Here are 8 simple questions I like to ask myself when I am decluttering. These questions have helped me to downsize our belongings and become more minimal.
What is the worst thing that could happen if I let this item go? Can I live without this item?
Honestly ask yourself what could happen if I didn’t have this item. For me the worst case scenario is I would have to buy the item again. In my history of decluttering I haven’t ever regretted anything I donated. Let me give you an example. When we first started decluttering I donated over 30 cups. I decided to keep only a few water cups and a few coffee mugs. Worried family members asked me, “what if you have a big party?” I decided to donate the cups anyway. It’s been almost 2 years since we donated the cups and surprise surprise, there hasn’t been a day that we needed the cups!
Is it more important to keep this item or have the space that it occupies?
Space is very important to me. Before becoming minimal I didn’t really understand how much nicer a home looks when there is some extra space. Why do we think big homes are nicer? Its because there is more room so it looks less crowded. You don’t need a huge home (unless you want one) to make your place look spacious, you just need less stuff.
If I were moving would this item be worth packing up and moving to the new location?
Imagine you are packing up your entire home! You are wrapping every glass bottle in bubble wrap. You are now carefully transporting all of these items, now you are unwrapping each item. Then you realize you never even use that glass bottle! All that work for no reason! When we first started to go through our things I questioned if I would take this item to a new home and a lot of the time the answer was no. This was especially true if we had more than one of the same item.
How many times do I buy something on impulse just to find out I never needed this item in the first place?
Decluttering changed how I spent money. This is coming from someone who barely ever shopped. I started to question every purchase. I also stopped shopping for fun and I actively avoided stores. The last thing I wanted to do was spend a year decluttering and end up having to do it all over again.
What can I gain by having a cleaner home with more space in it?
The one thing I gained by having a home with less junk is time and peace of mind. Before we started this minimalist journey I felt like I was constantly putting things away. The most annoying thing was even if everything was “put away” my house never really looked clean. I think it was having too much stuff! Now that we have clear kitchen counters our home looks so much cleaner all the time.
Where is the easiest place to start decluttering in your house?
Start in the easiest place for you. I know with the konmari method they start with clothes. Personally I started decluttering before I had even heard of konmari. Starting in the kitchen was the easiest place to get rid of things. I knew we had items we never used. The kitchen also tends to have duplicate items. I had 3 spatulas, I had over 30 cups! These are easy things to declutter.
How is the clutter affecting my life? Does this item make my life easier or does it just take up space and cause irritation?
Certain items are harder to get rid of! Maybe you spent a lot of money on something, but you never use it. Let me tell you the story of my electric mop. I bought a fancy mop that spit out water and rubbed it all around on the floor and then sucked it back up leaving your floors nice and clean. You had to fill this mop with a special solution which made me never want to use it. Then you had to make sure to dump the dirty water before it got too full. I had to change the water several times in each mopping session! At the end you had to wash everything out and set it out to dry!
Any item that takes this much time and effort is not for me. Decluttering is about making life simple and easier. So it was a no brainer that I would donate this mop even though I did spend a lot of money on it. The thing is I learned a BIG lesson. An expensive fancy item doesn’t always make your life better.
What does being organized look like for you?
This is the question I like to use when I am stuck on a certain area of my home. I try to visualize what I want the room to look like when I am finished. I try to imagine how easy it will be to find and use my things. This visualization of the end result can help me to declutter more items than I normally would because I want my home to be easy to live in.