Monday, June 3, 2013

How I Declutter

I'm a big fan of decluttering even if I have the space to store something there is no reason to hang onto anything I don’t need, use, want, or love. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember and if I’m really honest, there have only been one or two times I’ve ever regretted a purge.

I’m always up for a good opportunity to declutter which is why I am always joining in on organizing and declutter challenges. I’ve noticed that every Spring and Fall, I have an extra urge to declutter. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been slowly weeding through the shed, garage, basement, bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen/dining room, living room, and laundry room as I have done the Clutter Busting Challenge to get rid of 7 things per day in May. It sure feels good to have created a little more space in our home. We usually give our unwanted stuff to a local donation center but sometimes to family.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for exactly what you should and should not purge. So I ask myself:  Is this something we LOVE? or is this something we USE? Or have a plan to use in the very near future. If I can’t answer yes to any of those questions, that’s a pretty good indication that I can purge a particular item.

There are also a few other ways I make my purging decisions:

1. I assess how easy the item would be to replace. If it’s relatively inexpensive and readily available, my decision will be a bit easier than if it’s a pricey heirloom or irreplaceable antique. However, I’m still completely fine with purging those “irreplaceable” items if I honestly don’t need, want, use, or love them.

2. I try to come up with any other ways I could use an item. I’m frugal, so I don’t like getting rid of something I could re-purpose for another use. Sometimes just a fresh coat of paint or a little creativity will save me a trip to the donation drop-off and a trip to the store. However (and this is a BIG HOWEVER) I absolutely refuse to keep something because I “might be able to come up with a use later on”. If I don’t have a use for it in the near future, and if I can’t think of any creative way to use it, I’m going to “lose it”!

3. I realistically evaluate how much space the item consumes. Large bulky items have less chance to survive around our home because I’m not willing to “waste” storage space on stuff we may never use. However, I may hold onto smaller items if I have a convenient storage space for them and if I can honestly see myself using the items.

 4. I ask my husband’s opinion. Usually he’s also in favor of purging, but there have been times when he wants to hold onto an item for a specific purpose I didn’t realize. So before I make any major purges, I usually let him peruse through my piles. This system has worked well for us, however if your spouse or other family members tend to keep everything, I might not be as eager to let them look through my piles.

 That’s it — pretty simple, but unfortunately not very “black and white”.

Yes, there’s a small chance I may regret purging a specific item, and have a twinge of guilt as I give the items away… but I always try to remind myself that someone else will be thrilled to find my cast-offs and I will enjoy all my extra space. I hope this “Love It, Use It, or Lose It” approach will help you to simplify the decision-making process for your next declutter session.

 You can also read:

Clutter Busting Challenge
Clutter Busting Challenge: Update #1
Clutter Busting Challenge: Update #2
Clutter Busting Challenge: Update #3
Clutter Busting Challenge: Update #4 Final
Keeping Clutter at Bay

Submitted to: Money Saving Mom

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