Motivation can come and go, especially when you declutter. It’s a long-ass process, even if you follow all my tips and tricks to simplify the process! So here are some decluttering quotes to help you out when you lack motivation. They’re full of compassion, inspiration, and a little bit of tough love. Because that’s just how I roll. 😉
So without further delay, here are 16 decluttering quotes to motivate you to totally transform your home!
1. “If you’re not happy with what you have, what makes you think you’ll be happy with more?”
Is it just me, or have we been taught to believe that happiness is always just around the corner – and just one purchase away? Like, I’ll be happy when I have that new shirt. Or that book. Or a new phone. Or, ooh look! That leopard-print Snuggie is everything that’s missing from my life!! (Yep, 2010 Sara definitely had a leopard-print Snuggie. And yep, feel free to judge all you want.)
One of the more surprising outcomes of my decluttering was that I developed more gratitude for the stuff I chose to keep. That gratitude makes me happier with what I already have. And being happier, in turn, makes me want to buy less crap.
2. Don’t go broke trying to look rich.
I used to buy crap to impress people. (Like, all my workout gear was lulu lemon, even though I never did yoga and basically never worked out.) I felt insecure about my lack of money, so I bought lots of stuff to make it seem like I was more financially secure than I was. Which obviously left me even less financially secure. Funny how that works, eh?
Ultimately, it took drastically simplifying my life to stop the cycle.
3. Enough is a decision, not an amount.
If constantly buying more stuff hasn’t made you happy yet, maybe the next step is to be happy with what you already have. Have you ever taken the time to consider at what point you’d have “enough”? For example, once I realized that I had enough shoes, my desire to buy more shoes basically vanished. Once I realized that I had enough mugs, I no longer felt the need to buy every cute mug I saw. What’s your version of “enough”?
4. Don’t save your crap for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.
Growing up, we had two sets of dishes. There were the “everyday” dishes, and the “only use on Christmas and/or if the Queen pops by for a surprise inspection” dishes. I really enjoyed those fancypants dishes, but for most of the year they sat in a cupboard untouched.
So here’s what I think: Wear your fancy shoes. Light your fancy candles. Use your fancypants dishes. Life is too fucking short to keep things we love locked up in cupboards.
5. The less we own, the less we have to dust.
I have a secret I have to tell you: I hate cleaning. So they only way my lazy-ass is going to dust is if my space is simple enough to not have to move around a bajillion things while I’m cleaning. Tons of knick-knacks all over the place? No chance in hell I’ll dust. But if it’s a bare-ass counter or a shelf with a couple of things on it? Well, then I don’t mind quite so much.
6. Hangxiety: the stress that comes from hanging onto shit we don’t need.
Whether you notice it or not, your belongings can have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being. From the ages of about 12 to 24, I was often anxious and went through bouts of depression. Now, I certainly won’t say that decluttering has solved all my problems, because that’s hella unrealistic and would be a big-ass lie. But having a simpler way of living (with less shit everywhere, and less time spent looking for things) has DEFINITELY helped my own mental health. And if you want some help getting there too, I gotchu.
7. A Rolex will never buy you more time.
I don’t care how much a Rolex is worth, or whether it “holds its value well”… you’re still going to have the same number of hours in your day, and the same number of years in your life – and we all know that you can’t take your stuff with you when you go. So it’s time to focus on what’s really important (and here’s a hint: it probably ain’t the crap in your home).
8. You are more than the sum of your stuff.
Things I don’t want said at my funeral: “Sara had such a stylish couch… and did you SEE those matching throw pillows?!” “She bought that fancy new car AND GUYS IT HAD PARK ASSIST AND AN EXTRA CUPHOLDER OMG.” “Sara upheld all the qualities we look for as a society: she spent all her money on crap, prized her stuff more than her pals, and (perhaps most importantly) let’s not forget that she had the COOLEST shoes.”
I want to be remembered for the way I care about people, and the positive impact I try to have on the world – not the shit in my home. So, in a nutshell: I am more than my stuff. And so are you.
9. Baby steps still move you forward.
You don’t need to be perfect. (I sure as hell ain’t!?) You just need to try. Wherever you are with your simple-living goals, remember that it’s all about that baby stepping – or, as I like to call it, the grandma shuffle.
10. You can’t heal what you won’t feel.
If you check out my blog post about decluttering mistakes, you’ll learn that it’s common to try to declutter our shit by trying to focus on the individual objects at hand. But without addressing (and overcoming) the fear and sentimentality attached to our stuff, the clutter will almost certainly be back before you can say “lickity split”. That’s because the underlying cause of our clutter – a.k.a. our mindset and emotions – weren’t properly healed.
So I propose an alternative. Feel your feels instead. Recognize that you have limited control in life, or that you feel guilt or sadness or whatever, and then work toward accepting that shit. Trust in your resilience to handle scary things. And reach out for support when you need it.
PRO TIP: I created a “mental clutter” workbook to help you with exactly this! It’s in my Free Resource Library, so be sure to hop on over there and check it out.
11. This too shall pass. It might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.
This is a great one to remember whenever our emotions bubble to surface while decluttering. Remind yourself that all unpleasant emotions pass – no feeling is final. You just need to sit with it, feel it, name it, and then can you begin to let it go. (Oh, and if your negative emotions are a result of feeling mentally drained, I gotchu. Here’s a blog post about how to overcome decision fatigue!)
12. All that clutter used to be money.
I first found this quote as I stared at a mountain of crap I had decluttered, and a stagnant bank account. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. I vowed then and there to drastically change the way I consumed things.
These days, I think long and hard about whether I really need something, or if I already have something that can serve the same purpose. I borrow and lend things. I buy second-hand whenever I can. But mostly, I’ve said a big SEE YA NEVER to the idea that buying more crap is going to make me happy. I hasn’t, it doesn’t, and it won’t.
13. While you were debating whether the glass was half empty or half full, I decluttered it.
I wasn’t always jazzed about decluttering. In fact, my first year of decluttering was emotional and tough, and I wanted to quit countless times. But I learned some things that works (and A LOT of things that didn’t) and gradually was able to part with 75% of the shit I’d been keeping “just in case,” or because it was sentimental. And now I want to help you do the same!
14. Owning less is better than organizing more.
Coming from a lazy-ass like me, trust me when I say that the easiest way to keep your space tidy is to get rid of most of your crap! This quote from Joshua Becker always rolls around in my brain every time I get the urge to organize without decluttering first.
15. Stop should-ing all over yourself.
Here’s why we should all stop saying “should”. (See what I did there?) “Should” is basically a criticism, isn’t it? And I don’t know about you, but it’s always tinged with guilt and self-blame about not meeting some unspecified societal standard:
I SHOULD be cleaning the kitchen. (But I’m not, and therefore I’m a slob.)
I SHOULD eat more veggies. (But I don’t, because I’m lazy.)
I SHOULD probably watch something other than Friends for the 127th time. (But I never seem to have the mental energy.)
But what if we reframed “should” in a more empowering way? For one day, try replacing your “shoulds” with “coulds”. You COULD clean the kitchen, and you’re choosing to prioritize something else right now. You COULD eat more veggies, and if you want to later you will. You COULD watch something other than Friends, but Chandler is hilarious so fuck it.
Same message, totally different mindset. And it could totally change the way you approach decluttering.
16. Real growth starts when you’re tired of your own shit.
From my own experience, real and lasting change rarely happens just because an arbitrary date rolls around. (Sorry, January 1st!) We need to be SO OVER whatever shit got us here before we can fully commit to doing better.
The biggest changes you go through are probably going to be when you feel friggen tired. Maybe you’re tired of feeling tired all the time, tired of feeling frazzled, tired of organizing your shit only for the clutter to be back a few days later. But make no mistake: it’s those feelings that’ll propel you forward to make badass changes in your life. And with a little support along the way? Whoo boy, your home’s got another thing comin’!
I often turn to decluttering quotes to inspire and motivate me. And, if you couldn’t tell, I’m a big fan of “truth bombs” that completely change my perspective on stuff (or money, or time, or personal growth…).
I honestly think that a single quote has the power to transform your life and your relationship with clutter. And yes, you can quote me on that. 😉