Category: decluttering  /  Created: 10/19/2017 13:44:29  /  Modified: 10/19/2017 13:51:51

Have you ever been happily decluttering, whether alone or with a professional organizer, when you suddenly feel exhausted and unable to continue?


This happens to all of us at some time – even to me! Why? Because of decision fatigue.

When you’re decluttering, you’re making decisions about each and every item you handle. Sometimes these decisions are so quick that you hardly notice them, and others take time and deliberation. Nonetheless, that’s a lot of decisions. This is especially true when it comes to paper. When going through a paper pile, you might be making hundreds of decisions in the span of an hour. No wonder you’re tired!

Take heart. There are ways to lessen the draining effects of decision fatigue and find the strength to keep your energy moving. Ask yourself these 5 simple questions to minimize decision fatigue and maximize your decluttering and organizing energy:

What is my most productive time of day?

Our energy waxes and wanes throughout the day. Some people are most energetic and focused in the morning, while others are their best at night. Be mindful of the state of your energy when you decide to take on a decluttering and organizing project, for it will impact your decision-making stamina. If it’s during a low energy time, you might set a timer and stop decluttering when the timer goes off so you don’t exhaust yourself. See our blog post on using a timer for more tips.

What is my “clutter affinity”?

Most of us have an easy time making decisions about certain categories. I, for example, can organize closets till the cows come home without feeling the least bit tired! In fact, I feel energized and excited. On the other hand, slogging through personal papers wears me out after an hour and a half. Consider what you enjoy decluttering, and let yourself go for it first so that you can experience success! When it comes to the categories that tire you and make you feel overwhelmed, a professional can support you in discovering ways to get the work done.

What does my body need?

It’s important to take care of your body’s needs before, during, and after decluttering and organizing. Did you have a good protein-rich breakfast? Have you had enough to drink? Decision-making requires fuel for the body. Keep a bottle of water handy while decluttering too!

Wear comfortable clothing so that you will feel at ease. Put on your “soft clothes!”

Do I want to have a plan?

It’s not always necessary to have a plan before you start decluttering, but deciding beforehand what you’re going to declutter and for how long can cut down on decision fatigue. With a plan, you don’t spend any energy deciding what to do or where – because you decided that in advance!

If you have identified the amount of time you plan to work, you can reduce perfectionism and be sure to take breaks throughout your process.

If you have plenty of free time and prefer to just “go with the flow” and not stress about the outcome, that can be lovely as well.

Can I simplify by having criteria?

Establishing criteria for what to keep and let go can cut way down on the number of decisions you have to make in the moment. For example: have you worn it in the last year? If no, let it go! Did you forget you owned it? Either put it in a place where your most active clothing lives or let it go. If you have a tough time establishing criteria, consider working with a professional organizer to help you establish your own personal criteria. After all, it’s our job!

New services and products are on the way! Stay tuned for news about Pam’s virtual organizing services and webinar series, both of which will launch in the fall. These products will offer alternatives to in-person visits and will allow you to work at your own pace, but with accountability and support when you need it!