How to Avoid Building Up Clutter Again

Have you ever decluttered and then found that just a few months later you need to go through the process again? I’ve written before about how to keep your wardrobe minimal, but that’s not the only area that needs to be maintained in order to avoid new clutter. While some of the wardrobe tips can also apply to other spaces and belongings, I thought I’d write a general post about avoiding adding too many items to your life.

Don’t grab items just because they’re free. If you go to a convention or some kind of special event, odds are they’ll be giving away free stuff there, such as pens, t-shirts, and fliers with information about certain products and programs. If you know these are items you’ll use and appreciate, feel free to grab them. But make sure you take a moment before grabbing whatever that person is trying to hand you and ask yourself if you’ll really put it to use. If the answer is no, leave it where it is.

Invest in experiences or consumables instead of buying tangible items. Take a road trip. Go to a concert. Go out for dinner with friends. All of these will create incredible memories that you’ll be able to hold onto without adding physical clutter to your life. And the less you spend on stuff, the more you’ll be able to spend on experiences instead.

Write items down on a wish list before purchasing them. This can help you take a moment to really think about whether or not that purchase actually makes sense. How many times would you use the item? Is it worth the amount of money you would pay for it? If you look at your list a couple weeks later and wonder why you wrote that down, you know you can remove it and forget about purchasing it.

Borrow or rent when possible. Check books out from the library or borrow them from friends. Rent movies from Redbox, Amazon, or somewhere else. If you need an item but know you’ll likely only use it once, try asking around to see if any of your friends already own that item.

Go digital. If you want to be able to keep certain books but don’t want your book collection to get physically too large to handle, you can always use an e-reader. It took me some time to get used to mine, but now I really like it. I still own some physical copies of books, but my e-reader is great for when I travel or have to spend a lot of time in a waiting room. It’s light ,and if I finish reading one book I can always purchase something else or read something I haven’t that’s already in my library.

Avoid going to the store to just look around, especially if you’re the kind of person who can’t walk out of Target without having made about ten spontaneous purchases. Whenever you do go shopping, make a list ahead of time and stick to it. That way you won’t have to deal with being unsure about what you do or don’t need. Even when you’re buying something fun, make sure you write it down so you don’t go overboard.

You might not want to try all of these, but if you can always try implementing a couple of them and go from there.

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