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Once you have made the effort to de clutter how do you maintain it?

What I do … First, learn to politely decline offers of stuff.   I know immediately if I won’t use it, can’t fit it, etc. and instead of taking things to be nice I have become a professional No Thank You-er .  Secondly, we have a 1 in 1 out rule for most household items, toys included.  If we have to get something new it usually means that something is no longer useful .. get rid of it!  Recycle it, Freecycle it, sell it …. what ever it takes make sure that it is out of your house … I pack up hand-me-down bags, donation bags, consignment bags, etc. and keep them in the car so when I have a free minute I can get them to their new homes.  Pack em up, move em out!

Have a game plan for your incoming items  … bills, catalogs, junk mail, cards, kid’s school work (what am I missing?).

Go paperless as much as possible!  Set up email alerts for your bills and pay them online.  I am not a sentimental sort so cards are not a big deal for me I recycle them, but if you are a keeper there are great ways to store them  http://www.organizeit.com/plastic-greeting-card-organizer.asp or even better if you are the crafty sort do something wonderful with them  http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/reuse-holiday-greeting-cards.html.  The same applies for the for the kid’s art and school work, I keep the wonderful stuff in box by grade http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10009754&N=&Ntt=paper+storage and the rest of the paper I get from school I use as scrap.

There are also a bunch of great ways to reduce unwanted mail ….

Be an active participant in your clutter free existence … make the effort it’s worth it!