Tips for Quitting the Clutter Habit

I recently moved across the country to Georgia, which means I had to deal with all the 'stuff' that accumulated in my house. It wasn't pretty. We got rid of truckloads of things we just didn't need. But the question is, why did most of it make it into our house in the first place?

I'll post later about ways of dealing with clutter you already have, but first, to prevent more clutter from getting into your house, stop the bleeding! This means you'll have to stop accepting and buying things that will become future clutter. Here are some quick rules:

1.Most things are not worth buying. That's the truth. If you feel you must have it, give yourself a couple of days to think it through. Do you truly need it? Is it a quality item? Will you use it multiple times to make it worth the purchase?

2. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean you need it. It feels good to get an item on sale or for cheap. But if you didn't need the item, the good feeling doesn't last long. Think just as long about whether you need a sale item as you would if it were full price.

3. Freebies abound, but they are not without cost. Think of the cost of your time -- you put these items away, you dust them, you move them, you sort through them when you don't want them anymore. They also cost you tranquility and peace when they clutter up your home. Don't accept a freebie unless it's something you truly want and need.

4. Do you really need gifts for every birthday and holiday? Most of the time, you forget who gave you the gifts and didn't need them in the first place. We have asked our family members to cut down on gift-giving and give us their time instead. It is hard for people to honor that request (gift-giving is quite a tradition), but why have them waste money on something you won't value?

5. Do you already own one of these? How many of one item do you need? If you do own another at home, do you love the new item enough to throw out the old one? If not, perhaps you don't need the new one.

6. Consider the environment. Most of the stuff you purchase today will eventually end up in a landfill somewhere. Is the item worth it?

7. When in doubt, don't buy it! It is rare that an item won't be there tomorrow, so there's no rush to get it today. It's likely that you'll never miss what you didn't buy.

Keeping clutter from getting into your home in the first place will save you time, money, and contribute to a peaceful, clutter-free home.


nora lee said...

excellent tips.
this is my life-long goal. i've gotten better, but there's still room for improvement.

Holli Jo said...

Good for you. Mine too, but if I let up for a second, the clutter is back!

MikeTheory said...

Being anti-clutter is part of my DNA, not because I was raised by or born from anti-clutter parents, just the opposite. At a very young age "stuff" would stress me out, and my family loved "stuff" so I had to create my own ways to handle clutter.

I actually had a recurring nightmare about stuff taking over the house, stuff just kept coming into the hose and it could not be stopped, so I was in charge of burning everything in back yard, for if I did not get rid of all the stuff, everyone in the house would suffocate us and we would not be able to breathe. Obviously, I was not able to breathe and subconsciously I felt like it actually had the power to kill me. This silly, but powerful feeling of "stuff" has stuck with me and I crave simple to no end.

Thanks for a few more great tips to quit the clutter!