One of the ways to keep clutter out of your house is buy as little potential cluttter as you can. Sounds logical but it is easy to fall into the trap of buying something that you don’t really need or could have easily done without. For kids, you can also end up buying items for a one-off event that then just lie around the house, never to be used again. I know because I have done it!
Take the last charity day at my daughter’s school where they could go in their pyjamas or as am animal as long at they paid £1. Well, my daughter’s pyjamas are all hand-me-downs so fine for at home but not for wearing all day in public!. Anyway, she wanted to go as an animal, a reindeer in fact.
Being a working Mum and short on time, my first thought was the web and I immediately starting looking for reindeer costumes. But the cheapest I could find was £27 which was a ridiculous amount to pay for a one day charity event, however short of time I was.
Save money and stop clutter coming through the door
So I then started to think hard about how we could make her an outfit she would happy with and realised that we could make up a costume out of what we had already. We had a furry antlers hair band, still in her dressing up clothes from a few Christmases ago, dark brown trousers from a Viking outfit that I had bought for a school Viking day, a suede-look waistcoat from another dressing up costume and mid-calf suede boots (from Next); teamed with a black long-sleeved t-shirt she looked and felt great.
Cost – nothing; additional clutter – none.
You can also apply this principle to meals. Instead of succumbing to a takeaway or buying a pre-cooked meal, think about what you already have in your cupboard or fridge. You could have omelettes, stir-fry tuna and rice, doorstep ham sandwiches and salad… – use up rather than buy more. It took me a while to get used to this way of thinking but it really does save money and wastes less food.
If you are always buying crafting materials, try using up what you already have rather than keep buying more. The ‘use what you have’ group on Flickr has some great photos of how members have used up their wool ‘stash’ – http://www.flickr.com/groups/usewhatyouhave/pool/