The best way to reduce clutter in your life is to stop it before it enters your house.
Say no to all souvenirs and knick-knacks.
Say no to all the free stuff from the store.
Say no to all promotional things you’re offered.
Say no to unvented gifts.
Say no to everything that is not adding value to your life.
You don’t need a new sweater, a 5% coupon for new boots, some stupid gadget that won’t save you any time, a knick-knack you didn’t even know existed 5 seconds ago, etc. Just get off all mailing lists and subscriptions.
When you have a list of products you need, it’s less likely to ‘accidentally’ go to the sweets or cookies aisle at the store. Shop with a list and only buy things that are on it.
If you see a discount on a particular product but don’t have it on your list, skip it. There will always be the next discount, and you won’t buy something you don’t need + you will save money. Don’t fall for the 5% discount, because it’s 100% off if you don’t buy it. You can also make a game of it. If you have 15 products on the list, try to reach the checkout in less than 20 minutes.
I understand that many people like the physical copy of the book. Maybe you like turning pages or you like the smell of paper or some other reason, and you can definitely keep your favorite books in the house. But be honest with yourself and don’t buy every book in physical form if you know you won’t read it and might not like it either. Instead, buy eBooks because they won’t take up any extra space in your home, and you’ll always have them with you on your phone when you’re somewhere. You can also read them when you’re in the checkout line, or waiting at the post office or bank because they’re always with you.
Get rid of thousands of physical books and then remove bookshelves from your house. You won’t have to pay additional storage space in your home for something you know you won’t use all the time, and you’ll get the benefit of an uncluttered home. Have a few favorite books in physical form if that makes you happy, but don’t overdo it. You can decide for yourself how much is enough – 10 or 100.
Given today’s chaotic world, there is not much time left in the day to read books, but let that not be an excuse for not reading. Try audiobooks or listen to podcasts. You can do it while driving, cleaning the house, cooking, exercising, etc.
I’m well aware that gift-giving is considered love language for many people, but ask yourself: “Is this knick-knack going to show my true love and appreciation for my partner, friend, or family member?”
Instead, encourage perishables (quality chocolate, coffee, tea, wine, home-baked goods), gift cards (from a person’s favorite store, iTunes gift card, Starbucks gift card…), experiences (concert tickets, museum tickets, football tickets, etc.), donating money to some worthy cause in someone’s name, the gift of time (give someone your time and your attention), etc. Your presence is the best present.
We don’t need to own everything. If we’re on good terms with our neighbors, we can borrow many things from them and vice versa. Why own a lawnmower if your neighbor has one? You can also propose to share the cost and buy something you know both you and your neighbor will use on a non-daily basis.
I am certain that family and friends will eagerly lend you some things and thus show their support on your decluttering journey. Therefore, use the power of borrowing, but never forget to return the favor.
You don’t need thousands of decorations for Christmas, Easter, or some other national holiday. Have a few decent pieces and decorate with purpose. Many times, less is more.
Don’t buy a new pack of toilet paper if you already have 2 extra packages at home. Or a new jar of pickles just because they’re discounted when you know you have 3 at home. Do you really need 10 different perfumes if you use only one favorite?
Instead of buying it cheap, buy one high-quality item, and then use it for as long as you can. In the long term, you’ll save money buying better quality, and often more expensive things today.
Be careful not to fall for branded things because logo won’t automatically make a thing better.
‘Buy one – get one free’ only helps if it’s something you know you’re going to use (laundry detergent, food items, or something similar). Most of the time you don’t need two similar things. If you intended to buy one sweater, and now you get 2 for the same price, ask yourself if the second one is really needed, or you’re just taking it because it’s free.
You don’t need to have 10 things if one can replace them all. Buy one screwdriver with different attachments, instead of buying 10 screwdrivers. Buy a toaster oven which is both a toaster and an oven, etc.
Try to match everything in your house. Don’t buy a bright yellow couch if everything else in the house is in earth tones (unless you really like that color).
We can live without many things we think are necessary. Experiment for yourself to see what you can remove. Box a thing and put a date on it. If you don’t miss it for the allocated time, get rid of it without opening the box.
If you know that turtleneck doesn’t look good at you, don’t buy it because the price is good. You won’t use it more than once, even if you get it for free. If you get a bottle of wine as a gift, and you’re a beer lover, give it away.
Don’t use flat surfaces in your home as places to accumulate clutter. Put a nice vase, candle, or picture of your loved ones, but don’t have 10 things on it. Leave most surfaces clutter-free.
Kitchen countertops are not designed to hold every single appliance you’ve ever bought. Only have ones you use more than 2-3 times a week (kettle, microwave, blender, etc.)
Don’t compare yourself with your friends, enemies, mentors, celebrities… You’re unique and perfect exactly as you are.
Most emergencies aren’t.
If you have nothing to store in the first place, you certainly won’t need that beautifully crafted storage box.
Do this on January 1st for the next holiday season. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Friends and family love you and want to support you. Let them know how they can do it.
Do you really need to have multiples of the same thing? Do you have 10 hands so you can use 10 pens at once? Or do you have 2 heads so you can wear 2 sunglasses at once? Do you need two scissors in the house? Go with one pair that you really like and say goodbye to duplicates that serve the same purpose.
If you buy new sneakers, get rid of the old pair. Don’t buy a new TV and then get rid of an old oversized T-shirt. Always get rid of the same or similar item as the one you bought.
You can show pictures of your dog on the latest phone, or you can show pictures of amazing trips on your old one. You decide.
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