It can be really hard to declutter a space but it’s also a vital part of home decor. Before you can remake a space you’re going to need to declutter it.
How to Declutter When You’re Stuck
This is not the ultimate guide to how to declutter your home. This is not even the step by step guide of how to do it because there are plenty of places to find all that information.
This is what to do when you’ve got that pile that you can’t decide what to do with.
These are the questions to ask yourself to make a decision instead of leaving things in a “maybe” pile. Because you have a “keep”, “donate”, “maybe” in most systems.
“Clutter is anything that doesn’t belong in a space – whether because it belongs elsewhere in your home, or it doesn’t belong in your home any longer”Chrissy Halton
We’ve all got clutter in our homes. Sometimes we can hide it in closets and storage spaces and sometimes it’s that giant stack of papers that arrived in backpacks and the mailbox.
It can feel like clutter multiplies all by itself and I’m here to tell you I think that’s a valid theory.
Let’s be honest about it too. It’s hard to stay on top of it and it’s even harder to figure out what to do with it.
Paper can be stored or disposed of but what about all those other items you have. Do you store them? Donate them? Sell them?
Well if you’ve got these questions then I’ve got some tips to help you!
Questions to Ask Yourself
I know we’ve all shoved a box in the attic to deal with later because it’s easier than trying to figure out what to do with the things in it.
I know that we move pretty often but we still seem to have a lot of stuff that makes us shake our heads and wonder “why did we keep that?”
When you start working on decluttering a space you may find yourself easily getting rid of some items and others just become “maybe’s”.
Maybe I should keep it? Maybe I should sell it or maybe I should donate it?
Here’s how to decide.
Well, here are some questions that might help you decide.
You’re still the decider!
Is this item necessary?
This might seem like a really easy question but sometimes we get so used to seeing things that we don’t even notice we don’t use them anymore.
I find that this is especially true in the kitchen.
That bread machine. I used it everyday for years. But now it’s been years since I actually used it.
Kids items. Pacifiers and sippy cups. Storage containers with no lids.
Sometimes this happens because of a life change. Moving into a new home (a great time to declutter) or a new climate. If you move to a warm sunshiney place you might not need those wool socks anymore. Or maybe just not so many of them!
Are you keeping it because it’s Expensive?
Sometimes we want to hang onto things because we spent a lot of money on them. I totally understand that.
Every time we look at it we are reminded of what was spent.
Let me remind you that the money was spent when you bought the item, not when you’re getting rid of it.
Don’t keep an item out of guilt. The worst thing is to feel guilty each time you see the item. Or to hide the item away and not use it to avoid feeling guilty.
There’s a certain amount of freedom that comes from letting things go and this is definitely one of those times.
If the item still has value can you sell it? There are plenty of places online that are for resale.
Is there a charity that you could donate this item to? You can let it go and also use the donation as a tax deduction. Win. Win.
Is there someone you know who’s really been wanting something like this? What better gift than to tell them that you aren’t using it but you’d love them to have it.
But only if it’s something they really want. No need to add clutter to their life.
Are You Saving it for the Future?
There are certainly things that we aren’t using right this minute but we need to hold onto for future needs.
I will still come back to children’s items because they outgrow things so quickly but if you’re planning to have more children you certainly are going to want to store items for later.
This is mostly for those things that you might need one day. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will it still be good?
Food items may go bad, batteries may go bad and some finishes may degrade when they are stored. Be sure that whatever you’re saving will stay good and be sure that you’re storing it correctly – remove the batteries, have it professionally cleaned, seal it, etc.
- Can it be replaced easily?
It’s great to stay stocked up on items that you run out of but there’s no reason to use up space in your home for items that you don’t or won’t need for a long time. There’s a fine balance between having shampoo and having a shelf full of it because you got a great deal on it.
- Will you be able to find it?
It’s great to keep extra items on hand but not if they’re buried in the junk drawer and you can’t find it when you need it. That’s when you’ve gone from helpful items into the clutter category. Be sure you can remember that you actually already have it AND where it actually is. If it’s useful but it’s missing, well, you see what I mean.
Do you secretly dislike it?
Are you holding onto something that you don’t really care for? Ask yourself if it’s something that just disappeared would you really miss it? Or would you feel relieved?
It doesn’t matter if it’s a family heirloom or something that you got on clearance. If you don’t love it it’s time to let it go.
Do you feel guilty about getting rid of it?
Many times we hold onto things that are sentimental even if we don’t like them. I know I’m guilty of having a couple of storage tubs with memento’s in them that I’m keeping for no reason. I have plenty of space to store them and I’m pretty good at decluttering on a pretty regular basis so I’m okay with it.
Is it a gift that someone gave you and you feel bad about not using it? Or not even wanting it?
Sometimes this can be a sticky situation. If it’s something that the person will notice you not loving that’s even tougher.
However, if the item isn’t serving you and your family then it’s time for it to move on.
If it was a gift, you’ll still have the memory of receiving something thoughtful. It’s even better if it’s not something you can no longer use personally but you can pass along to someone who will love and appreciate it more.
At the end of the day, you should only keep things that serve your family or will do so in the future.
You are the only one who can decide if these items work in your home and you are the only one who knows which things are most important to keep.
I would never suggest getting rid of items that are truly sentimental and have meaning in your life. Those should absolute stay and find a home. Those are not clutter.
Clutter are the items that you keep because you don’t have time or interest in getting rid of them. If you’re having a hard time deciding then the questions above will hopefully help you out!
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