Even after decluttering your home you've got to keep on top of stuff or it'll overrun you. Here are clutter control tips and strategies you can use starting today.
You'll find strategies and ideas for this process falling into two categories:
First, there are strategies for keeping clutter from entering your home in the first place.
Second, there are strategies for battling what I term, "clutter creep," which is the slow but steady accumulation of stuff in your home, over time, without you really even noticing it.
Once you've taken all this time to get rid of the clutter in your home, and know what a big process it can be to get it all done, I bet you're motivated to keep it out from now on!
Well, that's good, because keeping it out of your home to begin with is much easier than having to deal with it once it's there.
Here are some of my rules I try to remind myself of when bringing any item into my home, to make sure I'm not bringing in something that will just clutter it up.
Please "pin" any of these rules that really resonate with you, to help remind you of them later, when looking at your personal pin boards again. Plus, don't forget to follow me on Pinterest too!
Just because something doesn't cost very much doesn't mean you actually need it, or will use it in your home.
Items you neither love nor can use are, by their definition, clutter.
Think of everything in your home as costing you something for the space to store it. In fact, it really does have such a price, since you most likely pay a certain amount each month for a certain number of square feet of space, and space if finite.
Now, that cheap item doesn't seem so inexpensive anymore does it, when you think of the "rent" you're paying each month to store it in your home?
A similar clutter control rule to number 1 above is rule 2, which is that you don't have to take something just because it's free.
As we learned above, we pay "rent" on each item we bring into our home, whether we paid for it or not.
That means nothing is 100% free, no matter if it claims it is or not!
Instead, something that is supposedly free can end up costing you in both time and money later if it's just clutter in your home.
My clutter control rule number 3 can be tough to abide by, especially with regard to impulse purchases, but I think it is very important.
The motto of this site is, "A place for everything that matters," and I was very deliberate about choosing this tagline.
It comes from the slogan, "a place for everything, and everything in its place." I love that slogan, because it conveys rule number 3 quite well -- if you don't have room or space for something in your home, it will never get put away and will instead be clutter.
The reason I made my tagline a little different though, than the typical slogan, was because you've got to get rid of all the junk and stuff from your home that's not important, so there is a place for everything that does matter, to you!
If something isn't important enough for you to know beforehand where it will go, or you aren't committed to designating and clearing out a space for something before you bring it home, it's not worth bringing into your home in the first place. That's because, when you really think about it, it doesn't really matter to you!
I hate clutter creep because it is so insidious. You have no idea your home is slowly getting filled up with junk again until one day, all of a sudden, you notice you've got a big problem on your hands again.
Small amounts of unwanted or unneeded stuff, especially when we're very busy or not focused on the problem, are almost invisible until they just get too big for our subconscious to ignore anymore, it seems.
To fight this monster you'll need to do a big clutter purge once a year even after you feel like all the junk has left your home.
If that sounds too overwhelming (it does to me, although some people like the all at once approach) instead you can declutter your home for fifteen minutes a day with these daily missions), even after the main decluttering is over in your home.
The point is that the process of removing unwanted and unneeded stuff from your home is never really over.
Once you've got the big purge done, if you're vigilant it will never be as big of an ordeal again, and instead you'll really just be maintaining. However, clutter creep will occur if you don't do that maintenance work so it's a necessary part of clutter control.
The practical part of this series, dealing with the actual process of decluttering, is now complete, and the whole series is quickly coming to a close.
The last subject we'll touch on is ideas and tips for how and where to get rid of all the things in our homes that we've decided to declutter. Next week we'll discuss donating household items to charity.