Decluttering needs proper preparation

The ‘Clutter Series’, Part 9 – Why is the preparation of decluttering projects so important?


The ‘Clutter Series’ discusses important aspects of the clutter in our homes and minds, including the close relationship between clutter and our general wellbeing.

Click here to read a summary of the main insights of this series.

Why is the preparation of decluttering projects so important?

For most of us, decluttering our home is a challenging project.

Like other bigger projects it needs proper preparation.

Example: Running a marathon

Running a marathon is a good example of another project that – like decluttering – intends to combine the achievement of a special goal with a general improvement of life quality.

Most of us wouldn’t put on running shoes and (try to) run a marathon after a year spent on the sofa.

Instead, we would make sure that we get properly prepared before we step on the starting line on the day of the race.

Our preparation might look like this:

    • We define our goal in detail and ensure that we understand our motivation behind it: Why did we choose this goal and why is it so important to us? What exactly do we wish to achieve?
    • We analyse our starting point – our fitness and experience levels -, and determine the steps that we have to take to make ourselves well prepared for taking action (running a marathon).
    • We create a detailed action plan to make sure that we use our time, energy and other resources in an efficient way. We get active and start to follow our training plan

Preparation of a decluttering project

A proper preparation is equally important if we want to ensure that we have a good start with our decluttering project and to increase our chances to arrive safely at the finish-line.

Removing the clutter without a deep understanding of its causes and its ‘purpose’ in our life is like ‘sending it on a short holiday’. We remove the symptoms for a while but we don’t resolve the underlying problem(s). The clutter will come back!

How our values and vision help us make (declutter) decisions

Before we can start to make decisions about our belongings, we have to become well aware of where we are now, how we got there, why we want to change our home/life,  and where we want to go.

Having a deep understanding of our current situation, our values and our vision for the future enables us to make the right decisions during the decluttering process and to get and stay focused and motivated.

Today, we talk about our values, in another article we will discuss why we need a clear vision for our decluttering success.


Decluttering can be seen a process of honouring our deepest held values.

Every time we decide to keep or let go of an item, we are effectively saying, “This matters to me” or “This is no longer a priority.” By decluttering an entire home, we have to make this decision hundreds of times.

In order to make the right decisions, it is vital for us to clarify and confirm our personal values and motivations before we start to develop a vision for the next chapter of our life and set goals for our decluttering projects.

Differentiating between values and goals is important because in the long run it’s our values – not our goals – that direct and motivate us. We experience our greatest personal alignment with ourselves when we set goals and take actions that are in line with our values.

Values are what we find meaningful and important in our life, giving us clarity and direction. They are like an internal compass that guides and motivates us.

Values exist, whether we recognise them or not. Life can be much easier when we consciously acknowledge our values – and when we make plans and decisions that honour them.

Knowing and honouring our values helps us make decisions.

Having clear values not only keeps us focused and motivated. They help us make decisions.

Whenever we have to make a decision or choice we can ask ourselves

‘Is this (activity, decision, commitment, possession) in alignment with my values?’

Usually, our decision to declutter / to make changes in our life has to do with our values. We are probably not happy with the current reality because we have neglected some of our important values – we haven’t ‘valued’ enough what’s really important to us.

Knowing our values helps us understand our ‘Why’.

Redirecting our attention to our core values helps us to truly understand our Why – the purpose behind our decluttering ambitions:

    • Why the clutter in our home (or the change in our life) is a problem for us,
    • and why we decided to get active and to do something to make things better.

Whenever later in the decluttering / change process we struggle to set goals or to decide on the next action steps, or when we experience a drop in energy and motivation levels – we can remind ourselves of our core values and let them be our guide.

Knowing our values makes habit changes easier.

For lasting change to occur we have to create new supportive habits and release the ones that no longer serve us.

Habit change can be a challenge, so being clear on our ‘why’ and our values is essential in this regard, too.

Do you need help with the selection and definition of your very personal values?

Order your FREE Quick-Start Decluttering Tool-Box today.

One of the many tools in the box is an exercise that will help you define and acknowledge your home-related values

The purpose of the decluttering tool-box – which will be delivered to your email inbox – is to help you manage your decluttering projects successfully.

The ‘tools’ – little exercises, checklists, tips, and tricks (pdf-downloads) – are simple and practical – and easy to apply.

They will make it so much easier for you to get rid of the clutter in your home and life.

Click this button to order

Your Quick-Start Decluttering Tool-Box

Published by

Margot Krekeler

Learn more about Margot, click 'About'.

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