in them.  The crystal flecks in your granite countertops sparkle, because the counter is clear and clean.  Pillows on the couch are fluffed with a nice crease right in the middle.  There is no mail piled up, no dishes in the sink, and no kid’s toys strewn about.  Your home is clear from the clutter, picked up, and clean…beautifully yours!

This is what our house is like when we return from being out of town…why?  Because no one lived there for the past week or so…it was easy to keep it straight.  But, daily life is not that way.  Things can go from the “vacation state” to disorder in a matter of minutes.  And by the end of the day, it’s easy to forget that the decluttered, organized, and clean vacation state ever existed.

Because we can easily forget why we like to have an organized and decluttered home, it’s important to create a vision. A vision of your end product can help you find the motivation to declutter.

What’s a Decluttering Vision?

A Decluttering Vision is an inspirational picture of a future state of your home.  You picture what you want it to look like, how you want it to function, and define why it’s important to you.  Your decluttering vision can take the form of a vision board or a few sentences. 

Benefits of a Decluttering Vision

In Stephen Covey’s best selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit #2 is to “Begin with the End in Mind.” He encourages people to begin a project or task with a picture of their ultimate destination.

Decluttering Visions can be powerful motivation tools. 

  • They inspire you to get started so that you can reach your final goals.
  • They encourage you to keep going when you’re not quite there or have experienced a setback.
  • Decluttering Vision reminds you of your why…why are you investing your time in all of this work, what do you hope to achieve in the end?
  • Your vision will help you find the motivation to declutter when you don’t feel like it!

False Starts

A lot of people get excited about getting their homes in order and they start with a shopping trip.  “What fun baskets, cute boxes, or classic acrylic boxes do I need to store all of my stuff” they wonder?

Other people, jump in and start to discard… That stack of dishes can go, I haven’t used them in 7 years. Oh, and those plates are outdated … I don’t use them. Hmm, I haven’t used that blue and white china with pretty little roses EVER.”  Before you know it, they have a ton of stuff pulled out of cabinets and ready to discard and they are exhausted.  They had a short burst of energy to start but lacked the vision to finish the job.

And there are others, who are very motivated to start but they get stalled in analysis paralysis.  They think and think and think about what they SHOULD do, but never actually engage in decluttering.

Where to Start Decluttering

These false starts can be fun, but they often fizzle.  That’s why I recommend starting with a vision.  We want sustainable motivation…we want to start and finish the job!  A Vision for Decluttering will serve as motivation as you work through the decluttering and organization process.

Let’s talk about how to create your vision.  Like I mentioned earlier, a Decluttering Vision can take the form of a visual board or a statement of sentences.  It’s up to you!

Vision Boards

Physical Vision Boards – are posters where you cut out pictures and words from magazines and glue them on a poster board.  Try to fill the board with inspirational images, words, and quotes that represent your vision.  This approach is great if you’re a creative type, like magazines, and prefer a physical representation that you can touch with your hands.

Virtual Vision Boards – anyone familiar with Pinterest is already familiar with this approach.  Just create a board for your home decluttering project and pin inspirational images or quotes that represent the way you want your home to look.  This approach is great if you’re creative types that like online inspiration. 

Vision Statement – this approach is more traditional and more succinct.  The statement is a paragraph that defines what you want your space to look like in the future, how you want it to function, how you feel when you enter it etc.  It should capture why the end product is important to you!

Questions to Help you Create Your Decluttering Vision

  • What do you want to see in your “space” – your closet, living room, or kitchen, etc. when you are done tidying?
  • When you think about your space, what do you envision? Are there Instagram or Pinterest pictures that have inspired you? Perhaps a friend or family member’s house comes to mind.
  • How do you want the room to feel when you walk in it? Calm and tranquil?  Bright and cheery?
  • How do you want the room to function? Do you want it to be a formal room to entertain guests?  Do you prefer a casual room where the family can congregate?  Is it a high traffic room where you need it to be efficient and streamlined?  Will it be a place where the kids can play freely and nothing can get damaged?  The function will determine the end design.
  • What are the current challenge and clutter traps? How is the room not functioning for you now?  Are there clutter traps where things frequently get piled?  Is there a piece of furniture that gets in the way of traffic?  Do you have so much build up that it’s tough to spend time in that room?  Think about what’s not working. 
  • What will you do in the space that you couldn’t do before?
  • Why is the final product important to you?

Action items:

  • Answer the above questions.
  • Write down the ideal end picture of your space. Don’t edit! Just brainstorm and let it flow.


Think of contrasting statements and write down the things that speak to you.

  • Monochromatic or Colorful?
  • Bright or Bold?
  • Light and bright or Comfy and cozy?
  • Contemporary or Traditional?
  • Creative or Minimalist?
  • Tranquil or Energizing?
  • Family or Friends?
  • Kids or Adults?
  • Social or Work?

Action item:

  • Make a list of what’s important to you

Now that you’ve dug deep, create your vision.  Choose the option that inspires you the most.  If you’re visual, create a vision board or a Pinterest vision board.  If you want something succinct that you can read, create a written vision statement. 

By defining why the decluttered and organized space is important to you, how you want it to function for you and your family, and what you want the end result to look like you will have a new source of decluttering motivation.  Your Decluttering Vision will inspire you to get started so that you can reach your final goals.  It will encourage you to keep going, when you’re not quite there or have experienced a setback.  And remind you of your why…why are you investing your time in all of this work, what do you hope to achieve in the end?

Here’s to having a sustainable motivation to achieve your decluttering and home organization goals!





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