Fighting Clutter Creep in Your Home

A few weeks ago, I went up to my parents’ house to help prepare the kitchen for a major remodel. My parents are completely redoing their kitchen, and I wanted to help. So I emptied out all of the cabinets (I also helped with demolition, knocking down walls, and that was a lot of fun.)

One of the things I noticed is that my parents have a lot of stuff that they don’t need. It’s just sort of accumulated in their home, stuffed into cabinets, and organized into neat piles on tables. It tends to happen when you stay in one place for awhile. My parents have been in their home for more than 20 years. When I think of how much clutter manages to creep into my home, after a little more than six years, I can understand how my parents can have accumulated so much stuff — most of which won’t even be used once in any given year.

When I returned to my own house, I thought about what we’re doing to combat the creep of clutter in our home. If you want to avoid accumulating stuff, here are a two tips that can help you along:

Only Buy What You Know You Will Use

First of all, many of our clutter problems are the result of not spending consciously. Instead of thinking about whether or not we will use something, we just make a purchase. Rather than buying something because it looks cool or because you think it might be “nice” to have, think about whether or not you will use it, and how often you will use it.

Many a novelty appliance, such as a grilled cheese sandwich maker or deep fryer, has been set back on the shelf because these are items that are rarely used. And, on top of that, when I think of their use, I realize it could be more trouble than it’s worth. Using a grilled cheese sandwich maker is more of a hassle than just pulling out a pan and making them on the stovetop, since I’d have to dig it out of whatever cubby it was in.

Think about usage, and only buy what you know will get regular use.

When You Buy Something New, Get Rid of Something Else

Another way to keep the clutter down is to get rid of something old when you buy something new. I do this regularly. Before holidays and my birthday, there is a purge. I take a number of items to the charity thrift store to clear out space. Everything in the house should have a place.

In some cases, when you buy something new, it’s a need and there is nothing to replace. That’s one thing. For the things you don’t actually need, though, getting rid of something else in return can mean that you really think through your purchase, and consider what you will have to let go in order to complete the transaction. This method has worked well for us, and it provides us with a good way to keep the clutter down over time.

What’s your best tip for combatting clutter creep in your home?

About the Author

Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. See more of her writing at Her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger is available from Amazon.