Yay you! You’ve successfully scaled back! Enjoy the feelings of accomplishment and relief. Less stuff frees emotional energy. Your pared down space physically requires less of your time. You are free to pack up and go at a moment’s notice. Celebrate your liberation!
Now you need to keep it small. You’re only human. You will start re-accumulating stuff if you don’t employ strategies to keep your smaller space as clutter-free as possible.
One in/one out
If you buy something new, get rid of something old. This serves two purposes. You will think twice before purchasing something that duplicates what you already have, or force you to discard an item rendered redundant.
Make rules for gifts
It’s hard to tell family and close friends not to buy you gifts for landmark birthdays or holidays. What you can do is request only consumables or services. Gourmet food, fine wines or liquor, concert or event tickets, a whole house “spring cleaning,” or very specific replacement items are appropriate gifts. You don’t need more stuff.
Shop your closet
Chances are good that you can find a “new” outfit in the clothes you already own. Buy only clothes that are replacing a worn-out item. A good rule is to think of two things already in your closet that would go with the new item. You probably don’t need another lightweight jacket.
Put wastebaskets in every room
It is easy to throw something away if the wastebasket is in reach. Always open your mail next to a wastebasket. Immediately discard all coupons, fliers, catalogs and brochures.
Manage your subscriptions
How many magazines do you actually read on a regular basis? How many could you read instead at the hairdresser, doctor’s office or library? If you moved, don’t send address changes to magazines you never open.
Walk away from the handout
Leave the playbill at the theater. Don’t take the brochure about the food you sampled in the market. Leave the church bulletin at church. Toss the printed guide when you leave the museum. Whatever the information, chances are good you can find it online.
A place for everything and everything in its place
When you set up your new, scaled down space, make sure you designate permanent homes for all your possessions. Group like with like and keep them near where they are used. Every day, set a timer and spend 15 minutes picking up and putting away.
Make your bed every morning
It is amazing how much more organized your whole house appears when your bed is neatly made every day.
Think about what you wanted to accomplish by right-sizing your life. Don’t let lazy habits or old routines overfill your new space. Imagine your new home as a vacation house – light and airy and holding only the essentials. If you can live that way comfortably on vacation for a week or two, why can’t you live as carefree all the time?
Don’t beat yourself up if you backslide a little. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on track!