Do One Thing to Prevent Future Clutter in Your Home

published Sep 25, 2023
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Credit: Jason Rampe

Apartment Therapy’s Decluttering Cure is a free two-week decluttering program that’ll help you achieve a tidier home. Sign up here and get all 14 assignments delivered to your inbox.

Decluttering is the answer to eliminating your past and present clutter — but it’s only the partial solution to your future clutter problems. For that, you’ll also need to take some preventative measures to ensure that once you’ve decluttered, you really won’t see the usual suspects again. 

That’s why today we’ll be taking one step to stopping clutter from returning for good. And you get to decide what it will be.

Day 8: Do one thing to prevent clutter.

For today’s assignment, we’ll be doing just one thing to help prevent clutter. Here are some ideas to get you started, and feel free to do as many as you’d like now or dole them out throughout the year by setting up calendar reminders to “do one thing to stop clutter.”

10 Ways to Stop Clutter

Here are 10 ways to prevent clutter from hindering your home. 

  1. Cancel a magazine subscription you no longer read. 
  2. Stop catalogs. You can find a number on the back of most catalogs to call and request that you be taken off the list. 
  3. Get your address off junk mail lists. The Federal Trade Commission recommends using the website to prevent letters for up to five years or permanently. 
  4. Sign up for online statements for all your bank statements, bills, etc.
  5. Set up a home landing strip to stop clutter at the door. This typically consists of a wall hook or dish to hold your keys, a surface to sort your mail, and a small waste basket to discard incoming mail (consider a paper shredder for the more sensitive stuff).
  6. In addition to a home landing strip, consider other “drop points” in your home that could benefit from a bin or basket. Be realistic. For instance, if you notice that dirty clothes are dropped in the bathroom instead of the bedroom, you might want to relocate the laundry bin there. No more messy clothes piling up!
  7. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails — especially ones you signed up for that one time for that deal.
  8. Implement a one-in, one-out rule — or the more intense one-in, three-out rule.
  9. Declutter regularly. Along with following our annual Decluttering Cure, try to incorporate “declutter dates” on your calendar so you are constantly editing your home.
  10. Set up a permanent donate outbox and commit to monthly trips to empty it.

PRO TIP: Having tried-and-true organizational methods, systems, and tools in place can also help rein in messes. Need a new method or system? Try this one. Need some tools? Check out our Organization Awards for some of the best organizing products out there.

What else do you do to prevent clutter? Tell us in the comments below. 

More ways to participate in the Decluttering Cure:

The Cure Program is a tradition here at Apartment Therapy — it happens every January, April, and September. Click here to learn more about the year-round program and when to sign up.