5 Questions To Help You Declutter

Sometimes, in order to declutter our minds, we need to first declutter our environments.  This means getting rid of physical stuff we don't need!  I can't tell you how good I feel once I've organized and completely decluttered some disaster of an area in my house or office.  I cleaned out and organized my pantry a few months ago and would occasionally go in there... just to stare and admire my handiwork; it was so calming!!  So, one of my goals this year is to completely de-clutter my house - from top to bottom.  I figured I could tackle a room every month or two and be completely clutter free by the end of the year!

Hoarder HouseA rental property we purchased in dire need of decluttering and cleaning.

So to help me in my pursuit to declutter the stuff in my house, here are five questions I ask before making the decision to eliminate something from my life:

Can I get away without this item?

The key concept behind this question is do you have something else that you own that could fulfill the same function as this item?  If yes, then this item is a candidate for removal!  I had a Crock Pot and a Ninja Cooking System that is a crock-pot, stove-top and oven.  Do I need both items?  Of course not!  Do I have space for both?  Not really.... so time for a quick decision.  Good bye, Crock Pot!

Ninja Cooking Oven

What's the worst that could happen if I got rid of this item, and needed it later?  What would I do?

Answering this question really helps alleviate any fears about not having the item around later.  In the case of my Crock Pot, I had a Ninja that could essentially perform the same function so this was a no-brainer.  However, if the answer to this question is "buy a new one", then maybe perhaps you need to rethink about getting rid of the item.  Continue on with the other questions to help you decide...

Can someone else use this item more than me?

This helps to determine whether the item is going into the donation or resale pile or just thrown in the trash.  Nine times out of ten, if the item is in clean, good working order, I donate all my items to Goodwill, but there are lots of local charities looking for donated items too!  Donating items to charities is not only usually easier than reselling or organizing a garage sale, but also provides some tax advantages as well.  Plus, it just feels darn good to give!  To resell one-off bigger ticket items in great condition, I usually post to a local Facebook group or list it on LetGo or Craigslist.

When was the last time I used this item?

Be honest with this question!  If you can't remember the last time you used that item, then maybe you should get rid of it.  Plus, when you keep items with the hope or expectation of using it in the future, this often causes you to feel weighed down and guilty for not using it in the first place.  Do I really need that chafing dish that has been collecting dust in my garage for 12 years?  Probably not.   So let go and free yourself!  You only have guilt to lose... and space to gain!

Chafing Dish

Does this item spark joy for me?

This question is taken from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which discusses the concept that our personal belongings elicit feelings in us.  This is why the things we usually give up are the items that make us feel dissatisfied or in emoji terms, "meh".  I have kept lots of pictures, knick-knacks and hand crafted items from my son, not because they provide any functional value for me, but because they spark joy in my heart when I look at them.  When going through the decluttering process, pay attention to the feelings you get with each item and you'll be surprised to find that this is the case!

Home Made Valentine's Day Card

Special thanks to BrightpeakFinancial for their insights on a simpler, clutter-free life!

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