Most of the advice on de-cluttering, specifically in asking yourself whether or not to hold onto an item, centers around the three basics of:
Do I love it? Do I use it? Do I need to keep it (for legal reasons)?
In most Western societies, we all have way too much stuff. I’m sure there are complex reasons why most of us like to hang onto it. If you’re struggling with letting a few things go, here are some extra questions to ask yourself:
- When was the last time I used it?
Many people say a year is the maximum resting time for an item; I feel two years is a little less rigid.
- When am I next planning to use it?
Souvenirs, mementos and other memories may never feature in your life again. Do you really need them all?
- If I lost it in a fire, would I replace it?
- If I were to die next week, would my relatives wonder why on earth I kept it? Would I want them to have to sort this item and decide what to do with it?
- If I was moving overseas, would I pay to ship it with me?
- Do I love the item, or just the person who gave it to me?
Don’t confuse the two: getting rid of it does not jinx your relationship with the giver.
- What’s the worst that can happen, if I dispose of this?
- Could someone else get better value out of this item?
Donating something you never use could transform someone else’s life. To see how, take a look at Goodwill’s Impact Calculator.
Karen Kingston’s book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, goes into considerably more depth on the topic, including the dragging and de-energizing effect of clutter. There’s also a nice printable checklist, of yet more questions to ask yourself, at Life Your Way.
Do you have a favorite test, for deciding when it’s time to say goodbye to possessions?