This week I decided to take a break for my usual decluttering updates to share the some of the rules I have been implementing this year to get rid of clutter.
The idea for this post actually came to me last Saturday, after a day-long argument with my husband about some things he wanted to bring home and that I, in the sake of not adding more clutter to the one I'm trying to let go, plainly refused. They were good quality items that he got on sale for a fraction of their real value, and I still did not want them. Because I do not need them, and probably never will. Because they overlap with other things I use on a daily basis but do not see the need to replace. Because cheap and good does automatically translates into essential and I've been seriously trying to let go of all non essential items. And while I'm not perfect and my house is not by any means clutter free, I really don't want to fall back into my old pack rat habits.
These three rules are fairly easy to implement and after a while they will come naturally to you. Following them on a daily basis will seriously reduce your clutter and make your life a lot easier.
Nº1 - The Get One - Toss One Rule
Whenever you buy something new for you or your house, get rid of an older similar item. For example, if you buy a new pair of pants, you will need to let go of a pair you already own. This works well with gifts too. If someone gives you a new set of house linens, just go through your closet, select a few of the older linens and donate them.
This way you'll be replacing items instead of adding them to the pile. It will ensure what you have at home is always in perfect condition and avoid accumulation.
Nº 2 - The 24 Months Test
Go through your closet, your garage, your storage room, etc and select all those items that have been in storage, untouched, for more than 24 months. If you haven't used them in that period of time, ask yourself what are the odds of ever using them again. Or even remembering that you actually have them. A span of two years encompasses several changes of seasons, enough for you to know that that you're probably never going to wear that sweater, or that that old garden hose is going to disintegrate before it sees the light of day again.
With the exception of heirlooms, collections or mementos, all common household objects unused for over two years are potential clutter and you should evaluate your need to keep them. When in doubt, you can always try the 15 Days Experiment below and see how it goes.
Nº 3 - The 15 Days Experiment
This rule works wonders in connection with Nº 2 above. While going through your closets, take out all those items that you saved because you thought they could come to be useful some day - craft supplies, old clothes than you planned to upcycle at some point, projects that you started but never finished, etc.
Leave each object out in the open - on top of your dresser, your craft table, your living room couch, your guest room bed...somewhere visible (do this with one object at a time, otherwise you'll just be creating a huge mess). Try to find the time to use or work with those objects. If after 15 days they sit untouched, chances are you'll never going to have the time, the motivation or the inspiration to actually use them and you should just let them go.
These rules have been helping me all year long and hopefully will allow me to have not only a clutter free 2015 but keep clutter at bay for the rest of my life, so I'm sticking by them!