From the forums: best uncluttering ideas ever

I was recently browsing the Unclutterer forums when I found this gem of a thread: Your Best Decluttering Idea Ever. I went through and pulled a few great ideas submitted by Unclutterer readers. Take a look, and share your “best decluttering idea” in our Forum or in the comment section below.

Zora writes:

“Back when there were only cardboard jigsaw puzzles, I cut out the top of the box, to get the picture, and then put all the pieces in a sturdy plastic Ziploc bag. Matching labels on picture and bag. Instead of a stack of large, flimsy boxes, I had a jigsaw puzzle collection that fit into a drawer.”

Great idea! For more on storing puzzles and tabletop games, check out this post. If video games are more your thing, we’ve got you covered here.

Back on the forums, reader anitamojito writes:

“I set some limits with objects I have a weakness for, such as books…I am not buying another bookcase to accommodate my habit.”

It’s important to recognize that collections aren’t inherently bad. Once you’ve identified your gathering of like items a legitimate collection, you can get down to maintaining an enjoyable, vibrant and uncluttered collection.

Lastly, greymac writes:

“Well, for me my best ever (besides just getting started!) was to get rid of ALL of my unfinished projects. Some I trashed, some I gave away — like several of the needlework projects I was obviously NOT going to finish — and some I actually finished myself. I’m slowly getting better at limiting myself to only 3 or 4 projects at a time — and feel much more energy to attack my clutter than I felt when I had dozens of unfinished piles vying for my attention!”

Boy, this one hits home for me. For years, I lived with the clutter — physical and mental — of unfinished projects. Not only were the pieces lying around, the guilt I associated with each was constantly nagging at me.

The answer for me was to take a weekend, consider each one in turn and decide — honestly — if I was ever going to finish the project. If the answer was no, off it went.

Incidentally, a similar practice can help you with “app clutter” on your smartphone. Much like unfinished projects, long-neglected apps simply sit on your phone and do nothing. Here’s a good way to identify those you actually want and those you don’t.

  1. Move all of your apps off of the home screen. Yes, all of them.
  2. As you use an app over the course of a week, move it to back to the home screen. You can even devise an order to identify which you used most often.
  3. At the end of the week, give those that never made it back a good look. Do you really need it on your phone?

A big thanks to everyone who contributed to the forum discussions. If you’ve got a single, fantastic uncluttering idea, please share it below.

4 Comments for “From the forums: best uncluttering ideas ever”

  1. posted by Lisa on

    Too many projects on the go were a problem for me. When my husband first moved in with me, into a teeny apt., he insisted that there was only room for one project at a time. I finished the already started ones, and kept to the plan, which has been great. I grew up in a “project” family, so it took someone else to point it out to me, a different way of living.

  2. posted by Ruth Hansell on

    “One in, one out” applies to everything for me except most consumables. If I buy new clothing, I donate similar clothing that day. New computer a month ago? Old computer went away that day. Cell phone being upgraded? Previous cell gets donated, along with charger, etc. Exceptions to the consumables are tea, (I could wind up with no room for food) and books, (limited shelf space keeps me honest and a good local library keeps me happy.) Decorative items are also one in, one out, including seasonal decorations.

  3. posted by Springpeeper on

    My single, fantastic uncluttering idea is to visit a thrift shop from time to time (but leave your wallet at home). You get a good idea of what your belongings are really worth — usually much less than you think — and this makes it easier to let go of your own stuff.

  4. posted by Lisa on

    For people with true hoarding disorder, no disrespect intended, but watching Hoarders on TV helps me to recognize my tendency to keep things because “I might need it someday” and “hey I can make with that someday”. I have a big closet full of stuff like that (my craft stash!) and some stuff scattered around in my bedroom and kitchen. I actually started today to go through and purge one basket of stuff in my bedroom. At least 2 bags to go in there and then it is off to the kitchen. Finally that big closet upstairs…

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