Stuffing the Days of the Week

“Why does stuff keep piling up?” “How did all of this stuff get here?” These are questions/exclamations we hear often. Indeed, the constant accumulation of stuff seems a mystery to many.

You may have heard of the one in-one out expectation. Many people only consider this idea in the context of purchasing clothes. So if you buy a shirt, one of your existing shirts needs to be deleted in some fashion. Of course, one in-one out only maintains the amount of stuff you have. If you want to decrease your stuff, then you must practice the one-in-two-out expectation.

The major flaw in the one in-one out expectation is that if it is done at all, it is often only with clothes. We rarely consider practicing it with other items that come into our home.

How Stuff Enters Your Home
So let’s look at the stuff that might enter your home in a week:

Sunday
-Newspaper – Read only part of it; keep ads in case something need to buy. Left read sections on the desk.
-Printed a couple of emails with cute jokes. 

Monday
-Notification from school about an event in three weeks on the kitchen counter.
-Kids’ homework for the week – related supplies & papers are scattered around the home all week.
-Bag of toiletries purchased. Some were put away, others are in a bag to go upstairs.
-Too busy to read the newspaper, so it’s on the kitchen counter. 

Photo by NS Newsflash

Photo by NS Newsflash

Tuesday
-Two catalogs and a weekly magazine are left on the kitchen counter.

-Printed an event invitation to show to spouse. He puts it on the counter at dinner time.
-Read only part of the newspaper. Non-read sections are on the floor.

Wednesday
-Three bags of groceries. The perishables are put away, but non-perishables are in bag on floor because you got distracted. 
-Mail: two credit card offers & a bill are in a pile on the kitchen table.

Thursday
-Medication refilled. Medication itself put in bathroom, but accompanying paperwork is on kitchen counter.
-Freebies (from a store, tradeshow, etc) are scattered in several places
-Read only part of the newspaper and left it on the table.

Friday
-Package of coupons, monthly magazine, catalog all put on the kitchen counter
-Week’s worth of schoolwork is in backpacks on floor
-Too busy to read newspaper. 

Saturday
-Purchases from a home improvement store. Some items were used, but others left in bag.

These are just some examples. And this is just the physical stuff, not the electronic items that remained on the computer! No wonder you may be overwhelmed by stuff!

Six Tools to Decrease the Stuff Overwhemlm

Let me give you six tools to decrease the stuff-overwhelm:

  1. Decrease the number of magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Consider only getting the Friday-Sunday paper.
  2. Call and cancel catalogs you don’t order from on a regular basis. Remember you can find the info on line. You can also sign up again anytime.
  3. Opt-out of credit card offers.
  4. Put away any purchases as soon as you bring them in the house. It is much quicker to do this when you know what’s in the bag than when you have multiple bags with many different items. Plus then you’ll be able to find the items when you need them.
  5. Create specific places for landing and taking-off. These may or may not be the same location.
  6. So that you don’t get overwhelmed by the various ways to decrease stuff-overwhelm, choose your biggest type of “incoming” stuff and for the next month, process it on a regular basis.