Most of the time we’re not even aware that we’re creating our own clutter.
Here, Good Housekeeping talked to professional declutterer and organizer Vicky Silverthorn about which items she would never buy.
Her answers may surprise you.
1. “If I already own an item that does a job, I would never buy something that does the same job”
It’s easy to accumulate all manner of kitchen gadgets and tools. If you have a versatile knife that does most jobs, you probably don’t need a separate apple corer or a chopper and dicer.
Aim to streamline your kitchen by cleaning out and sorting through your cupboards. If you find you have several tools that do the same thing, narrow it down to the most versatile item and pop the others in the charity box.
2. “I would never buy multiples of any item for the sake of it”
“Some people go to a book shop, get over-excited and end up buying a big pile of books to take home,” said Silverthorn.
Instead, buy one book at a time and when you’ve finished it, consider giving it to a friend or a charity shop. That way you won’t amass a pile of books that you need to find room for in the future.
3. “I would never buy new storage until I’d done a declutter”
“I always say that rather than go and buy a load of boxes or a huge wardrobe to accommodate all your things, you should declutter first, then purchase storage for what you have remaining,” said Silverthorn.
Also, if you tend to buy big storage boxes, you’re creating more room to accumulate things. Choose the next size down and edit your items to fit.
4. “I always buy for my actual life, not the person I want to be”
There are so many products that promise to improve our lives in some way, like bread makers and smoothie machines.
Likewise, some people buy clothes a size too small in the hope that they’ll lose weight, or they’ll purchase craft supplies for a new project that they realistically won’t make.
Instead, try to make mindful and considered purchases.
5. “I don’t get seduced by special offers that lead to stockpiling”
How many times have we bought products in bulk just because they’re on sale? There is a temptation to stockpile grocery items and treat our cupboards like a supermarket warehouse.
Keep in mind that there will always be discounts and special offers. You’ll have more space in your home if you don’t have spares of everything.
This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.