If you have been reading this blog, or following my work on Houzz for any amount of time, I’m sure you know I am a big believer in decluttering. There is simply no way to ever get “organized” without paring back and offloading some of the excess things you’ve been allowing to take up space in your home. But you know what is even more powerful? Learning some tools to help prevent clutter from entering your home in the first place.
After going through the same process of sorting through and purging my belongings dozens of times over the years, a few truths have begun to dawn on me. Truth no. 1: Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you have to take it. This was honestly the easiest one for me personally to implement. Now, whenever I am offered a “free” shirt/plastic cup/magnet/whatever, I politely decline and go on my merry way, happy I will not have to stare at said item for however many months it takes me to get the guts to chuck (or recycle or donate) it.
Truth no. 2 is quite a bit harder: If it’s not perfect for you, don’t buy it. This is the truth I am having the hardest time with. But I am learning. I’m learning not to settle for just okay. Because if my home is going to be free of clutter, what I do have I want to be just right! Right? Thinking back to some of the (many) items I have donated to charity or sold at yard sales and on Craigslist over the years, most were things that I knew right from the beginning weren’t quite right for me, but I bought them anyway. I’m learning it’s far better to wait, even if that means going without something for a while, and taking the time to save up a bit more money for the item I really want, than indulging in an impulse purchase.
And last but not least, we have truth no. 3: Just because it was a gift doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. Your duty as the recipient of a gift is to warmly accept it with gratitude, and thank the person for being so generous with their thoughts, time, and resources. But if you don’t like the item, it is okay to let it go. I’m personally not a big fan of re-gifting (I don’t judge, it’s just not for me), but if I do not want or need something I was given, I generally keep it for a short time and then give it away. Do I feel totally okay about this? No! Of course it feels weird — but I remind myself that the gift was given with love, and was meant to make me happy. So if I know it will make me happier to give it away than to keep it, that’s what I do nine times out of ten. (Hey, I’m not perfect.)
I wrote about this topic recently on Houzz — the article is called 5 Ways to Pare Down Your Stuff — Before It Gets in the Door, and it has really struck a chord with readers. There are 200+ comments and counting! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic: do you regift? Give away things you were given? Have a problem walking past the Target decor aisle without shoving at least one unneeded item in your cart? Spill the beans!
The lovely images featured here are from Shift Interiors — their website is currently being updated, but you can view their Houzz profile here. Looking at beautiful, uncluttered spaces like these is great motivation to me to keep clutter out of my own home. :-)