Okay look, the hard truth is that most of us don’t need better organizing systems. Most of us just need to get rid of STUFF. Now, you probably know that, and yet it can feel nearly impossible to actually declutter. Not only is it hard to make the time to do it, but then once you start you feel overwhelmed. Next thing you know you are reaching for the cookies and the TV remote, and you’ve barely made a dent.
Aside from lighting a match and sending it all up in smoke (not recommended) how can you more effectively and efficiently declutter? The next time you find twenty minutes to sort through some stuff, ask yourself the following three questions to help you make fast and effective decisions:
1. Could someone else use this better than me?
The impulse to hold on to something just because you *might* use it may feel thrifty, but it’s rooted in fear. Fear that you may need it and won’t have it. Fear that you can’t access that again if you need it. And meanwhile, while you are sitting there afraid, hoarding all those things you *might* need, someone else might be thinking how nice it would be to have very item you’re not even using. So turn down the dial on your fear, turn up the dial on your generosity, and set that item free. Trust that the Universe will provide when it’s your turn to need something.
2. if I didn’t already own this, would I buy it again?
We are all suckers for sunk costs. Once we’ve put our money, effort, or time into something, we tend to give it more value than we would if we didn’t own it. Try to get some perspective. If you didn’t own the item, and it was for sale in front of you right now, would you spend your hard earned money on it? If no, then why keep spending your hard earned energy and time on it? Remember, every item in our home is an anchor. Sometimes a good anchor that keeps you rooted to the things you love. Other times a heavy anchor that can make you feel like you are drowning. Lighten up and let go of the things you don’t love.
3. am I keeping this because i love it, or…?
Ah guilt, that sneaky little emotion that makes us do so many things against our will. So, honestly, are you keeping that buffet because you love it, or because your sister thinks you should keep it? Are you holding on to that sofa because you love it, or because it was expensive? Are you holding on to that painting because you enjoy it, or because Aunt Betty gave it to you? If you love the story behind the item, but not the item itself, why not take a picture of it and add it to your scrapbook? Then let it go so that someone else really can love and enjoy it (see #1).
Decluttering is a skill that anyone can get better at with a little practice, so start today, get rid of one thing that no longer belongs in your home and life, and get ready to breathe a little easier!
May your home always be happy!