How you control clutter is of paramount importance. Once you are on your way to a decluttered home, once you have reached a point where you feel you have gotten rid of your clutter, or even if you are just thinking of getting started you need to know how to control clutter. If we ignore this part of the process we can get stuck in a rut where we feel like we are constantly getting rid of clutter yet nothing overall is changing – not what we want to happen! Having this happen can lead to discouragement, feelings of frustration, and might even make you want to give up.
So, what can we do about this issue? Have a plan for controlling the clutter right from the start.
If you've already started and feel like you are stuck in a rut this is a good method for you to use as well. Think about where the clutter comes from. Not necessarily in the sense of where it originally comes from, but where YOU bring it from.
You bring clutter into your house, and you are responsible for controlling how, when, and how much clutter makes it into your home.
Think of your front door or entryway as the last point of defense against clutter! You make the decision as to what comes in the door and what stays outside. Until you bring something new into your home you can always return it, give it away, or toss it. Now, you might be thinking, “I can always get rid of something once it is in my house!”, and that is partially true. However, it is MUCH more difficult to get rid of clutter once it has made it into your home. Also, no one wants to spend the time after the fact thinking about what needs to go – that's the reason you are getting rid of clutter in the first place!
When you go out and are shopping, browsing, or even getting groceries, keep in mind that you are responsible for what comes into your home. Your best line of defense is to not get caught up in the moment and end up with more clutter. Stop and ask yourself if you really need that magazine, souvenir, or dish. Ask yourself the following question about each item you are considering:
- Does it serve an immediate purpose?
- Will it be displayed right now? Will it occupy a space where myself and others can enjoy it?
- Is this a duplicate of something that I have right now?
Taking the few seconds to go through this process while outside of your home can save you a lot of time and effort. If you do get caught up in the moment and realize that you might have made a purchase that you didn't really need, try to take action to return it before returning home. That might not always be possible, especially if you are in a hurry, so have a backup plan. I recommend keeping it in the car with the receipt in the front of the car. Make it obvious to yourself that you need to deal with it and return the item. Do not put it out of sight where you might forget and let it clutter up your car!
Remember that you are the key to controlling your clutter – get in the habit of asking yourself if you need items before you purchase. If you make a mistake and regret your purchase, don't worry too much, we all slip up - just return the item as soon as possible. As a last resort, remember that your front door is your last line of defense. Don't let clutter in your door!