How to start decluttering after a long break

September 30, 2021

How to start decluttering after a break OR how to keep your momentum for the long term. If you’ve ever had to take a break from decluttering or working on an organizing project, you may have had trouble finding motivation to get going again.

Maybe you’re frustrated because your progress has slipped in the meantime and your house is messy again.

Keep reading (or scroll down for the video) to see a better way to get back in the groove as you declutter.

start decluttering after break

Sometimes Taking a Break Is Needed

If you’ve been following me for a little while, you may know that I used to run.

One year I did a lot of running and then took a seven or eight-month break. I loved running. It was so much fun.

But I got tendonitis and had to stop altogether. I was still going to the gym, but it wasn’t the same.

At this point, I started thinking about how I really miss running. I thought to myself, “How can I set myself up so that I can do this without injury and pain and, you know, hurting myself?”

Here's what I learned along with how it can apply to decluttering your home again after taking a break.

Related Read:  When to Declutter: 8 Definitive Signs You Need to Start Today!

Tips for Having a Successful Start to Decluttering After a Long Break

Step 1: Avoiding overwhelm when you start to declutter again after a break

I decided to take my own advice. I decided to keep it really, really small. (This is a method we teach in Step-by-Step Decluttering.)

I had been running three or four miles the year prior. I thought: I can do one mile.

And if a mile was too long, I might have to even stop after half a mile.

Your takeaway: Start small with manageable tasks. Set the timer for 10 minutes and stop decluttering when you’re done.

Step 2: Have a longer warm-up period.

I planned to walk for 10 minutes and then start running. It was one thing that got both my momentum going and took the pressure of an abrupt start off my body.

Your takeaway: Check in with your decluttering buddies. Let the discussion motivate and warm you up to the decluttering process ahead.

While this might look overwhelming after taking a break, following some simple tips can help set you up for success and complete that decluttering project.

Step 3: Set yourself up for success.

I had music. I had my fun running clothes on. If you need to, go really, really slow!

Your takeaway: Set the scene and get your mind in the decluttering zone. Wear comfy clothes, make a playlist, and have a beverage handy.

Decluttering is like other big projects.

Focus on one small project - like clearing off kitchen counters.

Maybe you took a really long break due to family or illness, or maybe you just didn’t feel like it. You’ve taken a couple months off. And now you’re ready to start again.

You might feel like you have to do it all.

But if you do that, you’re probably going to crash and burn. So instead take it really small.

You’ll get there, too.

Just in one little thing. Take 10 minutes to do one drawer. Do one shelf. See how it goes.

If you are ready to start decluttering again, what's your strategy?

About the author 

Sarah Mueller

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A Brain-Friendly Tutorial to Clearing Your Clutter

The free tutorial is for you if:

  • Your clutter feels overwhelming
  • You have 1 or more rooms that need significant work
  • You've been trying to declutter for 6 months or longer