Some time ago I compiled a decision making guide for my readers to use as a tool to help them choose what should stay and what should go. I haven’t mentioned it for a while so I thought I might bring it to the fore today so that you can refresh your minds on the strategies of letting go. So here is the guide…
Questions to ask yourself when you are deciding what stays and what goes when decluttering.
- How long since I last used this:- If you are keeping an item just because maybe you might need it some day then it is probably clutter.
- Is it still useful to me:- Do I still use this item or even participate in the activity that this item is used for if not then it’s clutter.
- Is it in working condition:- If an item is broken and you do not have the expertise to repair it or you are not prepared to pay the price to have it fixed then it is clutter.
- How many do I have and how many do I need:- If you have multiples of a certain item but only ever need one then the others are most likely clutter.
- Do I need this item for the information it contains:- So much information is right at your finger tips these days on your computer and it is constantly updated do you really need to keep a library of books whose information may or may not stand the test of time.
- Do I like it:– If you are keeping something that was given to you even though you do not like it, it is definitely clutter.
- Do I really need this item in order to remember good times or lost loves:-If it is an item that has purely sentimental value yet you never get it out and look at it then there is a good chance you don’t need it to remind you of the good times you had and the wonderful people you have known. If it means so much to you put it out where you can see it if not let it go.
- Am I keeping this item out of guilt:- I paid a lot of money for this so I hope one day I will get my money’s worth out of it (old hobby items, sporting equipment, expensive clothing all fall into this category). These are the items you need to cash in on now and sell while they are still useful to someone else.
- Do I want to clean it:- Any item out on display will require dusting at least.
- Do I want to store it:-Do you have the space to store this item or is it just taking up precious space you can’t afford.
- Do I want to move it out of the way when looking for something else:- The more items you have taking up space in your home the more likely they are going to get in the way of each other forcing you to have to shuffle things around when you do have cause to use them.
- Does it have a real purpose other than looking pretty:-This one speaks for itself. Although I like to have some nice objects to enjoy just for their appearance there is a limit to how many I can accommodate or justify.
- Will I be tired of it in six months:- This is a good question to ask before even acquiring an item in the first place.
- Do I want to pack and unpack this item when we move in a couple years:- This is a critical question for anyone who tends to move location on a reasonably regular basis due to work commitments for example.
- If this item had been taken from you and sold to a pawn shop (by a junkie friend or an evil in-law, whatever) would you buy it back? :- I bet there will be a lot of items that you wouldn’t waste your money on, however low the cost. These are the things that need to go! (Thanks Gogol for this tip)
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This guide can be a great help especially when sentimentality or “I might need it some day” ideas starts seeping in. These days I rarely have to think past “Do I want this item cluttering up my house or do I want it gone?” Gone usually wins. My desire to declutter my home now tends to override any petty reasons for keeping things that aren’t loved or well utilised. The chances are if you are considering an item for decluttering it is probably just that, clutter.
I never look at the pots and pans, my hairbrush, my one pair of slippers, the kitchen trash can or anything else I use everyday and think “Should I declutter those?” because I know they are useful. Same goes for useful items I use less regularly (such as my ironing board, the hairdryer, our ladder, or the immersion blender) or items I constantly enjoy like artworks, what’s left of my craft tools and my potted plants. Most other stuff that doesn’t fit into one of those categories does eventually end up as the focus of my declutter radar and is therefore more than likely clutter. Some things do pass the decision making test but that is a personal choice not because the item is essential to my existence. These items usually come under more scrutiny not to much further in the future and often end up sold or in the donation pile in the end.
So if all else fails and you still can’t come to a conclusion on a certain item then skip it and move on to something simpler to declutter. Chances are you will become more ruthless soon enough and wonder why you found in so hard to pull the trigger in the first place.
Today’s Mini Mission
Spy and declutter something shiny.
Today’s Declutter Item
These shiny gold bowls were given to me by my mother. I owned a couple of cups in the same style so she thought I would like the bowl which I did. They remind me of my grandmother and they are a good shape for eating cereal from. However I own plenty of other bowls that take up a lot less room that are also good for eating cereal from so these don’t need to clutter up my kitchen. I still have and use the cups that remind me of my grandmother and that is enough.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
Winning $10 on a scratch lottery ticket. I can exchange it for two more tickets and perhaps this time I will win a fortune. If not I will have had a few minutes of fun anticipation while scratching them. It is good to be easily amused. 😉
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast