Keeping clutter under control can be tough when you are short on time and energy. Your best bet is to keep clutter from accumulating in the first place. (To find out how to deal with clutter once it has taken over your entire space, read here.)
1. Put everything in its place at least once a week. You can do a big tidy-up on Saturday or tidy up a little bit every night, but the goal is to make sure that every object has a home and that no piles are allowed to accumulate.
2. Be very careful about using shopping as a form of recreation. Be very wary of sales, freebies, two-for-one deals, etc. Remember, only YOU have control of what comes into your house.
3. When people ask you want for your birthday/Christmas/etc., tell them tickets to events or a gift certificate to a spa or a restaurant. Have the grandparents buy the kids memberships to the zoo or museum or Itunes gift cards. Anything that’s not an object.
4. Don’t use the mall as a hangout, escape, playdate or walking venue. It’s more than likely that you will stop to look in a few stores, making it extremely likely that you will buy something you don’t need.
5. Make sure everyone in your house knows to put things back where they found them. To do this, they will have to be aware of where things go. This is where labels come in. Read more about using labels in your house here.
Every house winds up with some clutter in it sooner or later (even the homes of professional organizers!) The trick is to understand how it ended up in your house, so you can prevent that from happening in the future.