These are the strategies we repeat over and over again — to others and to ourselves — to keep clutter under control.
- A place for everything, and everything in its place. If an object doesn’t have an official home, then it will always be out of place. Every screw, photograph, business card, and piece of clothing needs an official place to live. Additionally, once you’re finished using an object, immediately put it back in its place.
- Establish routines. Set up a regular schedule for tasks that have to be completed daily and weekly: laundry, mail sorting, cleaning, cooking, meal planning, organizing, filing, decluttering, home and auto maintenance, etc. The more methodical you are, the simpler it is to maintain your home and office. You’re never overwhelmed by your environment because you have consistent progress.
- Pick the quintessential item, and pass on the rest. If your grandmother leaves you her cherished grand piano in her Will, and you would love to own her grand piano, then accept the grand piano. However, you don’t also need her collection of plastic butter tubs, a box of used twist ties, and a rusty carving knife. The grand piano reminds you of your grandmother and her love and generosity, the other objects don’t.
- If you don’t use it, need it, love it, or feel inspired by it, get rid of it. Just because you might have space to store something, doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Your home and office should be filled with useful and inspiring things, not objects that cause you stress and anger. Plus, the less you own, the less you have to worry about, clean, organize, finance, and maintain.
- Inventory and educate. If you know what you have, and you fully know how to use what you own, then you don’t accidentally buy or own duplicates or overlapping products. Understanding how to use the software on your computer, reading the complete instructions about your appliances, and imagining the possibilities of your wardrobe means that you can get more use out of what you already have. It also means that you know the best way to care for what you have so that you get more years of use out of your possessions.