I am a pile enthusiast. Mail, clean clothes, dirty clothes, homework – they all have their own pile in my house. Depending on the week, those piles can grow so large I swear they are going to sprout legs and smother me in my sleep! I've realized, there has to be a better way

The only way to keep my piles from becoming monsters was to monitor what was coming into my home. All this stuff wasn't getting into the house without the help of the four of us who live here. After a few observations, it became very clear to me how we were accumulating so much junk! So, I came up with these five rules for bringing less stuff into your home. 

1. Shop Online

Oh, how this protects me from the power of the impulse purchase! Adding the few things I need to my online cart is much safer than me browsing the store aisles.  

2. Use the Rule of 24

When there is an item you or your child(ren) are dying to have, wait 24 hours before purchasing. Having time to think may help you (or your children) realize you really don't need or want that as much as you thought when you first laid eyes on it. 

3. Recycle and Toss First

This is a great way to avoid paper clutter. I have a recycling and trash station in my garage that is my first stop before entering my house. I can recycle any junk mail and random papers from the car, as well as toss out any trash that made it's way into the car or backpacks that day. 

4. 10-Minute Inventory

I am notorious for buying a new can of refried beans when there are already two unused cans of refried beans in the pantry. This also goes for shampoo, floor cleaner, and dental floss. I have learned that if I take a quick, 10-minute walk around the house and note what I already have, it prevents me from buying a second – or third – while out shopping. 

5. Just Say "No!"

I'd be lying if I said I was not a sucker for the $1 items! Sometimes it's hard to tell my kids (and myself) "no," when I only have to part with one dollar. But these items can be the biggest clutter culprits! No matter how cheap a purchase, sometimes the answer needs to be "NO!"

By following just a few of these rules, you will see a significant decrease in the amount of unwanted stuff that enters your home. Having systems in place to manage the clutter will result in a cleaner, more organized home and happier family.