The journey of frugality occasionally requires us to stock up to save money over the long term. Stocking up can be from small nails and screws to the food pantry and plastic containers for leftovers. Over time you want to make a limit for yourself on how much you will stock up on items, like cereal box liners. For some it is a number and others it is space.

The process of sorting can be overwhelming when you have reached your limit. Consider doing the sorting before you stock up on an item. I consider a few of these ideas before I fill out forms for free items. It cuts down what is coming into the house right off the bat.

1. Don't Keep Things You Don't Like 
--This may sound obvious, but it's amazing how many people have things in their homes that they're really not fond of. It could be a coat that you never wear because you don't like the style or how they fit, but you're keeping it because it was an expensive purchase. It may be an old, ugly piece of furniture catching dust in your basement that you're only keeping because it belonged to a loved one. The bottom line is, if you don't like it, it should not have a place in your home. Donate it or freecycle it to someone who will enjoy it.

2. If You're Keeping It for Someone Else 
--Remember, your home is not the town storage facility. If you're holding on to things for your daughter who is now married with kids, pass on those items to her so she can decide whether to keep or toss them. If you and your next door neighbor recently had a rummage sale together at your home, and your neighbor's goods that did not sell are still in your house, have her come pick them up or offer to have a charity pick them up if she no longer wants them. Give them a time-frame in which they need to pick it up or it goes elsewhere under your own discretion, send the information via email so you have a record of your communication since these types of situations can get tricky. Your storage should be reserved for you and the family members currently living in your home.
flickr/cc - janetmck

3. Aim to Reduce by a Definite Number
--When getting rid of clutter in a specific area, have a goal in mind. That is, a specific goal. Saying you want to get rid of some clutter is very vague. But saying you want to get rid of 20 items, only keeping 4 items or 50 percent of the clutter, is very specific. Focus on reaching your definite goals. And if you can't decide, bring in a trusted second opinion to look over the choices and provide an alternative viewpoint.

4. When You Buy Something New, Get Rid of Something Old
--If you just keeping adding possessions, without getting rid of anything, you home will soon be overflowing. The rule in this house when it comes to baseball caps is "one in, one out"; that means that the decision has to be made before the hat is brought home sometimes because they know they don't want to get rid of any of their hats.

5. Never Say Never
--If you constantly feel like you're drowning in clutter and you don't believe you'll ever be able to surface, the chances of you getting rid of your clutter are pretty slim. Never say you'll never get rid of the clutter. Always have a positive, can-do attitude and believe in yourself. Never allow your clutter to rule your life. You're in charge.
a. Do it in small chunks of space or items at a time
b. Set the timer for 15- 30 minutes and go at the clutter as quick as possible
c. Be callous in your decisions, unless it is important paperwork related to taxes, birth, death, marriage and insurance documents. You will know them when you see them. 
d. Congratulate yourself when you are done, whether large or small.

Other Sites to Help:
✭ - The FlyLady's Simple FLYing Lessons Will Show You How to Get Your Home and Your Life in Order
✭ - Articles, tips and free printables to help you clean house, cut clutter and organize life at home
✭ - Offers tools, ideas and articles. Features monthly checklists, a discussion forum, e-courses and a newsletter.
✭ - Recent blog posts on Ultra-small living in downtown Tokyo and the uncluttering process is that silver wrapping paper


  1. tekgems // Wednesday, November 17, 2010 1:39:00 PM  

    Food or bio products that have a shelf life. Food and drinks are best new. Bio and medical products work best new. Stocking up is okay as long as you can use the stuff quickly or have a clear plan to distribute it (work, shelter, friends, donation, etc).