British textile designer and poet William Morris said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” But it is not that simple, right?
If you’re struggling to make decisions to let go of your physical stuff, of your paper or even of the tasks or activities in your schedule, ask yourself the following questions to help you declutter.
22 questions to help you declutter your space
- Is it something I regularly use?
- Do I have similar items that fit the same purpose?
- How many do I have and how many do I need?
- Is it part of my favourites?
- Is it in working condition?
- Is it missing critical parts? Think jigsaw puzzles, container without the lid or lid without the container etc.
- If it is not working, can it be fixed?
- Will I get it fixed?
- Am I keeping it out of the fear I might need it in the future?
- Will I realistically use it in a near future?
- If I were to let go of it, could I borrow or rent it if I were to need it again?
- Is it something I really love?
- If I was shopping right now, would I buy it again?
- If it was broken or damaged, or if I lost it in a flood or a fire, would I replace it?
- If I were to move to a new home, would I take it along with me?
- Am I keeping it out of guilt because it was expensive?
- Am I keeping it out of obligation because it is sentimental or because it was a gift?
- Will I really forget the person who gave it to me or the circumstances when I acquired it if I were to let go of it?
- Is it worth the space it is taking in my home?
- Is it more trouble to care for it than I care about it?
- Does it improve my life?
- Has it passed its expiry date? Is it still safe using / consuming? Think food from your fridge and pantry, medicine and make-up
Too many clothes? Here’s a list of questions to help you declutter your wardrobe.
7 questions to help you declutter your paper
- Are there any tax or legal reasons for keeping this paper?
- Can I identify the specific circumstances when I would want to use this information?
- Is this information recent enough to be useful?
- Would this information be difficult to replace?
- Could I get this information online?
- Did I ask for this paper?
- What’s the worst possible thing that could happen if I didn’t keep this piece of paper?
8 questions to help you declutter your schedule
- Must I really do it?
- Am I doing it just out of habit?
- Am I doing it just to make someone happy?
- What is the worst that could happen if I were not to do it?
- Does it support one of my personal or professional goals?
- Can I postpone it to a more convenient date / time?
- Can I simplify it or automate it?
- Is there someone I could delegate / outsource it to?
Trust me, if you keep asking yourself those questions while decluttering your home, they will come to you more easily over time, up to the point that you will learn to make immediate decisions about whether to let go of an item as soon as you have it in your hands. The result? No more massive decluttering!
Tell me which questions you’ve found most helpful or share any other questions you ask yourself that help you declutter.