decluttering tips, how to avoid decision fatigue

Decision Fatigue When Decluttering – 5 Tips That Help

Today I am going to discuss decision fatigue and share 5 helpful tips to avoid getting fatigued.

Decision fatigue is when you are making so many decisions that you become fatigued and start making poor decisions.  This can affect you when you are decluttering your home and life.  When decluttering you are usually making hundreds of quick decisions.  Keep or toss?  Trash or Donate?  I think we have all been in the position when we are going through things and all of a sudden you can’t do anymore sorting!  This is decision fatigue.


Today I am going to share 5 tips to avoid decision fatigue.  These tips will help you get through the decluttering faster and more efficiently.  We can all agree that decluttering or even organizing can be overwhelming at times.  Let me share what I have learned over the last 2 years of decluttering my life.


Break your home up into different sections.  A large project is easier to get done if it is broken up into bite size pieces.  It took me an entire year to declutter my whole house (also I don’t have a large home and I didn’t have a lot of stuff).   To declutter right you are going to want to take your time.

I would declutter one area at a time, for instance one closet or one bathroom.  You have to figure out what is best for you, but I found if I tried to do a lot in one day I would quickly become burned out.

For larger sections I would break that into subsections.  In the kitchen I decluttered all of the drawers one day and all of the cupboards another day.  By breaking up the work I found it very manageable.  When you are able to declutter even one section successfully that will motivate you to want to declutter another section.  The more I broke up an area the better decisions I made and the less fatigued I got.

how to avoid decision fatigue - declutter tips - simple living


Start your project early in the day.  The earlier you start means the less decisions you have already made that day.  Have you ever said at the end of the night, ” I am going to deal with this in the morning?”  Maybe you had decision fatigue!  By starting in the morning you haven’t made any previous decisions so it is a lot easier to decide.

I like to declutter in the morning, if possible, because that is when I have the most energy and a fresh mind.  If you are a night owl, then go with that!  As far as decision fatigue goes I have found that the earlier I am able to start the easier it is.


Try to avoid overwhelm by tapping into the way you are feeling.  If you are going through things and you find yourself saying, “that’s it I am just going to throw it all out” make sure you stop.  This is a sign that you have decision fatigue and you need a break.  When I was decluttering my kids room I became really overwhelmed at one point and I had to stop.  I made the decision that I would just finish decluttering the clothes and come back the next day to start on the toys.  It is so easy to get overwhelmed and make the wrong decisions.

This also happened when I was going through my childhood items.  I realized I wouldn’t have the energy to go through all of my photos so I put them all in one box and set it aside for another day.  Just knowing I could take my time and go through the photos another day helped ensure that I wouldn’t accidentally throw out something important.


When decluttering I make three piles; trash, save, and donate piles.  Sometimes if I find myself becoming overwhelmed it’s because I am seeing all of this visual clutter around me.  One thing that can help is to remove the items you have already gone through.  If you have sorted a bunch of trash into a pile then take it outside.  Take the items you have already gone through out of your line of vision.  If you see a lot of items, even if you have already sorted them, this can cause decision fatigue.  Just seeing the items can make me question again if I want to keep them.

As soon as I fill a box to donate I either put it in my car or in a closet, that way I don’t have to see it.  I also find myself getting more inspired to declutter when I see my home looking a lot more clutter free and open.  This helps make my decision making easier and quicker.


There are a few things I have found help with decision fatigue in my daily life.  A capsule wardrobe has helped with my daily decisions on what to wear.  Now that I have fewer items of clothing to choose from that cuts down on the amount of decisions that are possible.  Even Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same outfit every day!  “And they do it for the same reason: decisions. As in, they have to make tons of decisions all the time. And there’s only so much mental energy in a given day, even if you’re the leader of the free world or a wunderkind Harvard dropout.” – says Business Insider

I also tend to wear what I call a “mom uniform”, for me this is jeans and a t-shirt.  This is not for everyone, but it has really helped me cut down in the amount of time I spend looking through my clothes.

I know this may seem a little weird for some people, but I find the less decisions I have to make the more I can get done in a day.  So when I go to the school or the store I usually park in a similar place.  When I drive somewhere I usually take the same route.  Most days I actually eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch.  I know this might be boring for some people, but I find it allows me to spend all my decision making time on creative things that I am working on.

Let me know in the comments if you have ever felt decision fatigue and share any tips you may have.

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