At home this month life is all about spring cleaning and packing. At the museum, one of my projects is revisiting and revising our collections policy. The combination has had me thinking about what my personal" collections policy" is for my home.
Established logic in the museum world is that collections should be built around items that are unique and/or inherently valuable. Anything you cannot properly preserve, care for or display is not a good addition; it only leads to neglect and unnecessary expense - for those items, or for something else of value.
The same is true for our homes. Clutter costs. It costs money, time, energy, and unnecessary stress! Here are a few guidelines that have shaped our "collections policy":
1. Stop the paper clutter before it comes in the door. We currently subscribe to only two magazines; when we're done reading them, they get recycled or shared with someone else. Mail gets sorted immediately upon coming through the door - junk gets shredded, important stuff has a designated spot to await being addressed as promptly as possible. Receipts and other miscellanea are treated the same.
2. Prevent wardrobe sprawl. If we aren't careful, its easy to find huge amounts of space and money tied up in wardrobes bigger than we need or can really appreciate. Look for pieces that fit well, will last and don't duplicate what you already own. Keep the best, weed out the rest.
3. Shop less. The absolute best thing we have done (though we didn't start doing it intentionally) has been to go shopping less often. Get picky on your purchases! Even cheap clutter adds up, often most heavily in things like time and peace of mind. As much as possible, say "no". Things you are going to buy, try to buy well and once.