Here's How to Prevent Clutter in Your Home

You don't need to declutter if there's no clutter in the first place.

<p>Carol Yepes/Getty Images</p>

Carol Yepes/Getty Images

Do you find yourself swimming in stuff? Can’t find the rosemary when you’re cooking or your cream blush when you’re trying to get out the door in the morning? It might be time to declutter. However, the whole decluttering process takes time and energy. So preventing clutter from entering your home in the first place can be a smarter strategy. The good news: it’s easier than you think. Here are six ways to prevent clutter in your home.

Related: 9 Easy Items to Declutter Whenever You're in a Rut

Don’t Buy (Everything) in Bulk

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money. The problem with it is that we often buy things we don’t need that end up cluttering up our shelves. The key is to be selective. For example, while you will eventually use an entire case of toilet paper—that fourteen-pack of mayonnaise will take far longer to finish, even if you fancy yourself to be a fairly regular sandwich maker.

Toss Those Disposable Food Containers

There’s nothing that clutters up your kitchen quite like disposable food containers. They’re big and bulky, and finding the right lid can be frustrating. Those flimsy plastic containers are also challenging to keep tidy. So, dispose of or recycle them within a few days of bringing home leftovers.

These containers also aren’t meant to be used more than once and likely won’t keep your food fresh a few months later. So, invest in quality food containers (glass is best) that you can reuse again and again.

Store Your Reusable Bags in Your Car

Do you have a giant bag of reusable bags that takes up an entire shelf? It’s time to take inventory. If any are dirty, have holes in them, or are worn out, they need to be recycled or thrown out. Part of the reason why we have so many of these bags in the first place is that we often forget to take them when we’re on the go and end up buying more. So move those reusable bags to your car and stash them in the trunk.

Keep Donation Bins in Your Closets

Keeping even a small donation bin or bag in your closet can help you declutter as you go along. Instead of putting back that skirt that isn't quite your style or no longer fits—put it in the bin. When the bin is full, take a trip to your local thrift store. This will also help keep your closet more organized and filled with only things you like.

This is a particularly smart move for children’s rooms, because kids grow out of clothing so frequently.

Don’t Take Things You Don’t Need

Do you really need that conditioner sample from the hotel when you’ve been using the same brand for the past year? What about that bag of sweaters your mom insists you take, but you live in Arizona?

The point is that we're all guilty of taking things we don’t need. These items often end up going unused and create clutter and messes in our homes. If you absolutely cannot refuse something, make plans to donate it ASAP.

Do Mini Decluttering Sessions Regularly

You don’t need to declutter seasonally or yearly if you do it regularly. Commit to decluttering as soon as you notice there is a mess or as you bring in new things. Did you just buy a bunch of new shelf-stable food at the grocery store? Glance at your current supply and check expiration dates.

You can also do the same in your bathroom after that trip to Sephora. Give your storage spaces such as your medicine cabinet or under-the-sink area a quick once-over. Toss those bottles of shampoo with one use left. Get rid of that crusty tube of mascara. Set a timer for five or ten minutes, put on some music or a podcast—and go.

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