If you constantly struggle to keep your house clutter-free, you’re definitely not alone! It can feel as though no matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to find really powerful ways to break the clutter cycle and create a peaceful and functional home.
Look, I get it. I’ve been there. But after finally breaking free of clutter’s vicious cycle, I’ve learned a few things that I really hope will help you! I share many of them in my huge list of declutter tips.
Today, I’m going to share three powerful ideas to stop the clutter cycle. By learning these strategies and implementing them in your daily life, you can break out of the clutter cycle, create an inviting space that works for you, and benefit from a newfound sense of equilibrium and peace.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This post is not to be taken as professional medical or mental health advice. All statements are strictly my personal life observations. You can see my full disclaimer here.
How We Fall Into The Clutter Cycle
I started writing this article months ago. Every so often I would add to it. Eventually, there was a LOT of information. Lots of ideas, lots of suggestions, lots of steps. I really wanted it to be ultra-helpful.
Then, one day I realized it was all too much… too overwhelming and confusing.
I also realized it was a perfect example of the way clutter usually collects in our home — a little at a time, over a period of time, and often with the best of intentions.
This is how the clutter cycle begins. Then, we suddenly find ourselves frustrated because we have an out-of-control mess and can’t keep up with it or stop it from happening over and over again.
We need simple, concrete strategies to end the vicious cycle.
So, with that in mind, I stripped down all of those ideas I had to the 3 MOST powerful ways to break the clutter cycle. (Don’t worry, I’ll give you links to more ideas later in the post if you need them.)
Will these suggestions work for everyone? No, of course not. But if you’re like me — an overwhelmed overthinker who gathers too much information and then can’t decide where to begin — they will give you a place to start.
You really CAN break those old clutter habits. It won’t happen immediately, but you can do it! And believe me, less clutter in your home makes pretty much everything easier.
So let’s do this! Let’s commit to breaking the clutter cycle and start living in a calm and organized space. Are you ready? Let’s go!
3 Ways To Break The Clutter Cycle
I would love to tell you there are a bunch of ‘easy’ and compassionate tips for breaking the clutter cycle, but the truth is you’re going to have to dig deep and make some big changes. They sound simple — and they actually are — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy.
1. Break the cycle of clutter at the door
Stopping clutter at the door is THE most important thing you can do to break the cycle.
There are actually a few changes you can make to accomplish this. Even one of these things will help, but the more ways you can implement to stop clutter from coming into your home, the better.
- Start a ‘one in, TWO out’ rule
Make a commitment that you won’t bring anything into your home without taking TWO items away first. This is harder than it seems, but it will make a big difference.
- Go digital
Reduce incoming paper clutter by ‘going green’ on as much correspondence as you can. Also, cancel catalogs and magazines if you’ve lost interest in them.
Go online and review the privacy settings on all of your accounts to make sure you are NOT signed up to receive offers from ‘trusted partners’ or similar sources.
Read the FTC’s article about how to stop junk mail and follow their suggestions for how to reduce the junk mail so that you don’t even have to bother sorting, shredding, or recycling it.
And by the way, stop printing and keeping everything you see online. I’m totally guilty of this, so I know that it makes a difference when you stop printing all.the.things. 😉
- Stop shopping
No, I’m NOT joking. And I’m not just talking about brick and mortar stores.
Unsubscribe from tempting online store emails and sale notifications. Take store apps off your phone (I’m looking at you, Amazon).
Try to take a break from shopping, or at least limit it. Try going a month without buying anything new and see how that feels. You might find that you don’t miss the shopping, and you’re able to focus on the things you already have.
How long can you go without buying stuff you don’t actually need?
2. Change your mindset
I have an entire post about developing a decluttering mindset. (You should hop over and read it when you’re done here.)
But for the purposes of this post, I’m going to ask you to do something that might not seem like it has anything to do with minimizing clutter from piling up…
- Start a REALLY deep gratitude practice
I mean, of course we’re grateful for the things we have. But deeper gratitude also helps us become more generous as we desire to share… and that often leads to donating as we pare down our own belongings.
And the more grateful we are, the less we find that we want to live with clutter. The object isn’t necessarily to become a minimalist, but to reset our relationship with STUFF.
While you’re doing the mindset work, dig down to find the root cause of the clutter in your home. Once you do that, you’ll be able to be more mindful in that area.
Note: If you have clutter issues that are related to trauma, please seek the help of a professional counselor.
3. Practice putting things away
This is another huge, difficult habit to begin if you’ve always been ‘messy.’ But it will make SO MUCH DIFFERENCE to your home.
Now, you could go hardcore and start putting EVERYTHING away EVERY TIME. But let’s be real… if you’ve got clutter, and you’ve always had clutter, you’re not going to be 100% perfect at this.
You’ll get there. But you WILL need to practice every single day. At first, you can do this as part of a daily 10-minute tidy where you (and anyone else who lives with you) zip around and clean up as much as you can in 10 minutes.
DECIDE where something goes, and put it there. You don’t have to decide on the perfect spot, just ‘perfect for now’ — and I don’t mean ‘scattered across the dining room table because I don’t know where else to put all.the.things.’
Don’t overthink this! Choose a place that makes sense for now, but also reduces the level of visual clutter. Make notes or a map if you have to so you’ll remember where to find — and where to return — the thing later.
How Will You Break The Clutter Cycle?
Take some time to answer these questions. You might even want to journal about them so you can figure out how to regain control of your personal clutter situation.
- What is your biggest struggle with clutter coming into your home?
- What will you do to break the cycle? Make this an ‘I will’ statement.
More Inspiration For Clutter-Free Living
Of course, this post doesn’t cover everything involved with clearing the clutter and staying organized. But it’s a LOT easier to follow through on all of that when you’ve broken the cycle that started the clutter!
Breaking the clutter cycle is a challenging but achievable task. It requires patience, determination, and an understanding of why we accumulate clutter in our homes.
By making allowances for your imperfections, maintaining motivation, and taking actionable steps to reduce clutter, you can break free from this vicious cycle and create more space for yourself — both physically and mentally.
So don’t be afraid to take that first step towards breaking through the clutter – it will pay off!
You’ve got this!
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