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Prevent Bringing New Clutter Home

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Cleaning closets and clutter have been the largest project taken on this past week-end. I've renewed my determination to ask myself these questions before I bring anything of significance into this house:


  • Can I afford it?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Do I need it now?
  • Do I have something like it already?
  • Can I find a cheaper substitute?
  • Is this the best deal?

Then I'm going to go home and sleep on it for 24 hours. If I decide to go back and buy it in the morning, I'll know without a doubt that, whatever it is, it can come into this house. I never want to spend another precious weekend the way I spent this one.

By the way, I will take a deduction for the fair-market value of the items I donated to charity as allowed by the IRS. I use the valuation system, It's Deductible (Intuit) because the values for more than 850 specific household and clothing items comply with IRS guidelines. Go to Or you can check the Salvation Army's Valuation Guide for a simplified list.


By Bobbie G from Rockwall

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April 14, 20110 found this helpful

I also use my desire to give to extend to all the stuff I have in my house. If I don't need it, I must give it to someone who does.

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June 21, 20120 found this helpful

The link shown for the Salvation Army's Valuation Guide is no longer viable. The actual link is very long, so just type in "Salvation Army Value Guide," and you'll find it listed.

Editor's Note: Thanks for letting us know. The link has been removed.

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June 21, 20120 found this helpful

My parents were hoarders and I had to clean out their huge home when they died. I can tell you it is often the free stuff that causes the most clutter. They were 84 and 85 when they died. At that age people go to the hospital a lot.


They always brought home the "kit" of bed pan, basin, throw up pan, soap dish and what ever else is in it. The hospital gives you that, because they can't use it for anyone else and as many patients as they discharge in a day they would need a huge dumpster for it. You don't need any of it.

My parents had all of it stashed under sinks and in closets. If you are so sick you need a bed pan you need to be in the hospital. After 15 years they replaced the front storm door. They saved the old one. This is the kind of thinking that clutters your house.

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June 24, 20120 found this helpful

Thanks for a great post. I would add: Do I want to dust it? (The answer is usually a resounding NO!)

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February 9, 20160 found this helpful


It is a long journey and we have many items boxed in. We have color coded bins- different color for each family member and each holiday. In addition to their closets, each person gets 5 bins to keep their stuff. Our home is no way spic n span but the clutter is kept at bay most times. First step to decluttering is to guard your home against items coming in. Make sure to politely and firmly tell everyone in family that you will NOT accept any items you do not need / have asked for. Grandparents seem to shower kids with gifts which will quickly drawn you - the clothes kids will not wear, toys they do not need or have space for, hairloom items you have neither space for or need. You also need to beware of your own buying. This is what works for us:


1. Do not buy because items are in sale. I only buy something because I need it, it has a place in my home and it brings me joy.
2 For family, I ask for and give gift cards, perishable items, $$ or only things someone requested as gifts rather than what I think someone may need. With young people as well as established households, many times gift items become a drag rather than something they need.
3. Adhere to One in - one out rule. Every time we buy one thing, similar one must be out of our closet/home. Hubby is catching onto it. Yesterday, he received nice winter shirts for BD gift. After thanking the givers, he told me before we wash it, let us donate some other shirts.
4. Make a habit of letting go of items I no longer need or use. I do not do ebay or garage sales but first find friends who can enjoy and need them or brng them to places such as kids school, library, shelter, good will, St. Vincent...


5. Buy experiences not things. Refrain from collecting things because it is on sale / free. Creating traditions such as Pizza on Friday goes longer in our home than shopping trips. My kids remember the snow tubing more than the stuff animal I bought (or refuse to). If allowed, every trip to Target, we will have a new Lego set and $$ gone from my wallet. By being firm, setting boundaries and having clear ideas, we try to keep ahead of clutter.

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