Ready to tackle your stuff? If you get overwhelmed when making all those decisions on what to keep and what to let go – then these simple but very effective decluttering questions will help.
These are the things you need to be asking yourself to get things into perspective, simplify your thinking, and make decluttering a pleasure rather than a pain.
(And you may be surprised to know that one of them ISN’T whether you love it or whether it sparks joy (AKA Marie Kondo Style)….)
How many times have you started decluttering with great intentions, only to find yourself after a few items getting bogged down with guilt / anguish about everything?
Whether it’s a sentimental item or a kitchen utensil with no intrinsic value – we can all suffer from decluttering indecision – and this is fatal when it comes to making progress.
That indecision can halt even the best intentions – making us feel like a failure, and stopping the decluttering in its tracks…..
SO – what’s the solution?
Over the years I’ve come to realise that it’s not as easy as just saying “Do I use it?, Do I love it?” as is often the suggestion we hear ALL. THE.TIME.
Yes – we DO have to ask these questions as they ARE important – but we have to go deeper than that and ask ourselves much more telling questions as that way we can make a decision without fear of regret later down the line – or (possibly worse) – not making a decision at all.
So – here are the questions I would like you to ask next time you do a declutter – and I’m sure that they will help you to finally get your decluttering under control – and fun again.
If you can answer YES to them all – then that item is a keeper! – any “no’s” and it’s time to rethink….
Make decluttering Decisions easier with these 4 crucial questions to ask
#1 – Is it yours?
Please, please, please DON’T EVER DECLUTTER OTHER PEOPLES STUFF WITHOUT THEM BEING THERE. It’s simply not a good idea – because you really don’t know what’s important to them and you’ll get unstuck very quickly.
We can only ever make decisions properly about our own stuff (or stuff that is generic for the house) – because we own it and use it etc…..
If you try and declutter other peoples stuff, then you’ll be lost in indecision and worry for days – so STOP! Get them involved so that you can make the decisions together.
#2 – Do you need it?
This is a deeper question that it seems at the outset – and let’s face it – most of us can argue that we need everything in our homes right now.
… and if you don’t need it now – then surely you’ll need it at some point, right?
Well – yes – maybe – but this guess work won’t help you with your decluttering mission – so you have to go deeper: –
- If it serves a purpose, performs a function – then can anything else do that for you instead? (for example – you may have a lemon zester in your kitchen – but you also have a grater that has a zester section as well. You can still zest using the grater – so why have the zester?).
- When did you last need it? This question will help you to work out how needed it really is. If you use it really infrequently, or can’t even remember the last time you needed it, then it may be worth letting go…
- Did you know you had it when you last needed it? We all have those items that we find when sorting out a space, and loudly state “THAT’S where it was!”. These items may as well not have been taking space up in your home for how useful they actually are/were. You have two choices here – to find a better place for it so that you can find it when you need it OR to let it go – which leads me nicely to the last of the questions (and possibly the most crucial) for this part: –
- What’s the worst case scenario if you let it go? Basically, think of if you didn’t have it – would you be able to cope? What would you do? Can you borrow it off a friend, is it inexpensive and could you buy it again IF you ever needed it? Knowing how you’d deal with the worst case of not having it will make it SO much easier to let it go.
#3 – Does it fit your vision for your space / life?
This is a deeper way of asking whether you like the item or not – and it tells you way more information as a result.
If you know what you want your home / life to look like – and you have a certain style or goal in mind – then it’s easier to work out whether the item you’re looking at fits that or not.
You may love the item – but if it doesn’t fit in your home or life, then should you keep it?
For example – when I’m looking at clothes for myself – I can see gorgeous colours and patterns and shapes in clothes that I truly love. BUT when I put them on, they don’t look right for whatever reason. They may not be the right colour for my look, they may not work for the style I want to achieve, or they simply don’t look right on my shape. If I only asked myself whether I liked it – then I’d keep WAY too much stuff that actually wouldn’t make me feel great in the long run, things that I wouldn’t wear, and things that took up too much space. Is that really a good idea?!
#4 – Do you have the time and space for it?
So – you’ve decided that you need it, and that it fits with your style/vision – the last question to determine if it REALLY should stay is whether you have the time and space for it.
By this I mean –
- Do you have somewhere to store it?
- Are you happy to maintain it (clean it, fix it etc…)?
If you haven’t got the space for it (both in terms of time AND storage), then you may have to rethink whether to keep it or not, because it will otherwise have the potential to be a stress for you.
You don’t want to resent having to go to the dry cleaners every time a certain dress needs cleaning, or have to live with that large hoover in your hallway because there’s no cupboard space to tidy it away….
It may be that you need to replace the item with something that you CAN keep more easily, or you just need to accept that even if you DO want to keep it, you won’t appreciate it in the end because it will cause you more hassle than it’s worth….
I hope these Decluttering questions will make decisions easier next time you set about sorting your home.
If it feels quite overwhelming to think about it all, then don’t worry – as you ask yourself them more and more, they’ll become ingrained in you and you’ll start to think about them without taking time at all – sort of like a decluttering habit!
My advice is to start with your vision of where you want your home and life to be when you’ve finished sorting it out.
Use a Pinterest board or a notepad or a large piece of paper and get busy cutting out pictures that you’re drawn to.
Whatever works for you – but when you have this in mind, you’ll really be able to make decluttering easier because things will either fit with this vision or not.
You’ll feel much more confident in your decision, because you’ll know where you’re heading overall. You will be able to see whether you truly need each item, where it fits with your life, whether you want to spend time maintaining it, and whether you have space for it.
So – if you’re ready to make decluttering a positive habit that’s fun rather than a hassle – and possibly change your life in the process – try asking yourself these key questions next time you’re sorting a space in your home – and you may just surprise yourself!