10 questions to help you declutter. If you are having a hard time figuring out what to keep or what to let go as you declutter, use these 10 helpful questions to ask yourself in the process.
We all have different reasons as to why we keep certain items in our home, sometimes long after they have served their purpose. Maybe it was a gift from someone you love or you’ve spent a lot of money on it and would feel guilty getting rid of it. But the truth is we don’t have an endless amount of space in our lives for unused or unwanted items and sometimes we need to be a bit ruthless when it comes to the process of decluttering.
I know from experience that it can be a difficult process to go through all your belongings if you aren’t armed with the tools you need to help you get to your end goal, a clutter-free and a simplified home.
I’ve come up with a list of 10 questions to help you declutter your home. Questions I found were helpful in my own journey towards a more simple lifestyle. They will really help you to decide what you should keep and what you should get rid off.
10 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DECLUTTER
1. Is this item something I’m currently using?
If not, have I used this item in the past year? Will I use this item in the future? If your answer is no, you don’t seem to have the need to keep that item, so there’s really no excuse to keep these things around if you haven’t used them or don’t plan to use them in the future.
Keeping a storage room or unit full of things we never use is not only a waste of space but also a waste of money and resources. Imagine if you could live in a smaller property, with lower housing cost just because you are not storing an endless amount of items you do not use.
2. Do I love looking at or using this item?
The previous question helps us determine the current usefulness of our things. This question, however, will help us decide how much we enjoy our things. Is the item something that you use often and enjoy using?
Not everything in our life has to be particularly useful. We also need to surround ourselves with the things we enjoy. Both things we enjoy using and enjoy looking at.
The goal with minimalism is not to have our homes look like a blank canvas but rather to decorate to our needs and enjoyment. So, if the item is something you particularly enjoy keep it around. Ask yourself how you feel when you see the item? Take note and keep or let go accordingly. We don’t want or need to keep items that make us feel bad or discouraged.
3. Does it fit me or my home?
As the previous question gets us to think about if we love the items in our lives, this one asks us if they fit? This question is especially applicable to your wardrobe decluttering. It’s no question, our lives are ever-changing. For some of us, we have physical changes to our bodies and the reasons can be endless. We put on weight or lose weight or our figure just changes through having babies or building muscle. Whatever the changes are we do not have to be discouraged.
The truth is, we all change, we grow, we develop new skills and find new hobbies and this all contributes to our changing world. Our environment should reflect and strengthen us in the place we are at any given time. Ask yourself in honesty if you are going to fit in and use these clothes again? Do you think you will go back to rock climbing?
If your clothes, sporting equipment or hobby tools are not serving you and you don’t see yourself using those items in the near future, let them go. Sell the things you can or donate.
I used to love scrapbooking but when I found I hadn’t touched my craft supplies in years I knew it was time to let go. I sold and gave it away. I’m aware that maybe I will come back to that hobby but chances are my supplies would have been outdated by then and I would still feel tempted to buy new stuff on top of all the old one. Instead, I chose to give my craft supplies a life in someone else’s home.
4. Why do I feel like I need to keep it?
Usually, we have a reason why we want to keep an item. Oftentimes it’s for practical reasons. We need our pots and pans to cook and our towels to dry off after a shower. Of course, we want to keep things related to our daily life and also our hobbies and passions.
But sometimes we don’t really know why something is kept in our home. Take a few minutes to reflect why you keep those items and try to get down to the root of why you allow it to stay.
5. Is the thought of wasting money keeping me from getting rid of this item?
This then brings us to the money question. Do you maybe feel guilty of getting rid of things because you already spent a lot of money on those things?
The thing is, you’ve already wasted your money by buying it. It’s even more wasteful to not use the item and let it sit in a cupboard or storage. Move on! Keeping it around for the reason that you’ve spent money on it is only depriving you of having a clutter-free home. And chances are you’ll only be reminded of the wasted money every time you lay your eyes on it. So, do yourself a favour and just let it go!
6. Am I holding onto this item for sentimental reasons?
Are you holding onto something from your childhood just for the sake of having it? Think about why you want to keep it? Does it hold special memories?
Holding onto childhood memories is all well and good but maybe you want to choose carefully what to keep and what to let go. Do you really need to keep it all? If you have lots of childhood memorabilia in boxes that you may not even have opened for a decade or two it might be time to sort through it and let go of some of it.
While going through sentimental items ask yourself why you want to keep this item? What feelings does it stir up inside you? Are you really keeping this for yourself or are you perhaps keeping this because throwing it out will make you feel guilt or shame?
Items belonging to people who have passed away can be incredibly hard to let go of but one thing to keep in mind is that items are not special, it’s the people we associate with items that give them value. Putting stuff in boxes to try to hold onto a memory of someone isn’t really doing those items any justice. Letting go of an item is not the same as letting go of a person or a memory of a person.
If the item belonged to someone really special to you, can you find a way to display it, repurpose it or reuse it? If this is not something you can use or enjoy in your daily life it’s really just taking up space in your life.
One of my tips is to digitally archive items that hold special memories but you don’t need to hold on to. Take a picture and keep them in a special file on your computer or hard drive.
7. Does it contribute to the life I want?
One good tip for decluttering is to visualise our dream life or dream home, how it looks, what items are in it and then declutter the items you do not see in your vision.
Sit down and consider what you want in your life, what adds value to it? What are your priorities? What kind of home do you want to live in? Does this item contribute to that vision? If not, consider giving that item to someone else.
8. If I were moving to a new home, would I want to take this item with me?
This was my most asked question in my first decluttering session. We had already considered the possibility of moving to another country. That meant we used the mindset of having to declutter for the moving. Moving countries can be very expensive so we tried to be as ruthless as possible with our belongings.
Use the advice from the previous question and use your visualised life and home to think about how you want your home to look and feel like. Is the item something you would want to take time packing carefully and find a place for it in your new home?
9. Do I have multiples of this item?
Do you have any duplicates in your home? Too many hairbrushes in your bathroom drawer? Or so many glasses in your kitchen cupboard you could take a new one for each drink for a week and still not run out?
How much do you need? I can’t tell you how many glasses you need and there is no rule on how many glasses a person may own. You need to decide this based on your needs. Same goes for everything else in your home.
There is no rule book when it comes to minimalism as it is based around the needs of each person. Minimalism is about making conscious decisions about what adds value to your life and what makes you happy. And then try your best to eliminate the extra’s, the burden, the clutter, the stress and the things keeping you from enjoying your life.
I don’t like to have too many things around me, having many of the same items would mean I’d have to find a place for more items, clean more items and take care of more items.
If you have a similar item(s) that serves the same purpose, then get rid of one of them. In most cases, you don’t need multiples of the same item and you’ll likely not miss the duplicates at all.
10. Does it feel like mine?
Most of us have several “hand-me-down” items or furniture pieces in our home. Things that have been gifted to us by relatives or we have inherited. Some of these things you might actually love and cherish but chances are you are holding to some of these things for guilt or because you feel obligated to keep them around.
Take some time to look over your home, does it feel yours? Does it feel like the place you’ve created to feel safe and well and nurtured? If not consider what you need to change to feel that way? You might want to change some of your furniture or items or let go of things that you don’t feel like add value to your home.
I would love to hear from you, where you are on your minimalism journey, what has helped you along the way!? Please leave a comment down below or tag me on Instagram @abiteofkindness
All the photographs are from unsplash.com