I’m guilty of buying small gadgets and/or books that I don’t really need. On the surface, many of these items look like they’ll save me time or money, but I either rarely use them or otherwise find that I don’t want to keep them around. Not only does this waste money, but it also results in clutter. Since we live in an apartment with limited space, eliminating clutter is something that I work on all the time.
Preventing impulse buys
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prevent clutter is to resist clever marketing ploys. Take a look around yourself. Chance are that much of the clutter in your house is the result of impulse buys that seemed like a great idea at the time even though they weren’t. In order to prevent these types of purchases, you need to learn to distinguish fleeting desires from genuine wants and needs.
Commit to asking yourself some questions before you buy:
- Do I really want/need it?
- How often will I use it?
- Where am I going to put it?
- What’s the worst thing that will happen if I wait?
If you answer these questions honestly, you’ll go a long way toward cutting down on your impulse buy and the clutter that inevitably results.
Combatting clutter once you have it
Despite your best intentions, chances are that excess stuff will gradually accumulate around your home. Be proactive if you don’t want it getting out of hand. Here are a few ideas for getting a handle on things:
Consider swapping with family or friends. Get together with your family and friends to swap furniture, clothes, books, movies, etc. This not only saves you money, it also keeps perfectly useful items out of the landfill and reduces the amount of idle stuff sitting around your home.
Donate items to a worthy cause. Aside from taking things to Goodwill, look for charities that need specific items. For example, Phones for Life and Donate A Phone are always on the lookout for used cell phones, and New Eyes for the Needy wants your old eyeglasses. In addition to clearing our some space and doing a good deed, your donation might also qualify for an income tax deduction.
Sell your excess stuff. Consider having a yard sale, or selling your stuff on eBay. You’ll free up some space, and you’ll also generate some cash that can be used for paying off debt, adding to your emergency fund, or saving for other goals.
Do you have any tips for preventing impulse buys or reducing clutter?