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What are the Best Tips for Clutter-Free Living?

Lauren Romano
Lauren Romano

Not many people enjoy living surrounded by clutter. To enjoy clutter-free living, it must first start with getting rid of everything that no longer belongs, organizing what is going to stay and then maintaining everything in the home so there isn't a similar problem in the future. Although this seems like a daunting task, a little planning and a lot of action can create a clutter-free space.

The first step to clutter-free living is to get rid of everything that should not be in the house anymore. If it doesn't fit, it's broken, unusable or unwanted give it away, donate it or sell it. Making excuses as to why certain items should stay is not going to result in a neat and organized space.

Immediately recycling papers that aren't needed may help prevent clutter before it starts.
Immediately recycling papers that aren't needed may help prevent clutter before it starts.

The next step is to define the reasons why the clutter happened in the first place. If it is because of frequent shopping followed by not using the items, it's a habit that needs to be stopped as soon as possible. Another possible reason is because of the “maybe I'll need it someday” excuse where people try to reason that an item may be useful in the future, for example, when someone swears that one day he or she will wear that bright orange pumpkin patterned sweater that is three sizes too small and hasn't been worn in ten years. If it hasn't been used in a year, then chances are it will not be used any time soon and it is only taking up space, which means it is time to get rid of it.

Having a place for everything is one way of getting rid of and preventing clutter. A junk drawer is not a destination point nor is a pile in the corner. To prevent clothing clutter, keep a bag in a spare area to store clothes that no longer fit or aren't wanted so you can donate them or give them away. For paper, shred it immediately or toss it right into recycling or the garbage. Any other items need an immediate place or it doesn't belong in the house.

Another way to establish clutter-free living in the home is to request non-material gifts that won't take up space. Often people save that ugly lamp or too small sweater because they feel bad for discarding it; others use it only around the giver. Instead, request gift cards to restaurants, the supermarket or any other location that won't cause unnecessary items to come into the home.

Don't buy anything that won't get used more than once. Clutter-free living means not having useless items lying around the house. Even when buying a special outfit for an event, make sure it is something that has more wear value than for just one night. If there is an item that is an unsure purchase, meaning you aren't sure if it's going to get frequent use, skip buying it all together.

To maintain clutter-free living, it is important to keep the promise to leave clutter out of the house and avoid it at all costs. Do a sweep through the home once a week to make sure nothing is there that shouldn't be. Even taking 15 minutes can save a lot of hassle.

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Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - That is one of the reasons I'm glad e-books are around now. I still buy way too much books and DVDs and CDs but I try to make sure I only get digital versions that don't take up any actual space in my house.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if this could be called clutter free living, because my hard drive is extremely cluttered, but at least I'm not tripping over them.


@croydon - Organizing isn't enough for me, because I tend to hoard things if I'm not ruthless with myself. I really have to clear clutter entirely and make myself decide between objects rather than just storing them. I don't really need a whole cupboard full of vases, for example. I can just use one or two that will suit any occasion or any kind of flowers.

Books are the one thing I'm hopeless at clearing because I can never quite bring myself to throw them out or even give them away. So I end up with piles of them everywhere.


I find the best way to deal with clutter is to make sure there are storage places for everything. Because I generally only start to build up clutter when I find myself with something in hand that doesn't have a place and so I just pop it on the table to deal with it later.

If all my spare vases are kept on a particular shelf, then I know exactly where to put one if I has finished using it. If all my notebooks are stored in a particular drawer, I'm not going to tear up the house looking for them when I need one.

Organizing clutter is actually fairly soothing when you take this kind of approach. Because once you decide on the "right place" you don't have to think about it again.

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    • Immediately recycling papers that aren't needed may help prevent clutter before it starts.
      By: simonekesh
      Immediately recycling papers that aren't needed may help prevent clutter before it starts.