Clutter Control – Questions to Help You Determine What Stays
When you are overwhelmed by clutter and mess, you can be certain that you will eventually be faced with some tough decisions. Controlling clutter really begins by looking at each thing, item by item, and making an intelligent rational decision. There are many reasons why we hold onto things, but this doesn’t mean that they are all viable. They are all normal. They are all understandable. They are NOT all viable and sustainable. If we go on our keeping instincts all the time, our homes will be the latest and greatest episode of hoarders.
So how do we actually get rid of clutter and determine what stays and goes? Here are some questions that will help you discern that more easily:
Am I keeping this because I need it or want it?
Needs and wants are at the core of our existence as human beings. Each day we are faced with determining that very thing. Knowing what we need and want can be powerful when it comes to purging clutter as well. The first question you should ask about anything that is taking up space in your home is whether or not it is a need or a want. Needs clearly get higher priority while wants we can move on to other questions.
Have I used this in the past month? Year? Decade?
Look at your clutter and ask yourself this question over and over. If you have not used it or appreciated it, there is a decent chance that it is not something you really should have around. There are obvious exceptions such as artwork, pictures and so on. For the most part, however, this is a powerful question to eliminate clutter. That toaster up on top of the fridge that has not seen the light of day in a year? Time to purge in the name of clutter control.
Can someone else use this more?
A giving spirit is a good way to eliminate clutter and help someone out at the same time. If you have trouble motivating yourself to get rid of things, try this simple question on for size. Perhaps that toaster is not doing you any good but your college aged niece might could use one after moving out on her own. Think about things that are stagnant in your home and how they might serve someone else better.
Am I keeping this for the right reasons?
Sometimes we hold onto things for no good reason. This might be because we relate it to a time, person or memory. This can be okay if we have a scrapbook of memories or a sentimental box for keepsakes. In fact, this can be a wonderful way to enhance your life. That said, you can take it way too far. For example, your ex-boyfriend’s chewing gum stuck to the bedpost or your Aunt’s giant pink flamingo that has resided in your garage for the past decade are not good candidates. Find ways to take a part of your item and make it memorable but in a smaller way. For example, cut off swatches of clothes that you can’t wear but want to remember for personal reasons. This is easy to put into a shadow box or scrap book for memories.
Am I living in the past, present or future by holding onto this item?
We mentioned the past up above, but the future can be just as crippling. A good example is the person that holds onto clothing because they “plan” to be fitting them in a year or two. This is just silly. Get rid of the things that don’t fit and reward yourself with brand new clothes if you hit such a lofty goal. When you live in the future, you will tend to hold onto everything. We are naturally gatherers and hoarders by nature but we originally had to do this to survive. Now, many modern inventions and conveniences allow us to live a bit more relaxed and neat.
Join the clutter control movement!
Certainly these are not the only questions that you can ask to get rid of things. What questions work for you?
If you are in need of better organization skills in general, then we have some things here that will be sure yo help you out! Check out our guide to Getting Organized! If you find that you are still having organization problems, then you might want to try this book on organizing inside and out!