Once we've started to declutter it's easy to fill up the space again. Here's the beginnings of a list of ideas to help you change your habits and avoid being sucked back into a world of clutter.
Like the rest of my blog...more to come soon!
1. One in, one out. If something new comes into the house, get rid of something else. Preferably something of the same kind, to avoid duplication.
2. Stop taking freebies. Don't take the promo pens, the hotel mini shampoos or the free toothbrush at the dentist. The money you save isn't worth the stress of seeing the clutter pile up. You don't need the free elliptical machine on your neighbor's curb or you would've gotten it for yourself already.
3. Stop stockpiling and only keep enough consumable goods around to get you until the next shopping trip. Use up the consumables you have and only keep one or two extras on hand. You only need one bottle of shampoo at a time, or one bottle of hand cream.
4. Only keep one of each type of consumable open at a given time. Wait until you've finished hat bottle of shampoo, box of pasta, or jar of moisturizer before opening a new one. If you're tired of the one that's open and need a change, pass it on to someone else you know who would want it. Be sure it's someone outside of your home!
5. Set limits and follow them. Don't buy or acquire more than you have space for. Only have room for 10 rolls of toilet paper in your bathroom cabinet? Then buy the six-pack, not the 12-pack.
6. Review what you own at least twice a year. Review your closet in January and July, your pantry in February and August, your bookcases in March and September, etc. Schedule this like a doctor's appointment and don't miss it!
7. Know what you own and how much of it you have. You don't have to inventory your whole home, but make a list of the categories of stuff in each room. Gather like items together, then figure out how much you have. You won't find out that you own ten suitcases until you've found them all.
8. Keep items of a kind together. It's much easier to know whether you need more black thread if all of your thread is kept in one place. You're more likely to end up with accidental duplicates if you store things in multiple places.
9. Remind yourself how much money you've wasted on junk in the past when you're about to make a purchase. Is this worth losing the money that you could be saving?
10. When you do purchase items, choose items that perform multiple tasks and take the place of more than one other object. Let's face it, unitaskers are disasters. Your objects should earn their keep by working hard!
10. Wait 30 days before making unnecessary purchases. Maybe those chocolate chip cookie earrings don't seem so fantastic a month later!
11. Use the internet as your decluttering insurance policy. If you tend to hang on to things in case you might need them someday, stop doing this. We live in the age of eBay, replacements.com, and overnight shipping. If you suddenly need something obscure it can likely be found on the internet quite easily.
12. Give up paper copies for digital. Single-page scanners are cheap and scanning apps are free. The tax auditors will probably turn your audit paperwork into PDFs anyways.
13. Before you visit friends and family at the holidays, quickly check your home to make sure you aren't storing any of their possessions. You're stopped being their storage facility, but maybe Aunt Velma left her sweater last time she stopped by. Give her two gifts at the holidays--a nice present, and the sweater she left!
14. Avoid going into stores when you're hungry, angsty, nervous, sad, upset, or physically uncomfortable. This avoids unintended "comfort" purchases. The stuff will only make us feel better for a little while, and then we'll regret what we bought later.
....more to come!