5 Things You Shouldn’t Buy If You’re Trying to Declutter

published Oct 15, 2018
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(Image credit: Sylvie Li)

Decluttering is not for the faint of heart—it can take some serious self-reflection, a discerning eye, and the type of discipline not made for a world where Target exists. Author and organization expert Marie Kondo often shares her wisdom about the four biggest hurdles that keep us buried in a sea of our own stuff: space, sentimentality, guilt, and money all make the list.

Truth be told, she has a point. It’s hard to declutter when it means parting ways with memories or even a gift you never wanted in the first place (especially if it’s from a loved one). While Kondo’s four obstacles pretty much cover the gamut, we have a few specific common clutter pitfalls we want to add.

Consider it like the opposite of a shopping list. If you’re trying to declutter, here are some do-not-buys:

1. Anything Trendy

Remember last year when you couldn’t live without one of everything in crushed velvet? Fast forward a year and you’re stuck with a pile of dresses and throw pillows that—while soft—are really just taking up space. Steering clear of trends can help decrease the likelihood you’ll need to find a new place to store last season’s impulse buys.

2. One-Time-Use Items

Yes, that doughnut maker is really cute, that rice maker is super handy, and your pineapple corer sure does make life easier the three times a year you buy the tropical fruit. See where we’re going with this? Unitaskers are often one-off problem-solvers but long-term space-consumers. If you get a little resourceful, you can probably find a multi-purpose tool that works just as well.

3. Anything You’re Buying “Just in Case”

There are a few places you’re likely already storing “just in case” items in your home: your closet, your pantry, and your junk drawer. It’s great to be prepared, but if you’re actively trying to cull through your home, the most forward-thinking thing you can do is not buy things you’re not totally sure you’ll need.

4. Seasonal Items

Don’t worry—your Christmas ornaments are safe here, but we’d be remiss not to remind you to choose your seasonal whosits and whatsits selectively. Narrow your list down to the holidays or occasions you love most, or the ones that you’re most likely to spend hosting. For everything else, commit to keeping your home seasonally appropriate but not holiday-specific in an effort to reduce clutter.

5. Stuff From The Clearance Bin

This is the part Target makes hard, because the dollar section is just so fun. Try to steer your shopping cart away from this aisle and the section near the register with all the best knick knacks. Both of these are usually rife with random items and decorations that are tough to store, highly seasonal, and bait for your latest impulse buy.