How to prevent clutter before it starts and habits that help you keep it that way
Most people would prefer to live in a tidy and organized home, but the reality is that we all accumulate clutter regularly. That clutter, however, can make a home look untidy and stressful. Not to mention that clutter can reduce the amount of space you have to live/work and make it harder to find important items.
So how can you maintain an organized and clutter-free home? Here are some habits the whole family can develop to help prevent clutter.
So I will have to admit that habits are hard to break sometimes and that starting new ones can be tricky. But there is one thing I know that our habits can really create the life we desire once achieved.
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1. Stay away from the aisles of shame
That’s right; I am talking to you and myself. Ya know, the dollar section of Target, the Aldi isle of shame we all have been there one too many times. When it comes to accumulation, these fun but dangerous isles can cause more damage to you than just your wallet.
When out shopping, avoids these isles. There is a reason why they are placed where they are. The same goes for end caps; they are all marketing techniques to get you to buy more.
2. Stop buying momentoes (hint a picture is worth more)
My husband and I love to travel with our kids internationally, and when you visit new places, you are presented with so many new things. Sometimes you want a piece of it to bring home.
And that’s not a bad thing, but it’s a bad habit if you buy and buy and buy. Consider reducing the number of mementos you get during your travels. Maybe take a picture of the item you were thinking about buying instead.
This can also be applied to sports stuff. Even when you buy all those glow-in-the-dark wands or toys, you get for the kids during events or shows.
3. Avoid the sales
Clearance sales, garage sales, estate sales, holiday sales, etc. They all give the appearance of scarcity and invoke the emotion of FOMO (fear of missing out) and/or the thought process of (I am getting a bargain) can’t beat that, right?!
First off, sales happen all the time and every season, so the fear of missing out should no longer control you. And are you really saving money if you buy things that end up collecting into piles later only to be used for a short period of time? Or worst, never used at all.
Sales are great, but buying things for sale on sale or discount isn’t serving you in the long run.
4. Buy items that are multple purpose
So have you jumped on the Instapot trend? But still, own a crockpot? Or have an air fryer and some other kitchen gadget. Have you run out of room to store them, or is your counter so packed you can’t even cook on it?
The same can goes for, let’s say, printers opt for the all-in-one printers that can handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
The kitchen gadget gurus have gotten smarter as there are quick a few products now that fryer, cook, and do more than one sole purpose.
See a few of these below.
5. Shop online but avoid the add ons
Walking into stores is a lot of fun because we get the full experience with our senses. This can create the urge to buy to be much stronger. Touching, say, a nice sweater or furry pillow will invoke a comforting feeling and make you want to get it.
But when you shop online, you don’t experience all of these things. Which can help reduce the number of items you buy. What you do need to watch out for is the upsells or add ons.
A simple trick I like to use is to keep things as favorites. If there are products, you often keep a list and buy only from the list and move on.
Then shop online for other things you need but try to avoid the pop-ups.
6. In with new out with the old
In life new things come all the time may it be friends or people and naturally we will leave old friendships, old homes, maybe places we used to visit to make room for the new things. But oftentimes, we don’t do this with the items we own. We accumulate, collect, become emotionally attached, attach a memory or give life to our possessions.
Make it a point to give room for life and new things. Letting go of old items maybe letting go of your old life and that is ok.
7. Opt for experiences over tangible gifts
One thing I have noticed when it comes to preventing clutter, especially kids, is that the gifts they receive all year round are enough to fill bins full. It could be gifted, special occasions, holidays, or a gift to celebrate a well-done job. They all bring in more stuff into the home. One practice we have tried to implement is choosing adventures over outings as rewards or even gifts. It’s actually something we do during Christmas time.
This can also work for family members who love to spoil their little ones. Ask family members to give tickets to a fun event or spend the day doing a unique activity instead of a new toy.
When we rethink what a gift should be, it is supposed to add to your life positively instead of becoming an item you will later struggle with. Because of either not being able to get rid of it due to sentimental value or because you feel bad for getting rid of something someone bought you.
8. Let go of items that no longer serve you
While we are on a mission to prevent clutter in your home, another habit is to make sure you are regularly purging. Often we have things in our home that have outgrown our current lifestyle, season, or family. When these items become less and less useful often, they get shoved into a box or closet. Then often forgotten about.
It is beneficial to get rid of items regularly to prevent outgrown items from piling in unseen areas taking up room in our home.
Some ideas are like clothes, toys, knickknacks, kitchen appliances, shoes, etc.
9. Borrow items
So oftentimes, there are items in our home that we need, maybe for one time or one purpose. But we bought the item instead. So now it sits in our home because we invested in it financially. When you find you are in a pickle for a particular item, is there a way to borrow it from a friend or neighbor?
Another example of this is books and magazines. You buy a book you wanted to read but ended up either not liking it or found it useful. What you can have done instead was borrow it from the library and then decide if it was worth the purchase and will be something your reference to often.
You can even get the digital version of books instead to help cut back on bookshelf space.
10. Ask your self 3 questions
Before you bring anything into the home, ask yourself 3 questions.
- How often will I use it?
- Will it grow with my family?
- Do I need it or is it just a want? (If a want, come up with 3 reasons why it will benefit you)
How do I stop clutter from coming back ?
Do a regular check of your home. Do you see areas that stick out?
Often we start to see our daily environment as a blur walking past things that aren’t in their right places. Pile shifting unconsciously to make room.
It’s important to take time to pause and see if you need to purge or adjust your habits.
Clutter is one of the most difficult and frustrating things to deal with. It’s hard to define what clutter is, and it’s even harder to define what clutter is not. Some people define clutter as “stuff,” while others define it as anything that’s not currently in use.
Clutter is the silent killer of productivity. It can easily creep up on you, slowing your workflow to a crawl, and before you know it, you’ve got a full-blown clutter problem on your hands. But it’s not too late to turn things around! It’s easy to prevent clutter from accumulating in the first place with these simple habits you can create in your life.