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2 Surprising Signs It’s Time to Declutter

When’s the best time to declutter? The answer might surprise you.

Have you ever wondered if there’s a best time to declutter? Or maybe you’ve put off getting started because you’re waiting for the perfect time to begin? 

Well, if so, I want to share some of my thoughts because I’ve found they surprise a lot of people. It’s not about a date on the calendar, and I don’t believe one season intrinsically lends itself to decluttering more than all the others.

But I do believe there are two clear signs that it’s absolutely, positively time to declutter:

  1. Anytime you find clarity about where you are in life. 
  2. Anytime you feel stuck about where you are in life. 

Let me explain …

"Surprising Signs It’s Time to Declutter" in white letters on a translucent black overlay on top of an image of a bed with white sheets and a grey blanket, fluffy pillows, and a side table with a plant on it.

Understanding Clutter

Clutter happens when the things we own are out of alignment with who we are and what we believe. 

Sometimes we lose track of our values and priorities, sometimes we’re influenced by others, and sometimes we’re simply confused by changes that are a natural part of life. 

Whatever the reason, our minds get cluttered, and our ‘stuff’ is a reflection of this. 
We don’t know what to keep because we don’t know what we want—or perhaps even who we are. Decluttering is overwhelming because we feel overwhelmed with life.

So What Does This Mean About The Best Time to Declutter?

How can we use this knowledge to improve our lives or, quite frankly, declutter our homes? 

Well, here’s my first tip:

Anytime you have increased clarity about who you are, it’s time to declutter. ​

Even if you’ve struggled in the past, I can almost guarantee that you’ll find it easier this time around. You’ll shed things naturally​ because they just don’t fit into your life anymore. 

It’s almost like they belong to someone else, and in a way, they do. 

Your college textbooks belong to a past version of yourself, who defined her self-worth by her grades and her diploma. And your unused sewing machine belongs to a fantasy version of yourself, who loves starting (and actually completing!) projects in her spare time. 

This is why January is often a good time for decluttering. People tend to do a lot of self-reflection around the new year, and this clarity lends itself to letting go. The confidence you have in yourself leads to confidence about what you do or don’t need in your home and life. ​

But What If I Feel Stuck? Should I Wait to Declutter?

For other people, the new year isn’t a time for clarity. Instead, there’s confusion about who you are and what you believe, and it can feel disheartening. Especially when everyone else seems to have it all together.

So what should you do? Should you wait until you have it “all figured out” before you start decluttering?

Absolutely not! Believe it or not, this is also the PERFECT time to declutter, and here’s why.

Because often, clarity comes from doing.

As you sort through your stuff and make decisions about what you want to keep, you’re almost making decisions about who you want to be (whether you realise it or not).

It can be challenging—trust me, I spent years struggling with this—but it is rewarding.

When you are mindful with your decluttering, you not only get the home you want. You also get the confidence and clarity to live the life you want.

I’ve written extensively on the before and after of how minimalism changed my life, but in short, yes I decluttered, and I enjoy many practical benefits of a clutter-free life. But what’s really important is how I feel about myself. 

In the past, I felt trapped and afraid, self-conscious and full of self-doubt. Now, of course, I still feel this way sometimes (because I’m human after all!) but overall, I’ve come so far and I know that decluttering was a huge part of this journey.

How to Start When It’s Time to Declutter

So, whether you’re stepping into a new phase of life or feeling stuck where you are, decluttering is a powerful tool that can help you with so much more than just ‘stuff’.
And if you need help getting started, I highly recommend my free guide, Mindful Decluttering. This is an in-depth overview of what I learned on my journey from shopaholic to minimalist, and you can get your free copy by subscribing below.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a guide who can help you walk this path, Clear Your Clutter, my signature decluttering course, is kicking off on 5 Feb. (If you’re reading this after the doors close, don’t worry—there’s also an option to sign up for the waitlist!)

You might also enjoy one of these popular blog posts:

The Simply + Fiercely Show With Jennifer Burger

The Simply + Fiercely Show is a podcast for women who want to clear their clutter and create space for freedom and joy. If your life keeps getting bigger—but not better—then it’s time to declutter from the inside out. LISTEN NOW

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