I’ve been there:  I see a fabulous bargain I can’t pass up, so I snap it up; someone kindly passes something on to me I didn’t ask for, so I say yes to protect their feelings.  In either case, I end up with something in my space that has no place.  Next step is to look around my home trying to find somewhere to put it or just plop it on the floor to deal with later.  The lesson to be learned is that if something has no logical, useful or permanent place in my home, it has no business being there.

One approach is to get rid of something else to make room for the new item.  If you have a sweater drawer so full that it can’t possibly hold another sweater, don’t buy or accept another sweater until you go through that drawer and give away anything you no longer wear, love or need.

Another solution is to learn to say, “no.”  I love the idea of “conscious shopping.”  Most of us become temporarily unconscious when we shop.  We operate purely on emotion rather than being rational.  Instead of asking the logical questions, “Do I really need this?” or “Where is this going to go when I get it home?” and “What am I going to use this for?”  We say, “Ooh, how pretty, and so cheap!”  Now what?

When beloved friends or family members offer you their cast-offs and you are reluctant to refuse their kindness, just say, ”Thank you so much!  Let me go home and see if this goes with the rest of what I have and I’ll let you know if I can use it.”  Make sure this person knows you are grateful for the offer, but that the unsolicited item may not be for you and you know they will want to make sure it goes to the perfect recipient.

Face it, there is very little we actually need.  Our spaces are already crammed with items we rarely, if ever, use.  First, ask yourself this question:  “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do I need, love or want this thing?”  Then ask, “Does it really have a space and a place?

 

Now is a great time to start decluttering your closets, cabinets, bookcases, drawers, toy chests, shelves – any space overflowing with “stuff.”

Letting go can often be difficult, but it’s true that clearing some of it out will be a good thing.  Creating more space would make life easier and help you feel more peaceful.  Also, think of all the people you will help out and make happy by donating or passing on your unwanted and unneeded extras.  In this age of recycling, it’s the right thing to do.

To help you make decisions and let go of stuff consciously and confidently, here are 10 essential questions to ask yourself while you are decluttering your space and your life.

1.    Do I own more than one of these?  If your answer is yes, ask yourself why you would need two or more.  Chances are, you own duplicates because you forgot about your original purchase and went out and bought another needlessly.  Pick out the best one and recycle the rest.

2.    When was the last time I used, wore, read or looked at this?  If it has been more than six months, you no longer need it.  Let it go.

3.    Does the condition of this item reflect the image I want to present?  If the item does not meet your standards you don’t need to hold on to it.

4.     If I throw this out, will I deeply regret it?   Tap into your intuition for the answer.  If you feel a tugging in your heart, set the item aside and take a second look later.

5.    Am I ever going to read, wear or use this again?   Just be realistic.  If you’ve outgrown, forgotten about or replaced this item, you probably have already dismissed it from your life.  Pass it on.

6.    Have I gotten all the possible benefit from this item?  If it has served you well and over time and become worn or outdated, you’ve probably gotten your money’s worth from it.  Lay it to rest; it has been a worthy servant (book, shirt, mug, etc.).

7.    Does this item represent who I am now, or someone I used to be?  What once was original and interesting might now be old hat (or an old hat).  If you have moved on to new tastes and interests, you can let what suited the old you go to someone else.

8.    If I had to replace this, would it be easy and affordable?  Just about anything can be replaced.  Venues such as craigslist, amazon, ebay, thrift stores and garage sales are fun places to search for most anything you need or want.  However, if an item is incredibly valuable, absolutely irreplaceable and you are still in love with it, don’t put it back into a box or the back of a closet.  Commit to finding the perfect place to display or use it.

9.    Do I have a sentimental or emotional attachment to this?  If it would break your heart to let Grandma’s tablecloth go, then by all means keep it.  But, if you don’t have room or are ready to let it go, take a photo of it and keep the picture instead.

10.  Is owning this item more trouble than it’s worth?  Some items demand more attention and maintenance than they are merit.   If your goal is to simplify your life, get rid of the high maintenance items and set yourself free.

Bonus question:  Do I really have space for this?  What is more important:  this item or your peace of mind and well-being?   Crowded spaces are energy thieves and safety hazards.  If you are cramped for space, you will always have to stumble over what’s in the way, or dig around to find what you really love, use and want.  Today is the day to let it go!

 

by Mary Sigmann CPO ® | Categories: How To Declutter | Tagged: , , , | No Comments