Amy from Angel in Your Pocket asked question on twitter that I knew would be impossible to answer in 140 characters. So I thought I’d give her my best answers right here and share with you.
First of all, I struggle with keeping a clean and uncluttered home as well! I’m a pack rat at heart. I’ve tried to change a bit over the years for my husband’s sake and due to our small living space.
Since it’s a constant struggle, I have to repeat the following motto to myself often:
Evaluate and Eliminate.
By constantly evaluating what and how much we have, I’m able to part with items a little easier. It even works for other areas of life. Try it for yourself!
Here are 10 foolproof ways to Evaluate, Eliminate, and Reduce Clutter:
1. Don’t keep it just because it’s sentimental.
If it’s sentimental but not useful, take a picture, showcase it in a beautiful frame and get rid of it! You and others can actually admire it on a daily basis rather than keeping the item tucked away in a closet.
2. Donate on a regular basis.
Keep a giveaway box at all times and then find a donation center to utilize. I’ve previously mentioned 10 ways you can sell or donate items to clean out your house and simplify your life.
3. Sell things you don’t need and make some extra cash in the process.
The link above lists a few avenues for making money on those little things cluttering up your home.
4. Don’t go shopping.
Seriously. Just don’t!
Easier said than done, right?!
There are certainly items that we really do need. If you are honest with yourself, though, the majority of purchases you make are probably unnecessary. You may shop for leisure. You might want to upgrade and get the latest and greatest gadget. You just have to buy that cute outfit because it’s a good deal!! I like shopping as much as the next person, but when I refrain, my house thanks me!
5. Use what you have.
This can be applied to so many aspects of life (cooking, clothing, etc.) but let’s focus on home decor for the moment.
- Instead of buying new home decor, consider moving your furniture, knickknacks, blankets, etc. to a new location in your home.
- Use paint to bring new life to old furniture.
- Think up creative ways to re-purpose what you already have.
Sometimes a new arrangement can completely transform the look of a room.
6. Implement a trial period mentality.
We are in the process of putting our home on the market and one of the greatest (and hardest) things we’ve had to do is pack up some of our belongings for storage. We only kept the things we use on a daily basis. It’s surprising how many things I’ve been keeping around “just in case”. I’ve come to realize that I don’t need, want, or love any of those things.
If there’s something you’re hesitant about getting rid of, consider storing it in a special place for a specific time period. If you haven’t needed it by the end of that time, sell or donate it.
7. Keep a gift list.
If you’re family gives gifts at birthdays, Christmas, etc. and celebrating in an alternative way is not an option, keep a list of items you’d like to get as a gift. You know you’ll be receiving a gift at some point during the year so make sure that item is useful to you. If you buy everything that you want or need, the gift giver may struggle to find something for you and there’s a high probability that you’ll receive something that will just clutter your life and home. Have an ongoing list for when that special someone asks you what you want.
8. One thing in, One thing out.
This advice has been given time and time again. It seems so simple, yet it can easily be overlooked “just this once!” The things is, “just this once” becomes the norm rather than the exception.
You must be intentional about removing an item every time you bring something new into you home.
Keep a box or bag somewhere in your home to put items you no longer need. When the box is full, drive to the donation center or stick it in the yard sale corner of the garage. When you get a new black shirt, get rid of the old faded shirt. When your kids get a new toy, help them pick out a toy that they’ve outgrown. Be intentional.
9. See your “valuables” through someone else’s eyes.
Have a trusted friend come over to help you see your home as they do. Ask them what stands out and doesn’t look great in your home. Ask them to be honest and then TAKE their advice. If it doesn’t add value, give it away or sell it.
It may be hard, but you’ll be glad when the clutter is gone.
10. Get a new perspective.
Visit a homeless shelter, spend time with someone who’s been down on their luck, or even visit a third world country. When we personally invest in the life of someone who’s struggling for food, water and shelter on a daily basis, our “stuff” suddenly becomes less important and much easier to eliminate.