When it comes to getting organized, one of the key elements must be de-cluttering. However, the very idea of getting rid of their possessions strikes fear into the hearts of many.

As with any other process, it often helps to have some rules in place.

Here are six rules of de-cluttering to help you take steps toward living a clutter-free life.

Vow to Bring Less Home

Most often we are concerned with the purging process of de-cluttering, but the most important rule of de-cluttering is actually to make a sincere effort to bring less stuff in.

There’s no point in putting forth the effort to de-clutter if you undo all your progress by buying more stuff.

Make it your goal to only shop with intention and only buy items that have a purpose and a place.

So determining not to add stuff is the first step to clearing out the clutter for good.

Bring less home

Document Your Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion that can lead us to hold onto clutter.  An effective compromise is to digitize your prized possessions.

You can scan the images of things like certificates or kids’ artwork into your computer and organize them into folders.

Or grab your digital camera and take a picture of your child with their awards or artwork! Digital photos also work well for three-dimensional pieces like trophies or prom dresses.

Let’s be honest, most of this either takes up valuable storage space or ends up in the trash eventually anyway.  Having digital copies frees up space without erasing the memory.

Once you have your memorabilia digitally stored you can purge the originals without feeling guilty.  You can also use services like Shutterfly.com or Snapfish.com to store or print your digital copies.

Start Small and Simple

I cannot emphasize this rule of de-cluttering enough, start small and simple!

One way to gain momentum in the paring down process is to start with the easy things.

Begin boxing up items that don’t hold much emotional attachment.

Doing so will lead to a sense of accomplishment and provide motivation for you to keep going when the decision-making becomes tougher.

Start small and simple

Lose the Duplicates

Another relatively easy de-cluttering task involves getting rid of unnecessary duplicate items.

Take a moment to go through your home and gather up all your duplicate articles of clothing, dish sets and books. Then sort through them.

Keep only your favorite colored piece or the item that is in the best condition.

Nix the Guilt

An empowering de-cluttering step is to get rid of things you’ve been holding onto out of guilt. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for that stylish coat, if it’s not being used it is time to let it go.

Also remember the first de-cluttering rule we covered… to be very purposeful in your shopping in the future.

Unwanted gifts are something else you should part with immediately. These things are yours. The decision of whether to keep them is also yours.

Put Things in Their Place

Another important rule of de-cluttering that will help you keep your home organized and uncluttered is to make sure all of your possessions have a designated place and to always return them there.

Knowing where stuff belongs makes it easier to keep everything tidy and lowers the chance of clutter becoming a recurring problem.

Put things in their place

These rules of de-cluttering aren’t a definitive list on clearing out the clutter, and they won’t remove all of the difficulties from the process.

Hopefully, though, they will serve as guidelines to help you begin your own de-cluttering journey.

What Rules of De-Cluttering do you use?

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