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 and it was 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.
As you consider each item, ask yourself the following questions.
Questions to Ask When Decluttering:
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.
- Do you use it on a regular basis?
- Would your daily life be negatively impacted without this item?
- Do you own something else that does the same thing, but might also have additional uses?
- For sentimental or decorative items, does this item warm your heart when you see it/hold it?
- Does this item provide calm to your soul?
How many of this item does your family need?
This question is particularly useful in the kitchen, when looking at multiple copies of an item (mugs, glasses, travel mugs, bowls, baking dishes, etc…).
When I pulled out all of the travel mugs we had 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.
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 to not 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.
Would you purchase this item today if you didn’t already have it?
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.
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 consciously decide to put them back in.
- Have in mind places to donate. It made it so much easier for Liz to part with her children’s old toys and other items with sentimental value by knowing that 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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