How to Reduce Clutter
As your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer I’ll be blunt… to reduce clutter you need to take action. You already know the reasons (and excuses) why you don’t let go of stuff. I can assure you that guilt, fear, and distorted thinking can prevent any one of us from letting go of the things that we don’t need, use or want. Yet having things pile up, collect dust, attract moths or silverfish, stress us out, cause shame and make us feel badly about ourselves can motivate you to get help.
Taking action means changing your thoughts, behaviors and even the way that you speak. Do any of these sound familiar?
- “I have to have that.”
- “You can never have to many of these.”
- “I know that I’ll get a lot of use out of this.”
- “It’s such a good buy.”
- “If I don’t like it I can return it.”
When shopping is your problem
If you can declutter on your own or with the help of a non-judgmental relative or friend consider trying any of the following decluttering and organizing tips:
Return it – most stores will take back never used or worn items. You may not get the full amount back. Instead you may get a partial refund or store credit. Congratulate yourself for letting go without self judgment. Use this as an opportunity to be more intentional about your purchases.
Resell it – online sites are great for reselling new and gently used items. Be realistic with your pricing. Scrutinize the buyers’ payment method (no checks) and method of delivery or pickup (not in your home, especially if you are alone). Consignment shops always take a percentage of the sale but can be a less time consuming method for resale.
Donate it – lighten your load and help others who can use your donations. Savor the feeling of abundance that you have in being able to give to others. Document your donations and reap a tax credit (consult your tax advisor).
Give it to someone – if someone you know admires something that you don’t need you might gift it to them. Observe their joy and the gratitude that they respond with.
Preventing the problem
Prevention can go a long way, too. Make agreements with yourself to get your stuff under control. Try these organizing tips if shopping and acquiring things is a problem for you:
- Limit how often you shop. Gradually reduce the frequency to at least once a week or longer.
- Limit how much you will spend and keep your word to yourself.
- Make only cash purchases. This will enable you to think carefully rather than buy on impulse.
- Shop only in person rather than online. It’s too easy to press the “buy now” button. For some of you, the rush of getting a package is also enticing. The truth is, you probably have more than you need already. Shopping in person takes more effort, planning, and time. Let those factors be your friends.
- Recruit a friend to go shopping to browse, only. Ask them to help you to keep your commitment to walk out without purchasing anything.
- Employ the 1 in 1 out rule. Agree to let go of 1 comparable item when you purchase another. If you have a lot of them, use the 1 in 2 out rule.
- Ask for services as gifts rather than things. Massage, facial, manicure, movie tickets, car wash gift card, cooking class, etc.
- Ask for charitable donations in your name to a favorite charity rather than things for your birthday or the holidays.
- If you like buying in quantity shop with a friend and split the bill and goods.
- Avoid garage sales, flea markets and auctions. Little things and low prices add up easily.
- Take photos in lieu of buying souvenirs. Post the photos on social media and only print the ones that you intend to display.
- Don’t start new collections.
Decluttering and organizing can change your life dramatically. If shopping is the cause of your clutter you can start to modify your behavior.