When I first started decluttering, I would look at my stuff and ask:
“What do I want to get rid of??”
But it’s so much easier if you ask from the perspective of:
“What do I want to keep?“
Remember, as you simplify your home, it’s a positive thing!
You aren’t decluttering to make your life more difficult and force yourself to live in inconvenience.
But rather, simplifying your home and having less will make your life EASIER.
Look at the things you are tempted to keep and evaluate: does this item make your life easier, or would life be easier without it?
- Does this item make my life easier?
- Is this item easy to use, clean, and store?
- Is this item useful to me?
- When was the last time I used this item?
- Did I enjoy using it?
- Is this item useful to the rest of the household?
- How would I feel if this item was no longer in my home?
- How does this item make me feel? (Is it a positive feeling – hope, inspired, loved, or is it a negative feeling – shame, guilt, sadness?)
- Would I feel lighter if this wasn’t in my life anymore?
- Would my life be affected if I no longer had this item?
- Does this item “say” anything to me when I see it?
- If yes, does it say something positive (enjoy me, take a deep breath, slow down, count your blessings, etc.) or something negative (take care of me, put me away, dust me, etc.)?
- If a fire happened in the house, is this something I would want to pick from the rubble and restore?
- If a sewage accident happened, would I be willing to clean poop off of this? (Yes, this happened to me!)
- Have I ever needed to reference this?
- Have I ever looked at these recipes/notes/printouts?
- Does this item give enough value to my life that it warrants the mental energy I have to exert in order to maintain, file, move, organize, think about it or care for it?
- Is this item worn out and outlived its usefulness?
- Does this item serve me well?
- Is this item useful for my daily or weekly life?
- Do I like the function of this item?
- If I was at the store looking at this item, would I want to purchase it?
- Does this item apply to my current lifestyle?
- Does this item help me live my current lifestyle/the life I want to live?
- Will this item be helpful to me in the next 3 years?
- Do I use this item enough to justify storing it?
- Does this tool work well for its intended purpose?
- How many of these types of items do I own?
- Would this area stay more organized if I had fewer of these types of items?
- If I have more than one of these items but only need one, which one would be the most functional for the way I use it?
- Are there too many of these supplies, so that instead of being useful to me, I always feel like I need to organize them?
- Do I find myself moving (shuffling, organizing, rearranging) this item more often than USING this item?
- If I’m honest, will I ever use or display this item?
- Is this something I’m keeping for the past me?
- And I still the same person, or will I never be the same person I was in the past?
- Is this something I’m keeping for the future me?
- How far in the future will it be before it’s useful to me?
- Is this something I’m keeping for the fantasy me?
- Is this always on the shelf, but never actually used?
- Is this item useful for the purpose of this room?
- Does this item make my life easier?
- Does this item make my life more complicated?
- Is this item easy for me to find when I need it?
- Is this item easy for me to put away when I’m done with it?
- If I didn’t have this item, would the space work better for me?
- What thoughts or emotions come to the surface when I see this item?
- Are those thoughts or emotions ones I want to nurture?
- Would I be content with a picture of this memory rather than an item?
- If I passed away, is this something I would want my friends/family to have to deal with?
- How long has this item been stored here?
- Is this something I’m afraid to live without?
- What is the worst-case scenario if I got rid of this item?
- Would it make my home easier for me to maintain if this item was out of my life?
- Do I have to care for this item for it to look nice? (dust, water plants, etc.)
- Do I enjoy caring for this item?
If you want specific questions just like these to help you through each area as you declutter, I created the Clutter-Free Army just for you!
Each week I send out a PDF of six, 10-minute missions, an area to focus on, and questions to help you evaluate each item in the process.
What about you?
What questions have you found to be the most helpful? Please share your experience in the comments!