These are my starting five questions that I ask my clients when we being a declutter/organizing session. This has to be done before any organizing can occur. I have learned so much from my organizing clients based on their answers. This better allows me to create systems that are customized for them. Hoping you will find this process therapeutic and constructive in your own organizing journey.
Would I buy this again?
There are things we like but don’t love. We buy them because they may seem like a good idea in theory but in function they really aren’t. This is really an honest question to assess what you have in your home. It works for everything!
When is the last time I used it?
Just because it has been a year since you last used something does not mean it has to be donated or sold. I am able to use the answer to this question as a way to store items. For example, the platter that is used for Thanksgiving dinner does not need to go away, it can be stored somewhere away from the everyday use items if space is an issue. Now, if the answer is that you have no recollection when this item was last used, it may be identified as something you can donate or sell.
Do I need more than one of the same item?
Truth be told, this is a big source of clutter. It’s also caused by disorganization. The kitchen and the garage can be big places where this is likely to be asked. I would also add the craft room as well. You may want to think about this as in how much space is the duplication taking up. If there is room and a dedicated space then this is not likely to be a source of clutter for you.
Do I like it?
Seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? I wonder how often people would ask this if a Professional Organizer hadn’t? In our human nature, the like factor plays a big role in if something is being used and this goes for clothing too. Just because you have a particular item as a result of it being purchased on sale or given to you as a gift, the question should be, “Do I like it?” Likewise, it cost a lot of money and you’re holding onto it despite not liking it, is clutter. Just keep it simple and answer the question.
Why am I holding onto this item?
Emotional attachment to stuff is a contributor to clutter. There will always be some “what ifs” to wrestle with but in the end, is this a healthy decision for you? This can be holding you back from living the organized life you are desiring. It’s a good exercise to box up the items you’ve been hanging onto and put a date 6 months from now on the box. Check back in 6 months and you will be less attached and better able to let go. Time is really helpful in these situations. I would like to add that holding onto things for your grown children is not helping you. Likely, your children will not want them. Ask them now and then let go if they don’t want the items.
You have the questions to begin decluttering. This is a process and if you get overwhelmed, reach out to a Professional Organizer for that moral support and hands on approach to decluttering. The question approach is productive in any future purchases you make as well.