These Decluttering Questions Will Make You Clear The Clutter Right Now

Sometimes it feels that things have gotten so out of hand that there’s nothing for it but to burn down the house and start again from scratch. (Anyone else ever felt like this?) Decluttering can be difficult, particularly when you don’t even know where to start. Stuff is screaming at you from every surface and you feel that if you could just see your table top again, life would be a little easier.

You’re sick of losing things, and falling over things, and generally feeling like the clutter is getting out of control, but you’re struggling to actually let go of anything. Lucky for you, below is a list of decluttering questions you can use to dump the junk once and for all and give yourself the home you deserve.

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Decluttering questions that will make you clear the clutter right now | Declutter your home, declutter your life | decluttering tips | clearing clutter and organizing your home | home organization | learn how to let things go & get rid of stuff

So you’re ready to have a clear, uncluttered home. You want to feel calmer and more in control. You’re not going to waste any more time searching for things, or any more money replacing things or discovering you’ve just bought a duplicate. Nope, everything in your home is going to be tidy and organised, and you’re going to know exactly where everything is.

And that starts with dumping the junk.

The thing is, deciding what to dump is easier said than done. I mean, your great grandma made that blanket, and that knick-knack was a gift. And you might not know what that cable belongs to, but as soon as you get rid of it, you’ll need it. Right?

Maybe you’ve even considered the KonMari Method but the “sparks joy” concept seems a little strange.

What you need is something a little more practical to get you through the “letting go” process.

Here’s a list of decluttering questions that will help you evaluate each item you own to see whether it’s adding to or detracting from your life. For some items, you’ll have your answer after just one or two questions; for others, you may have to work your way down the list. But by the time you’re done, you’ll know what deserves a place in your home, and what’s just plain junk.

And don't worry, I've got a free printable for you too, so you can download it and declutter to your heart's desire. 😉 Click the pic below to grab your copy of the decluttering questions.​

Decluttering questions that will make you clear the clutter right now | Declutter your home, declutter your life | decluttering tips | clearing clutter and organizing your home | home organization | learn how to let things go & get rid of stuff

19 Decluttering Questions To Help You Dump The Junk

1. What is it?

If you can’t even identify it, there’s little point keeping it.

2. Why do you still have it?

Even if it was useful at one point, that doesn’t mean it still is. If you can’t think of a good reason to keep it, you shouldn’t.

3. Do you love it?

Self-explanatory. There are plenty of nice things in the world, but simply liking something isn’t enough to justify keeping it. This could be a lifelong commitment, so make sure it’s love.

Decluttering questions that will make you clear the clutter right now | Declutter your home, declutter your life | decluttering tips | clearing clutter and organizing your home | home organization | learn how to let things go & get rid of stuff

4. Is it valuable?

I don’t just mean in financial terms — though that can be a consideration too — but does it add value or benefit to your life? Some things are worth their weight in gold, or are even priceless, without ever being able to fetch a high sale price.

5. Do you need it?

Don’t go throwing out all your underwear, for instance. Make a note to update it, and only then dump the items that are past their prime. Be sure it’s a genuine need, though. You can’t keep that charging cable if you don’t even know what it charges.

6. Would your life be a little less convenient without it?

If it provides a useful function that makes your life that little bit easier, it’s probably worth keeping. Convenience is a commodity. If, on the other hand, it makes your life difficult, dump it.

7. Is it replaceable?

I’m not saying you should dump everything that’s replaceable, but it can take the sting out of letting go of something, particularly in those “what if” situations, if you know you can just pop to the shops and buy another, or even borrow one from a friend if needs be.

Decluttering questions that will make you clear the clutter right now | Declutter your home, declutter your life | decluttering tips | clearing clutter and organizing your home | home organization | learn how to let things go & get rid of stuff

8. How much would it cost to replace it?

If you’ve never used it but you’re keeping it “just in case”, yet you could buy a new one for a nickel, you’re doing yourself a disservice by letting it take up precious space in your home. Get rid.

9. Is there a better or newer model you could upgrade to?

If it’s within budget and you’re ready for an upgrade, thank the old item for doing its job and fulfilling its purpose, and then send it on its way.

10. Is there someone else who could put it to better use?

What’s the point in hanging onto to something you barely, if ever, use when someone else would love and cherish it? Don’t be selfish, free up the shelf space.

11. When was the last time you used it?

Exactly.

12. Could you scan it or take a photo of it?

I’m not saying you should go clogging up the cloud, but you don’t always need to keep a hard copy of everything. A photo will jog your memory and stoke your nostalgia just as much as the physical item, and a scanned item is just as easy to reference. Be selective, and name the file appropriately so it’s easy to find.

13. Could you store it elsewhere (physically or digitally)?

Like the bin, for instance. 😛

14. Does it fit in with the overall look and feel you want for your home?

Liking lots of different things is perfectly acceptable, but there’s a difference between an eclectic home and a chaotic home. Think of the vibe you’re trying to achieve with your home, and eliminate anything that doesn’t fit that vision.

Decluttering questions that will make you clear the clutter right now | Declutter your home, declutter your life | decluttering tips | clearing clutter and organizing your home | home organization | learn how to let things go & get rid of stuff

15. Does it elicit any negative feelings for you at all?

If it makes you sad to see it, even if there are also a few happy memories mixed in there too, it’s time to let it go.

16. If you were moving, would you take it with you?

This is something I’m in the middle of even as I write this and I can tell you that there’s a world of difference between liking something, and liking it enough to pack it up, pay to ship it thousands of miles, and then unpack it and find a new home for it on the other side.

17. If it were damaged or lost in a fire, flood, robbery, etc. would you be devastated?

If it was suddenly gone from your life, would you be bereft, or would you shake it off and get on with things? This happened to me recently when I thought moths had eaten through a jumper. It turned out to be just my imagination, but I realised my thoughts were along the lines of, “Oh, that’s such a pity. Oh well.” Not a good sign.

18. Are you willing to be responsible for it for the foreseeable?

Don’t be deceived that something is just sitting on a shelf, minding its own business. There’s a lot of upkeep involved in taking care of clutter — washing, cleaning, moving, dusting, organising, mending… Are you willing to look after this item forever, to meet all its needs, and to fit yourself and your life around it?

19. If you got rid of it, what’s the worst that could happen?

Really and truly? You can live without a lot more than you think you can, and you can probably borrow the rest. Unless it’s life-saving medication or the like, you’re OK to let it go.

Decluttering questions that will make you clear the clutter right now | Declutter your home, declutter your life | decluttering tips | clearing clutter and organizing your home | home organization | learn how to let things go & get rid of stuff

By the time you’ve worked your way through that list, even the most stubborn of stuff would find it hard to hold on.

If you’re looking for some quick wins, watch my video on 10 things you can declutter from your home right now.

Before you know it, you’ll have a clean, tidy home with clear surfaces and no clutter in sight. And all you have to do is ask yourself a few simple questions.

Don't forget to pick up your free PDF with all the decluttering questions before you go.​

Decluttering questions that will make you clear the clutter right now | Declutter your home, declutter your life | decluttering tips | clearing clutter and organizing your home | home organization | learn how to let things go & get rid of stuff

Whats the biggest clutter culprit in your house?

Time to kick it to the curb once and for all!

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for your great questions. (This is a long post sorry for that!) I started my “Kon-Mari” journey 6 months ago, and had great problems in getting into the concept of “spark joy”. When I held up one piece of clothing I usually remembered the joy I felt when I bought it or some good memories on an event when I wore that particular item. I found it very hard to figure out if it sparked joy now. So I ended up trying most of my clothing on, and then I knew instantly whether they sparked joy or not. (I have been weeding out cloths many times before, so my pile was not too bad to get through…)

    When I got to books I was kind of annoyed having to ask if this book sparked joy. “Of course it sparks joy, I would not have bought if not!” would be my answer… I ended up asking myself: If I knew that this book would get a “good home” could I then part with it? And to my great amazement, I was ok with this for all my books. I had not expected that, I can actually live without any of my books. However, I was not able to part with them in one go right there and then. I put them back on the shelf (not recommended I am sure), sorting them according to which books that was easiest to part with to the hardest to part with. Over the period the last 6 months I have physically removed (and donated) 3 or 10 or 15 or so books every now and then. I have found that if I cannot part with something one day, I often can the next day or the next week. It just needs to mature a bit. Now I have 60 books, I started with some 350. I do not know if I will end up with zero books, but I think I might some day.

    Both clothes and books took only one day each. But the paper has taken me 6 months! I had a lot of old school-notes and clippings on nearly every subject I might have been interested in at some point. I had kept it, having some crazy idea about making my own knowledge database. I never got round to it of course. It was very liberating and releasing what Marie Kondo said in her book about notes. That triggered that I could throw out all my study notes. I could also give up the idea of keeping a historical file over all my bank transactions, all my salary receipts and so on. Very freeing to get rid of all this!

    As I was dealing with this, I needed a brake, so I started dealing with digital clutter, since that is paper too, only they are on the computer. And somehow during this period I just picked komono here and there when I saw something I did not use any more, did not spark joy, whatever, getting rid of that as well. I never planned this, it just happened… I guess I was dreading it, so I gave myself a head start… That has freed so much space from my shelves and cupboards that I now can have clutter-free surfaces. What joy that is! I have been struggling with this always. There has always been some mess I never clear up because I will be using it very soon again, and they have not had a ” fixed abode”. So I have not at all been following Marie Kondo’s very specific guidelines!

    An interesting experience I had was that when I got rid of my box of collected yarn (some 40 skeins) I started knitting again, I have also started to read books again. I would never have guessed that stuff is so draining as I now believe it is.

    My latest read was Fumio Sasaki’s good-bye, things. He has a very different approach than Marie Kondo. Sasaki is a minimalist and he has downsized to the bare minimum as far as I can tell from his book. He says that he has now gotten rid of all items he ever had an emotional attachment to. He does not have the practical approach and drive that MK has. She shows us this is how you do it. Still, I think he has a lot interesting things to say about minimalism, happiness and what changes living with less things has had in his personal life. Amongst others he tells about a lady who removes all the leaves every morning even if there will be as many leaves there the next morning. She is not wiping the leaves, she is wiping her own laziness. I found that very moving and profound! Before he vacuum cleaned his flat maybe once every month, now he cleans it every morning, and he would not give that job away to a robot cleaner!

    To rap it up: I was not able to follow Ms Kondo’s pretty strict guidelines for a one-time life-changing tidying-festival. However, I found her book and method very inspirational. I am not done, but I have been doing for so long now that I think it has become a lifestyle… I found Mr Sasaki book more relaxing and peaceful, fewer concrete tips on how to go about it, and not so well written as Kondo.

    Thank you so much for your videos, they have been truly inspirational in my decluttering festival!

    • Hi Hilde. What a fascinating journey you’ve been on with the KonMari Method! You seem to be making huge strides, and it’s great that you’ve managed to adapt it and tweak it to suit your lifestyle, using the bits that work best for you. That second book you read sounds very interesting indeed! If I spot it, I’ll pick it up.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m sure it will help others who are struggling to stick to the strict guidelines. =) Best of luck with the rest of your things.

  2. In connection with the book Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, might I spark your curiosity by revealing that this man can MOVE in 20 MINUTES; he can pack down his things in 20 minutes and go to his next abode… Good luck with your move 😉

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