As with most things in life, clutter is much easier to prevent than it is to eliminate once it has crept into your home and life. Preventing clutter requires a change in habits—doing things differently to avoid letting the clutter in.

Let’s tackle a common form of clutter today, “almost-empty bottle clutter.” You’ve heard of it, right? OK…let me explain.

Almost-empty bottle clutter is a common form of clutter living in showers, under sinks and even in refrigerators. This form of clutter occurs when the user of a bottle (or tube or jar) of a product, such as lotion, shampoo, toothpaste, mustard or even mayonnaise, grows tired of attempting to get the last little bit of product out of the bottle or tube. Instead of fighting with the nearly empty bottle, the user of this bottle reaches for a full and easy to use bottle of the same product. However, instead of pitching the almost-empty bottle of product, it goes back in the fridge, shower or under the sink.

What happens over time is clutter. The almost empty bottles, tubes and jars get shoved to the back of the fridge or bathroom cabinet, while the fresh and nearly full bottles, tubes and jars, make their way to the front.

Prevent this going forward by making a vow to use up your bottles, tubes and jars, before opening a fresh one. (Store your extra products away from your in-use products, so your family has to get in on the use-it-up game, too.)

Having just one in-use bottle of product in your shower, under your sink or in your refrigerator will prevent clutter, and as you may have heard, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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