We’ve been talking a lot about reducing our waste. We’ve established that there are many ways to reduce waste; it’s not just about recycling. We’ve even gone into the details of preventing food waste. But what about the over all clutter and waste that fills our homes? How do we go about trimming out the useless items in our house and how do we prevent ourselves from accumulating new clutter?
I’m not a minimalist expert by any means. For the most part, my house definitely is closer to the minimalist side than most American homes but I still have a lot of clutter and random junk that I do not need. I’ll be sharing a few tips on how to get rid of the clutter and prevent more from entering our homes but let it be known that I’m far from perfect in this area!
Reducing Your Current Clutter
Look around your home and decide if you really need everything that it contains. I find that the closets are the easy offenders here. Clothes you will never wear again, toys that the kids don’t play with, those 25 cans of beans you are not likely to eat through… face the facts and then send them out of your home.
Know where to get rid of the clutter
This one isn’t so much about how to reduce clutter but where to send that clutter once you’ve decided to get rid of it. Reducing waste has just as much to do with where the clutter goes as it has to do with getting rid of the clutter in the first place. Most clutter does not need a one way ticket to the trash can. Instead, be aware of and use other alternatives such as donating (thrift stores, Freecycle, Buy Nothing), consigning, selling (craigslist or eBay)… the possibilities are endless.
Make reducing clutter a routine
Whether that routine means a once a week walk through the house to get the small clutter or a bigger quarterly declutter the closets. Make decluttering a routine. Otherwise, your stuff will just pile up and your home will be full of random objects again.
Clean daily or at least weekly
A messy house will just help hide the clutter. Get into the habit of cleaning often. I find that it’s much easier to have a clean home if I clean as I go. This means that I do dishes after every single meal and it means my kids clean their toys up before each meal or before bedtime. Of course, there are areas that I just avoid and clean weekly like the bathroom but thankfully that one doesn’t get much clutter to begin with.
Avoiding Accumulating New Clutter
Ask if you truly need it
Do you REALLY need that new lamp or do you just really want it? Ask if you really need something, where it will go if you do buy it, or if you are buying it for the right reasons. The answer may surprise you.
Stop shopping “just for fun”
If you are lucky enough to have money to burn then I recommend cutting out leisure shopping. It’s easy to find something that you want to buy but more often than not, you do not need that item and it will likely just become your newest house clutter object.
Use what you have
You can get creative and upcycle and repurpose old items into new items. This gives you a two for one benefit; you don’t throw anything away and you get something “new”. However the use what you have rule also applies to normal every day purchases. Buying a bunch of toilet paper because it was on sale or because you will eventually need it is probably not a good idea when you already have 12 rolls of toilet paper at home.
Decide as you enter the door
Every time you enter your home, think about what you are bringing in and decide if you really need to keep it. Most of the time, you will likely keep whatever you are bringing home but it’s a good habit to start. It keeps the clutter out of the house before it crosses the threshold.
Don’t feel obligated
Just because someone gives you something doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Yes, they probably meant well but if you have no need for the object then do not feel bad for getting rid of it.
This post is a part of the Going Natural – One Month at a Time. Check out the full info post to learn how you can make natural changes each month so that you are living more naturally by the end of the year!