5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Decluttering

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The questions you ask yourself when decluttering make all the difference in, well, in whether or not you actually declutter. Here are five winners to get you started.

a must read for anyone trying to get organized: the 5 most helpful questions to ask yourself when decluttering (number 5 especially!) 

Question # 1:  Would I buy it today?

The act of paying money for something is incredibly illuminative of our intentions and desires. By asking yourself if you would realistically purchase the item right now, today, you’re able to clarify your feelings about an item.

Rather than focusing on when and where you originally purchased something, or how much it cost, or how on earth you came to acquire it, by asking yourself if you would buy it today you force yourself to put your money where your mouth is so to speak, no pun intended, yadah yadah.

This is the way you can get closer to the truth about whether or not an item still fits your criteria, your taste, and so on. 


Question # 2: Will I wear/use it tomorrow? This week?

Most people think that the best question to ask when decluttering is “when was the last time I wore/used this?” While that question can be a good starting place, a response to it isn’t actually all that informative or helpful to your decision-making.

Whether or not you’ve worn it in the past does not address your feelings about it now. And how you feel about it now is all that matters.

As with the first question, asking yourself if you will wear or use a particular item now is ultimately more revealing of whether or not it should stick around.


Question # 3: Do I have space for it?

This is one of the most important questions, and one that often isn’t prioritized when decluttering.

While your feelings about various belongings are vastly important, they do not and should not trump your spatial means.

You can’t keep more than your space can accommodate. Or, you can (whatever, go ahead, see if I care–I DO), but it won’t do you any good; overcrowding decreases accessibility to all things, causing everything–the things you love and the things you feel iffy about (and you)–to suffer.


Question # 4: It is unique?

It’s important to consider your belongings in the context of a larger collection of things. Rather than evaluating an item on its own, consider how it relates to the rest of your collection; do you own many versions of an item? If so, are there ones that are in better condition, or that you prefer for subtle reasons?

By comparing like items against each other, you can better cultivate a well-rounded collection, full of unique pieces, each of which, then, serves a distinct purpose, and thus, earns it space in your home and in your life.


Question # 5: Does owning it/wearing it/using it make me feel good about myself?

This question is the bottom line. Any material belongings you bring into your life you do so on a voluntary basis. With that in mind, it’s just plain dumb to surround yourself with anything other than that which makes you feel abundantly, overwhelming great about yourself, and, as an extension, your decisions and decision making process, your lifestyle choices, and your core values.


 Know someone who is currently in the process of decluttering? Be a pal! Send this post their way. 

Image credit: Who What Wear 


13 thoughts on “5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Decluttering

  1. Jennifer

    Thank you, this post has helped me immensely. I’m in the process of moving house and so this is the perfect opportunity to de-clutter!

  2. Leanne Caroline

    Hello Annie, I came across this post of yours from Pinterest (via Caroline Joy / Unfancy). I’m an avid declutter-er myself, and am very thankful for your idea at number 2. While I regularly ask myself “when was the last time I wore/used this?”, switching this to “when WILL BE the next time I wear/use this?” makes perfect sense. Thanks for the advice to remember to live in the now xo

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  5. Lindsey

    This is the most concise and helpful guide I’ve found so far! This will be a huge help over the next few weeks. Thanks a lot!

  6. Iza cadena

    Hello! Excellent advice! But my question is the pants ON the picture! Will do a hard sale with my decluttered clóset, the mi want THOSE PANTS! Any info about?

  7. Erin Field

    So inspired!!!!! Thank you Annie! I have always felt that I start to feel really ick when material things begin to take over – you have motivated me to shed that ick feeling immediately and get de cluttering right now! Big thanks from Bermuda!!

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