12 Surprisingly Effective Ways Even Messy People Can Prevent Clutter

12 Surprisingly Effective Ways Even Messy People Can Prevent Clutter

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Taryn Williford
Sep 17, 2018
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Most of the time when we talk about decluttering on Apartment Therapy (and during the September Sweep), we're talking about remedies: You have clutter. But you don't want that clutter anymore. So we're helping you get rid of it.

But your decluttering efforts don't always have to be focused on the cure part. It's important sometimes to switch gears and employ a bit of prevention. Do something in your quest for a clutter-free home to stop clutter before it starts.

So that's what we're doing today.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Today's Assignment:

Do one thing to "attack the source" and stop clutter from coming in.

That's it. Just one preventative thing. Choose from the ideas below, or dream up your own solution (and please share it in the comments).

If you finish the one thing and want to call it a day, that's perfect. But if you feel great and want to do a few more, I won't stop you!

A Dozen Ways to Prevent Clutter:

  1. Cancel a magazine subscription
  2. Get your address off physical junk mail lists
  3. Unsubscribe from email and paper newsletters
  4. Request electronic delivery of your regular paper mail, like bills or bank statements.
  5. Set a recurring weekly reminder to digitize any papers you're keeping "just in case."
  6. Put a trash can or paper shredder by the door where mail comes in
  7. Set up a permanent donation basket near the front door and commit to making weekly or monthly trips to empty it
  8. Make a budget or set up a spending plan for shopping
  9. Implement a one-in, one-out rule for clothes or books or toys
  10. Talk your friends or family into a "no gift" pact for the holidays this year, or for next year's round of birthdays.
  11. Tattoo "Say no to free stuff" on the palm of your hand. (Or a reminder like that that's a little less permanent.)
  12. Watch an episode of "Hoarders" and restore your commitment to the #clutterfreelife

Don't laugh at that last one, a night of "Hoarders" is a surprisingly effective tactic.

One more 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:

Clear 3 things from your monster zone.

All month long, we invite you to share your progress here in the comments and on Instagram with the #septembersweep hashtag!

Check out all the assignments so far on the September Sweep 2018 Main Page.

Download the printable PDF calendar:
September Sweep 2018

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