clutter prevention tips? post yours please! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-16-2012, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am really terrible with clutter and I've been working hard at getting better.  I would love some tips to help get a handle on all the "stuff" before it gets out of control.  Some things I've been doing:

 

- don't keep ads/junk mail i know i will not look at (coupons are an area i need to work on... it's to the point where if i find a coupon around the house i sigh in relief if I find it is expired because then i know i don't need to keep it.  in today's grocery ad i literally went through it and only kept the coupons i know i will use THIS week... instead of the old "oh pizza is on sale, but you have to buy 6, what a great deal" when i don't have freezer room for 6 more pizzas)

- bringing my own reusable grocery bags. i used to be awesome at this, i hate hate hate the waste of plastic store bags. however i've gotten lax and now my plastic bag holder (which i keep for things like garbage can liners and cat litter cleaning) is overflowing and i will never in a million years use them all. they are making me anxious, and now i have to go recycle them all at the grocery store (the only place locally that will take them), which is another form of clutter... remembering to bring them to get rid of them!

- not taking store reciepts. i bank online and i do not need reciepts unless (in the very rare case) i might need to return something. otherwise they just pile up in my purse or on my passengers seat in the car. again, physical and mental clutter.

- i've been trying for years the "only handle it once/OHIO" rule for mail... it never sticks but i'm still trying.

- my best idea so far, i just made this list for when i'm buying things (or decluttering) to help me pair down the unnecessary spending or keeping.  1). do i love it / do i need it? 2. will i really use it?  3. can i afford it (to buy it right now, or to keep/store it)? 4. would something else work better? and 5). does it have a PLACE for being kept?  I literally put this list in front of my banking card in my wallet and it has been helping prevent me from buying some of the things that end up in my shopping cart!

- no more magazines i will never read. i got several subscriptions to magazines awhile back for a fundraiser.  I ended up calling the companies to cancel my subscriptions because they were FILLING my house with clutter! i almost never read even one article in the whole magazine then i have to figure out what to do with it. one of the magazine continues to come and its long past when the subscription ran out, so i should probably call them again to cancel, again.

 

please post your tips, i'd love some great ideas to try!


Katie, mommy to Oliver (2007) and brand new Ava Estelle (2014)! 
Decluttering Challenge:  303/2014 items are gone!
$728 made from selling my "stuff"
(I've gotten rid of 3711 items over the last four years on this forum! Last years selling total: $456)
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#2 of 8 Old 04-17-2012, 11:52 AM
 
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Your reusable bag mention triggered my mind...

I have a set of bags specifically for grocery shopping (general shopping ones just stay in my car). Anyway, I put grocery store things in these bags so when I am there I have what I need. For example, I'm not a couponer, but I put random coupons in the bags so I'm at the ready. Also, my husband uses the cheapo plastic grocery bags when he buys things. So, when they need to be recycled I shove 'em in my bags to drop them off on my way into the grocery store. It keeps these things off my countertops...and I can't stand cluttered countertops!

Looking forward to hearing more ideas.

Angela
Chatty Girl - 3/2006, Lovey Boy - 1/2010, Delicious Baby Girl - 1/2012
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#3 of 8 Old 04-17-2012, 12:24 PM
 
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I stay out of stores, unless I am on a mission to buy something specific.
I rarely use coupons, because they just encourage me to buy things I normally would not.
I keep a list of "wants", so that I'm clear of what I am truly saving for.
I try to focus on doing things rather than buying things.
I try to keep certain areas clear and clean no matter what. i.e., the dining room table and the kitchen counters.
I try to take things to Goodwill regularly and imagine others enjoying them.
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#4 of 8 Old 04-18-2012, 04:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *bejeweled* View Post

I stay out of stores, unless I am on a mission to buy something specific.
I rarely use coupons, because they just encourage me to buy things I normally would not.
I keep a list of "wants", so that I'm clear of what I am truly saving for.
I try to focus on doing things rather than buying things.
I try to keep certain areas clear and clean no matter what. i.e., the dining room table and the kitchen counters.
I try to take things to Goodwill regularly and imagine others enjoying them.



Yes to all of these things!  Great post.

 

I'll add that everything in my home has a "place," and if it doesn't, it either gets a place or we don't keep it.

 

I keep an "odds and ends box" in the living room where random abandoned kid stuff goes, and once a week or more they have to claim their stuff or it's outta here.  It's an easy way to consolidate the little bits of things when time is short.

 

We have a set day when the kids and I clean the house together, and it's sacred.


- single homeschooling mom to 16, almost-15, 12, and 10
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#5 of 8 Old 04-18-2012, 09:18 AM
 
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A big one here- throwing out wires when whatever it goes it gets replaced or breaks.. Our first three years of marriage we ended up accumulating a large plastic container worth of wires and we could never FIND anything. So a lot of times the wires got replaced because we couldn't find it. Now when something burns out/gets replaced for any reason I throw out those wires/chargers.

 

Putting away things right after we get home. Saves not only clutter around the house but also saves things from getting ruined or misplaced (and then we end up buying something thinking we forgot to get it when in reality its under the couch or where ever).

 

Regularly going through clothes and getting rid of the stained or unwanted clothing.

 

Not feeling like you HAVE to keep something because it was a gift. I regularly rehome gifts because I can't/won't use them.


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#6 of 8 Old 04-19-2012, 09:41 PM
 
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- stay out of stores

- a place for everything and everything in its place - if it doesnt have a place, it should go

- each item in your home should ideally be 1) useful and 2) beautiful. (exception is if you have a useful thing that isnt beautiful but you have to keep it b/c you really need it). Things that dont meet these two criteria, in my mind, are clutter. You will realize that you have many things with the same use (just keep one) or things that may be kind of pretty, but have no use. Give it up - open space is worth it!

- I love the saying from the Great Depression Days "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without". This keeps you from acquiring stuff needlessly, and really using the stuff you do have.

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#7 of 8 Old 04-20-2012, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AfricanQueen99 View Post
, I put grocery store things in these bags so when I am there I have what I need. For example, I'm not a couponer, but I put random coupons in the bags so I'm at the ready. Also, my husband uses the cheapo plastic grocery bags when he buys things. So, when they need to be recycled I shove 'em in my bags to drop them off on my way into the grocery store.

Brilliant!!!! I am going to start doing this immediately!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by *bejeweled* View Post
I try to focus on doing things rather than buying things.
I try to take things to Goodwill regularly and imagine others enjoying them.

I like the do rather than buy... that's good because i can easily shop to deal with stress. no good.  and the imagining others enjoying my things has really helped me get rid of this i love but won't use, and this is how i've explained it to my son to get him to start being ok with getting rid of things he no longer plays with or wears

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by worthy View Post

 

We have a set day when the kids and I clean the house together, and it's sacred.

i'm terrible about this. need to work on it

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by youngspiritmom View Post

- I love the saying from the Great Depression Days "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without". This keeps you from acquiring stuff needlessly, and really using the stuff you do have.

i am seriously going to write this and post it on my wall. love it. great reminder

 


Katie, mommy to Oliver (2007) and brand new Ava Estelle (2014)! 
Decluttering Challenge:  303/2014 items are gone!
$728 made from selling my "stuff"
(I've gotten rid of 3711 items over the last four years on this forum! Last years selling total: $456)
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#8 of 8 Old 04-22-2012, 11:18 AM
 
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I now have a Random Crap Bin for the kitchen and the living room (in addition to several storage bins for various stuff). So I can just throw any random items there if I can't figure out where to put them, and then I can sort them out at my leisure. A few things seem to live there more or less permanently, but that's still better than having those items lying around somewhere.

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