Organising your Space (Part 2): Limiting Clutter

May 10, 2016

“Simplicity is complexity resolved.” – Constantin Brancusi

In Part One of my Organising your Space series, I spoke about how to clear out your personal space by taking a good, hard look at what you own, pairing down what you actually need and use and letting go of unwanted items. In Part Two of this series, I am going to walk you through a few suggestions for keeping your personal space clear. By laying out a few guidelines in advance, it will be easier to stop accumulating excess items and maintain a clutter-free lifestyle. Who knows, you may even save a bit of money in the process!

 Use up what you already own!

After putting considerable time and effort into my own clear out, this is now my number one rule. Like a squirrel hoarding away nuts for winter, I found that I had stocked up on so many “back-up” items, I started to lose track of what I actually owned. At the same time, perfectly good, unused items were collecting dust in my closets and cupboards. Apart from being financial irresponsible, this behaviour was just plain wasteful! So now I am on a full-blown mission to use up the things that I already own. I am not limiting myself from buying the things that I want. I am just only allowing myself to purchase these items once I actually need them.

One in, one out.

“One in, one out” is my new mantra! If you’ve just spent days cleaning out your home, there is no reason to go and immediately restock your cupboards with more junk. If you add a new item to your space, another must go. Simple. This reinforces the concept of using up what you own. In Part One, I discussed several ways to recycle items that you no longer want, but still have some life in them.

Resist the sale.

A good sale is my absolute worst trigger. If you find an item on sale that you actually need, then, by all means, go for it! However, if you are just perusing discounted items in Target on a whim, it is worth questioning “Will I actually use this item or am I buying it simply because it is on sale?” Sometimes we overlook necessity of what we buy in exchange for the rush we get from saving money. Sales come and go. If you really need something at a later date, it will go on sale again. No need to hoard like it’s a skincare apocalypse. Another moisturiser will only sit in the closet until you finish the other 10 that you own!

Unsubscribe from marketing emails.

This is my best tip for resisting the sales (above). I have now un-subbed from 95% of the mailing lists that I was subscribed to and have noticed a huge difference in my online spending. I no longer have enticing discounts crowding my inbox luring me to accumulate items that I don’t need. You may think that marketing emails are necessary in order to receive special deals. However, this is not always the case. A quick search on Google or social media should also supply you with all the relevant and active discount codes for a particular shop.

Stop treating your bad day to stuff.

We’ve all done it. It’s really easy to buy something cheap or expendable as a treat just because you are having a bad day. This one is hard because it does give us a momentary boost. However, this is a sure fire way to end up with a lot of crap. I love a good stroll through IKEA marketplace or Tiger, but, let’s face it, there are only so many candles or napkins a person can use! Why not treat that bad day to walk outside or a nice, hot bath instead?

Buy only the things that you love.

 This one is important. It is amazing how much money you can waste trying to find cheaper alternatives to what you really want or need. In doing so, you will probably just end up with a closet full of unused toiletries or ill-fitting clothes. Save up and buy what you really want, even if these things are more expensive. When you love the things you own, they begin to feel more special. You consume less, you create less waste and may even save money in the long run.

Consider a capsule wardrobe.

Rather than having a closet full of cheap or unworn clothes, why not consider a capsule wardrobe? The concept is simple – you develop a small, intentional wardrobe of clothes that you love, only adding new pieces by season. This means only purchasing investment pieces with no shopping for 3 months between seasons. This can help to curb unnecessary spending and clothing waste. The website Unfancy is a great resource and walks you through how to create each new capsule.

Always reassess.

If you notice certain things sitting around collecting dust, it may be time to revaluate your possessions again. From time to time, I will look at what I own and pair it down even further. I keep a few extra bags from the charity shop on hand, so this can be done at any time. Remember, it is always easier to minimise clutter through simple habits, rather than letting it pile up again.


Do you have any suggestions for keeping clutter to a minimum? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

More about Laura

Hello - I'm Laura - an American living in London, England. Six years ago, I made a huge decision to leave my established career in Graphic Design to pursue my passion for Nutrition. I earned a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics at King's College London and am now a Registered Dietitian. I started Kindred as a creative platform to share tips and practical tools for diet, health and wellbeing.

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