I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “we need to get rid of half the stuff in this house.”
Then I try to figure out what to get rid of, and I get stuck! I glance through my stuff and I can’t see anything that needs to go. It’s a dead end.
If you’ve experienced a similar situation, I have help.
It’s called reverse decluttering. (And, yes, I just made that term up.)
Instead of looking around your space to identify what to get rid of, you focus on giving each item a permanent home. In the course of doing this, you will naturally find several items that you don’t need.
It shifts the focus from what you want to get rid of to what you want to keep.
Also, if there isn’t a home for an item, it needs to go. If you really want to keep it, you’ll have to remove something else to give it a home.
Plus it’s so, so much easier to keep your home tidy when everything has a clear home.
Speaking of decluttering, here are some helpful questions I like to ask myself when I declutter (plus a free printable of the questions so you can keep them close by):
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?
If I were moving soon, would I keep it?
Would I purchase this again if I didn’t already have it?
That’s really all you need to ask. If you don’t use it or love it, then it needs to go. This is really just making room for the things that you do use and love. Imagine if you were surrounded only by things that you use regularly or really make you smile.
So, why is it so difficult? Those questions are fairly common sense, really. Here are the common objections to getting rid of things and what to do about them:
Sentimental Clutter: These are things we are tempted to hang onto because someone special gave them to us, because they remind of something special, or just because we feel like we should. I’m not opposed to some sentiment, but if we hang onto everything, it loses its value. If someone gave you something that you don’t need, it won’t do them one bit of good for you to keep storing it. Better to appreciate the thought behind the gift, and pass it on to someone who will use it. For items that trigger memories, consider keeping and displaying just a few items, then photographing the rest. A photo takes up less space, but lets you keep the memory.
Aspirational Clutter: These are things we wish we used on a regular basis, but we don’t. This would be things like scrapbooking materials for the scrapbooks you plan to create “someday” or exercise equipment that you haven’t touched. These are emotionally difficult to part with because we have to face the fact that we aren’t going to complete those scrapbooks or that we don’t exercise regularly. However, facing these things can be incredibly freeing! I recently got rid of all my rubber stamping supplies. I used to enjoy making cards. I wish I had time to regularly make cards, but I don’t. All my free time and creative energy is spent on the blog and Etsy shop, so I needed to part with some other hobby items. I honestly just felt free after I got rid of those things. I no longer had to feel guilty for not using those items, and I’m sure someone else can enjoy them.
Expensive Clutter: It’s hard to get rid of things that cost us a lot of money. However, even if something was expensive, but we’re not using it, then getting rid of it is simply admitting the truth. It was already a bad purchase. Getting rid of it won’t change that.
I Might Use This Someday Clutter: There are many items we have that we might possibly use someday. Don’t keep those things!! Yes, there could be a situation in 5 years where I would need the 12 three-ring binders from my college days, but it’s not worth the cost of storing them all those years. If I really need them, I’ll just purchase new ones. Ninety percent of the time, you will never actually use those things. It’s worth the small cost for the ten percent of things you would have been able to use. Also, if you keep everything you might use someday, you may not be able to find what you need when you need it and be forced to repurchase it anyway.
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