Getting Rid of Clutter: Four Key Questions to Ask Yourself

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Here’s a New Year’s Resolution you might want to make!

To make it easier on yourself in the decision making process to get rid of clutter, ask yourself these Four Key Questions:

  1. 1. When did you last use this item? If you know it’s been more than 12 months, the item may no longer be really useful. Could you borrow or rent this item if you needed it in the future? Would someone else benefit from it? Perhaps you can trade it for something you really need. I have a little pull cart with a canvas insert for holding things that I bought at the Somerville Garden Club plant sale at least 5 years ago, and it’s  been in my attic used only once since I got it. Why am I still holding on to it? I know I’ll never use it again as it wasn’t that useful for my needs. Hmm, maybe I will use it at some point. My good intentions have been; I’ll bring it back to the club’s raffle or annual plant sale, or give it away to a friend for Christmas. Now that’s a great idea – a gift for the holidays! I better practice what I preach, and do this soon! So, if you are holding on to  unused things, get rid of them!
  2.  If you let go of your clutter, how much space and money would you gain? Think of the cost of a shelf that is full of unused books – $35 to over $100? And, think about the square feet this bookshelf takes up. Perhaps you are paying more rent or mortgage payments because you need a bigger space to keep everything. Or, maybe instead of renting storage space units, use the money to invest in your future, or donate it to a good cause. Remember that rental and home insurance costs more for every square foot you live in.
  3. What is the worst possible thing that could happen if you throw, sell or give away your clutter? As I’ve gotten myself organized over the years, I haven’t regretted selling or giving away any items that met these first two questions; has it been more than a year, and how much space and money would I gain. When in doubt, throw it out!
  4. What are you doing to stop acquiring more clutter? I used to collect decorative watering cans of all shapes, colors and sizes. Friends also bought them for me as gifts. Enough already! Finally, one day, I decided to give them to Goodwill instead of displaying them on my shelves to collect dust. I kept a choice few small watering cans, and now enjoy them with relief. If you collect cat or dog memorabilia or any other things, have more than you can manage, and are sick of the care and management of these collections, make that commitment to yourself to sell or give them away. Use the money you’d spend on acquiring them on donations to animal shelters or to another charitable cause. And, most important of all, make a promise to yourself to think about real values instead of just adding more clutter to your life.

I’d love to know the impact these four questions have on you as answer them ‘one at a time’.

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