The best way to keep clutter out of your home is to never let it enter. That might be easier said than done but with practice it becomes easier. Obviously you can’t keep all clutter out so I am sharing my favorite Tips to Keep Clutter Away before it enters and once it’s in your home. It’s all pretty easy and just takes a little time to catch the bug and become a decluttering queen (or king). Don’t feel like you’re working alone on this, you are with most of the nation right now trying to rid the excess from their homes. I declutter year round but I love the extra push I get in January knowing some of my blogging and real life friends are doing the same thing.
Here we go!
Donation Bin – Have a donation bin in a closet by an outside entrance, in your master closet, laundry room, or anywhere you have a little extra space. Anytime you find something in your home that you no longer need or like, place it in the bin. Make sure to take to the donation center once a week, two weeks at the most so you aren’t tempted to take anything out of the bin. If you’re on a decluttering spree, take the items to the donation center the same day.
Return Items – If you have items you’ve borrowed return them to their owner and let them store them. Have a basket or bin for library books and other items you’ve borrowed so they can be contained until you return them.
Be Selective in Purchases – Just because something is on sale is not a reason to buy it. Ask yourself if you would have wanted to purchase it if it weren’t on sale? Do you have a place in mind for it already? Is it going to be something that is useful, adds value to your life, or you really love? If it’s a piece of decor and it’s not something you want around for at least 5 years, then don’t buy it. Research what you really like so you don’t make purchase mistakes in your home and your wardrobe.
Put Things Away – As soon as you get home from shopping put things where they belong. Don’t leave craft supplies, food, clothing, personal items, or anything else in shopping bags. Make sure everything has a place and it is returned there. Having things put where they belong prevent you from buying the same product again, thereby saving you money and duplicate items.
Clean out the Refrigerator and Pantry Regularly – The easiest time for me to clean out the refrigerator and pantry of expired food is right before I go grocery shopping. Since I do it regularly (twice a month) it only takes a few minutes each time. Make sure to get rid of those leftovers that were never eaten. Also if you have a place for everything you will quickly know when you’re out of something or it’s running low.
Sort Mail Immediately – Get rid of the junk mail before you even enter your home, either throw it in the outside garbage or the recycle bin. Have bills, receipts, and other paper sent to you electronically instead of through the mail then you never have to deal with it.
Children’s School Papers – I don’t know about your kids but mine thought I was suppose to keep every piece of paper they ever made a mark on. Yeah, that didn’t happen, but I did include them in the decision of what to keep. We have a little binder where a few special papers from each year are kept, mostly awards and special acknowledgements. I would also rotate their artwork in frames and take pictures of big or bulky projects.
Clothing – Check clothing for wear and tear, lose buttons, holes, stains, and either fix or get rid of it. Also check to see if the clothing is too big or small. A perfect time to check your family’s clothing is while you’re folding it. Donate or trash the clothes that you are no longer able to wear. I know you’ve all heard this before but if you haven’t worn an article of clothing in a year it is time to get rid of it, the exception being special event clothing.
Leave Space – Every room and every area should have some empty space so things aren’t quickly cluttered again. 20% is a good percentage to leave unused. Think of having extra space in every closet, drawer, cabinet, shelf, and room. It makes every area feel more open and clutter free. Plus if you do need to purchase something you actually have room for it.
Tidy Up – Take a few minutes to pick up at the end of the day. I have the kids take a few minutes to clean up their things before they go to bed. Then I straighten the main level before I head upstairs for the night. It’s nice to wake up to a clean and clutter free house in the morning.
Happy Decluttering! Happy Home!