It is amazing what happens when you simply eliminate clutter from your surroundings.
We have all been there. Looking for that cheese slicer that we know is somewhere in this drawer – or maybe that one?
Or perhaps it’s trying to find that sweater that you packed in a container in the basement. Or wait, maybe I put it in a closet upstairs?
Quite simply, nothing can be more debilitating than clutter. It can cause all kinds of stress, not to mention loads of wasted time spent looking for the things you really need.
But when you take away what you don’t need and rarely, if ever use – something quite amazing happens. You simplify your life and reduce stress levels beyond belief.
To this day, our most successful personal “life” project was our One-A-Day, 365 De-Cluttering Project. See : One-A-Day / 365 Project
For one whole year, we simply removed one thing every day from our house that we didn’t use or need. Out went the 50 coffee cups we never used. Out went the 4 “back-up” phone chargers for cell phones we didn’t even own anymore. Out went the 4 airless footballs, 6 basketballs and 3 air pumps buried on a shelf. And it went on for every single day.
By month 6, it became apparent that we had simply owned and stored too much “stuff.” And the more we eliminated, the better we felt. Suddenly, we could find the things we really needed – easily!
The entire process also had a completely unintended positive outcome – it saved on our budget! Once we started downsizing and de-cluttering, we realized how much cash we had spent on items we didn’t need. From that point on, it became easy to eliminate impulse purchases that put the “stuff” in our home in the first place.
Through it all, there were really 3 simple elements to the de-cluttering plan that made it work. 2 that helped clear the “stuff” out, and one that keeps it from coming back.
3 Simple Ways To Eliminate Clutter From Your House
#1 Eliminate The “Someday / Back-Up” Mentality
The easiest way to start collecting everything under the sun is to utilize the “someday or back-up” philosophy.
As in, someday I will find a use for those glass bottles that just look “neat”. Or, someday, I might need these three extra sets of dishes if something happens to the ones I have now. Collecting for someday will absolutely bury you in “stuff.”
A great rule of thumb – if you are not going to use it or need it in the next 12 months, then eliminate it. Sell it, donate it, or recycle it. But whatever you do, remove it.
Saving stuff for someday is the easiest way to create clutter – period! I used to save every odd-ball screw and fastener under the sun for “someday”. I found out that someday rarely if ever comes – and if it does, I can buy it for .29 at the hardware store. It really wasn’t worth having 200 little plastic containers to hopefully have the fastener I needed for some future project. Besides, when you save that many, you probably can’t even find it when you need it! I now keep only what I use regularly, and nothing more.
#2 Use The Power of Multi-Purpose Tools
One of the best things you can do to eliminate clutter is own items that perform multiple functions.
Yes, it is true there is a tool for every job. But there are also tools that can perform multiple jobs. And those multi-purpose tools can make a huge difference in keeping clutter to a minimum.
The kitchen is a great place to start. How many kitchen appliances or gadgets do you currently own that can perform the same task? Do you really need 6 devices that chop an onion when one will do?
For us, a great example of a multi purpose tool / appliance is the Instant Pot. With one appliance we eliminated the need for a crock-pot, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer and more! Not to mention, it decreased greatly the number of pots and pans we need to use to make meals. See : Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
The same goes for tools in the garage. Do you need 7 different screwdrivers or wrenches that do the same thing? Eliminate the redundancy and keep tools that perform multiple functions well.
#3 The Replacement Rule : Something In – Something Out
Once you eliminate clutter, keep it away for good with one simple rule.
Never bring something into your home unless something else finds its way out!
If you purchase the latest and greatest crock-pot, then donate or sell the old one. If you buy a new shirt, then eliminate one from your current wardrobe. The same goes for garden tools, garage items and more.
Too often, we purchase something new and simply store the old item it replaced in a closet, the basement, or garage. And guess what? Fast forward a few months or years, and you are right back to clutterville.
Eliminate old items as soon as a new one comes in. It keeps your house clean, and the stress of clutter out of your life!
Here is to removing the clutter from your house – and simplifying life! – Jim and Mary. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up for our free email list below. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. This article may contain affiliate links.