How to Declutter: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself
Suggestions on How to Declutter and 10 questions to ask yourself when decluttering to help you determine what stays and what goes.
My husband’s siblings have done a Christmas Gift Exchange for years. At Christmas 2018, I drew the name of one of my Sisters-In-Law, and part of her gift was a Gift Certificate for a weekend of decluttering.
That may seem an odd gift, but she had been talking about the need to declutter parts of her home, a topic we often discussed. So, this past September, she cashed in her Gift Certificate, and I drove to her home and spent 2 days helping her remove some of the unwanted items in her home.
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. – William Morris
First of all, we had a ball. I highly recommend having a partner in decluttering, as it makes the process so much more enjoyable. But through this process, I realized that there were several questions I would ask Liz that helped her decide what should stay and what should go. These questions really are the first step when figuring out how to declutter.
This is a great place to start before you jump into our Decluttering Challenge, which you can join anytime here.
Over the seven weeks of the Declutter Challenge 2023, we will dive into each area of our home and life to fully declutter that space. When you join the challenge, each week for seven weeks, you will receive an email with a decluttering checklist for specific areas of your home. This year, we’ve added a new post dealing with mental clutter to the challenge.
questions to ask when decluttering:
As you consider each item, ask yourself the following questions.
1. why do you want this item?
If you LOVE the way it looks in your home or it serves a purpose, then, by all means, keep it. If you can’t say why you want it, then it needs to find a new home. These prompts will help you determine if you really want/need the item.
2. Do you use it on a regular basis?
3. Would your daily life be negatively impacted without this item?
4. Do you own something else that does the same thing but might also have additional uses?
5. For sentimental or decorative items, does this item warm your heart when you see it/hold it?
6. Does this item provide calm to your soul?
7. how many of ‘this item’ do you or does your family need?
This question is particularly useful in the kitchen when looking at multiple copies of items (mugs, glasses, travel mugs, bowls, baking dishes, etc…).
When I pulled out all of our travel mugs in our home, I realized we had 17! For a family of 4! So, if we each had 4 hands, we would still have 1 extra. I figured we needed 6 for our family, so we sent the other 11 to find good homes through the Habitat ReStore.
Pop over here for a list of places to donate or recycle your discards
8. where are you going to put this item or what are you going to do with it?
It needs to go somewhere, right?
I struggle with this. I hate to part with mementos that belonged to my parents and grandparents. But, if I don’t have a place for it in my home and it will just end up in a box in the attic, getting damaged by the heat and humidity, then why am I keeping it?
Other than seasonal items, suitcases and travel items, and an assortment of boxes, I am really trying not to store things in my attic/basement. Often, if something goes in my attic, it means I have failed at making the hard decluttering decision.
First, I will reach out to other family members, but if no one else in my family wants the memento, then I figure that it has a better chance of being loved by someone shopping at Goodwill or the Habitat Restore.
9. would you purchase this item today if you didn’t already have it?
This is such a great question!
I succumbed to the spiralizer craze several years back and used it for a while; then it sat on a shelf in my kitchen for years until I finally asked myself, “Knowing now how much you use this spiralizer, would you buy it today?” The answer was, “no, probably not,” so it went to the Goodwill store, and I haven’t missed it.
10. if you were downsizing and could only keep 50% to 60% of your possessions, would this make the cut?
Other Declutter Tips:
- Find a friend to help you and to keep you accountable.
- Actually, pick up the item (if small enough). Take items out of closets and drawers so that you have to decide to put them back in consciously.
- Have in mind places to donate. It made it so much easier for Liz to part with her children’s old toys and other sentimental items by knowing they would be donated to a local Women’s Shelter. Here’s a list of places to consider when donated your discards.
- Turn all the hangers in your closet backward. When you hang something back up after wearing it, hang it up the right way. After a full year, you can see what you have worn and haven’t worn. I did this last year and reduced my closet by 1/3.
- Keep track of what you donate. Grab this Tax-Deductible Donations Record to keep track of everything.
- We removed over 1000 pounds of ‘stuff’ from our home and shared our tips, room by room, in this series of posts.
Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to this post on How to Declutter in the future.
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Thank you Lynn for another inspiring Nourish and Nestle. I am going to forward to a friend in the throws of decluttering. I think she will LOVE IT.
Oh Good! The questions really helped my SIL! Thanks for sharing it.
hi my names Michelle and first time of watched this page and its very helpful and ive always been overclutted as we will be moving in 6 months or earlier
Good Morning Michelle! I am so glad you found these tips helpful! We all end up with more ‘stuff’ than we really need and it can be hard to part with it. Asking yourself these questions will help you decide what you should keep or discard.
And how exciting that you are moving! Good luck with it. We just moved 6 months ago as well.
Could you please send me another Subscriber Benefits Library with the code? I am certain I saved it in my “Resources” email file, but some of the contents are missing, including your Library resource.
Thank you for your helpful advice. I am not one who cooks much, my husband is the better and more creative chef. I do the wash up and he just needs to rinse the items (or wipe them) and leave the dirty dishes in the left hand sink. I use the right sink to wash everything in an order that makes sense to no one but myself.
Again thank you for your motivational emails.
Sent you a private message, my friend
Hey Lynn, Those are some really great questions. That will truly help me with my decluttering project.
I am so glad that these will help you! They sure helped my sister-in-law and me figure out what to keep and what to donate.
Good luck with that decluttering process! Keep me posted on your progress.
Loved the declutter questions!! I feel they will help set me up for success to move into the mental mindset of someone who needs to conquer her clutter rather than being the crazy lady who will probably die surrounded by her boxes!!!
Yay Janelle! I am so glad! I found them helpful and I am tickled that others find them useful as well! Keep me posted on your successes!
Thank you! Your sister in law is actually who sent me to your page 🙂
Yay! Which sister in law? I am blessed with several wonderful SILs. I hope you find this site and page helpful.
Have a great day, Krista
Hope I can find a mate
It sure does make the task easier! Maybe take turns at each other’s homes!
Let me know how it works out for you!