10 Ways to
Keep Clutter Out
This time of year begins the influx of all kinds of stuff into our homes, much of which never leaves and becomes part of our "clutter landscape". Last month, I wrote about setting your "clutter bar" high and keeping all that stuff out of your living spaces to begin with. If it never comes in, it can't pile up! Read on for ten ways to keep clutter out of your home on a regular basis.
1. Reduce the amount of catalogs and other junk mail you
receive by registering with the Direct Mail Marketing Association
at www.dmachoice.org. Choose exactly which catalogs you'd like to
receive at www.catalogchoice.org.
2. Cut down on those credit card and other financial solicitations by
registering with www.optoutprescreen.com .
3. Put your recycling bin and shredder in your garage. Sort through your
mail immediately upon arriving home, get rid of the junk, and only bring into
your home what is really important. No garage? Put the bin and shredder
right by the door you enter each night and sort right there, before you allow
yourself to do anything else. Save time, and spring for a shredder that can
handle 12 to 15 sheets at a time, so those credit card offers can go in without
even being opened.
4. Opt out of receiving paper phone books altogether by going
5. Cut down on telemarketing phone calls by registering your land line and cell
number with www.donotcall.gov.
6. Reduce junk e-mail by immediately scrolling down to the bottom of
the offending e-mail and hitting "unsubscribe" right away. While it may take a
few extra seconds one time, you will save more time later (and mail box
space) by not having dozens of emails to delete every time you open your e-
"Stuff We Can't Resist" Clutter
7. If you are a catalog-ordering junkie, cut down on both paper and the stuff you order by tearing out the page of the item you think you can't live without (make sure
the website or phone number is written on the page you save.) Recycle the
rest of the catalog, and place the saved page in a file marked "To Order"
with your household paperwork. If you order online, bookmark the page and save it in a "To Order" folder on your bookmarks page. Make yourself wait at least a week before you revisit your file. By then, that initial impulse may have passed and you
may find you either don't need it, don't want it as much as you thought, or
you may choose to save the money for something more important.
8. To keep the amount of stuff in your home from steadily growing, institute a
"one in, one out" mantra. Every time something new comes in, something
else must go out.
9. Following the "one in, one out" rule is easier if you establish a "Donation
Station". Keep a large basket in a convenient spot and immediately place
anything that is to be donated in it (make sure everyone in the family knows
about it, too). When it's full, drop it off at your favorite local charity. For
donation sites, check out www.salvationarmy.org or www.bigsistersri.org
10. Starting today, whenever you are shopping and have something in your
hand that you just "can't live without", think twice before buying it and
bringing it into your home. Ask yourself 3 questions:
Do I really need it?
Where will I put it?
What will it replace?
Keeping clutter from entering our homes to begin with saves money, time, and reduces stress. The less stuff you live with, the less you have to manage and the easier it is to find what you need when you need it. Resolve to begin today and make your living space more organized, more functional, and more peaceful!