Clutter Causes and Prevention Strategies

Clutter doesn’t just happen overnight, and a one time purge doesn’t always make clutter stop happening in your home. To regain control over your environment and keep your living space clean, you’ll have to dig below the surface and discover the clutter causes and develop prevention strategies. These tips can help you do just that.

Afraid To Let Go

When items are being kept because you’re afraid of letting them go, the fear must be dealt with before the piles of stuff will dissipate for good. Sure, you might need that item one day, you might lose 10 pounds and fit into that dress again or the kid’s old toys may be valuable in a few decades, but you need the space now. Play out the worst case scenario in your mind all the way through so the fear of letting go won’t be overwhelming and paralyzing any more, then get rid of the unused items . Prevent the buildup of unused items in the future by using the ‘one year’ rule – If it’s not been used or worn within the past year, get rid of it.

Buying Too Much Stuff

Stuff accumulates because we buy too much. Before making a purchase, ask yourself if you really need it and can you afford it. If the answer is ‘no’ to either question, don’t buy the item. If the answer is ‘yes’ to both questions, then go by the ‘in and out’ rule – If one item comes into the house, one item must go out.


‘I’m going to clean this house someday’. ‘I’m going to gather up stuff and donate it to charity someday’. Procrastination and waiting on a ‘someday’ that will never come makes clutter abound. Get started clearing out excess belongings today and resist the urge to shuffle items around. Place what you plan to give away in a box or bag and take it to the charity location the same day. Do the same with trash so the procrastination excuses will be stop.

Assign Responsibilities

Without ownership of household tasks and consequences for responsibilities not being met, little will get done at home. Assign age appropriate responsibilities to every member of your family (even little ones can pick up their toys and dirty clothes) so clutter will be kept at bay by everything being put in it’s rightful place. Consequences must follow for those who shirk their responsibility or the clutter will creep back in.



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