Attack the Source: 10 Simple Ways to Prevent Clutter

Attack the Source: 10 Simple Ways to Prevent Clutter

Taryn Williford
Sep 20, 2017

It's hump day! In spite of the hum-drum of the mid-week, let's do something a little unexpected and pivot a bit on our usual decluttering.

Most of the time—and it's true for those of you who've been on this September Sweep journey since the start—decluttering is a cure. You see a problem—the mess—and attack it with some medicine—a whirlwind weekend decluttering—to make the trouble go away. But it's time today to focus on a bit of prevention instead.

Today's Assignment

Figure out what you can do today to stop clutter coming in.

Instead of always fighting clutter after the fact, take time today to think about what you can do to prevent clutter from even making it in the door. Think about the messes that you've recently tackled, and try to figure out if there's a single source you can knock out with one simple action today—whether that means implementing a system or maybe just changing a habit.

Below are a few ways you could get started. You don't have to tackle everything on this list, but at least promise me you'll tackle one thing.

10 Ways to Prevent Clutter

  • Cancel a magazine subscription
  • Get your address off physical junk mail lists
  • Unsubscribe from email newsletters
  • Set a recurring weekly reminder to digitize any papers you're keeping "just in case."
  • Put a trash can or paper shredder by the door where mail comes in
  • Set up a permanent donation basket near the front door and commit to making weekly or monthly trips to empty it
  • Make a budget or set up a spending plan for shopping
  • Implement a one-in, one-out rule for clothes or books or toys
  • Tattoo "Say no to free stuff" on the palm of your hand.
  • Watch an episode of Hoarders and restore your commitment to the #clutterfreelife

Tip: There are services that will help you get off junk mail lists and unsubscribe from emails. Check out How to Eliminate Junk Mail (& Email) Once and For All.

And don't forget...

Head back to the monster zone today and pick one more thing to send on to a new home.

Want to catch up with Apartment Therapy's September Sweep decluttering plan? You can see all of the month's assignments right here.

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