Want to declutter your home this year? The first step is to stop clutter from ever entering it.
It doesn’t matter how much you declutter. If you don’t prevent the inflow of clutter, you won’t ever see a difference. You will be pulling stuff from the bottom of the pile while simultaneously adding to the top.
Want to stop clutter from ever entering your home?
New practices can be hard sometimes. We are wired by our habits and the things we were taught, and change can almost be painful.
However, if you want to prevent the clutter from ever entering your home, there are a few simple actions you can take RIGHT NOW, and they don’t require you to get rid of a single thing!
Pick one from the list below, and make it your goal this week. You don’t have to take on all the suggestions at once. Small changes can still get you big results.
Stop clutter with these simple actions:
1 – Create roadblocks to your spending
I love Amazon. We’ve always lived kind of rural, and Amazon can make shopping easier and even cheaper than the gas it takes to put into my car and drive to the store.
They make it almost too easy. Where we live now, I can get some items delivered within 4 hours, even though we live 20 minutes from the closet big box store. That’s insane! If I can’t get the items same day, I can get them within a day or two.
While convenient and even cost-saving, when shopping is nearly thoughtless, you can buy way more than you need and invite clutter into your home.
A few months ago, I deleted the Amazon app. I was amazed at how something so small as typing in the address to my mobile browser slowed my shopping splurges and prevented clutter from ever showing up on my doorstep. (Don’t worry, their mobile website looks and acts just like their app. It’s still stupid easy to buy things you don’t need, but it slows you down and makes you think.)
Create roadblocks for your shopping habits, and it will make you slow down and think about it first.
Delete retailer apps. Unsubscribe from retailer emails. Recycle all junk mail full of advertisements before it ever enters your home.
These simple roadblocks will save you money and prevent clutter.
2 – Don’t shop without a list
It’s the advice our moms and grandmoms gave us. Don’t go shopping without a list. Really though?
Yep, if you want to prevent clutter from coming into your home, you need a list.
When I first started to embrace a more minimalist-ish lifestyle, I lived and breathed by my list. If it wasn’t on there, it didn’t matter how badly we needed it, it did not go into the cart. If we really did need it, it went on the list for the next shopping trip.
This simple act of forcing myself to really think about what I needed and delay the act of buying it changed my buying habits, slowly, one shopping trip at a time. When your shopping habits change, you also easily stop clutter.
3 – Say “no” to free stuff
We have a friend that loves roadside freebies. They have a beautiful home. He and his wife are quite crafty, and they can repurpose junk into literal treasures.
One day, we were in the car with him, and he drove past a home with free boxes of stuff and old furniture on the curb. It took everything in him to keep driving past that house. His shoulders tensed up, he talked about it, and he even regretted it after driving past the house. (We were in a bit of a hurry.)
Free stuff can create an emotional response and even a physical response. We are wired to make sure we have enough. Turning down free stuff means turning down stuff we might actually need. Something about that doesn’t feel right.
If you have excess in your home, you have enough. You have more than enough. You will have to rewire your brain’s reactions by practicing saying “no” and even walking away from the free stuff.
It will be uncomfortable at first, but this simple act will help prevent the clutter from ever entering your home.
4 – Don’t make shopping your entertainment
I used to go to the shoe store with friends for fun. Bad day? Nothing a little “retail therapy” couldn’t fix.
Shopping shouldn’t be entertainment. When it becomes entertainment, you are inviting clutter into your home.
When you go shopping, you should have a purpose. This will save you tons of money, especially if you have a list and don’t dare deviate from it! Stop the clutter when you stop shopping for entertainment.
5 – Stop shopping for a “good deal”
Is it really a good deal if you don’t need it? Unlikely. Retailers know this too. It’s why they put the very best deals on their endcaps or in those sections near the front of the store. They train us where to look for the next best deal, and we are suckers who fall for it.
If you are buying something you don’t need or haven’t been planning already, that can easily become clutter.
The best way you can prevent clutter from entering your home is to avoid these areas when out shopping. Take a wide berth around the good deals in the front of the store. Turn your eyes at the end caps. Do whatever it takes to avoid the “deals”, and you will stop the clutter!
6 – Don’t buy more toys
Don’t buy your kids more toys. Don’t buy yourself more toys. If you’ve got too much, you don’t need anymore. Simple enough.
We reserve toy buying (for both our kids and, I guess, for ourselves) to birthdays and special occasions, like Christmas. When you restrict the times of year you buy new, favorite things, you force yourself to really think about what you want and need. This prevents clutter from piling up and becoming unmanageable.
Your kids and grandkids don’t need “good behavior” toys or “just because” toys. I promise, your love and the time spent with you is enough.
Play a game. Go get ice cream. Make cookies together. Spend time outside together. They don’t need more toys.
7 – Don’t start a new project just yet
I am sooooo guilty of this. Crafters… listen up!
If you have an unfinished project at home, finish it before you even consider buying supplies for a new project.
This is why craft spaces get so crazy! Starting a new project is exciting. There’s so much potential for something great. We buy the supplies, we have good intentions, and we even get started.
Then, life hits us, and we get stuck in the messy middle. The project is fun, but it’s lost its zeal.
Then, we are on social media or at the store, we see a new, really cool idea, and so we buy the supplies for the next project. Enter cycle of clutter entering your home!
If you want to prevent more clutter from piling up, then finish one project before you start the next one. You won’t regret finishing the project.
To help your brain be OK with parking the other idea, go ahead and make your shopping list and plans for the next project. Now, it’s ready to go, but you don’t actually have the stuff in your home… just yet.
Having a list of ready-to-go projects will help you prioritize what to start next.
Stop clutter from ever entering your home
If you are feeling overwhelmed by clutter and unsure of where to start or are lacking the motivation to clean out, then simply take these actions to stop clutter from entering your home.
These clutter-preventing steps are small actions, but they can have a big impact on the excess in your home.