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We live in a culture of disposable items where the name of the game is consumption. Keeping up with the Jones’ requires a revolving door of the latest and greatest gadgets and home decor which has an ever shortening expiration date.  We can all be guilty of it, acquiring new toys then tucking them away, never to be seen again.  Slowly our house begins to bulge with the nonstop flow of junk accumulating in every nook and cranny.  In addition to our need for more things, like a squirrel packing away nuts for the winter, technology continues to advance at an exponential rate, meaning, phones, TV’s, computers and other gadgets have an increasingly short lifespan before becoming obsolete.  Our possessions begin to suffocate us as we get boxed in with our needless purchases.  Finally, we reach a breaking point and decide it’s time to begin hauling junk out of our houses and reduce the amount of chaos in our lives.  Here are a few simple tips to help you gain the upper hand in fighting the perpetual battle of clutter.

1. Avoid buying cheap, short term usage items

In recent years it has become increasingly noticeable that the manufacturing quality of many products has taken a sharp decline in the name of saving a few dollars.Occasionally it’s worth it to go with the more expensive option, whether it’s as inconsequential as a can opener or a major purchase like an oven. Spending a little bit more to buy items made from superior materials which will last a lifetime is not only beneficial for the environment but can also end up saving you money in the long run.  Furthermore, it is prudent to consider that if you aren’t willing to pay the extra money up front for the item maybe you didn’t need it that bad to begin with.  Making do with whatyou have and avoiding extra product consumption is the ultimate way to stay clutter-free year round.

2. If you haven’t used it in a year get rid of it

Chances are that if you didn’t wear that winter jacket sitting in storage last year you never will wear it and it is time to toss it. Every once and a while, it’s a good idea to choose a small space and do an audit of whether you have used certain items in the past twelve months.  If the answer is no, you probably won’t use it next year either.  Often times we develop an emotional attachment to these items so we are reluctant to get rid of them.  However, by selling or donating these items we allow someone else the opportunity to enjoy them, which reduces the need for new products to be manufactured.  Along with environmental benefits, donating clean, working, high quality objects that you no longer need, can fill you with a charitable feeling, especially around the winter months.

3. Start small

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when starting out on a major clean-up. When choosing a room, find one that isn’t too daunting.  After successfully cleaning it out you will be filled with an encouraging momentum which can set you up to begin work on your next task.  On the other hand, if you start out by trying to tackle the biggest cleaning challenge in your house you may be overcome by the amount of work and your big de-cluttering plans may fail before they even get off the ground.

4. Throw away large items

Getting rid of large items is an easy way to accomplish a lot with minimal effort.  For some, a closet filled to the brim with old things sends you on a trip down memory lane.  6 hours later you’re deep in the rabbit hole of your old photo albums and Halloween costumes.  If this sounds like you perhaps you’re better off starting your clean-up with something larger. Couch Disposal is a fantastic first step to regaining some square footage in your home in a hurry.  The biggest items can require the least amount of effort if you are smart about it.  Posting an ad on Craiglist in the free section can be a great way to have someone else pick up your unwanted items for you.  Alternatively, if you are having trouble selling or giving away your things it may be time to call in an expert to deal with the headache and potential backache of hauling away your heavy furniture.

5. Invite friends over

Nothing motivates quite like fear.  Invite friends and family over for a get-together and set a goal of impressing them with how organized you’ve become.  Having an objective with a hard deadline is a great way to put thoughts into action and light a fire under you (metaphorically, of course. We can’t recommend burning your junk in Vancouver) If your best efforts to motivate yourself through the use of a public shaming from your friends fails don’t be afraid to ask them for help. It is astonishing what offering a couple of beers and a pizza will get you from close friends.

However, at times it can be too much to do on your own.  Heavy items, different recycling restrictions, trips to the dump, getting access to a truck and making sacrifices to your weekends are just a few of the challenges associated with doing a large scale clean ups.  Using a junk removal service can be a simple solution to a daunting task.

In conclusion, there is no better way to minimize the amount of junk clean-up you have to do each year than simply reducing your consumption in the first place. Staying actively on top of what you need and don’t need keeps the dreaded piles down and prevents the required full-scale cleaning assault on your closets low.  Being generous with old items which have served their purpose to you and asking for help are a few key tips to staying de-cluttered in our hectic, lives.