When decluttering, how do we decide what to keep? ‘What if’s’ or ‘how much something costs’ shouldn’t play a role when deciding whether to keep it or not.
Here are questions that I think work best because they are both logical and practical and they also focus on how we feel when we are using a particular item.
I sometimes use various questions for different areas because I want to achieve different results. When it comes to socks, kitchen equipment and towels, I prefer focusing on practicality, but for other areas like jewellery, makeup, clothes, shoes and home decor I focus on how I feel.
But that doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Use questions you like and that make sense to you. And you’ll probably declutter more than once anyway, so you can use one of each of the questions for every decluttering session you do.
1. DO I ENJOY USING/WEARING/LOOKING AT THIS ITEM?
I believe this question is the one we should always ask first because there is no point in keeping something that we don’t enjoy using. And maybe you won’t jump for joy for every single thing, but the fact is there must be something you like or get out of every item you own. The more you use the object, the more important it is that you love it.
And if you really want to focus on joy then try changing the question to “Do I LOVE using/wearing/looking at this item?”. This will help you shift perspective and be a bit more honest.
2. DOES THIS ITEM BRING VALUE TO MY LIFE?
Everything we own must give us some value – either it makes our life a little bit easier, a bit better, more comfortable or enjoyable. But if it doesn’t do anything for us, then we have no use for it, and we can let it go.
3. DID I USE THIS ITEM LAST YEAR? AND IF NOT – WHY NOT?
If we didn’t use something for a whole year that is a huge indicator that it’s time for it to go.
But there are usually two big reasons why we hold onto something that we have no use for – either we attached an idea or a dream to it and we don’t want to let go of it (future), or the thing is sentimental (past). If you bought a healthy cookbook with the idea of being healthy, letting go of the book can seem like letting go of an opportunity to feel better. But there are many different ways to get fit, and if this one didn’t work for you, you could always find something else (that actually works).
Or, if the item is sentimental, ask yourself what feeling or memory are you holding onto, and are you scared you will never experience it in the future? Evaluate your fears and find a different way to get what you want because holding onto something won’t really help you get where you want to go.
4. IS THIS ITEM WORTH MY TIME?
We have to take care of everything that we own – wash it, repair it, move it, organise it, clean it, sell it, buy it, find a place for it. So ask yourself – is this item worth my time? Is what you get out of it worth what you have to put into it – or simply put, are the pluses worth the minuses?
If you own a delicate top that needs to be dry cleaned – does wearing it gives you enough enjoyment that you don’t mind taking care of it properly or is it too much hassle?
I, for example, don’t mind delicate items as long as I can take care of them at home, but if something needs to be dry cleaned I don’t buy it because it’s not worth my time.
This is a personal decision to make because we all get different value from different things.
Hopefully, these questions will help you when decluttering and make the process easier and more enjoyable 🙂