Declutter Decision Making 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 it is 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 hobbies, 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 if any 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) The same could be said for an item were it to break would you replace it or be secretly relieved that is is gone and you didn’t have to make the decision to declutter it.
  • “What the heck are you and what on earth is your purpose?:- If you find you need to ask this question of an object then it could very well be clutter but I advise checking with every member of the family first because it could very well be an important part to something. Chances are thought it is rubbish. (Thanks go to Toffee for this addition to the list)

Thank you Donna Tressler for your contribution to this list.