I have always thought of myself as an organized person, but I’ve definitely questioned that idea at times, specifically when we were living in a small apartment. I was constantly frustrated that I couldn’t find a good system to organize all of our belongings. As some point, I came to the realization that it wasn’t the set-up of our belongings that was the problem, but the number of things we owned to begin with! Since then, I’ve put less of my focus on organizing my home and more on decluttering my home, and it has made a huge difference. It has become increasingly easier to find a home for everything. Here are some questions you can ask yourself if you’re trying to declutter your home too!
Is this item a need or a want?
Let me preface this by saying that certainly we aren’t going to throw out anything that isn’t a “need”, but it’s nice to start the process by being truly honest with yourself about what items you actually need. There are different levels of “need”, but I would stick with a measuring stick of “is this item essential to my current lifestyle?” For instance, I love my slow cooker. That’s about all the cooking I do. So I would consider my slow cooker essential to my current lifestyle. The quesadilla maker? Not quite so essential. But that doesn’t mean I’m automatically getting rid of it!
Have I used this in the last six months?
While you don’t have to go with six months, pick a time frame to use as a yardstick for decluttering. I think six months makes sense, but one year might be a better rule for seasonal items. Chances are if I haven’t used something in the last six months, it’s really not that important to my life. Often we let things sit on shelves or in storage for years without using them, and yet we think nothing of it. If something genuinely isn’t getting used or bringing value to your life, why keep it?
I used to be really bad at using this rule for clothes. Clothes would sit in my closet for years without being worn, yet I wouldn’t throw them away. Going through the process of moving helped with that a lot, and I cleaned out my closet three times in the course of six months. Now I’m pretty strict with myself about getting rid of clothing that I don’t wear.
Also, there’s obviously a different rule here for home decor, since it’s not something we “use” necessarily. For those items, I would consider how often you look at it and whether it still brings you joy when you do look at it.
Is something that fits my life now or the life I wish I had?
This is one that I really had to come to terms with when we moved into our new home. We had so many things that we hung onto in storage while living in our apartment, certain that we would use them when we had a house. Well, it turns out that when we moved into our house, we still really didn’t need or want those items. They didn’t fit the life we had, or even the life we have now, but the life we thought we might have when we moved into our new home. But here’s the thing. Changing homes didn’t change us! We are still the same people with the same interests and the same lifestyle, meaning we still use just about all the same items.
Would I buy this item again today?
I think the answer to this question can be really telling, even for items that you do use. I don’t necessarily think you should toss everything that you wouldn’t buy again today, but it’s something to keep in mind if you have something else in your home that accomplishes the same purpose as well. Why keep something you don’t love when you do have an alternative?
Do I have other items that accomplish the same purpose?
Just because you have an item that you use regularly doesn’t mean you need a whole bunch of that item! Let’s be real, how many spatulas do you use at the same time? One, definitely. Two, possibly. Seven? I’m gonna say no. Toss the excess and just stick to the number of that item you might actually need at one time.
Does this item hold sentimental value?
There are items that serve no function in my day-to-day life and that I know I won’t be using again anytime soon, but I keep them out of sentimental value. One example of this would be my wedding dress. I certainly don’t plan on wearing it again, and I may get rid of it someday, but for now it sits happily in my office. Other examples would include photos and things from my childhood. I don’t keep a lot of sentimental items, so they don’t take up too much space in our home.
I hope you found these tips helpful! I learned a lot about decluttering when we moved and was really able to put these lessons to good use. I hope you can as well!
Do you struggle to declutter your home? Hopefully, these questions can help in the future!
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