Two kinds of clutter can create chaos in your life – physical and emotional clutter. Both can derail you from achieving the kind of life you want and need. Clutter can create and perpetuate overwhelm in your home and in your mind.

A cluttered home can emotionally overwhelm you, making it harder to tackle the issue. And for me, clutter also makes me cranky! I’m going to be decluttering and organizing my home and sharing my process with you, including before and after pictures. See my featured image above? I didn’t get it from online sources of photos. It is an embarrassing true-life photo of my craft room! So – stay tuned!

There are a number of ways clutter can play with your emotions. Here, we’ll look at some of the most common emotional challenges that can keep you from de-cluttering the home and how you can overcome them.

Sentimental Value is Hard to Relinquish

By far one of the hardest challenges of de-cluttering the home, is letting go of items we don’t need. Just because we don’t necessarily need them, doesn’t mean it’s easy to let them go. This is especially true if the items hold some form of sentimental value.

Consider whether you really do need to hold onto the items with sentimental value. If not, don’t think about it, just let them go. If you’re still struggling, think about selecting just a few sentimental items, the ones that have the most meaning for you. As for the remaining items, maybe they would bring joy or comfort to someone else, which in turn could provide joy and comfort to you. Then the items you selected to keep would have even deeper meaning to you.

Clutter Can Provides Comfort

Although clutter does make the home look messy, it can actually provide some level of comfort. Some people unknowingly use the clutter to fill a void.

Whether you have difficulty letting go of items or find that shopping fills a void, the kind of comfort you find in either scenario is unlikely to be enough.

If you do find yourself buying new things to fill a void, list other ways that would comfort you. Ask yourself whether the items you’re buying are actually useful and how often you’ll use them. Do they bring you joy? If not, ask yourself whether you’re just using them for comfort, and find a replacement activity on your new list.

Find other things that bring you comfort, such as reading, doing yoga, listening to music or cooking a nice meal and add them to your list.

It’s Just Too Much

When there’s a lot of clutter to contend with, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Where do you start when absolutely everywhere needs to be de-cluttered?

If you often just look at the clutter and feel overwhelmed, you’re definitely not alone. However, the common thing to do is to put it off for another day. Then, when you attempt to go back to it, you’re met with the same overwhelming feelings that stopped you doing it in the first place.

When there is just too much to do, it can really help to start small. Break down the tasks into manageable chunks, focusing on things which take just a few minutes at first. Or set a timer for 15-30 minutes at a time. You’ll often find taking care of the smaller tasks boosts your motivation to continue with the larger ones.

Emotional Overwhelm is Real, but Can Be Overcome

If you find yourself becoming emotionally overwhelmed, there are some tricks you can use to calm the mind.

Taking a step back and utilizing deep breathing exercises is a great start. You can also remind yourself you’re in control of your mind and you will tackle the clutter. It doesn’t have to be all at once, and it doesn’t have to be today.

Ensuring you de-stress as much as possible is also going to help. So, take time out for yourself every day to relax the mind and deal with any outside stress you’re facing. The more relaxed you are, the less likely you’ll become overwhelmed emotionally by clutter.

It’s common to get overwhelmed when you start to remove the clutter from the home. However, think through which strategies will work for you, and start there. As your home begins to look clean and tidy again, that alone will boost your spirit and help you continue the process.

Need a jumpstart? One of my favorite new series in recent years was “Get Organized with the Home Edit” on Netflix. Now you can get “The Home Edit Workbook” to help you work through your own chaos of clutter! You can get it HERE!

What’s holding you back from getting control of your stuff? If you have control of your stuff, share your best organization tips in the comments below.