I come from a family who is fond of keeping “stuff.” I’m constantly purging my own household, seeking to free our home from excess and from what I lovingly refer to as junk.
If you’re finding yourself knee-deep in belongings, with horizontal space being suffocated by knickknacks, here are my trusty tips for how NOT to be a hoarder:
- don’t use it
- don’t love it
- don’t wear it
- don’t need it
- don’t have room to store it
Ditch it. Do it fast before you have time to second guess yourself.
Don’t buy two. If you find yourself leaning toward BOGO sales or contemplating the destruction of an item before it’s even purchased, please say a firm “No!” to temptation and don’t buy two of the same thing. Chances are, a newer more efficient/colorful/higher-tech version of said item will crop up in the next year before your edition bites the dust.
If your rationale behind BOGO is to gift one of the purchases to a pal, do it within the month, or ASAP. This way you won’t stash it in the closet waiting for cousin Shelly’s birthday to approach and then forget all about it, buy something else, and leave said BOGO item rotting in the dark recesses of the closet.
Reconsider. If you’re not 100% in love with a potential purchase, wait a day. If you still remember and “need” the item, head right on over and buy with a smile. Otherwise, leave it and forget about it.
Two to One Rule. For every item you purchase, get rid of two others. Though the process takes time, you will eventually downsize your possessions.
Keep a Donation Box at the Door. Place a large box or empty laundry basket near the front door to toss unwanted items into throughout the week. Encourage family members to do the same and follow up with a trip to your local charitable donation center at the end of the week.
Keep the box in place until you’ve met your purging goal. We’re most likely to purge if we’ve got a place to put objects in transition to their new homes. We’re even more likely to cart that box to a donation center if it’s cleverly located right by the door, so we can pick it up and carry it to the car on our way out.
Coupon Reasonably. In 2007 my New Year’s resolution was to spend no more than $5 per week on groceries. I stuck it successfully for 5 months, until I graduated university and made my way to Guatemala.
Couponing mixed with in-store savings accounted for the majority of my savings, so I completely back the coupon rage. However, extreme couponing, buying non-essential items in bulk is certainly the enemy of someone who’s determined not to become a hoarder. Think no further in advance than two months when making supermarket purchases.
Limit Storage. This clever tip came from my husband, who I’m doing my best to train against his inborn hoarding gene. Simple concept: if there’s nowhere to put it, you can’t buy it. Don’t fill your home with shelving, drawered furniture, and space saver bags and your home won’t become littered with junk. Exercise the “less is more” mindset and keep horizontal spaces uncluttered and clean by limiting the number of adornments sitting on top of counters, tables, TV stands, etc.
Bonding Time When your girlfriends invite you to the mall and you know that there’s nothing you need to buy, accompany them. Have a lovely time bonding, but take only $5 or enough to enjoy a cup of coffee with your pals. It’s the company that matters most, right?
How do you keep from accumulating “stuff?”