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10 Common Items You Shouldn’t Buy If You Want to Have a Clutter-Free Home

How many of these "future clutter" items are you guilty of buying?

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Novelty items

These days it seems like you can buy everything from serving platters to door mats in seasonal styles. Yes, you need a few serving platters; but do you really a set shaped like summer flip-flops? Buying the novelty versions of everyday essentials like shower curtains, soap dispensers, throw blankets, serving spoons, and drinking glasses limits their ability to be used year-round. They take up valuable storage space year-round only to be used a day or two out of the year. And for the few novelty items you can’t dispense with, use these decluttering storage tips to keep them out of sight, but at the ready.

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Trendy clothes

Stop scooping up the must-have style of the season. Just because everyone else is buying animal print sweaters or cold-shoulder blouses doesn’t mean you have to add them to your closet. After the fashion fad fades you’ll be left with even more clothes closet clutter. Instead of buying into every trend choose one of two inexpensive, fashionable pieces that you feel comfortable wearing, then declutter by donating them at the end of the season.

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Kitchen gadgets

All the must-have, single-use, kitchen gadgets seem helpful, until you try them and find out they are more trouble than they are worth. That’s when they are banished to the overstuffed gadget drawer, which you have to declutter. A clever decluttering tip is to choose multi-purpose products. Start your decluttering efforts by eliminating these eight kitchen gadgets that are not worth the money.

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Clearance and dollar bin items

The thrill of the hunt is sifting through bins of low cost items in search of a treasure; the reality is you’ll need to store it once you get it home. But cluttering up your home is not a bargain so steer clear of the temptation.

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Organizing solutions

Just buying the organizing solution does not make you more organized, you have to use it to help you declutter. All those bins, baskets, and boxes you’re spending money on are taking up much-needed storage space. Stop stockpiling drawer organizers, label makers, containers, and other solutions. Instead, focus on paring down the clutter so there are fewer things to store; which means you will need far fewer organizing solutions.

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Fad cookware

It only seems like everyone is making mini pies in a mini pie maker. And yes, most of us still own a cake pop maker that has never been un-boxed. One of the best decluttering tips is resist bringing home the current have-to-have cookware in the first place. If you ever need it, there is a good chance your neighbor, who has less willpower, will own one you can borrow.

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Craft supplies

Buying crafting supplies for future crafting projects creates clutter since there is a good chance you will never follow through on completing the project. Buying an item to use later, even if you have a coupon or the item is on sale, it is no bargain since you’ll have to store it until you are ready to craft. But by that time there is a good chance you’ll forget you bought it, misplaced it, want a different version, or have decided not to craft at all. Here’s a decluttering tip, if you are feeling crafty look thought your current craft collection for inspiration instead of buying more craft supplies destined to become clutter. Already did the deed? Don’t panic. Follow these tips by KC Davis to declutter your house efficiently.

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Seasonal décor

While it is might be fun to splurge on a new seasonal item, what’s not fun is trying to find a place to keep it for the next year. All those festive décor items become dust-collecting clutter. Before you pull out your wallet ask yourself, “Do I want to spend time organizing this a year from now?”

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“As Seen On TV” products

These tempting impulse purchases arrive at your door in about two weeks, long after the motivation to use them has passed. That means they end up as clutter sitting in the garage or shoved in the back of a closet. Since it is too expensive to pay the return shipping they become one of the more difficult items to declutter because you paid good money for them and feel guilty just tossing them. A good tip to remember is: just don’t buy them in the first place.

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And finally, you can add hand-me-downs from well-intentioned friends and neighbors and all the free things to the list of almost instant clutter. Sure, you don’t have to pay for them… yet. But you will have to buy storage containers to corral all that “free” clutter. Do you really want to give up storage space for all those promotional pens, jar openers, wall calendars, magnets, and clothes from a neighbor that she didn’t like either? Next, read about these organizing ideas you’ll wish you knew all along.

Jamie Novak
Jamie Novak is a cleaning and organizing expert with more than 20 years of experience. When she's not on deadline, you can find her searching for the mango slicer that mysteriously disappeared from her kitchen utensil drawer. The author of "Keep This, Toss That: The Practical Guide to Tidying Up," she covers cleaning and organizing for RD.com.