4 Ways to Stop Bringing in Clutter | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, October 30, 2014

4 Ways to Stop Bringing in Clutter

Today is the penultimate day to this crazy 31 Day challenge! Wowza! I can't believe I got through it alive (almost--we'll check my vitals on November 1st just to be absolutely sure).

Now that the clutter is gone (or at least going), what are we going to do to make sure it does not come back in? That is the big question.

It's all great and good to get rid of stuff, but if you turn around and go shopping for more stuff, you're just going to find yourself drowning in clutter again. Don't let that happen! Let's embrace our new, simpler life and all of the peace that comes along with it.

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Part of being cluter-free is to stop bringing the clutter in the house in the first place. 4 ideas to help you nip the clutter problem in the bud. #overstuffedlife

4 Ways to Stop Bringing in Clutter 

1. Don't buy anything unless you know where you will put it

Also, don't buy anything you don't either absolutely love or absolutely need. I am trying hard to ask myself exactly what I will do with an item once I get it home. I tend to buy things I really love, but don't have a good plan for them. Those things inevitably get lost in the shuffle and contribute to the clutter problem, plus I never actually get to enjoy them. I'm trying to remember that I don't need every cute thing I see, and I am probably happier without it.

2. Try to follow the "one in, one out" rule

This is hard for me, and I rebel against it all the time, but it is solid advice. I personally don't think it has to be like item for like item. So you could buy a pair of shoes and still be allowed to keep the rest of your shoes. Instead, you could get rid of that vase in the kitchen cupboard that you have never used. This way, if you absolutely must buy something new, you can rest assured that the clutter problem will not grow because of it.

3. Downsize your gift giving

Birthdays and Christmas are big, fat, clutter-making holidays. As much fun as opening all the gifts is, I watch way too many of those gifts gather dust as the girls forget about them entirely in favor of the gifts they liked best.

In the past few years, I have downsized the gifts I give at Christmas considerably. Now, each of my children only gets four gifts. (You can read more about that here: Christmas List Printable.) Giving less not only saves clutter, it also saves money and time shopping. Plus, I find that it has helped my children to be more grateful for the gifts they do receive.

4. Consider gifting experiences, instead of things

A couple of Christmases ago, I gave The Maestro a spring break trip to Chicago instead of another shirt or gadget he didn't really want or need. I surprised him with tickets to The Chicago Symphony and a hotel stay, and we had a blast together when that trip rolled around. We looked forward to it for three months and it felt like Christmas lasted a little longer.

I remember that trip with great fondness, but I have absolutely no idea what The Maestro gave me for Christmas that year. Memories last longer than stuff.

It doesn't have to be vacations, either. You can gift art classes, zoo passes, museum memberships, or a day at the beach. I even gave coupons to my girls in their stockings last year with things like "a day of no chores" or "a date with Mom and Dad" on them and they were a huge hit. And most of them have been used up this year, too!

This year, we're taking the whole family to Hawaii the week after Christmas. That is our gift. The girls have already been warned that there won't be much under the tree at all, and they are totally fine with that.

Related post: Stop Giving Your Kids More Stuff!

I feel like I've come a long way when it comes to not bringing more clutter in. But, I could still be better! Certain things still get me, and I have to really be strong to say no to the purchase!

Here are a couple books that can help you further on your path to a clutter-free life:

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life With Less Stuff by Peter Walsh

The Joy of Less: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life by Francine Jay

How have you stopped bringing clutter into your home? 

Take the 31 Day Challenge and get rid of the clutter!

Find all of the posts in this 31 Day Challenge here: A Place for Everything: 31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace.

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  1. Lara, Your "Overstuffed" advice is helping me to get back on track. I am not quite as far along as you are but making strides. THANK YOU for making me feel human and normal with my daily tasks. :)

  2. I just got a text from my other half asking me to pick something up from "Few competitive" when she actually meant Tesco......freaky.

  3. I try to use the one in one out rule. It has been a great way to control my clutter!

  4. Love the tips. Especially the first I could really use that one.

  5. So this series actually motivated me to NOT make something at our Super Saturday this weekend. I'm going to just enjoy the company and do service projects and classes so I don't bring any more tchotkes into my house.

  6. Nothing like spending days and weeks decluttering to make you think twice before letting more stuff into your home! These are great tips for helping keep the clutter at bay. It's a constant challenge around here, but we're working on it :)

  7. Amen! Though bringing it in is so much easier than getting rid of it, that it still takes a lot of thought for me.

  8. Me too! Ours is next Saturday and I may make a couple things to give as gifts, but I'm thinking I'll mostly just go to be with my friends. :)

  9. I don't know why, but that one is the hardest one for me personally! I'm working on it!

  10. Thank you for following along! It makes me happy to think I helped anyone when I was just trying to get this beastly project done. I have more to do yet, but it has felt good to really focus on it this month.