If you’re like me, you have a compulsion to do things well…I mean, really well! It’s a habit I’ve had since I can remember. I’ve heard this trait referred to as being “driven“. And sure, it’s served me well with taking action and accomplishing what I set my sights on. But when being driven becomes perfectionism, it can actually stop us in our tracks! Let’s break down 3 ways how perfectionism holds us back from decluttering what we no longer need or use in our homes.

We Don’t Get Started


Think about it: the internal pressure to do something perfectly can become so intense, we postpone starting something. We talk about how we ought to clear out our overflowing wardrobe. We readily agree that our kitchen cabinets are overdue for a Spring pruning. But our effort stops there. You see what’s happening here? We may not consciously think about it but we decide that if we don’t start, we don’t risk the chance of being mediocre with the task.

We Struggle with Making Decisions


When we do finally move ahead with clearing space, our things take on heightened meaning. Pitching ordinary items like mismatched food storage containers or stained clothing is a no brainer. But uncover the stash of birthday cards from your kids, the ugly vase from Aunt Brenda or your Rolling Stones T-shirt…now what? The tension rises in our chest or fills our gut. Our emotions are in a tizzy as we seesaw with guilt over releasing these sentimental items! Perfectionism tells us we knew this would get difficult!

We Feel the Nagging Unfinished Task


When the decluttering gets difficult, we tell ourselves any number of stories why we need to stop now. Perhaps that we don’t have the time to finish. Or that we have room for all our stuff after all. Maybe even that we’ll get to it another time. But deep down, we know it makes sense to release things that are hidden in drawers, cabinets or closets. Once again, perfectionism gnaws at us. On the outside, it’s business as usual. But on the inside, we feel conflicted. This is exactly why we didn’t want to start such a challenging project!

How to Bypass Perfectionism


If you’re relating to any or all of these scenarios, then here’s my advice:

  • Identify your “why”. What do you want, need or hope to accomplish? Write this down and refer to it when you feel uncertain during the decluttering process.
  • Start small. Pick a room and then focus on one counter, drawer or closet at a time. Finish the room and go to the next one. Just a 30 minute session will yield noticeable results!
  • Pick a time to declutter and keep this standing appointment. If you only fit in a session when you “feel” like it, you likely never will!
  • Keep track of how much you release. Take a picture of the bags or boxes (but not the items themselves!) after each session. At the end of a month, you’ll be thrilled with your progress!

The Wrap

space clearing

Space clearing is not an overnight process so don’t let perfectionism keep you on the sidelines! When you consider that things accumulate over time, you can cut yourself some slack. Release things slowly but surely.

For more inspiration, check out this post: Or listen here to the vision process for finding your “why”:

Where are you at in the declutttering process? Still thinking about it? Midway but running out of steam? Or chugging along? I’d love to hear your triumphs, tribulations and everything in between! Drop a comment below…and thanks for stopping by!