Not sure which items to keep or toss? Here are some questions to help you declutter your home without feeling guilty, PLUS some bonus questions to help you declutter your clothes!
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Let’s be honest: most of us have a hard time letting go of clutter in our homes. We hold onto things for a variety of reasons – we might need it one day, it was a gift, we spent a lot of money on it – and we have a really hard time giving ourselves permission to actually let go of these unwanted things.
Well, sometimes it’s just easier to let the clutter pile up and pretend it doesn’t exist rather than dealing with it.
But here’s the thing:
When we hold onto things we don’t really love, we end up with a home that feels more like a storage unit than a sanctuary.
I don’t know about you, but that’s not the kind of home I want to have! Instead, I want to have a home filled with things that make me smile when I look at them. A home that feels like me.
Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?
The best part is that it is totally doable! True, it isn’t always easy to let go of things, but I usually find that when I ask myself some hard questions and give myself permission to answer them honestly, I know exactly which things I should keep and which ones I should get rid of.
So if you need some help determining what to keep and what to toss, then you’re in the right place! Here are some questions to help you declutter your entire home without feeling guilty.
11 Questions to Help You Declutter Your Home
1. Do I need it?
This is probably the most basic decluttering question of all. If you don’t need it, then you don’t have to keep it.
2. Will I use it for a specific purpose in the near future?
If you don’t need an item right now but have a concrete plan to use it at a specific date in the future, then you can definitely keep it. An example of this is keeping a gown for a formal event you have coming up next month. Another example is keeping an ice cream maker for a summertime party you have planned.
3. Is it a duplicate?
If you have more than one of these items, then decide how many you really need to keep and toss the rest.
4. Do I have something similar that can do the same job?
If you have another item that can perform the job just as well, then you don’t need to keep this item. Do you really need that rice steamer when a pot with a lid does the exact same job? Nope. Toss the single-purpose items and use multi-purpose ones instead.
5. Could someone else get more use out of it?
If you don’t use an item to its full potential, then send it on so someone else can benefit from it.
6. Do I like it?
Ask yourself if you really and truly like this item. Does it make you happy when you look at it? To use Marie Kondo’s expression, does it “spark joy” for you? If not, then don’t feel obligated to keep it.
7. Does it fit my personality/my home’s style?
If it sticks out or seems out of place with the rest of your possessions, then it may not really be your kind of item. Feel free to send it on.
8. If I were shopping right now, would I buy this item?
This question will really keep you honest! If you wouldn’t spend money on it right now, then you can definitely get rid of it.
9. Am I keeping it out of guilt?
Maybe you spent a lot of money on it. Maybe you made a big deal out of getting it only to realize that you hate it. Maybe it was a gift from someone who loves you very much. Or maybe you feel like you should like it, but you flat-out don’t.
It’s okay! Give yourself permission to let it go so it can bless someone else and so you can make more space for the things you actually do like.
10. Am I keeping it because I think I’ll fix it someday?
You know what I’m talking about. The torn hem that just needs a stitch or two. The free end table that just needs a fresh coat of paint. If you really want to fix the item, set a reasonable deadline on your calendar to have it finished. If you haven’t fixed it by then, get rid of it.
11. Is it sentimental?
There’s a difference between keeping sentimental items that bring you joy and keeping sentimental items because you think you have to. I mean, what good is an attic full of “memories” when you never look at them? Display the sentimental items that make you happy and donate the ones that don’t.
Alternatively, you can buy a tote box to store sentimental items that you want to keep but don’t want to display. Limit yourself to only keeping what will fit inside one or two boxes so you don’t end up with an attic full of stuff you don’t really want to keep.
Bonus: 7 Questions to Help You Declutter Clothes
1. Is it in good condition?
Check for holes, stains, sweater pilling, tears, stretched-out fabric, faded colors, yellowed underarms on white clothing, etc. If it isn’t in good condition, toss it and treat yourself to a new version if it’s something you really love or need.
2. Does it fit?
Be honest here. Does it fit your body right now? Not the body you had a few years ago or the body you hope to have this summer. Only keep what fits you right now.
3. Is it in style?
If it went out of style a decade or two ago, then it’s time to send it on. It likely won’t be back in style, but if it does come back, you can always buy an updated version then.
4. Is it my style?
Even if it’s in style, is it consistent with the style you like to project? I finally tossed my corporate clothing because I work from home now and prefer more casual outfits.
5. Is it flattering on my body?
This one is sometimes hard for me to determine on my own, so when I’m not 100% sure, I’ll either
- Ask Josh because he will tell me honestly if something doesn’t look good.
- Take a photo of myself on my phone. My Maw-maw always said “You never know just how you look until you get your picture took,” and it’s true! Pictures don’t lie.
But honestly? If we have to get a second opinion, then that’s probably a clue that we should toss it. 😉
6. Have I worn it in the last year? (this doesn’t apply to special items like a wedding dress)
Taking the seasons into consideration, did you wear this item when it was in-season last year? If you didn’t wear the sweater last winter, then you probably won’t wear it this winter either. The same goes for shorts, dresses, and even shoes!
7. If I reached into my closet with my eyes closed and pulled out this piece of clothing to wear, would I be happy that I get to wear this today or sad because I have to wear this today?
This one is probably the most freeing of all, and it was actually the biggest game-changer for me in terms of giving myself permission to let go. Notice the subtle difference between “get to wear” and “have to wear.”
If a particular item doesn’t make you happy when you wear it, then don’t feel obligated to keep it! It can be pretty, trendy, and flattering all day long, but if it doesn’t make you happy when you wear it, then it’s time to send it on so you can make space for the items that do make you happy.
Wrapping It Up
Decluttering and getting rid of things can be hard, but asking yourself these questions and allowing yourself to answer them honestly will give you the power to finally let go of the things you no longer want or need. Trust me, you’ll be much happier when you look around your home and only see things that make you smile!
So set aside some time to declutter your home and be sure to ask yourself these questions as you evaluate each item!
Other Posts You May Enjoy
- Decluttering Clothes: 5 Steps to a Clutter-Free Closet
- How to Declutter Your Home Without Feeling Overwhelmed
- Let It Go: How to Give Yourself Permission to Declutter
- 5 Ways to Make Your Home a Sanctuary
- 4 Simple Rules for a Tidy Home Every Single Day
What about you? What questions help you get rid of clutter without feeling guilty?
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