Today’s post is all about how to decide what to get rid of when you’re decluttering. And how to make those decluttering decisions with confidence and clarity!
Questions to ask when decluttering
I’ve previously shared some questions to ask when you’re decluttering. They can be really helpful when you’re deciding what to keep and what to get rid of.
For example, you can ask yourself:
- Do you use it regularly?
- Do you love it?
- Is it adding value to your life?
- Do you have duplicates or something else that serves the same purpose?
- Would you buy it again?
You can read the full list of questions to ask when decluttering here.
But in today’s post, I want to share a few tips and tricks to help you answer those questions more confidently.
If you’re not feeling totally confident in your decluttering decisions or aren’t sure how exactly to decide what to keep and what to get rid of, definitely keep reading!
How to confidently decide what to get rid of
Here are 9 things you can ask yourself when decluttering to confidently decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
Little tips and ways to reframe your decluttering questions. Giving you more clarity about what to keep and what to get rid of. As well as ways to build your confidence in the decisions you make so you can stop second-guessing yourself!
Is it a clear yes?
When you’re deciding if you use, need or love something, if it’s not a clear “yes”, you probably don’t truly need, use or love the item.
Listen to that first gut reaction you feel. It can be easy to start talking yourself into keeping something. But if it’s not a clear “yes” when you ask yourself if you use, need or love an item, it’s probably a “no”.
Don’t talk yourself into keeping something because you could, or should, or might, use, need or love it. Instead aim to only keep the clear “yeses”.
If you notice that you don’t reach for an item often, even if you could, should or might use, need or love it, that can help you spot things that aren’t clear “yeses” too. If you don’t reach for it often, or always choose something else instead, that’s proof an item is not a clear “yes” for you.
Remember, if it’s not a clear yes to keeping something, trust yourself that you can let it go.
Would fewer options make life easier?
I’ve recently started asking myself if I could comfortably live without an item to decide whether or not to keep it or let it go. And it’s really helping me challenge myself to be more ruthless with my decluttering decisions.
Rather than trying to decide if you should keep something, look at the flip side of that question. Questioning if you could comfortably get by without it instead.
More isn’t always better. In fact, in many instances, fewer things to make decisions about and make decisions between can actually make life a lot easier.
Decision fatigue is a real thing. We can only make so many decisions each day before the quality of our decisions starts to decline. Our brains get tired of making decisions!
A great way to give yourself more clarity about what to keep and what to get rid of is by questioning if fewer options in a category of stuff or area of your life would make life easier.
Could you simplify your life and reduce the number of decisions you have to make by having fewer options? Do you really need a bunch of options to choose from each day, or is that just adding to decision fatigue? Could you comfortably live without an item? Would it actually make life easier by owning fewer options in that category of stuff?
Have you used it in the last year?
If you’re struggling to decide what to get rid of as you’re decluttering, give yourself something more concrete to use to back up your decision.
Try to remember the last time you used the item you’re deciding on.
If you can’t think of the last time you used or needed an item, is it really worth keeping?
Decide what time frame works best for you. Do you only want to keep things you’ve used within the last 3 months? The last 6 months? The last year?
The time frame you choose is up to you. But having a timeframe to reference makes it a lot easier to see what’s adding value to your life and what’s sitting unused.
Do you want to deal with this item again?
A lot of clutter is the result of unmade decisions. Things you feel unsure about getting rid of or unsure if you’ll need in the future.
One of my favourite ways to push through and make decisions while decluttering is asking myself if I want to have to deal with this item again. Or if I’d rather make a decision now, and never have to go through this same process with the item again.
If you’re questioning if you should keep an item or not, it’s probably a good sign it’s not a clear “yes” for you. But letting go isn’t always easy!
If it still feels hard to let go, ask yourself if you want to continue having this same mental debate in the future the next time you declutter. Or if you’d rather decide once now, and never have to deal with the item again.
Anything you can make a decision to get rid of now is something your future self will thank you for when your home is easier to maintain and future decluttering sessions are easier!
Do you need to own this item?
Another thing to consider as you’re decluttering is whether or not you actually need to own everything personally. Or if there are other options for items you rarely use or need, or only need occasionally.
Would it be possible to borrow or rent the item easily for the few times you need or could use it? Is there something else you own that you could make work to fulfill a similar purpose?
It’s worth questioning if you really need to own everything yourself. Or if there might be other options available for items you don’t use or need often.
Will you remember you own this?
When you have a lot of stuff, it’s hard to remember and keep track of it all. It can be easy to lose track of things. Forgetting where they are when you need them. Or forgetting you have them all together because you simply have more stuff than you can remember and keep track of!
If you come across something you forgot you had, that’s a good sign you aren’t using, needing or loving it. But it’s also a good sign that you might not remember you have the item again in the future.
Be really honest with yourself if you think you would actually remember you own this item and be able to find it if the occasion ever came up that you needed or wanted to use it.
Remember, the more you own, the harder it is to keep track of it all. Reducing the amount of stuff in your home helps your home become easier to manage. And makes it easier to keep track of and remember what you own.
What is the cost of ownership?
Everything you own comes at a cost. Not only the cost of purchasing the item, to begin with. But also the cost of the time and space it takes up in your life. The cost of it to your relationships, peace of mind, mental health, emotional health, etc.
You can read more about the costs of clutter here.
After understanding and identifying the costs of clutter, ask yourself if the item in question adds enough value to your life to justify those costs of ownership.
Aim to only keep things that add enough value to your life, by being something you use, need or love, to make up for the costs of ownership.
Is this item helping you live the life you want?
Another great way to help you confidently decide what to keep and what to get rid of is by focusing on your goals and the kind of life you want to live.
Start by creating a clear vision of how you want your home to look, feel and function. Get clear about how you want your days and your life to feel and flow.
Once you have a clear vision for the home and life you want for yourself, ask yourself if the item in question is helping you move closer to those goals.
Does owning this item bring you closer to the vision you have for your life? Does owning this item support and bring your closer to the goals you have for the way you want your home to look, feel and function?
Rather than getting bogged down in the details of decluttering, zoom out and think of the big picture instead.
Focus on keeping things that support and move you closer to the home and life you want for yourself. And if something doesn’t align with and support your vision for your home and life, consider if you really need or want to keep it in your home.
Challenge yourself to use it or lose it
Finally, a really great way to confidently make decluttering decisions is to put them to the test!
Challenge yourself to use an item in the very near future. Maybe within the next week or month. If you don’t like an item, didn’t need it, or didn’t want to use it, you know you can confidently get rid of it.
This is my favourite way to make decisions about clothes I’m not sure about getting rid of. Instead of looking at an item on the hanger, or trying it on for a minute or two, I make a point of wearing it tomorrow or within the week.
Every time I do this, I very clearly know if I love an item or not by the end of the day of wearing it.
And you can do this with anything in your house. Rather than just trying to think about if you use or love an item, put it to the test. Use the item and pay attention to how you feel while you’re using it.
Do you enjoy using the item? Is there a different item you actually prefer and would choose over this one?
Put it to the test and use the item. Then after using it decide if you’ll lose it and get rid of it, or if it’s something worth keeping.
But just remember, if you have to put an item to the test of “using it or losing it”, it might not be a clear “yes” for you to begin with. The clear “yeses” are the ones you’re already using and loving most often!
How to confidently decide what to get rid of when decluttering
I hope these tips and tricks will make it easier to decide what to get rid of when you’re decluttering. Helping you make decluttering decisions with more confidence and clarity.
Which of these tips are the most eye-opening and helpful for you? Leave a comment and let me know!