• Monika Jacobs

Stop bringing clutter into your home

1. Don't buy anything unless you know where you will put it

Don't buy anything you don't either absolutely love or absolutely need. Try hard to ask yourself exactly what you will do with this item once you get it home. Don’t buy things you really love, but don't have a good plan for them. Those things inevitably get lost in the shuffle and contribute to the clutter problem, plus you never actually get to enjoy them. Try to remember that I don't need every cute thing you see, and you probably happier without it.

2. Try to follow the "one in, one out" rule

This is hard for people, and they rebel against it all the time, but it is solid advice. So you could buy a pair of shoes and still be allowed to keep the rest of your shoes. Instead, you could get rid of that vase in the kitchen cupboard that you have never used. This way, if you absolutely must buy something new, you can rest assured that the clutter problem will not grow because of it.

3. Downsize your gift giving

Birthday and Christmas are big, fat, clutter-making holidays. As much fun as opening all the gifts is, you watch way too many of those gifts gather dust as the boys forget about them entirely in favor of the gifts they liked best.

In the past few years, I have started to downsized the gifts I give at Christmas considerably. Each child only gets four- six gifts. Giving less not only saves clutter, it also saves money and time shopping. Plus, I find that it has helped my children to be more grateful for the gifts they do receive.

4. Consider gifting experiences, instead of things

Try to give your spouse for Christmas a trip to Chicago, instead of another shirt, perfume or gadget he / she doesn’t really want or need. Surprised him or her with tickets to “The Chicago Symphony” and a hotel stay, you could have a blast together and create memories. You will look forward to it for three months and it will felt like Christmas lasted a little longer.

It doesn't have to be a vacation, either. You can gift art classes, zoo passes, movie night, museum memberships, or a day at the beach. You even can give coupons to your kids in their stockings or to your friends.

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