In order for us to live a more frugal life and live below our means it requires that we re-use items instead of going out to buy something new. However, does that mean that our frugality causes us to live in a cluttered house?

There are many uses for bread bags, shower curtains, plastic containers, glass jars and so on. But does that mean that we have to keep it all. Will the guilt be to much to bear if we throw away an item? What are a good number of items to keep for re-use? Is it three, five or one?

It is true that before you toss something you want to pause and ask yourself…

* Can this item be fixed?
* Can this item be re-used in a new way?
* Can this item be donated to someone else?

But still the question arises, how long do we need to hold onto things? Do we apply the 6-12 month rule of non-use to determine that we throw it or give it away?

I believe there is a very fine line between frugal living or even green living and living a VERY cluttered life. There are people who don’t know where to draw that line, because they live in it and it builds ever so slowly around them. There are others who seem to be able to keep only what they need and get rid of the rest without trouble.

How would you answer these questions? To start, at what point do you draw the line when things move into the clutter area? Can you lead a cluttered life and still be frugal?

Perhaps you haven’t even considered it… let us know what you do to separate frugal living and cluttered living.


  1. Chicken Little // Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:38:00 PM  

    I've really had problems with this. You try to save things that could be useful in the future, and the next thing you know, you're tripping over stuff and can't find anything. I end up going on a marathon throw-away session a couple of times a year.

    Like the plastic bags from the grocery store. Are they breeding when I'm not home? I don't know how I got so many. I try to bring my reusable cloth bags with me.

    Today I found spare buttons for jackets that were purchased in the late 80's, and I know the jackets were thrown out at least 5 yeas ago. Now I'm looking at the buttons, wondering whether or not to keep them.

  2. Linda // Friday, June 12, 2009 7:54:00 AM  

    For the buttons: Check with a church or volunteer sewing group of some kind. Our church group uses buttons on dresses we make for orphans in third world countries. They are also shipped with fabric, needles, and other accessories to the same countries for their sewing classes, which enable widows and orphans to learn a trade in order to support themselves.

  3. Nancy // Sunday, August 09, 2009 9:19:00 AM  

    I find it useful to rotate things out of my house if I'm not using them, via freecycle, the curb (I live in a very scavengy neighborhood!), or donation to nonprofits, and then when I discover that I need a like item, I usually know where I can ask for or find one for free. It's a bit of that "what goes around comes around" concept combined with "if you love something, set it free.

    So I end up with an uncluttered house and peace of mind that if I need something, it'll show up one way or another.