Organizing Blog

Let's Talk About Stuff: How to Stop the Incoming


Anyone who has heard a Major Mom presentation has heard that one of the best ways to have a clutter-free home is to "Stop the incoming." But what exactly does "Stop the incoming!" mean and how do you do it?   

STOP THE INCOMING = Preventing clutter by decreasing the amount of "stuff' that comes into your home.  

STUFF comes in all forms: mail, hand-me-downs, bulk foods, toys, clothes, cosmetics, nick-knacks, electronics, collections, supplies, etc.  

Start New Habits  

Have you ever felt that you had your home organized and then weeks or months later the space was a chaotic scene again? One reason this happens is because there is too much INCOMING STUFF for the space and systems to support! It's time to look at your habits of acquiring. Do you buy more than you need? Do people give you more than you need? Be very aware of what you allow into your home. Put objects through a "filter" of questions before letting them in. Do I need this? Do I want this? Do I have space for this; where would it go? Do I have something that I could use already? 

Consider Needs VS Wants

Many of us have a grey area between things we "need" and things we "want." Humans need clothes, food, shelter, spirituality, loved ones, information and entertainment to lead happy and healthy lives. Most of us already have everything we need in order to thrive and live comfortably. Are you tempted by things you want but don't need? Put that money aside that you were going to use to buy things and instead use it for an experience that will create new memories: a road trip, a day touring things in your community, a nice dinner, an afternoon at an amusement park or a spa, etc.  


Stop yourself when you feel like you want more. 
"Look at all you have. Enjoy it. You don't need anymore." 
"Life is about experiences, not about what you have."  

Write a personal mantra for youself and post it in visible places such as your clothes closet, kitchen pantry, or rooms that showcase a collection of yours. Put your statement in your wallet around your credit/debit card. Select a "mantra buddy" whom you can call or text when you are tempted to purchase stuff or pick up 'freebies.' Instruct your buddy to remind you of your  commitment to "Stop the Incoming!"  

Set Physical Boundaries 

Give items designated homes and limit the amount of things to what fits in that space. If you have food going to waste or pantry items that expire, then discontinue your "overflow" pantry and stick to using one pantry space. Establish an area for books and once your book collection no longer fits in that space donate old books you haven't referenced lately. Set limits in your closets, drawers and cabinets. If items don't fit, don't keep them! Do you have a collection that you treasure? Display them, but don't let them overtake your home. Set a boundary to a hutch, one wall, or one room. Remember, YOU get to set the boundaries, so create boundaries that work for you. 

Look for Opportunities to Opt Out  

Do phone books that arrive at your front door go straight to the recycle bin? Opt out!
Does junk mail annoy and overwhelm you? Opt out!   

Share Your Values with Others 

Share with your family that you don't want all the stuff of a loved one who has passed away--that you will gladly accept what you need and the few select treasures that you truly value. It is more honorable to pass things on to others who could use them than to store things up in boxes in your home, garage, or storage area. 

Inform friends and family that you are no longer adding to your collection of butterflies, cows, toy cars, figurines, or whatever your collection may be. Let them know that you would rather spend your time traveling or going to the movies than dusting your collection.  

If you don't want more stuff, then give people alternative choices if they like to shower you with gifts: movie gift cards, restaurant gift cards, spa day, homemade cookies/breads and other goodies. 

Organization IN-Sight  

Being organized is similiar to being healthy. Both require consistent choices in our day to day lives. Why do people who lose weight quickly gain it back so quickly? Because they go back to their old habits.

Why does the space that you organize look chaotic weeks or months later? Habits were not developed on how to maintain the space.

What are some habits that you could change or develop in order to have a more organized home?


  • have a shopping list and stick to it
  • don't pick up freebies
  • don't buy things simply because it was "too good of a deal to pass up"
  • pass up something you want to buy and see if you remember it in a week
  • put things away after using them
  • label where things go
  • stop giving so much stuff to your kids