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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Whats the biggest clutter culprit in your house?
Time to kick it to the curb once and for all!