Monday, May 11, 2009

Preventing clutter

“Clutter” is a favorite word of professional organizers. Clutter represents the main thing that separates the organized from the disorganized, and a professional organizer’s main job is often to “de-clutter” you to a point where personal or professional organization is possible.

Clutter usually refers to an excess of things that glom onto every aspect of our lives and hinder us from living life as cleanly, efficiently and as productively as we might want to. These things can be physical objects as well as mental and emotional aspects of our lives. In simplistic terms, clutter is bad, and freeing yourself from clutter promises to release you into a better way of life. Of course, nothing is ever that simple, and clutter is complicated.

While removing existing clutter from your life can be a multi-step commitment, even if you aren’t ready for that step, you can do things starting this minute that will prevent even more clutter from building up in your life.

The basic rule is: don’t let anything into your home unless you know that you will actually use it, that it will have a dedicated place to live and you really like it. This includes purchases you or others in your household make, gifts from others to you, and items you might be temporarily holding onto for someone else. If you make an effort to think about the above criteria before you buy something, you are likely to save some money, but don’t forget the rule holds fast for things that are free as well. Getting something for free as a handout in a store isn’t a license for you to bring it home and have to store it and then finally get rid of it someday, having never looked at it or used it.

Clutter-free gift giving is a whole topic unto itself, but it’s trickier to pull off clutter-free gift getting. It can be done, if you are clear to those who usually get you a present that you either want something consumable, or you give them a specific list of things you want and need. Some people don’t support the idea of a wish list, but if you don’t have a problem identifying a few wanted items, most people don’t mind receiving an indication of what would really be appreciated.

Another way to prevent clutter from entering your life is to make an effort to buy or borrow things that can then be recycled, donated, reused or returned to wherever they came from. For instance, you can get the latest bestseller from your library, and then return it.

I'd love to hear other ideas of how to minimize the amount of clutter coming in the door. Please comment!

Creative Commons photo posted to flickr by essering

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for letting me know about my photo- it's one of my favorites. Great post as well- one I need to do more of!