You’ll feel better and think more clearly when you eliminate the excess from your life. It takes a little practice and a little focus, but you can achieve big and lasting results. Follow these simple practices to reduce clutter, save money, provide peace of mind and ultimately eliminate excess.
Borrow books from your library or friends.
Never buy a book again. I’m serious. Your local library has a great selection and you can borrow all of the books for free. Most libraries even have online databases so you’re able to search book titles and reserve them. Our library even has an option to notify me when our books are available, so I’m always ready to pick up our new reading material. Most libraries also offer CDs and DVDs for free borrowing as well. By using your local library instead of purchasing books, you save yourself money and reduce clutter in your house and life.
Use natural cleaners.
A few years ago, I read a great article about natural cleaning solutions in Real Simple Magazine. It detailed how you could use lemons, vinegar, newspaper, baking soda and olive oil to clean most of the items in your home. These natural items are traditionally cheaper and more versatile than the cleaning chemicals, and they’ll be safer for you and the environment. Try to start incorporating one or two of these natural cleaners into your routine each month. Once you’ve made it a habit, add more until you’re using mostly or only natural cleaners. My favorite is running an empty vinegar load in your dishwasher each week–cleans it perfectly!
Our notepads? Cut-up scrap paper. Our workday lunches? Dinner leftovers from the day before. Our homemade bread? Made from leftover milk and applesauce. Kids toy boxes? Previously used gift boxes. I think of reusing items as a game, the more uses I can think of for an item, the more fun it is to reuse. If you need ideas, I’d suggest looking at magazines, like Real Simple’s new uses for old things.
Organize your supplies.
Keep like items together in one location so you always know what you have. And as you run out of something, put it on your grocery list. When you try to guess what you need in a store, you end up purchasing items you may already have or you may not need. When everything has a place and is kept in its place, you eliminate unnecessary purchases and save yourself money.
Make due without for as long as possible.
There are many items in your life that you don’t really need, you just want. By learning to separate the two, you’ll save yourself trouble and clutter. We set a monthly spending budget that helps keep me on track. As our available funds dwindle, it reminds me that items can wait–and often I forget about them, teaching me that I didn’t really need them in the first place. Set a time limit for purchasing items–give yourself plenty of time to use up or wear out your current things.
Don’t leave papers lying around your house. If you can’t file it or frame it, you need to recycle it. Set up a filing system, so you’re prepared to process these papers. And organize a 3-ring binder SparkBook to save specialty frameable pieces, like kids’ special artwork.
When you have multiples of the same item, try to condense these items as soon as possible. Four shampoo bottles in your shower? Unnecessary, condense them down and reduce options. Multiple bottles of juice in fridge? Blend them and let kids try new options. Single servings from restaurants? Put them in your at-home container. After you get comfortable with condensing everything, teach yourself to purchase fewer items in the beginning–and still condense what you have as soon as possible.