Maybe this has happened to you before. You’re on your way home and you realize you need to stop at the store to pick up a handful of things — a missing ingredient for dinner, laundry detergent, or a piece of poster board for your child’s project that’s due…tomorrow. As a professional organizer I have one thing to say:  clutter alert! These unplanned, last-minute trips to the store can lead to clutter as unneeded (but oh-so desirable) items that somehow find their way into your shopping cart.

Consider this:  the majority of the clutter in our homes gets there via the checkout aisle at one store or another. So if you struggle with letting go of your belongings, it’s important to arm yourself with strategies to shop intentionally, keeping tomorrow’s clutter out of your home altogether. Here’s how:

Shop with a list to prevent clutter

Shop with a list or without a cart.

A shopping list is my go-to strategy for keeping clutter out of your home. Whether you’re shopping for groceries, personal care items, household goods, or clothing, making a list ahead of time boosts your chances of arriving home with only items you need, instead of eventual clutter.

But what about those last minute “I just need three things (and I can remember them all in my head)” kind of shopping trips? That’s when you shop without a cart. It’s true, shopping without a cart is inconvenient, which is exactly why this is a terrific clutter prevention strategy. When you’re lugging around a heavy, family-size can of peas, or a hefty jug of laundry detergent, or an awkward piece of poster board…you’ll be less likely to browse aimlessly, see things you don’t really need, and arrive home with clutter.

It works for me. What works for you when it comes to preventing clutter? I’d love to hear. Please share in the comments below.


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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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