The quickest solution to having less clutter in your house is to start bringing less stuff into your house. We all know that.

Knowing something is very different than actually doing it, though. So I thought I’d share a few tips we’ve picked up over the years to help keep the clutter from knocking at our door.

1. Only buy what you can carry all at once at the store.

I make it a habit to always get a shopping basket at the store instead of a shopping cart (grocery stores totally except!). It’s so easy to drop things into a shopping cart and pick up impulse items; it’s a lot harder to lug everything in a basket. So Target, IKEA, even Costco, you name it – I’ll be the one balancing everything in my arms. But that way, the only stuff I’m buying is stuff I either truly want or need.

2. Only buy what can fit into your reusable shopping bags.

Reaching for a shopping basket isn’t always practical – like when you’re bring along a toddler. So use a cart, but try limiting your purchases to what can fit in your reusable shopping bags, especially at the grocery store.

My grocery shopping trips in Germany are limited to how much I can fit in the saddle bags of my bike. Believe it or not, I am not shopping more frequently this way. I’m only buying food in quantities that we need. Our society throws out an incredible amount of food because it goes bad before we get to it. Setting limits to how much you purchase at once curbs so many impulse buys. It’s amazing! As a result, we find less stuff coming into the house. Then we have fewer spoiled/uneaten foods and surplus donation items and garbage going out.

3. Try drinking fewer beverages.

We’ve talked about how to make drinking water a habit for good health. Buying fewer beverages also cuts down on the money spent and the stuff you have to haul in and out of the house.

So in addition to a multitude of other reasons, we don’t buy pop and other sugary beverages because. I don’t want to carry them. You know what’s easy to carry? Tea bags. Coffee beans.

4. Skip the free magazines and newspapers at the store

Read all the free reading material you want. But try this – don’t allow any of it in your house. Try reading them in the car when you’re waiting for someone or even while you’re in line at the bank. (Or while you’re at work?). Just don’t have them in the house.

5. Cancel catalogues and junk mail.

Instead of tossing catalogues we’re not interested in, I call up the company and ask them to remove us from their mailing list. It takes a few minutes, but I think it’s worth curbing the excess flow of mail at our house. That way there’s less sorting and tossing. There’s fewer items in our recycling bin. And we’re not tempted to buy things we happen to glance at in their ads. (Check out our list of tips on eliminating junk mail for your American or European home.)

When you focus on bringing less into your house, I think you might find life is simpler and less complicated. Those “we need to declutter” moments can happen a little less often.

How else can we keep clutter out? Please share your tips. I can’t tell you how much your thoughts mean to all of us. So please – share those good ideas!

If you’re craving more tips on simplifying, swing over to the The Simpler Life Series. Happy journey!

(Image by Martin for Making This Home… before snow hit)Share

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