Ask yourself these 4 helpful questions and you’ll find it easy to know what to keep and what to toss when you’re decluttering your home!
If you all are like me, you are constantly working at figuring out how to be more efficient and organized in your homes. That’s why I’m excited to have my blogging friend Angela share some of her wisdom about decluttering with us. Angela’s easy approach to decluttering always makes it feel so doable and easy, and when I read her posts, I want to go get rid of more things immediately! Decluttering your home is such a freeing thing and I found these tips from Angela, as well as her story about what got her started on her decluttering journey, super helpful and I know you will too!
Hey, Thrifty Frugal Mamas! I’m Angela from Setting My Intention and I’m excited to share four helpful questions to ask yourself when decluttering your home. These are questions that I’ve asked myself repeatedly (too many times to count) since I’ve been decluttering my home with focus for the past two years.
You might be thinking, “You’ve been decluttering your home for TWO years! Are you a hoarder or something?” Nope. I’m not a hoarder. We’re a pretty normal family of five with three growing sons with rapidly changing interests and hobbies.
My Clutter Story
We’re not huge consumers who buy lots of new things. We tend more to the side of accepting items given to us by well meaning friends and family because “that could come in handy someday.” If you’re frugal, you know what I’m talking about. People are going to throw away some “perfectly good (fill in the blank)” and you take it because you don’t want to see it end up in the landfill.
For us, this became a problem when my youngest son was born. There is a six year gap between our middle son and our youngest – we thought we were done with babies – so we had given everything baby related away. Then we were blessed with our youngest son.
We accepted all the baby things that my sister was done with: swings, exersaucers, bouncy chairs, clothes, toys, books – you name it we accepted it. My thought was – if we don’t use it, we’ll pass it along to someone who could.
The only problem was…I didn’t have a system in place of regularly decluttering our home. So things that were outgrown were stuffed in closets or put in the basement and the pile just kept growing…and growing…and growing. Add on to this, school papers, mail, presents, and the normal stuff that kids and adults bring in the house on a daily basis.
This stuff usually grows slowly and it’s easy to ignore. It can sometimes be referred to as “clutter creep.”
My Decluttering Story
For many years I just ignored the overflowing closets, the growing piles, and the out of hand basement. After all, there were meals to be made, clothes to be washed, children to play with, and jobs to go to. I conveniently turned a blind eye to all “the stuff.”
I finally started dealing with the clutter when my youngest went to a full day pre-K program when he was four years old. I suddenly had several hours on the two weekdays that I had off. I had grand ideas of volunteering my time or writing more – but I found myself spending a lot of time picking up, cleaning, and working through the mountain of laundry.
Things had to change.
There’s a saying that clutter is a sign of delayed decisions. It’s a very accurate description of clutter. The pile of mail you set down for one moment, thinking “I’ll deal with this later” grows unless you take care of it at that moment or on a regular basis. The pile of clothes you store away, thinking “I’ll go through this later” takes over your closet unless you make decisions about what to donate and what to discard at that moment.
I decided to stop delaying decisions. I started with my entryway (which was constantly cluttered and messy), my sons’ toys, then moved on to their clothing. I decluttered my books, my photos, my clothes, my husbands clothes, the kitchen, the linen closet, and the bathrooms.
Through all of this decluttering, I found I was doing many of the same steps over and over again. So, I created a 10 step decluttering process that was helpful because it was a process I could use for any room in the house.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself While Decluttering Your Home
In Step 8 of the process, when you’ve narrowed down all the items that actually belong in that space you’re decluttering, there are 4 helpful questions to ask yourself. Going through this process will help you figure out if you should really keep these items in your home. Hold each item and ask yourself these questions:
- Is this being used in the present?
- Yes? Great! Keep it as long as it continues to be of use
- No? Put it in the donate pile – someone else is looking for that exact thing and will be thrilled to find it!
- Do I WANT to keep this? Or has it just been lying here long enough and I’ve become blind to it?
- Yes? Great! Find a home for it – a place where it belongs in the space that you are decluttering.
- No? Decide whether to toss, recycle, or donate it.
- Do I NEED to keep this?
- Yes? Great! Find a home for it.
- No? Decide whether to toss, recycle, or donate it.
- Do I LOVE this? Does it bring me joy to look at?
- Yes? Display it somewhere you will see everyday
- No? Gift it to someone you know who will love it, or donate it so someone else can find it and cherish it.
- There are things we keep because they are useful vs. beautiful.
- There are things we keep because they’re beautiful vs. useful.
- There are things we keep because we need to (tax documents, birth certificates, etc.)
All of these are great reasons to keep things. We just need to make intentional decisions about what we surround ourselves with. It isn’t easy and it definitely isn’t fast. I call it the slow and steady decluttering process.
If you’re in the clutter part of your story, I invite you to sign up for my FREE 7 day decluttering email course. It will set you up to start (or restart) your own slow and steady decluttering journey!
Angela blogs at Setting My Intention where she focuses on clearing clutter, finding joy, and living slow. She loves to encourage intentional change and developing healthy habits in herself and her readers. She calls herself an aspiring minimalist, hoping to create a peaceful home and a slow schedule for her and her family…one step at a time. You can keep up with her progress (and join in the fun) here: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram