I’m going to keep this one simple. I’ve found a number of effective strategies for tackling clutter. If you struggle with clutter, like just about everyone I know, then give them a try. A combination of the these strategies might work for you, and if you have other strategies, I’d love to hear them! I’ve also adding a new list of strategies to get rid of stuff that gets more into the psychological aspects of decluttering.
Get Rid of Clutter Strategy #1: One Comes in, One Goes Out
The strategy here is that every time you bring something new into your dwelling, you take something out. An example would be buying a pair of new socks and getting rid of your most hole-ridden pair of socks that you own. Three new books? Sell or donate three older ones. Want to speed up the de-cluttering process? Make it two things out for every one in. Good luck with that one!
Get Rid of Clutter Strategy #2: Keep it, Sell it, Donate it, Recycle it, Trash it
Keep it, sell it, donate it, recycle it, trash it is a systematic way of going through everything that you own and making one those 5 decisions on each item. If one of these isn’t an option give it away via Freecycle or curbside or recycle it if you can. Last resort, trash it.
Get Rid of Clutter Strategy #3: The Philosophical “What would I Take with me?” Method
This is probably the most fun way to tackle clutter, but maybe the most difficult because it does require a lot of energy. The method is to apply a philosophical question to your stuff. Here are some examples:
- “If I had one car load to move things across the country, what would I bring?”
- “If the Apocalypse hit tomorrow and I had one backpack worth of stuff to take with me, what would I take?”
- “What would I want to pass along to loved ones when I die?”
Don’t think about it too hard!
Get Rid of Clutter Strategy #4: Starting From Scratch & Adding Back in Method
This method is fundamentally different in others in that it flips the process on its head.
- You start by packing up everything you own.
- If you need an item, you pull it out, use it, and keep it out.
- If you don’t use an item, it stays in a box.
- Everything still in boxes after a set timeframe (e.g. 1 year) needs to either be donated, recycled, or trashed.
Get Rid of Clutter Strategy #5: Spend What you Sell Strategy
I expand on the “spend what you sell” decluttering strategy in more detail, as it’s one of my favorites, but the basic idea is that you sum up the value of all of the items you sell and are only allowed to bring in new items that are a sum total of less value. Eventually, you’re going to run out of stuff to sell and limit the intake of new items – that’s the idea here.
Getting Rid of Clutter Discussion:
- How have defeated physical clutter?
- Have you tried these strategies? Did they work? What problems did you run into?
- Do you have more or less ‘stuff’ now than you did a year ago?