How to start decluttering when overwhelmed

Can You Over Declutter?

A question I was asked recently was;

Can you over declutter? 

Go too far with it? 

It’s definite yes in my opinion, in the same way that clutter can gather and we have too much stuff, I think people can also swing the other way and try and get rid of too much stuff as well. 

For me they’re both extremes and it’s about trying to find some sort of middle ground. 

The thing to remember is it’s very personal, so it’s up to you. 

What do you want? 

What do you need? 

It’s up to you to make those decisions. 

The difficulty comes where those decisions become “yes I’m keeping everything” or “yes I’m getting rid of everything” in exactly the same way. 

This is often experienced in the first stages of grief, so the first stage of denial. 

Sometimes people can throw out lots of things that actually they might regret later on, and they just go a bit far with it. 

Sometimes you need time, you need time to actually really establish what you need and what you don’t need, or what you want and what you don’t want. 

I’m not a minimalist at all, my house is very autobiographical. There’s lots of pictures and things that I’ve picked up from my travels around the world, and I have quite a lot of books and I’ve got CDs. 

I’ve just got rid of about 2/3 of my CDs but I’ve still got quite a lot of them, because for me I can’t remember which things I like on some of the digital streaming things all the time. So to get a CD out sometimes and just whack it on, I really quite enjoy. 

So I’m not a minimalist at all, and there are many people who live with very very little, you know and they’re absolutely happy with that. 

I continually review what I’ve got, I think that’s the key for me. 

Over the years I’ve started with a huge amount of stuff and that over time has come down. 

And often when I’m working with people we might have a definitely keep, a definitely throw away and then a maybe heap. And that maybe heap we will come back to later on, we’ll revisit it later on. Just so that we’re not throwing out things that people actually might decide that they want and want to keep. 

It’s a very very personal journey. 

It’s up to you but this is where it helps having somebody else to do it with you because they can ask you the questions, they can get you to maybe see what you’re not seeing about whether you should keep it or not. And whether you should get rid of it or not, sometimes I have to pull people back from the things they’re getting rid of and say hang on you might want that, maybe let’s pop it in a box and then we’ll revisit it later on. So very personal. 

Can you over declutter? 


Can you under declutter? 


Good luck with whatever you’re decluttering, and bear in mind the extremes of both ends of the scale. 

Leave a Reply