It is obvious that clutter has to be cleared. But what should you do to minimise the accumulation of new clutter? Discover it today.
Minimising the amount of clutter is not only about avoidance of buying new things. You also need to have a long-term strategy for clutter management.
I will be writing about various kinds of clutter, not only the physical ones. In this way, you will create a powerful system, which, when implemented, will drastically reduce the amount of clutter in the long run.
There will be also something written about spiritual, mental and emotional clutter - how to reduce its accumulation of it.
How to Reduce Accumulation of Clutter
It is not just about not getting new clutter. You also need to have a long-term strategy for achieving this goal. How to do it?
1. Examine Your Reasons for Keeping and Accumulating Clutter
There are many reasons why clutter is accumulated and kept in the long run. I will focus on the four most frequent and serious ones.
1.1 Filling the Void
It can be a physical, emotional and mental void. For example, you want to make yourself feel better by getting a new suit because you got bored of all the old ones. Another reason is that you buy new things to fill a void that somehow you are not able to fill in life. It is nicknamed “retail therapy”. You may also ant to salve the pain of bereavement or breakup.
How could a perfectionist have clutter? Perfectionism paralyzes you. While you know about having clutter, you do not feel equipped to deal with it perfectly. Therefore, you do nothing. And the clutter accumulates further.
1.3. Changes in Life
It is easy to accumulate more clutter during making major changes in life: having a baby, getting married, starting a new job/business or moving to a new place. Then you spontaneously buy new things, often without thinking long-term. For example, after a while, you do not like your desk or sofa and buy a new one, not necessarily removing the old one.
1.4. Too Much Clutter to Clear
No one wants to start clearing the clutter when there is a heap of it. This is discouraging and overwhelming. Below, in this article, I will write about what to do to avoid this problem in the future.
1.5. No System of Clutter Management
You are disorganised and put things wherever possible spontaneously. It also concerns digital clutter when you save new files wherever possible and then you are struggling with finding these files. You may also have no calendar where to write your meeting dates and tasks and therefore, forget about important appointments or deadlimes. What to do? Continue reading.
1.6 Destructive Shopping Habits
I will write about them more in a minute. Here, just be aware that your shopping habits can dramatically contribute to the accumulation of clutter. Just think how many new items you have bought recently and which of them you indeed used.
2. Define your goals
Because there are various kinds of clutter and they can be overwhelming, set your goals. Firstly, your goals concerning clearing the clutter and then those concerning minimising it.
More about setting goals:
You might be saving up for a big goal, you want to embrace minimalism or you may just want to save yourself from the overwhelm that clutter brings. Whatever it is, keep the goal in the forefront of your mind. And define what you need more or less of in your life.
3. Form Good Habits
You have set your goals concerning clutter reduction and that is fine. But these goals may be impractical without changing some habits and training new ones. What do you need to do?
3.1 Change Your Shopping Habits
There are some good habits concerning shopping which will significantly decrease the amount of accumulated clutter:
Define your priorities - every time you go shopping define your goal, make a shopping list and stick to it.
Learn how to win the temptation. Always ask a question: Will I need it in 90 days/5 years' time? Discover the trigger and find deeper reasons for surrendering to temptation, e.g. the void in your life.
Buy only the things you have space for them - Before buying anything, think about how much space it will take and whether you can keep the item neatly in its designated place.
Avoid buying duplicates - Before buying a new leather dress, make sure you have used the old one thoroughly and that it is worn out.
Say NO TO FREE STUFF - If you are a person who cannot pass up a ‘buy one, get one free’ deal, prepare and wear a bumper sticker that warns, ‘this car makes frequent stops for curbside groceries/clothes etc.' also, do not buy stuff just because they are on sale and instead, insteadthink you saved so much money.
Live within your means - Use only a debit card and never overdraw. You can also transfer part of your surplus money to a special savings account which is not easy to access.
Buy individual items, not sets - Sets of pots, liners, pans or clothes are typically a waste of money and space because people rarely use the entire set.
These are not all shopping habits you can change but as a start, work on those listed above. Every time you go shopping have a reminder of what to be careful of.
Learn by heart and ask the following questions when shopping:
Do I really need it?
Do I have a place to keep this?
Do I already have anything similar to this item that does the job?
Is it a need or a want?
Will it add value to my life?
3.2. Clutter Management Habits
Let's say that you have mastered smart shopping and buy less clutter. But it still can be a problem, unless you create useful clutter management habits. What do I mean?
Establish a cleaning routine for the whole family. Train your children and partner to put away the things they use. You can also designate them some baskets/storage containers where they put their clutter.
Have a specific time every day for decluttering. It can be only 15 minutes per day. But you will quickly notice that clearing clutter becomes less painful and stressful.
Spend more time decluttering than organising. Organised clutter is still clutter, e.g., a pile of books on the dining table or desk. Put away everything and I mean everything that you do not use at the moment. Keep kitchen and bathroom counters clear because any clutter accumulated there will attract more clutter..
Use one, get rid of one. It concerns toiletries and food but also clothes and books. Before you buy another piece, use the one you have.
Watch junk mail, freebies and what have you. Therefore, setting up a landing strip by the front door is so brilliant: Clutter has to come into your home somewhere, and you can stop it right at the source.
Use daily resets - spend 5 minutes tidying, picking up things and clearing the clutter every day.
4. Create Systems
Systems make life better organised, and save your time and energy. Here is what you can do to manage your clutter accumulation better:
Physical Clutter - General Advice
Get rid of clutter-catching furniture. For example - wastepaper bins, and storage boxes. Even if you organise clutter there, it will still disturb your energy.
Buy the organising containers that are 'just right' - after you have decided what to put in them.
Organise hidden clutter - junk drawers- If it is really junk, get rid of it all. If not - use small bins and organizers to keep it all in its own place.
Go paperless whenever possible
Watch your hot spots - Clutter tends to accumulate in the same places. Some of the worst include the front door and the kitchen table where clutter accumulates slowly, but constantly little by little each day. Focus on these areas at the end of each day, clearing the clutter.
Next, look at the remaining things. How can you organise it so that less clutter will be generated in the future?
Think of the system of gathering documentation, printing, and filing and consider some changes which will help you to keep your office nice and tidy. Keep only things necessary for your current work on your desk, and put away the rest.
Your Relationships and Time
Clutter from relationships can be even harder to clear than the clutter from your own house The reason is simple: there are emotional connections between people and no one wants to be treated as an object. Hence, do your best to keep your relationships tidy at all times and stay assertive. Here is what you can do to clear the relationship clutter:
Be strict with the time spent with some people, not only during business meetings. When the time is over, e.g. one hour, kindly assert the end of the meeting.
Have time for yourself to charge your batteries and be assertive in that case.
Never take too many commitments.
Nourish the most precious relationships.
Cut off toxic people and energetic vampires.
In the case of files/folders older than a month, prepare a good archiving system. Group the files according to their type, purpose and if they are personal or used for work.
Always save the files to the destination folder or discipline yourself to clear designated folders (e.g. Downloads, Pictures) regularly.
Have your music, images and videos filed and kept in neat folders. Back up your new images and videos regularly. Keep your electronic devices tidy at all times. Regular purging of unwanted files will make your work smoother and more pleasant.
Emotional and Spiritual Clutter
In the case of emotions, always vent them in a constructive way, by playing sports, singing, journaling or cleaning your house. Never subdue your negative emotions just notice them and let them go.
You also need to take care of your aura. Clean it regularly by meditation, sea salt bath, smudging and even contact someone who is working with energy. Do not forget to protect your aur when leaving your house or meeting a difficult person.
Further reading about emotions and aura:
In a Nutshell
Clutter accumulation can be prevented and you can do it by changing your habits, creating systems of clutter management, as well as setting goals concerning clutter clearing. Good luck with keeping a minimal amount of clutter in your physical, emotional, spiritual space. With lots of love and light,
Vicky is an experienced holistic writer and coach that inspires, motivates, and encourages everyone to become the best version of themselves - physically, mentally, and spiritually.
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