Lately I’ve been focusing on reducing the clutter that makes it’s way into the house or begins to take up space. If we can prevent the clutter from happening, maybe we can minimize those annual or seasonal purges. Here are a few areas to consider for preventing clutter.
1. Virtual Clutter – When was the last time you really looked at the Groupon email? Unsubscribe from companies and sites that clog up your inbox or change your subscription settings to receive fewer emails. If you just skip by it or automatically delete it then take a few minutes to change your settings. You can always take a look at their website or Facebook page if you need to. If you still do want to receive offers but don’t want to clutter up your regular inbox, set up a separate email address. I’ve been doing this for years and it works. Anytime I purchase something online or want to subscribe to get a coupon or offer I use my “shopping” email address. Then, when I’m heading out to shop or going online, I just check that email box for relevant offers. Every so often, I just delete all of the emails under that ID.
2. Paperless – Do you really need a paper copy of that electric bill? Most of our account and billing information for just about everything can be found online. Chances are, their filing and access system is a little more efficient than yours. And it eliminates the need for shredding! So, request paperless billing (maybe even set up a separate email address for just bills). Many companies will give you account credit or other benefits by going paperless. Paperless also saves on paper used to print your statement and energy costs to deliver that bill via traditional mail. Worried you’ll forget a payment? Put a monthly reminder on your calendar or better yet, use the billpay feature with your bank.
3. Leftover Night – Can you name all of the leftover or about to expire food in your fridge right now? If not, there’s probably too much piling up. And throwing away uneaten, spoiled food is like throwing away money! Make a habit of using leftovers right away. We regularly have leftovers for lunch or dinner, about twice a week, to clear out the refrigerator. This really cuts down on food waste. What also works is making only what you will eat and freezing extra portions right away.
4. Schoolwork – Have a pile of little Picasso’s work collecting dust on your counter? It’s amazing how much paperwork kids get through during the school week. First, give the work it’s due recognition. That can range from, “great job on that math assignment” to a spot on your refrigerator or art wall. We have a magnetic display board that cycles through recent artwork or other notable work. After the appropriate recognition reuse or recycle. Use the blank side of worksheets for printer paper or note paper and then recycle the rest. If you really can’t part with it, take a photo or find a permanent home in a frame on the wall. Give some ownership to your kids to prioritize. Give them a storage box for school work treasures and they can decide what deserves to stay and what can go.
5. 10 for 1 – Do you find kids’ treasures just lying around? If something is important, they’ll take care of it or pay a ransom for it. In our house, if an objects are left about I will confiscate them, usually after they have been reminded to pick it up and put it away. After a few days it gets donated to someone who probably needs it more than they do. If it’s something that’s really important to them, they can trade 10 things for that 1 item. Works like a charm, I usually only have to confiscate the item once and I clear away some bonus clutter. You can also employ the 1 in 1 out rule. When items come into the house after birthday parties or shopping trips something else needs to give up it’s spot.
So, put a little energy into eliminating or reducing the clutter that sneaks it’s way into your house. Make space for the “stuff” that really matters.
Enjoy the Journey!