So, you've tackled your clutter and now you are left with (mostly) your favorite, most used, and most necessary items. You are proud of yourself for being more ruthless than you've ever been, and you want your home (or office, garage, etc.) to remain clutter-free.
Here are some tips to keep it that way:
-If you've truly decluttered, you should find that with a few minor tweaks, there is a place for everything and everything can easily be put in its place.
-If you find that your organization system isn't working for you, figure out why. Tweak it. Your organization system should be simple and work for your needs. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Be creative.
-I have a strong preference towards putting loose items into boxes. I like to display colorful/attractive boxes. More tucked away ones (or ones where humidity can be an issue like a bathroom) are the basic clear plastic kind (easy to see what's in there). Why boxes? The major reason is because they have lids so dust doesn't get in. I've tried the bins thing and unless you're taking items in and out all the time and cleaning them regularly, they get dusty fast. Dusting the outside of a box is soo much easier than inside a bin full of stuff.
-Some ways I use boxes: I like to put the shoes I don't wear very often into individual clear boxes so I can find them fast. I keep batteries in a small, clear plastic box. I keep all my holiday/birthday/thank you/etc. cards together in a box, in my desk.
-For my random kitchen stuff I use a tray. I clean this out regularly. Lists, mail to be dealt with, etc. goes in there.
-This is pretty obvious but worth mentioning: use your "prime real estate" wisely. What items do you use most often in each room? Ensure they're displayed prominently and are easy to get to.
-Think about ways to downsize without getting rid of stuff altogether. For example, put all your music onto your computer and make sure it's backed up. Then donate the CDs. If you'd rather still keep the CDs, put them into a nice binder and get rid of the cases.
Regarding keeping clutter at bay:
-Think twice about what you bring into your home. That free promotional frisbee? No thanks!
-If you do catch something that qualifies as clutter coming through your door, immediately come up with a plan for it (donate or trash). Don't mindlessly shove it into a closet.
-Keep de-cluttering. If you're a gradual de-clutterer like me, you won't find it too difficult to make it a habit. If you realize you've gone a while without de-cluttering, just do it! You may not want to keep something you decided to keep six months ago - it's a process.
-Try to get others in your home on board with de-cluttering. Never get rid of something of theirs without their permission, though.
-Out of sight, out of mind. If you like to wander the mall during your lunch break, either become a good window shopper or find a new hobby.
-If you see something you like but are unsure about, leave it in the store and sleep on the decision. It'll probably still be there tomorrow.
-Don't buy it just because it's on sale. This is an easy trap to fall into. Consider whether you'd buy the item full price and if you actually need it. Coupon for the fabric softener you always use? Excellent. Three t-shirts for $10 when the only colors left are questionable? Skip!
-Shop with a list. This won't just save you money, it will save you from some impulse buys that end up collecting dust in your pantry.
-If you do get buyer's remorse, there's nothing wrong with returning an item.
Do you have any other suggestions for maintaining a clutter-free life?
You can read more of my articles on decluttering here.