Decluttering our stuff can be hard; however, I believe that the key to successful decluttering is mindset. As a mental health professional, I talk to a lot of people about how changing their mindset can change how they feel and what they do in life. We certainly can apply the power of the mind to decluttering as well and in this post, I explain 7 mindsets that will help you declutter better.

1. Decluttering is a process

Decluttering is not a “one-and-done” deal, in two respects:

The first is related to your first major declutter. This is unlikely to be something you can do in one go. It may take days or weeks, depending on how much stuff you have and how you work through your belongings.

The second is that decluttering is lifelong. So, after the major declutter it’s something that, ideally, should be done regularly so that you don’t end up back where you started.

This might mean you declutter daily or weekly, or perhaps you deal with clutter as soon as it enters your home. Maybe something does need to be kept and filed away, whilst something else belongs in the recycling.

Making decluttering a part of your life means that it will become second nature the more you practice it.

2. Be more aware of the stuff coming in

I know we’re talking decluttering – as in the stuff going out – but it’s just as important to be intentional about what comes into your home and your life.

Being more intentional about your purchases means assessing whether they meet a need, serve a purpose, and will bring genuine fulfillment to your life. If items tick these boxes, you’re less likely to have a home full of things that are cluttering up the space unnecessarily.

3. Build systems and habits

This is a tip I took from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear (affiliate link).

James Clear says that whilst goals are important, for example, the goal of a clutter free home, we need to focus more on building systems and habits to help us work towards that goal.

Habits might be things like dealing with bills and statements as soon as they come in, rather than shoving them in a kitchen drawer, and making that drawer unusable for anything else. I have absolutely never done this (she says, sheepishly).

Another habit might be creating a routine of checking at regular intervals that your existing items are still useful, or whether they might have run their course.

These habits will help maintain all the work and effort you put into your major declutter, and keep you on track with having a clutter-free environment.

4. Decluttering makes room for the things you care most about

Decluttering can be a mentally and emotionally challenging process. Certainly, I found this when my husband and I were decluttering 10 years’ worth of stuff.

However, I also experienced a huge sense of relief and freedom from getting rid of items I no longer needed or had use for.

I looked forward to not having the items “hanging over my head” as we moved into a new, smaller, home. This was the first home that I’d ever bought, and the first home my husband and I had bought together. I was really excited and if we hadn’t decluttered I would have been caught up in the anxiety of having too much stuff.

5. Get clear about “why” you’re decluttering

Ask yourself questions such as: “Why is decluttering important to me?”; “What do I want to achieve through decluttering my belongings?”

When you are clear on your “why” this can help to motivate you if you’re finding it hard to get started or feeling like giving up part-way through the process.

For me, decluttering was fuelled by a renewed sense of urgency about being more present in life. Perhaps this was due to me reaching my mid-40s. However, I was also feeling the pain and grief of losing my dog Cookie, who was my absolute world. This woke me up to what really matters in life – love, connection, relationships – versus the material things I’d placed so much importance on.

6. You are still you, without your stuff

Often, we build strong emotional attachments to our belongings and we may see them as reflecting a part of our identity.

Decluttering certain items may feel like you’re discarding a part of yourself but they’re more a part of you that existed some time ago. We all go through different phases in life and maybe some items are connected to those phases; however, the core of you still exists and decluttering makes room for things that reflect the current phase of your life.

7. Let go with gratitude

When it comes to saying goodbye to an item, ask yourself “How has this served me over the years?”

I reflect on what I’ve gained from an item and how it’s added to my life, alongside acknowledging that it’s no longer of use to me and therefore time to let it go.

If the item can go to someone else, I feel happy that it will get further use. However, even if it’s so worn that no one else can use it, at least I know it’s served its purpose.

Let me know in the comments of any changes in mindset that have helped you declutter better!