The benefits of living a clutter free life are well documented; better health, more freedom and less stress to name a few. I’m a huge fan of decluttering and still do it on a regular basis. The thing with clutter is that it’s constantly coming into our lives so we need to continually assess it to deal with it in a positive way. The actual decluttering process can be really difficult and it can be hard to know where to start. You can read about minimalism and me and how it all started.
Surprise surprise, I like to keep things simple. There’s a lot of information available on minimalism and decluttering and being the researcher that I am, I have read a lot of it. After all my research and my own personal experiences, these are the five questions I find myself asking when deciding what to keep and what to discard. I’m hoping you find them useful and they will save you some time.
1. WHAT IS IT’S PURPOSE?
Everything in our lives should have a purpose. If something doesn’t have a purpose, it is useless. Why would you want useless things in your life? The purpose doesn’t have to be a physical use, it can be something that inspires you or makes you genuinely happy. If it does nothing for you however, it’s time to discard it.
2. DO I HAVE SOMETHING ELSE THAT DOES THE SAME THING?
It’s shocking how many items we have that do exactly the same thing – I know someone with 4 vacuum cleaners! Duplicates are an easy place to start – they are not necessary. Choose your favourite out of all the items that do the same thing and discard the rest.
3. WHEN DID I LAST USE IT?
If you haven’t used something in the last 6 months or 12 months in the case of seasonal items, the chances are that you never will – bye bye. We keep just incase items but the truth is that we’re planning for situations that haven’t even happened. Taking a more realistic approach will keep your clutter down.
4. DOES IT MAKE ME TRULY HAPPY?
Knowing the answer to this takes a little practice. It is so easy to answer yes to everything you’re thinking about decluttering – but I’d encourage you to take the time to really think about it and be honest with yourself. Go with your gut feeling here and don’t be afraid to compare items. Find the one thing that makes you happiest and compare other items to that.
5. COULD I MANAGE WITHOUT IT?
If you haven’t used something in 6 months then you already know the answer to this one (you never will!) but sometimes we will use things that we could manage without. If you’re not sure, try living without it. My favourite method is to put things in a box, out of sight. If you haven’t opened the box after say a few weeks, you have your answer. When you come to discarding, don’t open the box as you’ll stir up feelings of do I need this again.
I hope these tips help you declutter a few more items. As always, let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
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