Inside: Use these tips to avoid clutter from collecting in your home so that you can stress less and enjoy your space.
Are you struggling to keep clutter under control?
You aren’t alone.
Clutter is a challenge that virtually all of us face as we strive to keep our homes clean and organized. And while avoiding clutter is hard, it’s critically important – for your physical space and your mental state.
Want to learn how you can keep that clutter at bay? I’ve got you covered.
Keep reading to see what you can do to avoid clutter in your home and ensure your space remains clean, tidy, and organized.
Why does clutter happen in the first place?
Clutter isn’t something that happens overnight. We don’t wake up and find ourselves surrounded by clutter out of nowhere. If we did, it would be much easier to keep under control – because we’d notice it.
In many situations, clutter happens when we let our standards lapse and stop being diligent about maintaining our space – which, to be frank, can happen to anyone.
Sometimes it’s caused by a particularly stressful time at work, or a personal emergency that’s consuming all of your energy. Other times we’re too busy, or depressed, or anxious to focus on tidying up and keeping clutter at bay. Sometimes it happens for no good reason at all.
Whatever the reasons are for clutter in your home, it often accumulates slowly, over months – even years. Item by item, bit by bit, things slowly add up.
We forget to recycle that magazine or put away the mail. We grab a few new decor pieces on a shopping trip without having a good spot to put them. And then we pull out decorations for holidays and events – and we end up forgetting a couple of things when we go to put them away.
And if you’re sharing a space with others? It’s even easier to let things go and find yourself surrounded by clutter – and feel less-than-empowered to change the situation since that stuff isn’t actually all yours.
Because clutter happens so gradually, we get used to it. It doesn’t obviously bother us because in our minds, nothing has really changed – until you force yourself to take a step back and assess the situation.
And when that happens? It’s time to get that clutter under control and stop the cycle of clutter in your home.
Why should we actively avoid clutter?
Clutter is something we want to avoid for a couple of reasons.
First, clutter can negatively impact you in a variety of ways – whether or not you actually realize it. Some of us consciously dislike and avoid clutter to the best of our abilities because it stresses us out, makes us anxious and uneasy, and breaks our concentration.
While there are people out there who claim they don’t mind clutter, it’s important to note that it likely still has an effect, even if it’s only felt at the subconscious level.
With so much going on in your space, it becomes harder to focus, express your creativity, or organize your thoughts, even if you don’t think you mind being surrounded by all of that stuff.
Not only does clutter have a legitimate impact on your ability to think critically, be creative, and process situations, it impacts the visual appeal of your space, too.
Unless your living room was designed with clutter and mess in mind, those piles of magazines probably don’t belong. That cardigan thrown over the chair? Not really adding any aesthetic value to your space. And if you’ve put any thought or effort into your home’s design, you likely want to preserve that – not diminish it.
5 Tips to Help You Avoid Clutter In Your Home
Ready to kick clutter to the curb? Leverage these tips to eliminate and avoid clutter in your space and transform your home into an organized, clutter-free oasis.
1. Tidy up your space on a regular basis.
This one might feel a little obvious, but it’s true. One of the easiest ways you can avoid clutter in your home is by keeping your space tidy and neat.
Some people designate a certain time of day to quickly clean up the home. Others leverage a chore chart or a list, taking care of specific tasks at a certain frequency. Whatever your method, pick one – and stick to it.
Once things get a little bit out of control, it’s easy to use that as an excuse and justify further bad habits that create clutter like leaving stuff on counters, piling mail on the coffee table, and forgetting to put coats and shoes in the closet.
But if you stay on top of it and keep your space neat, you’ll be more conscious of where you’re putting stuff – and more diligent about making sure things are returned to their proper place.
Speaking of which…
2. Make sure everything has a designated space.
One smart way to minimize clutter is to ensure everything you own actually belongs somewhere.
Some things are easy and obvious. Books belong on the bookshelf. Dirty clothes belong in the laundry hamper. Snacks belong in the pantry.
For other things, you might need to create a designated space.
Add a hook or wall organizer by your front door to hold keys and mail. Put a decorative tray on your coffee table to hold your TV remote in an intentional way. Add bins to your pantry – and label them – to make it easier for everyone in your home to know where stuff belongs.
And don’t be afraid to use labels! The easiest way to ensure everyone knows where something belongs is to spell it out. If you’re dealing with family members or roommates who can’t seem to keep things straight, this can be an effective way to make sure everyone is on the same page.
3. Wait at least 48 hours before buying something new.
Many of us accumulate clutter, to some extent, because we’re impulse shoppers. We see something we want at the store or on Amazon and we buy it without a second thought – and figure out the logistics later.
By giving yourself a waiting period before purchasing anything, you accomplish a couple of things.
First, you become more deliberate with your shopping and intentional with your money.
Second, you get to decide if you really want it – or need it. Ask yourself some clarifying questions like…
Do you have room for it? Do you already have something just like it? What value is it adding?
The best way to avoid clutter in your home is not to buy it in the first place. When you take the time to be thoughtful about your purchases it can prevent bringing additional unneeded items into your space. As an added bonus, it can save you a lot of money too.
4. Find other clutter sources & reduce them.
Shopping isn’t the only way that clutter enters your home. Other things that can find their way into your home are hand-me-downs, event swag, and gifts from birthdays and holidays.
While it’s easy to reason acquiring items that are cheap and free, keep in mind that they do cost you by taking up space and adding to the number of things you own.
Avoid clutter by choosing not to bring things into the house if you aren’t sure if you love or will use them.
When it comes to holidays and birthdays, consider changing your traditions and opting for clutter-free gifts instead.
If you have young kids, talk to family members about contributing to a Fun Fund instead of buying more toys that your kids don’t need. Experiences are a great way to create memories and celebrate important days without adding extra stuff to your home.
5. Practice the “one in, one out” rule.
Buying a new pair of shoes? Don’t add to your collection – balance it out by getting rid of a pair that are worn out or never see any use.
Dying to buy a new book? See if you can find one that you can donate before you bring it home.
Adding some new holiday decor to your collection? Find a new home for a couple of pieces you haven’t brought out in years.
Clutter accumulates because we keep buying stuff without getting rid of anything. By keeping the sheer amount of stuff you have under control, you can mitigate clutter and be more intentional with your purchases.
When you create decluttering habits in your home it helps you to avoid clutter and maintain your space.
How do you avoid clutter in your home? Share your favorite tips and tricks below!
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Giving too much power to emotional spending
Emotional spending happens on occasion, especially during times when we are seeking comfort. “But making a habit of it — whether it’s positive or negative emotions or both — can be disastrous to your financial situation, and will raise clutter at home or office.
Thank you for the reminders! Whenever I am tempted to bring home “the FIND”, I MUST have a specific and immediate use for the item. Also, my policy for a new item in equals 2 items donated!
Don’t use Amazon. Or Walmart for that matter. It’s bad for cities, workers, smaller “Main St” stores, and us. It’s too easy, as well. Just make it a little harder to acquire stuff and you won’t acquire as much stuff.