How to Prevent and Eliminate Clutter in Your Home


how to prevent or eliminate clutter

The best case for clutter control is keeping clutter out of your space. That saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies in this situation. Proactive strategies for clutter prevention are double the rewards in saving you time, money and energy. Here are some easy strategies for you to use in your clutter prevention.


Paper clutter prevention

Paper clutter prevention helps you from spending hours on sorting and decluttering paper.

  • Set up a recycling and shredding center at the entry to your home. Immediately after pick up the mail, triage and remove the clutter.
  • Unsubscribe to magazines. Make magazines special by purchasing these as a reward for yourself.
  • Use your smart phone to take a picture of information on papers. Create an album for papers in your photo stream.
  • Use digital coupons available through store apps.
  • Add business card information to your contacts and label the contact with who referred and the work itself.
  • Use Evernote or Notes to capture and organize information.

Purchase only what you need

Over purchasing is often when clutter accumulates.

  • If you have determined a need for a purchase, it’s time to let go of the item it is replacing.
  • Purchase only what you need, not additional “just in case” items.
  • Establish one area for returns and set a date to return items.
  • Set up a purchases sub-folder in your inbox in order to keep up with online purchases and required emails for returns.
  • Purchase from a list. If you are not prepared with a list, postpone your shopping until you are prepared.


Routines help you keep clutter regulated.

  • Declutter your closet every season, at the end of the season. Know what you have before you purchase. Create criteria for letting go of your clothes so your decisions are not as cumbersome.
  • Declutter your cosmetics every year, at your birthday.
  • Declutter your kids’ clothes at the start and end of the school year.
  • Keep a shopping bag to drop clothes and other items in as you are ready to let these go.
  • Recycle weekly.
  • Establish a “home for everything” and a time to get items back to their homes. Reset time helps you know what you have and where you have stored it.


Start with one small step in clutter prevention and see how easy it is to be proactive.

4 replies
  1. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    First, I just have to say how much I love your blog images. I know in an instant that this is an “Ellen” post. Excellent branding:) Routines are everything. As I pulled this up I was chatting with my son-in-law about how powerful doing something small every day can be. It REALLY adds up! It can be tiny, and suddenly the impact is huge.

  2. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    Ellen- We’re on the same wavelength this week. I’m writing about clutter, too, although I focused more on mind clutter. The interesting thing about mind clutter is the deep connection it has to physical clutter. When our spaces are less cluttered, so are our thoughts. I love all of the practical tips you shared for keeping the home clutter-free! Even though we live in a digital age, many of us still accumulate and get stressed over the amount of paper we have. Time to let go!

  3. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    That is true @Linda! While we have clutter around us, it keeps our mind cluttered too. Your recommendation to let it go is on target!

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