Getting rid of the things you’ve collected during your life can be an emotional and physically draining process. Make the process easier by asking yourself these 6 Simple Questions to Help You Declutter.
I’ve always thought of myself as an organized person. As a professional organizer, my job description involved de-cluttering homes. Many times, I would haul truckloads of crap away to donate or throw away for my clients after helping them de-clutter.
During my experience as a professional organizer, I found that our family owns less than typical American households, yet we were still holding onto things that created negative energy and clutter.
It wasn’t until I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, that I saw our material possessions in a whole different perspective.
I will never forget the first time I read the book (I bought the Audible version so I wasn’t adding more books to our collection BTW), I was listening to the book in my car after an hour commute home.
I was only half-way through the book when I parked my car at home and immediately started de-cluttering and cleaning the inside of my car (which I thought was already very clean).
In the 5 minutes that it took me to go through the glove box, the center console, and the side doors, I had a grocery bag filled with items to toss.
One of the items I let go was a small notepad that had my father’s handwriting in it. He passed away a few years ago, and I kept it because it reminded me how unique his handwriting was. The notes he wrote were for car maintenance on a car that I no longer owned and was written about 15 years ago, I had not used the notebook for the past 7 years either. I knew it was time to let the notebook go after reading about the KonMarie method.
6 Simple Questions to Help You Declutter
1.Do I need this?
Plain and simple, do you need it? As long as you understand the difference between want and need, asking this question makes it fairly easy to de-clutter. If not, you should ask…
2. Does it bring me happiness?
In Marie Kondo’s book, she states that in order to let things go, you must hold each item in your hands and ask if you truly love the item. If the answer is no, you thank the item for its time/service and let it go. Thinking this way helped me let go of an item that had sentimental value but no physical value.
3. Am I keeping this for “one day?”
One day I will lose weight and be able to fit into it. One day I will use this item for a DIY project. Stop waiting for “one day.” Today is that day and if you are not going to use it today then it needs to go. Read The Ridiculously Smart Way to Reduce Your Wardrobe for more tips.
4. Do I already own something similar?
Owning a multi-functional item is a good thing, but not if you already own something similar and end up keeping both items. For example, if you own a slow cooker and an InstantPot (which also has a slow cooker function), you should easily be able to get rid of the slow cooker.
5. Am I keeping it for sentimental reasons?
If you come across an item that reminds you of a loved one from your past, try to find a use for that item or repurpose in a craft project or home décor. When you cannot find a use, say goodbye to the object because that is all it is, an object with a memory attached to it (not the person).
If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal. Not to people or things. – Albert Einstein
A few ideas for giving sentimental items new purpose:
- Ask a family member if they would enjoy the item
- Display the item in your home (preferably on the walls)
- Start using the item every day (use fine china every day)
- Donate to a church or cause of your choice
- Sell on EBay, Craigslist or antique stores
- Use items in a craft/DIY project
- Scan old photos or notes and upload to a cloud account or thumb drive
6. Why do I have this?
Lastly, after asking all of the above questions, if you still find yourself at a loss to get rid of something, ask, “Why do I have this?” What is the real reason you are unable to let it go? Once you can figure out the answer, it will be easier to let go.
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