10 Hard Questions to Ask When Clearing Out Your Clutter
Parting with your junk should not be sweet sorrow. Here’s how to know when it’s time to let it go.
What do we want? Free space! When do we want it? As soon as we can actually let go of our stuff. That day can be today, if you reconsider your on-the-fence objects with these questions.
1. Is this item enhancing my life?
This question is better than “Do I love it?” (Because, of course, at one time, you did.) Instead, ask yourself if the item is actively important to you right now.
2. Is this something I’ll want my children to see one day?
A work of art you’re proud of completing? Sure. A moving box filled with decades-old Tupperware? Probably not.
3. Do I already have five of these?
You’ll never use all that red nail polish before it goes bad, and you need, at most, two black cardigans to get through the chillier months.
4. Would it be too expensive to replace?
If it turned out you really needed that scented candle or magazine rack, it wouldn’t break the bank to just get another. And in the meantime, enjoy a priceless commodity instead: empty space.
5. Can I consolidate?
Boxes of stationery sets or piles of craft materials will take up less room if you toss their original containers and store them together. Gain space, but keep your stuff. Not a bad trade-off.
6. When I wear this, do I feel good?
Make it goal to have a closet full of only confidence-boosting items that you truly love.
7. Do I know someone who might want this more than I do?
It might be time to part with boxes of baby clothes, but the task becomes easier to swallow when you think about the new mom who truly needs them.
8. Would I move this to a new home?
If you wouldn’t take it with you, why give it permission to fill your space now?
9. Does keeping this item make more work for me?
If that one unloved sweater requires a trip the dry cleaners after every use (and maybe that’s why you don’t wear it!) or your grandma’s silver vase needs constant polishing, donating it can get rid of the clutter and the chore.
10. Could I make some money selling this?
Check eBay or Craigslist to see how much cash the unnecessary item might pull in. Does that money buy you something you actually need? Time to sell!
Kate is the founder of Learn and Grow Books, which is a website for parents and teachers of pre-K children.