Decluttering is NOT always easy! We get started with really good intentions but then quickly get side-lined by our possessions.
What if I paid “good money” for the item or if I’m just not sure if I’ll need it in the future? These are vallid questions and where we quickly get hung up in the decluttering process. So today let’s talk about how we can truly evaluate if an item is worth keeping or if its time to let it go!
Here are a handful of questions you can ask yourself when decluttering:
- Have I used or admired this in the last year? This is the oldest one in the book…but it works! Chances are if you haven’t used it in the past year you will have no use for it in the coming year. This can be especially useful when going through things like clothing, sporting equipment and kitchen gadgets.
- Can it be replaced for $20 or less? Or can it be borrowed? The number one reason we hang on to things is because we just don’t know if we’ll need it again in the future. But, this causes our homes to function more like storage units than peaceful havens for our families to recharge in. If the item could be replaced for $20 or less it may be time to cut your losses and take the chance that you may decide to replace it again in the future!
- Would I purchase this again? SO often we purchase items hoping they’ll meet a need and we either never get around to using them or they simply don’t meet the need as we had hoped. Kitchen appliances, electronics and specialized clothing and footwear can often fall into this category. If when you hold up an item you know you regret buying it and would never purchase it again, let it go! Keeping it will not cause it to suddenly start meeting your needs!
- Is it living out the purpose it was created for? If you have 20 coffee mugs, I can almost guarantee that they aren’t fulfilling the purpose they were created for. Unless you have a careful system to rotate your mugs and appreciate a new one each day, why not pass them on to someone who could actually use them? In a way, it is selfish of us to hold on to items “just in case” when there are other people in the world who could actually use them.
- Am I keeping this out of guilt? We keep SO many things because we feel guilty over purchasing them and just hope someday we will find a use for them. But, unfortunately, that day rarely comes and the item taunts us every time we look at it!! We don’t deserve to be ridiculed in our own house! So get rid of the item so that you no longer have to feel guilty about it, after all, we all make mistakes!
- If someone gave me $ would I part with it? THis question is a GREAT litmus test for an item you just can’t decide what to do with. If we ask ourselves if we’d part with it if we were paid, and the answer is YES, then we need to let it go (whether someone actually gives us money in exchange for it or not!)
- Could someone else use or love it more? How many items waste away in storage when someone else could have made really good use out of it? Water or pest damage, and just the passage of time, things are not meant to be stored, they’re meant to be USED! So if someone else could actually make use of an item, why not let them have it?
- Do I want to have to handle this item again? This is also known as “deferred decision making”…we can’t decide what to do so we put the item back and put off the decision for another day. But how many times do we want to have to handle the same item!?! It’s best to make the decision now, even if it’s difficult than to have to look at the same item and re-contemplate the decision a year from now.
The good news friend? IT GETS EASIER!! Every time you part with an item you’re flexing your decluttering muscles and you reinforce the fact that very few physical items actually bring us happiness or joy, but they do cause us STRESS. And by decluttering and simplifying, we’re able to focus on the things that truly matter most.
We hope you find these questions helpful! We know it isn’t always easy to declutter, but for our own family, it has been INCREDIBLY worthwhile!
All our best to you as you simplify your home!!
– Dawn, The Minimal Mom
You can find us on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/theminimalmom
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