How to Reduce Clutter for Good

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As Spring 2019 approaches it’s time to start preparing to clean house.  Organizing and reducing clutter is good for cleanliness and focus.  Reducing clutter has other behavioral and psychological benefits.  Done right, it sends signals to your brain, that help you do more and even spend less.  For many, it is a cyclical struggle, but you can organize and reduce clutter permanently by taking the proper steps.

Minimalism is on the rise again and savvy consumers are spending less on things they don’t need.  Even if your goal is not minimalism, you can eliminate excess junk for the look and feel you desire in your home, and make a little extra money off of things you no longer want to have around.  The trick to keeping a clean and organized space for good and permanently reduce clutter is understanding why it’s there, to begin with.  There are five basic reasons you have junk in your home right now.  When you understand why then you can eliminate bad habits and keep your junk away.

Why You Have Clutter

Sunken Cost Fallacy

One of the biggest reason people refuse to throw things out, even when they want to reduce clutter is the faulty idea of sunken cost.

You spent money on something you don’t use, and now that item has an imaginary price tag over it. The truth is that the money is gone, whether you keep the item or not.  If you can’t return it, it’s time to let it go.  Maybe you can sell it and get a little bit of cash, but even if you give it away, you are still better off.  The money is gone.

‘What If’ Scenarios

Over-preparedness, or simple reluctance to let go of a potentially useful product is another very common reason that homes fill up with junk.  You have to ask yourself if you are going to use an item in the foreseeable future.  If you haven’t used it yet and you have no specific plans to use it any time soon, then you should definitely do away with it.  That goes for old clothes, jewelry, gadgets, and appliances.  If it’s taking up space and you only keep it because you may need it someday, you should just let it go.


The opposite is also true.  We like to hold onto things because of memories as well.  Some of our so-called junk has great sentimental value.  That is something that is very personal and we need to come to terms with on a case by case basis.  However, if you find it difficult to let go of many things because of the memories associated with them, then you may need to make some hard decisions.  Changing your present to open up new opportunities often relies on letting go of aspects of the past

No Storage

Say you have some things you may use someday.  You truly intend to get to it and you don’t want to get rid of that goal.  Or maybe you just love your souvenirs, memorabilia, and other tokens of the past.  None of that is bad.  You just need to keep it in a better, more organized way.  Organization only works when you have made the hard choices of what you want to eliminate, but you still need a place for what is important to you now.  It’s really important to have a good plan that incorporates volume, use of space and ease of access in order to have the most successful storage system.  When you have that, things have a place.  However, when they don’t have a place, toss ’em.

No Waste System to Reduce Clutter

Not having an efficient way to eliminate junk virtually ensures that there will be build up.  I keep a wastebasket handy in every room in the house and I have a system for regularly cleaning it out so that none of them ever overflow.  Have you ever been out walking around with a wrapper or an empty cup and you can’t find a trash can?   Hopefully, you don’t just drop it anyway, but that’s exactly what people do in their own homes.  They don’t want to get up and search for a wastebasket, so they just set their trash aside.  Mail stacks up, too.  If you don’t have ready access to a wastebasket, then you should definitely invest in that.  You will quickly see how you reduce clutter in your home.

Which of these do you struggle with the most?  Are you determined to free up space and keep your home clean and beautiful?  Tell me about your 2019 goals and what you plan to organize first!

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