Three Decluttering Fears and How to Overcome Them

Decluttering comes with many benefits but achieving a clutter-free home isn’t always easy. Sometimes the lack of ease comes from just not knowing how to do the work, or where to start. Many times it comes from internal fears of which you might be unaware. Those fears that come in the form of objections and excuses, are prominent when a task you are undertaking is big, and therefore feels unappealing, or impossible.

As a result, you start and stop, make little progress, and stay frustrated in the face of your clutter.

Objections are actually fears tucked deep inside that bubble to the surface when you can’t think fast enough to sort out what actually needs to get done. Or you feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what needs to be done.

In my 22 years of working with women to dig into, decide on, and declutter what feels heavy and taxing in their life, I have heard many objections. And part of the work I do is to help sift through what fear is attached to those excuses because I know that when a fear is faced, a path to progress appears.

The top three objections I hear all the time you have likely heard before. Perhaps you have even uttered them. It’s time to look them head on, and shift your thinking so you can declutter with ease.


1. I have not time to declutter.

This is the top excuse I hear. And the fear embedded around this objection is fear of letting go.

Sure, the idea of having “enough” time feels real, especially when you have to navigate daily life – finish a report for work, pick up the kids, make dinner, sign permission slips, empathize with the tears and fears and drama, and manage your own life hiccups as well. But it isn’t really time you are worried about. You aren’t afraid of not having time. You are afraid of what you will spend that time doing.

overcome obstacles

Decluttering is scary. It isn’t something often seen as appealing either. It involves letting go. And letting go is scary. One way to overcome this fear and take its power away is to remind yourself of why you want to be clutter free. That “why” is powerful and keeping it in front of you reminds you of all you gain from letting go.

2. I don’t know where to start.

This very common objection also feels “real”. You don’t know where to start because there is just too much. You might even sprinkle a little bit of “I don’t have time” in there as well. Too much can certain create a feeling that the work is impossible. The fear in this objection is not knowing how to do the deed.

But that is clutter again doing its best work here causing you to feel that the “too much” that is in front of you can’t be solved. It makes you feel there is no starting point. And that, of course is not true. What you fear is how to do the work.

To overcome this fear, you must remember there is no wrong place to start. The wrong thing to do is to not start at all. Simply start small. When you do this, the how feels more manageable. Letting go – remember that old chestnut? – of what you don’t like, need, or use isn’t as overwhelming when you aren’t trying to scale the entire mountain at once.

overcome fears

3. I can’t get organized; I am not an organized person.

You probably have said that. I know I have said it about lots of things in my life that I don’t know how to do – yet. The truth is organization is learned. So is how to declutter. And you can learn how to be organized, and how to declutter. You just have to be willing to learn. In fact, when you dig into why you got cluttered and disorganized and are open to changing habits you can flip your life right around. You will go from chaotic to calm, stressed to serene.

If you say, I am not an organized person, it isn’t that you can’t be organized. It is that you fear change and the unknown. You don’t know who you will become, how everyone around you will react, and how you will maintain things once your task is accomplished.

Things will change. You will change once you start the work of digging and deciding on what really matters to you, and for you in order to live a life you love. Change is scary. To overcome this fear you must, again, remind yourself of why you are doing this work. And then you need to affirm this consistently: 


Face the fears so you can overcome the obstacles. And put your focus on all the good that will come to you once you are on the other side of your clutter.


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