Clutter doesn't just "happen". We usually either buy things or have things given to us, and if we don't set up some boundaries and rules about clutter in our lives, before you know it, one thing turns into many things and it takes over our spaces and our lives!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Number 1: Limit Your Collections - Whether is art supplies, keepsakes or your collection of books, limit how much you are allowed to keep. Either have one size container that it all has to fit in (when you get a new item, get rid of an item so they still all fit) or only allow a certain number of something that you will keep. Don't get bigger containers or change your mind on how much you are keeping! Just before you buy that new item for your collection (or accept it for free) remember something else will have to go! This will make sure you choose those things that are most important to you to keep.
Number 2: Use it Or Lose It - Figure out a good way to keep track of whether you use a certain item or not. I have heard that some people at the beginning of the year turn all their hangers backwards and as something is used or worn, they turn them forwards in the closet when they are put back up. At the end of the year, all the backwards hangers (and what is on them) get donated. Or keep a drawer in the kitchen of seldom used items. If you use that funnel (or whatever item) find a new place to keep it. Whatever is left in the drawer after a year, goes. You can get creative with how to keep track of your stuff. Just make yourself promise that whatever doesn't pass the test will go away at the end of the time period you set.
Number 3: No Hiding Allowed - If you keep the things that seem to produce the most clutter for you in open storage where not only you will see, but others will too when they come to your home, you will be more likely to keep things from building up. Closets, cabinets and lidded boxes make it easier to hide a lot of stuff. Open shelving, peg boards for jackets, magazine racks and bookshelves will look nice as long as they aren't overflowing with too many items.
If you are honest with yourself, you know your weaknesses as far as what you have that tends to get out of control. Having a collection or several of something you really like isn't a bad thing in itself. It's when those collections or items start to collect too much and spill into other areas of our homes--and lives--that makes it time to start making some boundaries for yourself and your family. You will be glad you did!