Nothing is more intimidating than the idea of decluttering your home. Though most of us love clean, open spaces, they aren’t always achievable. We all have “stuff,” and some of us don’t want all the stuff we have, but we’re not sure how to get rid of that stuff. The following questions will help you think about what you should keep and what you might want to consider getting rid of to achieve a cleaner, clearer, more spacious space.
1. Is it worth keeping if you’re decluttering your home?
Pick up an item you’re not sure if you want to keep. Ask yourself why you have it. Is it pretty? Useful? Does it spark joy?
Here’s a harsh bit of advice: If it is in the “I might need it someday” category, be ruthless and throw it out! Those “maybes” eventually turn into clutter.
2. Is this something I’ve used in the past year?
Though this applies more to clothes and kitchen utensils than decor pieces, it is still a valid question. Consider whether you’re likely to use it in the next six months if you haven’t used it in the last year (for example, maybe you forgot you had it). If the answer to both questions is “no,” donate it.
3. Does this item still appeal to me?
Styles change and evolve. Make sure you don’t keep the items you’ve grown to dislike. It is possible to see a piece so often that it almost ceases to exist. Take a close look at these items while you’re decluttering – you might even want to move them. You can then evaluate and replace them if they no longer meet your needs.
4. Is it something I love?
How much do you really love the item in question? You may have loved it in the past, but is it something that you love at this moment?
There have been many times when I have settled for “close enough.” When I used to shop, I would have an idea about what I thought I needed. I would go to multiple stores and settle for “good enough” if I couldn’t find what I wanted.
As I decluttered my home, I let go of many of those “good enough”‘ items I didn’t really want. Dealing with past purchases and asking yourself if you love them can inform how you shop.
5. Is this something I would want to keep if I moved?
You can use this litmus test to decide if you like or need an item. Whether it’s a sweater you only wear once a year or the five kitchen spatulas you have, it’s helpful to pare down as if you were moving.
6. Is there anything else I have that could serve the same purpose?
Could anything else do the same job as this?
You often don’t need multiple items that serve the same purpose. How many blankets do you really need? Do you need to keep every book you’ve ever read? Why so many flower vases? Do you need all that fine China that you literally have never used?
7. Could I borrow this instead?
For occasional-use items, this is a great question to ask. There are many big and bulky things that we store, but that rarely get used. Examples include tools, yard equipment, and some kitchen appliances. Consider letting go of your pressure washer or bread maker if you rarely use them and they are taking up precious space in your home, and borrow them when needed from a neighbor, friend, or family member.
8. Why have I kept this?
People have various rationales for holding onto clutter. Work through those feelings and thoughts if you hold onto items due to sentimental reasons or negative emotional attachments.
Have a conversation with the people you are saving items for to ensure they actually want them. Don’t hold on to things out of guilt or duty. Take this opportunity to reclaim your home and use it the way you like.
9. Will I actually be able to repair this?
What are you holding onto that you plan to glue, sew, solder, or buy replacement parts for? Do it if you have the time to spare. If, however, those items have been sitting around for months or years, it is likely that you will not have time to repair them. It may not be a priority.
10. Why do I have three of these?
Multiples of an item are common. In a cluttered environment, you may forget what you already own or be unable to find it. We spend a lot of time and money searching for lost items or buying duplicates.
Be realistic about how many of each item you need. Remember that the more possessions you acquire, the harder it becomes to maintain them. That’s key to decluttering your home.