Sustainable Living Organisation and Productivity Personal Development

Decluttering 101: How To Decide What To Keep and What To Give Away

Do you have far too much stuff cluttering your surroundings? Do you sometimes have a clear out but find it hard to part with certain items?  Here are some questions you can ask yourself, to help clarify in your mind whether you should hold on to the item, or give it away (to somebody else, or to charity, or sell it).

Do I keep something or give it away?

  • Am I ever going to use it again?
  • Would it ever provide me with inspiration?
  • Does this item make me feel good whenever I see it, use it or think about it?
  • Would I ever show it to anyone?
  • Would the space it is currently taking up be more valuable to me than the item itself?
  • Would it be refreshing never to have to look at or think about it ever again?
  • Would giving it away declutter my mind of memories I no longer need and make space for new memories?
  • Is there something else I could replace it with that would be much more useful and appealing to me?
  • Is it relevant to my values, and what’s important to me in life?
  • Is it relevant to my plans for the future?
  • Would I ever look back and wish I’d kept it?
  • Is it merely a relic from a past time that doesn’t mean much to me any more?
  • Are the memories this invokes actually important to me, and would it be better to let go of them?
  • Do I need this item to remember certain memories, or will I remember them anyway?
  • If I didn’t already own this item, would I buy it today?
  • If I use this item, would I be using it merely because I have it, rather than because I would actually choose to?
  • Am I just keeping this item to please someone else, or because they gave it to me? Would they even remember giving it to me?
  • Could someone else make better use of this item than I could?

I hope your answers to these questions will help you with deciding whether to keep a certain item or not

It’s okay to keep items that are meaningful to you, even if they don’t have a specific physical use. Items can help you mentally and emotionally too. It’s possible to take de-cluttering too far and be too brutal. I have a few things that I have given away or recycled, which I now regret and wish I had kept. So even if your answers suggest that you should give it away, but you just don’t want to, that’s okay. Keep the item and you can always reconsider another time. But my regrets are outnumbered by the items that I am glad I gave away, and do not miss, even if I have fond memories of them.

I believe that it’s best to keep life flowing. If you allow things to flow out of your life, then it creates space for new things to flow in, which they will. Even if an item did fulfil some role in your life, but just didn’t feel quite right to you, it’s okay to let it go. Don’t worry, something else will come in that fulfils that role even more completely.

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Decluttering 101: How To Decide What To Keep and What To Give Away

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