First things first.
Yes, this is the first important step for decluttering your home. If you don't do this, you will feel that your efforts are useless which can be really frustrating.
There are many ways to get rid of things that enter your home without your consent (or your knowing for that matter). I'm thinking here about printed publicity, gifts (yes gifts), free samples, plastic bags, etc.
Do you realize how much publicity there is out there? And if you're like me, you put it directly to the recycling bin 95% of the time.
Since I am in Québec, this is a great article from "Protégez-vous" that will give you the "Advertising peace". This covers more than printed publicity:
- Phone sollicitation
- Spam and Web advertising
- SMS sollicitation
- Mailbox publicity
- Canada Post publicity
The actions and calls you need to do should be different depending on the place you live. Please don't hesitate to write down in comments how you successfully get rid of publicity and advertising in your country or region.
Gifts (yes gifts)
Have you ever heard of the No Gift Act? This is a concept that will simplify your Christmas holiday and overall, your whole life!
It doesn't mean that you offer no gift at all, but it encourages you to be smarter about it.
What is a Christmas gift? A Christmas gift is something that you budget (let's say $40) for buying something (a green scarf) for someone (your sister) without being really sure that she will like it (unfortunately, she would had preferred the black gloves and will exchange it).
And, since it's Christmas time, you had to pay full price (you bought it in December, the scarf will be reduced 30% in March) and stressed about it (because you were last minute as usual - Or is it just me?).
And this goes the other way around! Your sister bought you a $40 purse that you won't use because yours is still in great condition. It will rest in your closet until needed (2 years, and may be out of style then). So big question: Why not keep $40 to ourselves and just enjoy some family quality-time together? No stress, no last minute shopping. And no unneeded item that enters our home. Ah!
This one is easy. Just avoid it.
I still have many samples hidden in drawers, my purse, my bathroom... Never used.
You won't use it, you don't need it.
Another really simple. Don't use plastic bags at the grocery store.
I am still fighting to get rid of bread and milk plastic bags. I will need to change my shopping habits I guess.