Decluttering: Obstacles

With any new endeavor, challenges arise.  So, let’s discuss a few of those and how we can move beyond them.

Uncooperative Family Members.

Since I’ve raised three children, am married and currently my father lives with us…I think I can attest to the fact that sometimes things are beyond our control to a degree when it comes to decluttering and keeping house in an ideal fashion.  That said, there are reasonable expectations that everyone in the family can get on board with.

It is perfectly reasonable for children to pick up their toys, school books or lunch boxes and not leave things all over the place for mom to pick up.  When the kids were very small, I helped them clean their rooms.  But, I cannot tell you how many YouTube videos I have watched of the moms solely cleaning their kid’s rooms.  Where are the kids?  Why are they not being taught responsibility?  If they have too many toys, books, shoes…whatever…then they have too much!  Pare it down to a manageable amount.  The point is, even children can be trained to put their belongings in their proper places.

Spouses can also be hindrances in our quest for order.  For some, tidiness does not come naturally.  Obviously you cannot change your spouse into becoming a neatnik overnight but you can express how important order is to you.  Hopefully they will get on board with your mission.  However, if they don’t see the light, no worries.  You do what you can to create a peaceful and orderly home and accept that they may never change.

You cannot worry about things you cannot change.  

This small sentence is very freeing.  Let it go.  Do your best and move on.


This is a particularly difficult set of circumstances because in many cases, you’d like to clean and organize, however, due to health issues, you cannot.  Of course, you could hire outside help with cleaning and organizing.  Perhaps some friends or extended family members may be available to help free of charge.

If these are not valid options, that leaves doing the best you can with the limitations you have.  It will require lowering your expectations a bit and being patient with yourself as you work through various projects.

If your illness is short term, bear in mind that brighter days are ahead when you will be able to tackle the tasks on your mind.  But, for now, rest is important.  Focus on the key areas and make peace with the rest for a season.

Time Constraints.

For those who work outside the home or have small children at home, finding the time to declutter and organize can be a real challenge.  Breaking larger projects into smaller ones can be very effective.  For example, you want to tackle the kitchen, but this will involve purging the cabinets, clearing the counter tops and addressing the pantry.  Whew!  You’re exhausted before you even embark on this mission!  Why not set the kitchen timer for fifteen minutes every day or every other day and see how much you can get done?  If you find at the end of the session, you are energized to continue, have at it!  This approach will get the ball rolling toward completing larger tasks.  Setting up a box for donations will encourage you to make the challenging decisions to part with some items that may have exceeded their usefulness.

Many people watch t.v. every evening.  There are many tasks that can be accomplished while watching your favorite show.  (i.e. folding laundry, dusting the furniture, picking up the living room floor, etc.).  An added bonus is burning calories at the same time.

I have often heard people say they wish they had more time to do this or that.  The truth is, we all are given the same number of hours in a day.  It is a matter of what we do to fill those hours, that may or may not, be productive.

We are living in a very fast paced world, which means we must learn to say no more often.  No to some activities in order to pursue others.  If we are wise with our time, we will most often find a sufficient amount to carry out the things we need to.

What other obstacles have you encountered in your decluttering quest?  What solutions have you found to combat them?


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