Weekly Quick Tips

How to Control Clutter Creep

If you’ve been on a journey to a simpler life, or even if you are just getting started, you’ve likely experienced clutter creep. It works something like this:

  • You successfully declutter a room and vow never to clutter the countertops again.
  • The next day you revel in your beautiful clutter-free space.
  • A few days later you have friends over and they bring you a thank you gift.
  • You place it on the counter.
  • Your kids bring home their art projects  from school.
  • On the counter they go.
  • At the grocery store, you meander down the aisle pick up a few candles
  • You move the art projects over to make room for the candles.
  • Fast forward and you’re back in the clutter wondering where your lovely clutter-free space went.

Clutter creep happens over days and weeks and years, and unless you are vigilant, you might not notice it until it’s a problem. Clutter creep is slow, silent and sneaky and loves to appear when your defenses are down. If you are busy, rundown or on a shopping bender, clutter creep will make its move. It will be a subtle move, and then another and another until you are ready to send your audition tape in for an episode of Hoarders.

Your Clutter Creep Weapons:  These weapons will make fighting clutter creep easier and sometimes even enjoyable:

Awareness: The easiest way to combat clutter creep is taking time each day, even if it’s just 5 minutes to be aware of your surroundings. Notice if a specific area of your home is becoming cluttered and take action immediately.

One-in one-out: When something new comes into your home, find something else to send out. For instance, if a neighbor brings you a holiday gift, donate another item in your home. If you don’t think you’ll use the holiday gift, donate that. Control clutter creep item by item. One by one.

The box:  Place a donate box by the door. Then, anytime you come across something that isn’t adding value to your life, drop it in the box. This isn’t permission to dump your husband’s favorite sweatshirt or children’s toys, but you can encourage your family to use the box for their personal items.

10 minute sweep: Invite your family to take part in a 10 minute sweep before bedtime. Turn up the music and get a little crazy. Dance around and see who can pick up the most. Give one point for each item that is put away where it belongs. Add bonus points for any items that get tossed in the donate box.


No thank you:  This weapon is not used nearlyenough. It’s powerful! Anytime is a perfect time to say “no thank you”. Say no to:

  • that little voice that urges you to buy one for you when you buy one for them
  • craft shows or flea markets
  • irresistible sale offers
  • department store mailing lists
  • direct sales home parties
  • gift with purchase promotions

Choose what is most important to you: We are used to having it all, or at least thinking that we can. Instead, make a choice and prioritize what is most important to you. You do have a choice! If you have trouble making decisions, use these guidelines: choose people over stuff and time over money. You’ll rarely be disappointed.

Clutter won’t go away on its own, and it often creeps in easier than it creeps out, but living clutter-free offers a life with less stuff and more time, space, money, and happiness. Living clutter-free is worth the fight especially if you are well armed.Copyright © 2014 Organizing Lives ® All rights are reserved and no part of this article may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means unless expressly stated otherwise, or except with the written permission Organizing Lives®. Enquires should be directed to: info@orgliv.mybusinesshub.ca