Are you tired of constantly having clutter come into your home?
Do you want a few simple tips to keep your home clutter-free?
Clutter is just one of those things that has to be dealt with, no matter the size, shape, or location of your home.
Fortunately, with just a few targeted actions, you can keep clutter at bay…today and everyday!
In this post, I offer a collection of seventeen easy ways for you to prevent clutter from entering your home.
Place a donation box by your front door.
Create a donation box using a large card box box, milk crate, wooden box, large plastic bin or other container, and place the box by your front door. Simply drop in any gently used, but unwanted items into the box. When the box is full, place all the box contents into a large plastic trash bag, and bag make a trip to your local donation center.
Install a small trashcan in your hallway.
A small trashcan makes it easy to dispose of all those bits of trash and refuse that tend to accumulate during your daily travels. As soon as you arrive home, remove any trash, cancelled receipts, product wrappings, and odds and ends from your pockets, backpack, wallet, purse, briefcase, and other personal bags or containers.
Process postal mail the same day it arrives.
Prevent postal mail from unnecessarily piling up at home and the office. Open and process postal mail the same day it arrives; recycle non-sensitive envelopes and junk mail, immediately shred anything with personal information, and store bills, invoices, and notices in a safe place for future processing and/or filing.
Unsubscribe from junk mail lists.
Tired of constantly drowning in junk mail? The good news is that you can remove yourself from junk mail lists. If you live in the United States, you can opt-out from receiving junk mail at the FTC’s website. If you live in another country or region, check with your local municipality for details on how to unsubscribe from junk mail lists.
Cancel a handful of magazine subscriptions.
What to do with those stacks and stacks of magazine subscriptions sitting around your home or office? Why not cancel two, three, four, or five subscriptions? Not only will you save precious money, but you’ll free up valuable space in your home. Still interested in receiving magazine subscriptions? Opt for a paperless, digital subscription via tablet or other digital devices.
Ask for receipts to be emailed to you.
Say goodbye to all those bits of paper flying around your desk and in your bags. Many stores now offer digital receipts that can be sent to you via email. It’s worth inquiring about this practice at your favorite shopping locations, especially if it’s a store you frequent daily, weekly, or monthly.
Break down shipping boxes and containers as soon as possible.
Psst, you don’t need to live among the shipping boxes and containers in your home! Break down, cut up, and recycle boxes and containers as soon as you receive a package or parcel delivery. Don’t forget to collect and appropriately recycle bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and packing paper, too.
Avoid the sale rack.
Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean you need it, or should buy it. If you tend to hit the sale racks on a regular basis, and end up purchasing items you really don’t want or need, make a conscious effort to steer clear of these areas in department, clothing, and other stores. If you receive sales updates via email, consider unsubscribing from these types of updates.
Skip garage and yard sales.
The thrill of the chase may be fun at garage and yard sales, but not when your home is filled with items you never use. Avoid these types of sales, and replace them with a fun outdoor “hunting” activity. For example, you could sign up for local landmark scavenger hunts or geocaching, take up birdwatching, or learn how to locate and identify native flora and fauna in a public park or nature preserve.
Buy only what you need.
If you’re 100% serious about eliminating clutter from your home, you should change your game plan, Focus on purchasing items you absolutely need in order to survive in the near future. For instance, you may decide to only purchase the following items over the next few weeks: such as food, toiletries, medication, and replacing worn, stained, or ill-fitting clothing, outerwear, and footwear.
Double-check whether you already own an item.
Unsure if you own a green button-down sweater, Phillips head screwdriver, or food processor? Do your due diligence and take a good look through your belongings at home. You may already own an item (or two) that you’re thinking about purchasing!
Say no to freebies.
Do you tend to pick up lots of freebies or reading materials at trade shows, expos, carnivals, fairs, and other events? Put a ban on collecting these advertising and marketing materials. If you absolutely need to locate information, chances are you can find it easily online.
Snap a memorable photo at an event.
Forgo party favors and giveaways in lieu of staging a fun photo sessions at weddings, reunions, and birthdays. Be creative! Have photo subjects strike a funny or sweet pose, and make adequate use of the local background, lighting, and landmarks.
Carry around a cloth or mesh bag for small purchases.
Tired of all those plastic and paper bags floating around your home? Keep a small reusable cloth or mesh bag in your car, purse, bag, or briefcase. It’s perfect for picking up small items when you’re running errands, dropping off items, or going to the grocery store.
Leave restaurant take out menus at the restaurant.
Nowadays, most restaurants have their menus online, so it makes perfect sense to avoid picking up takeout menus. Just do a search in your favorite web browser or restaurant app, or visit the restaurant’s website. What if you want to keep hard copies of menus? Keep only the most recent versions in an upright magazine file, and recycle the rest.
Ask for experiences as gifts, not things.
Life is meant to be lived, so why not try something new? Consider asking for a fun new experience to celebrate a landmark event, such as a birthday, wedding, anniversary or graduation. You could ask for a cha-cha dance classes, dinner at an exclusive restaurant, a pottery making class, an all-day spa package….the sky’s the limit!
Pick up household items as souvenirs.
Select unique, local, or hand-crafted home furnishings as souvenirs. It’s a surefire way you’ll actually use the item, instead of it sitting in a closet. You could pick up a cheese grater in Italy, purchase set of silk curtains in China, or buy a hand-carved wooden letter opener in India.
How about you? What do you find to be the most challenging thing when it comes to keeping clutter out of your home? Which of these tips do you think you’ll try out? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!
A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2015.