If you have to shift stuff around in your home to make room for the new stuff you just brought home (and you’re always bringing new stuff home), it may be time to break the clutter habit. Breaking the cycle of buying and keeping too much stuff is just like breaking any other bad habit, you need a plan a techniques to not only get rid of the clutter but to change the behavior. Try the S.M.A.R.T. approach and break the clutter habit for good.

S - Set Goals

Set very specific goals for yourself. It is too vague to say ‘I’m going to quit buying stuff’. Set a specific goal for the end of the day, week and month. For instance, set a goal to sort through and clean out one drawer by the end of the day, clean out one closet by the end of the week and have all outgrown clothes ready to donation by the end of the month. Write the goals down, keep them where they can be seen and stick to them.

M - Monitor Your Action

Mark off each goal on your list as you achieve it. The visual monitor will boost your sense of accomplishment.

A - Arrange Your Environment for Success

If you clean off a cluttered table top, you will pile it high with clutter again unless you arrange your environment for success. Fill a newly cleaned space with something other than clutter, like place a vase of fresh flowers on the clutter-free table top. It will be a visual reminder of how much you’ve accomplished and an encouragement to keep de-cluttering so all areas of your home can look nice.

R - Recruit Support

Those with cluttered living spaces tend to shut family and friends out because of embarrassment. To break the clutter habit, you will need to allow family and friends in to not only help you de-clutter now, but to hold you accountable so you won’t relapse in the future. Tell them to gently remind you in the future if you should start reverting back to your old ways of bringing too much stuff into the house.

T- Treat Yourself

Promise yourself a non-shopping treat once you have reached a goal and/or milestone. A clean, clutter-free room is satisfying, but to have the energy and desire to continue de-cluttering the other rooms requires a littler treat. Schedule time for a small treat like a mani-pedi or movie as a reward for all your hard work.