Are you making these 5 decluttering mistakes?

Cluttered room
Cluttered room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have more stuff than space in your home, learning how to declutter will give you more room, and help to get things more organized. What's more, clearing out clutter is great for the mind and overall well-being, creating a calm and more productive environment. But, while it might seem an easy task to do, are you making these decluttering mistakes?

Similar to making these common cleaning mistakes, there are some bad habits we do to make the whole process of decluttering more stressful and less productive. In most cases, this will create an even bigger mess than when you first started — because even organizing needs to be organized! So, if you want a clear and clutter-free home in less time, avoid these common decluttering mistakes. 

1. Starting without a clear plan 

Donation box with old clothing

Donation box with old clothing (Image credit: Shutterstock)

You may feel it's productive to declutter every room in the home, but what is your goal? Do you want to cull your wardrobe? Do you need more space in your living room? Or do you simply want more storage in general? Make sure you tackle one room/space at a time, or else decluttering without a plan will leave you feeling completely overwhelmed and unproductive. 

The best way to declutter is to sort your items into three, labelled boxes — dump, donate and sell. These three categories will make the culling process easier to manage and curate better. 

2. Buying storage before decluttering is over  

Shoe storage

Shoe storage (Image credit: Amazon)

The whole point of decluttering is to minimize mess and create more space. Buying new or unnecessary storage before you’ve even finished the task of decluttering will only further add to the clutter! Only once you’ve completed the decluttering process, you’ll be in a better position to work out the most suitable storage ideas and organization methods. 

3. Holding onto ‘sentimental’ items

Labelling card collection

Labelling card collection (Image credit: Shutterstock)

One common decluttering mistake we make is to become too emotionally attached to things. Whether it’s old cards, photos, children's drawings, travel or sports mementos, it’s easy to accumulate an excess of ‘memorable’ items. But while a few are worth keeping, most just end up as a collection of clutter without a purpose. Be ruthless when getting rid of items you’ve had for a long time, and stick to the plan. 

If necessary, store important paperwork in labelled, transparent storage boxes, where you can easily see what’s inside. You can also invest in a handheld label maker such as this DYMO Label Maker LabelManager 160 Portable Label Maker ($30 (opens in new tab), Amazon (opens in new tab)) to save you time.  

4. Ignoring cluttered surfaces 

Coffee table with few items

Coffee table with few items (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Tables or a coffee table are often the focal points in most rooms. Yet these tend to be used as a dumping ground for mail, magazines, paperwork or our keys. Try to keep tables and surfaces as clear as possible by just placing the bare minimum on them. You could style a coffee table with a couple of interesting books, a vase or a few coasters.  

5. Moving unused things to another spot 

Folded clothing for closet

Folded clothing for closet (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another common mistake is to relocate unused items to another space in the home. Maybe it’s a closet, cupboard or shoved at the back of a drawer out of sight. And even though you’ll never use them again, you’ll somehow convince yourself that you will at some point. Make a firm decision to get rid of unused items once and for all, or else you’re only moving clutter from one place to the other! 


Knowing how to clean every room of your home will also help to create a clean, minimalist space. Plus, if your home is compact, here's how to make a small room look bigger and here’s how to clean painted walls to remove stains to keep it spotless. 

Cynthia Lawrence
Homes Writer

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!