7 Essential Questions to Ask When Clearing Clutter
Our relationships with possessions can be complex. Choosing which items to let go of can be arduous. How do you decide what stays and what goes? What makes something clutter to you?
While not an exact measurement, the 80/20 Rule is a general ratio that also applies to your possessions.
If you recorded the total usage of all your possessions as to how often you use them, you will find that generally speaking, you use about 20% of your belongings 80% of the time. The remaining 80% of your possessions you use only about 20% of the total time.
The 20% commonly includes:
- personal items such as keys, purse/wallet, phone, glasses, coffee/tea cup, slippers, etc.
- bathroom toiletries and personal care products
- kitchen items like dishes, silverware, glasses and so on
To help clear your clutter, here are 10 essential questions to ask yourself:
1. Do I love it?
Do you truly love this item? You may have loved it in the past but is this still true today?
2. Is it useful? Have I used it lately?
It’s easy to have a default ‘oh yeah, I still use that.’ But do you really? When did you last use it? If you can’t recall chances are that this item falls into the 80% category of items that don't get much use. Be realistic when answering this question. Just because an item is useful doesn’t mean you are actually using it. Be honest with yourself.
3. Does this item fit my current lifestyle?
Part of decluttering is getting real with your life. Items that may have been a fit for you in the past may not be in the present. Seasons come and go. Not every hobby is one that lasts the test of time. Bodies change over time. Priorities shift. Accept your life as it is now. Let go of the things that don’t fit.
4. Would I miss it if it were gone?
Imagine that you did get rid of the item. Do you think you’d miss it? If you aren’t sure and want to test this one, put the items you are questioning in a storage container that you can’t see through in the garage or storage for a predetermined amount of time.
If you haven’t missed any of those items in that timeframe, then you know you can freely let them go.
5. Is this item worth the cost of keeping?
Your clutter costs you in various ways. Is this item worth continuing to clean, maintain, and store? Your items are meant to serve you. Not for you to serve them.
6. When would I need this or want this?
A very common reason for keeping clutter is thinking "I might need this someday". If you find yourself creating scenarios or conditions under which you will want this item you haven’t used in a long time, you may be fooling yourself.
7. Will I ever repair this?
How many things are you holding onto with the plans of gluing, sewing, soldering, or purchasing replacement parts? If you are actually going to take the time to do this, go for it. However, if you’ve been doing fine without using it, you probably don’t need to continue to save it for a repair you haven’t done yet.
If letting go of your possessions is a major challenge, there are professionals who specialize in helping people release the things that are no longer serving them. Please contact us if you would like some suggestions as to whom to call.
You may also enjoy reading: 7 Things to Stop Buying If You Want to Live Clutter-Free!