How Not to Be a Hoarder

I don't own a TV, so I haven't actually seen the A&E series Hoarders. But having lived with a recovering one, I understand the tendency. Many of my friends have commented that they envy my minimal style. I can't help myself; I really loathe clutter and I'm kind of cheap, which meshes well with being a minimalist. Here, some habits I've picked up as an anti-hoarder:

Furniture:
1. Remove furniture that blocks hallways and walkways and choose smaller items that fit into the space, allowing room to breathe.
2. Use nooks that don't invite a lot of traffic. Most of my furniture runs along the two walls farthest from the entrance to my apartment.
3. Lose furniture that you don't use, like tables designated only to hold piles of stuff that should be tossed (more on that later). Try Craigslist, Freecycle, eBay, or your local thrift store. Consolidate display items onto fewer pieces of furniture.
4. Clear out stuff from under the bed and under pieces of furniture that you can see. It might be a space-saver, but it looks and feels messy. Store the stuff in closets (see below) or decide if you really need it.

Closets:
5. Recycle, donate, file at the beginning of every season. Before I shop for a new season, I go through my closet and get rid of anything I don't feel good about wearing. I recently shipped a big box to my little sister, who really appreciated the new-to-her clothes and shoes.
6. Store away as much as you can (and only what you want/need) high above in closets, drawers, baskets, etc. Add wall shelving wherever possible. Clear out containers and drawers about twice a year.

Paper:
7. Recycle junk mail as soon as you receive it, or better, cancel it. Sign up to receive statements online.
8. Order digital magazines instead of print if you have a tablet. Recycle print ones after you read them. I like to toss my print mags in my bag as soon as I get them in the mail, so I can read them on the train or at the doctor's office and then either leave them behind for someone else to enjoy while they wait or recycle them. I've also given books I will never read again to the local library.

Electronics:
9. Donate to your local thrift store or sell on sites like Gazelle.

Kid Stuff:
10. If they've outgrown toys and clothes, hold on to the truly special pieces and donate the rest to friends, sell on sites like Once Upon a Child, or, since it's summer, schedule a yard sale.

Finally, avoid impulse buys that contribute to debt and clutter. You'll save money for more experiential pleasures, like travel. I'm sure I've forgotten other tricks, so please share your minimalist habits below!

(Image: Leela Cyd Ross/Laura's Mid-Century Melrose Place)