I was raised that there is a place for everything and everything in its place. My momma raised us to put things back where we got them from. So for all of my life I have felt that clutter is the devils playground almost. It is where we lose things including our personal sanity. If I lived in clutter I would go mad. My life would be non-stop questions. Where is the internet USB? Where is my wallet? Where is the life that late I led? I find that those who do live in clutter are constantly saying things like “But it’s my mess and I know where everythings.” Yet they rarely do. So through observation and some thought about my life through the years I have come up with 10 steps to end the clutter in an effort to live a more minimal lifestyle.

  1. When you buy, say goodbye! – The other day Crystal and I bought her a new pair of shoes; 5 Fingers by Vibram. I didn’t mind because she had been weight the purchase for more than a month. What I did insist on though is that she get rid of one pair of shoes (preferably the oldest pair she has) in order to make room for the new ones. I did NOT marry Imelda Marcos. If you just buy and never say goodbye you are doomed to start gaining clutter.
  2. A place for everything and everything in its place. – Keys hang on the shelf thingee next to the light switch. Wallet is on top of the dresser next to the pocket knife and chapstick. Pens and pencils are in the cup next to the computer monitor. And the list goes on ad nauseum. You’ll never get out the door and into life if you are always looking for stuff.
  3. Contain…and make it fashionable. – I am not saying support The Container Store or Target or anything like that by buying the cutesy little boxes and storage items. Old shoe boxes will do just fine. But old picture, travel postcards, craft supplies, etc, all look better in storage containers.
  4. One mans junk is another mans treasure. – I love eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, etc, because they allow me to sell things of value that I don’t like or don’t need including the extra TV I thought I needed in our bedroom, all 1,249 CDs and 249 DVDs I once owned, and my entire Encyclopedia Brown book collection. I sold them all and had some money (unbudgeted, mind you) to just spend on fun!
  5. Purging is good for the soul. – Granted I have no scientific evidence to prove this I think a good, solid, cleaning once or twice a year will do nothing but good in guarding against clutter.
  6. There is NO forage in storage. – I refuse to believe there is a positive to storage; facilities, attics, garages, etc. They allow us to overdo holiday decorations, old lawn equipment, boxes of clothes, “antiques,” etc. Nothing we put in storage will sustain us. We simply don’t need it. If we did, it wouldn’t be in storage all year!
  7. Slow and steady win the race. – Don’t feel like you have to go through your home like the tasmanian devil and purge everything. That typically brings about stress and undo anxiety. I like the various TV shows on now that advocate going through one pile a week. Just pile up things or put things in bags or boxes and then go through one box/bag at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Take it slow.
  8. eBills and online shopping should take you off the lists. – Since Al Gore invented the ‘net we have been able to view every product offered in every catalog freeing us up from print catalogs. Likewise most major newspapers and magazines have online editions which we can read at our leisure without cluttering up the coffee table (which might mean we don’t need a coffee table at all). Furthermore, most bills can come in email form so there is no need for those annoying window envelopes.
  9. A product should begin with the word multi – A good coffee maker grinds the beans and makes the coffee. A top-notch TV remote operates the TV, satellite, DVD, etc. A day bed can be both couch and bed. Combine your physical good and watch the amount of clutter decrease.
  10. Acknowledge your weaknesses. – I have a weakness for coffee mugs. I love them. I love building memories around coffee mugs; places I have been, cafes I have enjoyed, shows I have seen, etc. But because I have acknowledged my problem I have been able to limit the amount I keep and instead find a smaller memento that takes up considerably less room.

These should get you started with decluttering your life. Did I miss anything? What have you done to rid your life of clutter? What should I be doing more of?