One Question to Ask When You Declutter
Do you feel like you have too much stuff, but it’s really hard to decide what to actually get rid of? You’re definitely not alone. Usually, it’s not the physical work of actually going through each item that is so hard but the mental work of deciding what you should keep and what you should toss.
However, it’s so important to declutter. Here’s why:
- Once you get rid of something, you never ever have to touch it, clean it, dust it, move it, look at it, or organize it again.
- It’s completely free!
- Any organizing project will be much easier once you are rid of the things you don’t need, use, or love.
- You can often bless others with the things you don’t use anymore.
- It is so mentally freeing.
- You can find the things you do need, use, and love so much easier with all the clutter out of the way.
You’ve probably already heard all the standard questions you should ask yourself when you are determining what to keep. They are all good, valid questions. Things like:
- Do I use it regularly?
- Do I love it?
- Do I have a specific planned use for it?
- What would be the worst case scenario if I got rid of it?
- Do I have the space to store it?
But here’s one really helpful question that you might not have thought of before. When you pick up an item and are trying to decide whether or not to keep it, ask yourself this:
Would I still want to keep this item if I were moving?
For some reason, that question really changes things. When I move, the last thing I want to do is drag unnecessary stuff along. It’s more to pack, more to move, more to unpack, and more to cause clutter in the new place. Here’s the thing: you don’t actually have to be moving to ask yourself that question. Go ahead and ask yourself that about every item in your home, and I bet you’ll find it easier to part with things.
What about you? What questions help you declutter?
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Such a timely article for me! I actually am moving and this is exactly the advice I needed! In the past 17 years in this home I have accumulated soooo much stuff and it cannot all go with me. So thank you for the clarity.
I ask myself – If the basement flooded and this was ruined would I be upset. That question works every time for me – gets me past the “what if I need it someday” or “this is still good”. This helped me get rid of decades of neatly boxed and stacked stuff that was in the basement.
I love this, because our base did get some water once and I was actually relieved to not have to make the decision!
LauraJane SaysPost author
That’s another great question.
When I’m getting rid of clothes I always ask myself “Would I buy this if I saw it at a store today?”
LauraJane SaysPost author
Oh, that’s definitely a great question!
If I am on the fence, I make myself wear it to work that week. That lets me know if I like it or hate it, right away. So many times I’ve come home, washed it, and put it straight into donate!
Both you and Susan are brilliant! Two great questions to ask yourself!
I truly believe my declutter process is going to go much faster now. Thanks to
both of you!????
George Carlin did a bit about how “my junk is stuff and their stuff is junk” (cleaned up, because Carlin) so I ask “Is it Junk of Stuff”
The truth is, if it’s important enough to keep you will make a place for it. If you can’t find/make a place for it, it doesn’t matter that much.
I really do like the question “Would I keep it if I were moving?” We’re moving in 2 months and I plan on getting rid of a lot of junk.
Tina D Says
I have 5 children who come home with so many beautiful keepsakes over the years. I keep the flat items like certificates, artwork, and report cards in a file folder for each child. I have to go through the collection from time to time to declutter the items. I also take photos of the items that don’t fit in the filing cabinet and then discreetly discard or recycle the keep-nots after they’ve been on display in our home. I intend to give each child a small box of their memories when they’ve moved out (and if they still want them) it will be up to them to keep or discard. My oldest child has already left home and didn’t want any of the items. So, I keep the smallest collection for him (should he change his mind one day) that includes his first outfit and certificates and a few art pieces. Some things are best cherished in the moment – and don’t hold any sentimental value with others (Like the one you’re keeping it for!) I also opened an account on an ancestry site and post photos of artifacts, people, and other important notes, so that they are there for curious family members that I may never know personally but who might share in the genealogy interests of our ancestors like me. I love coming to your site and find encouragement from your blogs and emails. 🙂
LauraJane SaysPost author
Great ideas! I also like that you point that some things might hold sentimental in the moment but not later or for others.
Laura, that is absolutely brilliant. I think that this might actually get my butt moving to clear out all the stuff that we have gathered and stored (just in case).
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My mother asks herself this question when decluttering, “Do I want to make my children deal with this when I’m gone?”
I liked the questions you & others mentioned too!