How to Keep Clutter Away For Good!

how-to-keep-clutter-away-for-good!

How to Keep Clutter Away For Good!

Declutter and organized bathroom closet.

Learn how to keep clutter away for good with these practical tips and healthy decluttering habits. Simple ideas to help you live a happier, decluttered life.

How to Keep the Clutter Away

Have you been working hard at decluttering? Now that you have a more decluttered space, the trick is obviously to keep it that way!  Likely there were some bad habits that got you into your mess in the first place, so unless these are addressed, that clutter has a good chance of returning.  In order to keep the clutter out once and for all, you need to have a better understanding of why it got there in the first place.

“The less you own, the less that owns you.”

Spend a little time thinking about why you had so many things to begin with {you may find THIS POST helpful for a few ideas}. Do you have difficulty letting go?  Do you binge shop or regularly buy things that you don’t need or have a space for?  Maybe you made the decision to downsize your home but never really downsized your stuff.  Whatever the reason {or reasons!} may be, just identifying what they are and being more conscious of them is half the battle.

Positive Decluttering Habits

The other half is replacing those bad habits with good habits.   Here are a few decluttering habits that I have tried to adopt as much as possible…

Make sure everything has a place.

You know the saying “Everything has a place and everything in its place”?  Do it!!  Everything in your home should have a specific spot that it belongs {and stays!}.  Label containers and baskets to help other family members remember where things go, and get everyone in the habit of putting their own items away where they belong {this can definitely take some time but stick with it!}.  If you do not have a space for your item, it either needs to go, or you need to find something else that can go to make room for it.  With the exception of seasonal items, try to make everything as accessible as possible.  This will increase your chances of actually using the item and will also make it quicker and easier for everyone to put away.  The simpler it is to do, the more compliance you will have!

Don’t get sucked in by sales.

If you are one of those people that just can’t pass up a good deal, think very carefully before you make that purchase!  Remember that every item that you bring into your home has a price – a price of time to clean and maintain it, a price of space, and a price of energy. No matter how good the deal is {even if it is free!}, if you don’t need it or and will not use it, leave it for someone else who will.  Be especially wary of those “Buy 2 get one free” deals or stores that will sell at a slightly discounted price if you buy multiple items.  If you do not need it, do not buy it!

Do not buy things that you can’t return.

This one might not apply to everyone and, of course, there are always a few exceptions, but for me, I need to see things in my house before I know if they are going to work.  I probably end up taking back at least a quarter of everything that I buy because it either doesn’t work in the space like I had envisioned or I decide that I really don’t need it.  Clothing that looked fabulous in the store doesn’t look quite as good when I get it home or doesn’t really go with anything else in my closet.  Remember that you truly want to love everything that you keep!  That “great deal” on a clearance item that you can’t return may not end up being such a great deal after all if you never end up using it.

 

 

Do not buy things for your “future” self.

Have you ever bought something because you believed that you would need it in the future?  I used to be bad at doing this, and at least half the time I never ended up using the item.  Buy items as you need them instead of predicting what you will be doing/wanting/needing at some future time.  Sure a small little stockpile of food or basic items like toilet paper or paper towels is fine every now and then, but don’t go overboard here.  While you may believe that you are going to need that yoga mat next year when your child is finally off to Kindergarten, it might just not happen!

Try to keep at least 20% free space in your cupboards, drawers, and other storage units.

First you need to recognize that your home has a finite amount of space.  You can only pack your cupboards so full or stuff so much into your closets.  If a space is filled to it’s maximum capacity, it can be more difficult to keep it organized and see everything that is in there.   Over time, items don’t get put back in the right spot, things get messy, and you can’t find what you are looking for.  Try to always keep at least a little free space to give yourself a little freedom of movement to shuffle items around or to accommodate other items that you may need to add to that space.

Do not go crazy on the organization products.

Yes, you definitely need some areas for storage in your home, but don’t head down to The Container Store and buy every bin and basket in sight.   If you keep adding more storage, I guarantee you that the space will eventually fill up.  I always think of the quote from Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come” – and think that this totally applies to clutter as well.  Before you add additional storage, declutter as much as possible first, live with the space for a couple of weeks, and then decide what you really need to make it a more organized and functional space.

Follow the “One thing in, one thing out” rule.

Again this doesn’t always work out, but basically when you get something new, ask yourself if it is replacing something that you now no longer need or will use.  I find that this works especially well with clothing items, kids toys, and other small household items.  For example, if you buy a new pair of boots, are they replacing a worn out pair that you can no longer wear {that you can now toss out or donate} or did you just not have any boots to start with?  On the other hand, if you already have three pairs of beautiful boots that you don’t want to get rid of in exchange for the new ones, maybe you don’t really need those boots after all!

Have a permanent donation box.

I keep one large donation box in the garage as well as a few smaller boxes in each of our bedroom closets so that I can put items in immediately when I determine that I no longer need or want them.  This helps to keep me from “second guessing” if I should really be getting rid of it and keeps the space from getting overwhelmed with items that I am no longer using.  Once the box starts to get full, I make a quick trip down to the Salvation Army.  Doing small amounts of decluttering as you go is so much simpler!

Don’t Give Up!

Decluttering is not a one-time project. It’s an ongoing process.  Naturally, we will still continue to accumulate stuff throughout the years. There will also be items that you loved at one point of your life, that you may someday outgrow or no longer use. Continue to practice the tips above and you will learn to find that balance between what you are adding to your home and what you are able to get rid of.

Remember – clutter does not serve us well. You want to be able to see your favorite items, find what you are looking for, and use what you have. If you have done a good job with the initial decluttering process and are deliberate about what you are bringing into your home, maintaining a decluttered home does not have to be an overwhelming or difficult process.  Eventually, it will just be a regular habit that you follow.

Join the Household Organization Diet

For those of you that are just starting on your decluttering process,  join me in The Household Organization Diet. It’s a systematic plan to declutter, deep clean, and organize every room in your home. If you’d like to join in, START HERE and download the free printables! You may also find these posts helpful…

30 Day Decluttering Challenge

How to Keep Your Counters Clutter-Free

 

How to Declutter and Organize Any Space

 

 

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