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Stop it at the Source

As a Declutter Coach, my first course of action is to identify and help eliminate the clutter in people’s lives. However, there is a follow up step that most of my clients haven’t considered, preventing the reintroduction of clutter. We’ve worked so hard to create the space, so how do prevent that space from being filled again? There are 4 main categories of clutter that I see in most of my client’s homes: paperwork, clothing, tools, and crafts.

Paper

When it comes to paperwork, we’ve definitely started making moving towards eliminating some of the clutter with paperless options, but there is still a conscious effort that needs to be made in the home. First being, opting into paperless. The second of which is by creating as system that eliminates any of the additional useless paper items I the home.

I remember a time in college when I LOVED getting mail. It didn’t really matter if it was junk mail, I was just so excited there was something in my box.

However, as an adult, I find I get irritated, more than anything, when I get mail. 90% if not all of it tends to be junk mail. (Apparently, there is as tax attorney under the impression I owe taxes to the IRS because I get his stuff at least twice a week. But I digress…)

I have three tips, at varying levels of required user action when it comes to tackling paper clutter.

1) Don’t bring your mail in the house. Scan through your mail as you walk up to your house from your mailbox. All necessary mail passes through your door, while the junk mail goes straight into a garbage can or recycling bin.

2) Start calling and emailing companies to opt out. There is a really great resource that can be found at https://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail . They list out several numbers and sites that you can visit to unsubscribe.

3) Have all of your mail delivered electronically. Opt into e-delivery for bills and statements, but you can also take it a step further and sign up for Post Scan by Capterra. This is a popular option for full time travelers because your mail is delivered to this company who scans everything and emails it to you.

Clothes

A capsule closet is made up of a few key wardrobe pieces that can be mixed and matched to maximize the outfit combinations. Color schemes are often very similar to avoid clashing. These pieces would be described as the wearer’s favorite clothes. This closet doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a lot of intention and determination to cultivate a capsule closet.

There are so many added benefits to a capsule closet, the primary being, that you save money. You’re not enticed to constantly go shopping for new clothes because you know that you already have what you need, and what you love. Because you’re saving money and because of the love you have for these clothes, you’re more likely to invest in better quality rather than quantity.

How many clothes are you hanging on to because you don’t have something you love in its place? Could you get rid of 3 mediocre t-shirts for the sake of 1 fantastic blouse?

Tools

Ah, tools. I love buying tools. I’m a handy person and I take pride and joy in being able to fix and build things myself. As a result, over the years I started accumulating different tools based on the projects I was working on. I’ve seen this with clients too. However, I had to admit to myself that while the tool was extremely useful, it was limited to only that one application. Once the project was complete, it was highly unlikely that I would ever need the tool again.

This is where we all fall into the trap of “I might need this someday”. And while that may be true, trust that “someday” you’ll also be able to afford to purchase or rent that tool again.

But also consider this, if you know that a tool is need for a project that would only have a single application, check to see if you can rent the tool prior to buying it. Several Auto stores have tools that can be rented as well as hardware stores. If that fails, check with a friend, or look to buy the item second hand.

Crafts

Lastly, craft supplies! (I imagine myself throwing my hands up and tossing glitter in the air here). I cannot fully tell you how many times I started a new craft with good intentions.

Ugh, I remember being on Pinterest entirely waaaay too much the first few years of my daughter’s life. Between birthday, Halloween, and general craft ideas, I was definitely a Pinterest mom. However, several crafts would inevitably fall to the wayside because I was trying to do too much.

As I’ve matured into motherhood, I’ve realized the value of supporting a local craft maker and/or artist, rather than trying to do it myself. Between the cost of supplies, as well as my time (and frustration), it ends up being cheaper, plus, you’re supporting someone else’s passion!

My best advice is to enjoy it if it’s your passion. But if you only try to be crafty to save money and cut costs, chances are you’re doing neither and you’d be better off supporting someone local.

Alright, that’s it! Now go gettem!