11 Questions to Ask Yourself When You are Decluttering

Last week I introduced the MinsGame which is a decluttering game that challenges you to start at the beginning of the month by getting rid of one thing on day one, two things on day two, three things on day three and so on for the whole month.  If the month has 31 days, the math equals 496 things that you’ll get rid of in one month!!

Since we started this game, I’ve had people sending me emails and asking me questions on the socials about some decluttering specifics of how to do this.  Keep in mind that I’m no decluttering expert.  I’m playing the MinsGame because I have a bunch of stuff that needs to go.  I’m super excited to see and feel the results a month from now and I hope you are too!

If you have never partaken in decluttering in a big way or if you are afraid to let things go but you know you should get rid of some stuff, there are some questions that you can ask yourself along the way that may be helpful.  I will definitely be going through these in my head as I play the game this month:

 

11 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Are Decluttering

 

1) Is it Functional?  Does it work and do I use it?  If it’s broken, would I pay money to have it fixed?  Am I saving this because someday I’ll get it fixed?  I’m I saving it because someday it will fit?

I’m so guilty of having a bunch of stuff that is taking up space in a closet because it is broken, out of style or just doesn’t fit.  If you aren’t going to get something fixed in the near future, let it go.  Is it out of style? Let it go.  If it doesn’t fit, let it go.  (This feels a bit like that song from that movie Frozen)

2) Is it Practical? Have I used in the past year?  Is it something that I will use in the coming year?

This is the most common question to ask when decluttering and it’s a good one.  If this item is just sitting around with no practical purpose, why do you keep it?  Get rid of it.

3) Do I have something else like it?  Is there another item that I own that could do this job just as well but I like it more or it is more functional or practical?

Sometimes we hold onto things even if we have more than one.  I have this problem with slow cookers.  I have 4 of them.  (To be clear, I didn’t purposely buy 4 slow cookers…I acquired them from friends and relatives and merging households) I will definitely be liberating some slow cookers as I play the MinsGame 🙂

Are you holding on to items that you have multiples of? This might be because you think that you’ll have the extras for ‘Just in Case’.  If that is your thinking on an item like this, see question 10 and then get rid of the extras. How many of one thing do you really need before you are just creating more clutter?

4) Is it Beautiful?  Do I love it? Does it give me a sense of love/joy/happiness when I use it/see it?

If you love it and it brings you joy….keep it.  If it doesn’t, get rid of it.

5) Am I hanging on to this because I spent money on it and I feel guilty getting rid of it because of the money spent?

I know that you’ve bought something that you thought was ‘The Best’ at the store. Then you brought it home with great intentions and it has sat unused and maybe even untouched since that day you brought it home.  Perhaps you have thought about donating it or getting rid of it but then you feel guilty about the money you spent and the fact that you never used it.  If you answered no to the other questions above and this is the only consideration, get rid of it.

6) Does it hold specific sentimental value? 

Does it tell the story of an important relationship or a life changing experience?  Letting go of items that hold some special memories are especially hard for many people.  This has been a big challenge for me.

One thing that can be helpful here is to take a picture of the item that you are considering letting go.   You can still reflect on the sentimental memory associated with the item without having the item take up space in your life.  After all, the memory is what you are trying to hold on to!!

7) Am I keeping this item out of obligation or expectation? 

Did someone give you this item and you would feel guilty if you got rid of it even though it’s not useful and you don’t love it?  If it isn’t something that you would keep for any other reason other than a sense of obligation or guilt, it shouldn’t be in your space.  You still appreciate the thoughtfulness and the love that the person was expressing by giving you the gift….and then let it go.

8) Could I use the space where this is stored for something else?

I have 2 entire drawers filled with spices.  I often dream of a day when I’ll organize them such that I can get that second drawer back for other kitchen utensils.  Perhaps you have a closet or a drawer or a space under the stairs filled with items that never or rarely get used?  Imagining what you could use the space for if you got rid of the unwanted and unneeded stuff may be just the thing that will help you to declutter.

9) If this object didn’t exist in my world, would I pay money right now to replace it?

Take a look at the item and really consider, if some crazy disaster happened (like the house burned down) would you replace this item?  Would you go and buy it again if it didn’t exist?  If the answer is no, it’s time to let it go.

10) Am I saving this for some hypothetical ‘Just in Case’? 

A lot of people have a fear that once they get rid of something then that will be the exact time that they need it.   With lots of decluttering, it’s likely that this will happen to you at some point but the peace and calm that you will feel between now and that day is worth getting rid of unused, ‘just in case’ items.

Trust that you have what you need and get rid of the things that you are saving for ‘Just in Case’.

When you are considering an item to declutter, these questions should help you to really nail down what you want to keep (you don’t actually have to nail it down but I guess you could if you wanted to 🙂 ) and what you can let go.

If you find yourself still struggling with the decision to get rid of something even after going through these first 10 questions, consider what the research says about how clutter negatively affects your mental energy, your productivity and your sense of calm. 

11) Do I want to feel less tired, stressed and overwhelmed and do I want to feel calm, happier and energized?

I know I do.  🙂  If you want to as well, get rid of it!!!

Find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to follow my Minsgame progress and post your daily pictures through this month of what you are getting rid of along with the hashtags #minsgame and #drpeggyminsgame.

Now get after it!  You can do it!!

Big Love,

Peggy

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