Two Questions To Ask Yourself When Decluttering
Too much stuff. Too much clutter. Too much chaos.
It seems that this is the story of our lives. If you are like most people, after all the holiday stress and perhaps laziness, you need to do some serious clean-up, organizing, and decluttering.
Organizing your things is incredibly important and you can benefit from it in so many ways, beyond just having a clean space.
The benefits of being organized include:
- You know where your things are stored
- You have easy access to the things you need
- You have a system to follow when you need to store or organize new items
- You save time by not losing or searching for things
Organizing Is Not Enough
However, as awesome organizing is, if you are honest with yourself, you know that it is only a temporary solution, especially if you have too many things in your home or office.
You organize your things using a beautiful system. You find some wonderful new storage solutions, while possibly spending money on more stuff, such as containers, boxes, folders, and labels.
It all looks nice when you are done. You are proud. But then tomorrow comes, and you have to continue the same thing. Unless you keep up with organizing your things 24/7, you end up with a major mess that requires a huge clean-up and a day of organizing again.
Is there a solution though? Your stuff won’t put themselves away, after all.
Yes, I am so happy to tell you that there is a better solution than just simply organizing what you own.
Decluttering. Reducing. Minimalizing.
Yup. You need to get rid of some things in your life.
Decluttering And Minimalizing Is The True Solution
When you take steps to fully remove certain items from your life, you can finally experience more space and less time spent organizing.
The results are permanent and long-lasting.
Minimalizing your possessions can offer a groundwork for overcoming consumerism. It provides an opportunity to think about your buying habits, as well as your true needs. Decluttering, reducing, and minimalizing is a step towards living more intentionally according to your values with more purpose and passion.
Minimalizing offers more benefits and is better than just organizing.
Benefits of minimalizing, reducing, and decluttering includes:
- Removing items you don’t need or don’t like
- Creating more space, both physically and mentally
- Less clean-up and less organizing
- An opportunity for more intentional living
- Reconsidering your relationship with consumerism
- Understanding your true needs, wants, and desires
- Creating a unique living space that is more aligned with your lifestyle
- Feeling more love for what you own or will own in the future
- Actually using things you own
- Saving money as you continue to live a more minimalist lifestyle
How do you effectively declutter though?
That is not a hundred dollar question. The answer is simple.
As you are decluttering, you need to ask yourself two questions:
1. Do I need this?
Needs and wants are completely different things. You may want things that you don’t need or don’t need as many of the things that you own.
Our society is built on consumerism. We are constantly bombarded with ads about the next new things. It is enough to scroll through Instagram or Facebook to see the next best thing you should want. Talking to your friends, you may learn about cool things they have that you immediately want too.
Do you need those things though? Maybe, maybe not. How many pans, plates, cups, and cutlery do you need in your kitchen? How many pairs of shoes and items of clothing do you need and use? How many beauty and body items are essential? How many throw pillows and decorations do you need in your home?
There is no right or wrong answer. You may need one pair of shoes. You may need 5, 10, or 20, depending on your job, lifestyle, and activities.
Don’t compare yourself to other people or what minimalist blogs or decluttering experts say. Truly consider your needs.
Of course, what you truly need is to meet your basic human needs for water, food, shelter, and clothing. However, you don’t have to stick with the very basics you need for survival. We all have needs that are above these basics. You may need your journal or yoga mat to take care of your emotional and physical health needs. You may need a blender for your smoothies. You may need your phone and computer to keep in touch, entertain, and work. The list goes on.
As you are going through each item, ask yourself what purpose it serves in your life. Do you really need it? Be honest with yourself.
If your answer is, “No, I don’t need this,” remove it. If you are not sure, put it in a box, don’t touch it for 30 days and then reconsider whether you truly missed the item. If you have forgotten about it, remove it from your home.
2. Why do I have this?
While the first question considered functionality, it is important to think about intentionality as well.
Ask yourself why you own this item. Did you need it? Did you get it as a present? Was it an impulse buy? Do you love how it looks, smells, fits, or makes you feel?
As you go through your items, you may notice that your closet is filled with items you no longer wear or have never worn. Perhaps they don’t fit. Perhaps you simply don’t like them or have no use for them. Perhaps you don’t like how you feel or look in them.
As you go through other areas of your home, you may notice similar things in other places. You may have more than enough beauty products, some may be empty bottles you forgot to throw away. You may have more than enough cups or plates, some of which you may not like or are chipped. You may have old newspapers, receipts, or other papers you have no use for. You may find old, broken electronics, unused toys, furniture pieces stashed away in the basement, and so on.
As you look at your decorations, you may find items that were gifts but you don’t even like. You may have too many decorative items that only collect dust but don’t make you happy anymore.
Think about every single item individually.
Again, it is not about rules or comparison. Some people love decorative pictures, sculptures or other items, others don’t care for them. Some may love jewelry and make-up, others don’t. Some may have more sentimental items than others. Think about you and your family, not others.
What story do these items hold? Do they have sentimental value? How do they make you feel? Do you like them? Asking these questions can guide you on whether you should get rid of them or not. If you are not sure, you can put them away in a box or somewhere out of sight for 30 days, and reconsider them again.
Considering these two questions: “Do I need it?” and “Why do I have it?” are the best questions that can help your decluttering efforts. It can be a truly enlightening and uplifting experience when you remove items you don’t need and don’t like. I have no doubt that you will appreciate the space you will create in your home and in your mind.
Are you ready to declutter and minimize your life? What efforts have your already made in this arena? Share your answers with us in the comments. We would love to hear from you.