Avoiding clutter can be as simple as acquiring good habits. Here are 10 habits which if you adopt immediately, will prevent clutter from building up in your home.
1. Buy Less Stuff
Less stuff = less packaging = less storage needed = less clutter. Whenever you buy a new object you’re faced with mountains of packaging to dispose of. If you don’t get rid of it quickly it could become a problem. You also have to find a home for the new object and if your existing storage is full, then you might need to buy a new bookcase, shelf or cupboard.
2. Deal With Post Immediately
Stops piles of post building up. Once the pile becomes mountainous it can be very off-putting to deal with, so don’t let it get that bad. Go through it as soon as it arrives. Shred or bin the junk (which is most of it if you’re like me!). Then file the rest or put in ‘action’ folders.
3. Deal With Emails Immediately
Stops spam building up. It’s easy to miss an important email when it’s surrounded with dozens of spam messages. If it builds up over days and weeks then you could really have a problem. Check your emails at least three times a day and junk the spam immediately to prevent build-up, or it will soon become unmanageable.
4. Don’t Shop Unless You Need Something
Never window shop as you’ll inevitably end up buying something you don’t need. Shopping for pleasure will invariably lead to purchases. Those lovely objects look so tempting laid out in the store, that before you know it you will have bought something, regardless of whether you need it! As you didn’t need the item then it’s clearly clutter, not to mention the money you’ve just wasted. Only shop when you actually need something, take a list, and stick to it.
5. Apply a One In One Out Rule
If you bring a new object into the house then you must get rid of an old thing. Bear in mind that storage is finite. This one habit will keep your clutter from growing. Let’s face it, if you think you’ve got a clutter problem now, then if you don’t adopt this habit where will you be in five years time?
6. Live in a Small House
More space will mean more stuff to fill it. People tend to buy a bigger house because they need more room (often for their stuff rather than themselves!) and then they fill it up. You can see the pointlessness of this, surely? Just because you have the space doesn’t mean you have to fill it, but just in case, you may want to stay somewhere a bit smaller.
7. Know What You’ve Got
If you don’t know you’ve got it then you can’t be using it. Do you actually know what you’ve got? Most people don’t and they should. There’s no point in having a load of stuff if you don’t know about it! So go throught those cupboards, attics, garages and basements, and say to yourself ‘Why do I have this?’
8. Have a Storage Place For Everything
This is so that you can put things away. If you don’t have a place for it then find one, or get rid of it. As I said before, storage is finite. If you have more possessions than you have storage then you have a clutter problem. Next time you buy or accept an object ask yourself if you have room to store it and if you haven’t then don’t accept it. Or else dispose of something else to make room for it. If you have storage you aren’t using and a house full of clutter then you may be being lazy!
9. Ask For Money
Avoid dud gifts arriving in your home by asking for money for your birthday or Christmas. A lot of clutter is caused by unsuitable gifts that you feel too guilty to give away. If people insist on giving you presents that you don’t like or need, then you must ‘man up’ and quietly dispose of them. Otherwise your sentiment will mean that you have a house full of clutter that keeps growing.
10. Keep it Small
If you need to buy a gadget or item of furniture then look for a smaller version of it. Giant microwaves, sofas, etc, occupy a lot of space and often a smaller one will do the job just as well. New technology is great for this. When my husband and I replaced our large monitors for flats screens we were were amazed at how much new desk space we had.
The Will to Win
I realise adopting these habits will require the use of will power, but frankly if you have no will power then you will never make a success of your life. Realise that clutter is holding you back, realise that it’s a problem for you, and then do something abut it. It will make your life easier and pleasanter, and as practising your will power generally makes it stronger, then your clutter is a good place to start.