According to a British research reported in the Telegraph, an average 10 year old owns 238 toys but just plays with 12 daily. While according to estimates, over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items while we lose nine items every day. These items include phones, keys, sunglasses, books and paperworks.
Now, this is where clutter comes in. Over storage of these items leads to clutter and disorganised homes. In the early 2000’s, the home organisation industry in the US has doubled in size and has grown at 10% each year. This has painted excessive consumption and unnecessary accumulation of things. The things people spend on have grown, but the money they spend on hiring organising and decluttering companies also grew.
#1 Do I use this item regularly?
If yes, then maybe it needs to stay. But if not, then maybe it’s time to let go. Most of the time clutter comes from the material things that are stored at home but may only be used once a month or once a year. So if the item is not used regularly, then start selling them online or simply let them go.
But wait, don’t just declutter, disown. Disowning would mean letting go f the emotional attachment you have for the material. So put them aside instead of them eating up space in your storage.
#2 Is it something I love?
Many people keep mementos from every occasion in their lives. However, this seemed impractical and cluttering to your home space. You can keep the memories but you should let go of all the unnecessary things. And if it means something more, try to give them away to friends or relatives whom you know will value them as you do.
Just keep those whom you really, really loved the most. And keep the numbers to minimal.
#3 Would I buy this if I’m shopping now?
If finding it hard to declutter, ask yourself if you will buy the item once you are shopping at the moment. If no, then let go. Some items may not that be valuable but you just keep them for the sake of hoarding these items. Even if it has once held a very useful place at home, there’s new point on holding on to it if you already bought its replacement.
For example, try to go over your closet. You’ll probably have clothes you are not wearing regularly and there are those that you don’t wear at all. But in case you still don’t want to let go, hold the dress in front of you and ask if you would still buy it if you are shopping at the moment. If not, disown.
Donate the clothes to charity or sell them on ebay. Then save up the money for a summer vacation you always dreamed of. It won’t fund it all but it can certainly help!
#4 Do I have a similar item that serves same purpose?
We do have the tendency to buy different items with different purpose. The idea of owning so many things seemed to be appealing. One example is kitchen appliances. Instead of owning so many beater or pans, buy one that can serve several purposes.
Or for furniture, why have two sofas when you can have one and increase space for your home. Or instead, use a double purpose ottoman or throw in a bean bag for additional seats when expecting guests.
#5 Am I keeping this out of obligation?
Are you keeping it since you are obliged to do so? Like with wedding favours, you can’t forever keep these items. YOU can instead keep in heart all the memories instead of holding on to these little things.
Little wedding favours usually gather dusts and are pain to clean up. And this would ask or a huge chunk of your time every cleaning week.
#6 Am I saving this just in case?
Are you saving the item just in case it will be usable in the future? Then it’s not definite. You should only keep items you use regularly. The mentality of just in case will make it hard to let go of things.
This is one of the most common causes of clutter. Usually this instills a small fear that you will need something you’ve thrown away. But simplifying your life is worthy of all the tin but unnecessary regret later. Remember, decluttering needs commitment. It’s not for the fainthearted.
#7 Am I holding on to the item to fix one day
Another thing that increases clutter is things that needs fixing but has always been like that forever. I you haven’t had it fixed for like forever, then maybe you don’t really need it in your life. If you have gone on with your life with that thing unfix then let it go and disown it.
Most of the time too, buying a new item instead of fixing an old one will take more money than needed. But of course this doesn’t apply to valuable items of great values like antique radios and expensive air conditioners and cars.
#8 Is this item with the time I spent cleaning it?
Is your time worth the item you’re cleaning? If yes, then good. If no, then stop cleaning it and discard it instead. Spend the time on something else more productive. Grow a garden instead of cleaning those wedding favours from a friend of friend’s wedding. And by the way, let go of those favours again.
#9 Could I use this item space for something else?
A huge space can be freed up once you discard all the unnecessary items in your home. Use this space for an extra room, an extra space for projects instead. Clear out that extra room for storage and use it as a space for entertainment or use it as a project space.
Simple or small things like make up bags, perfumes, and shoes can clear up a big part of your closet. Disowning those that you don’t wear or use or way out of their expiry date will gie you a big space for other more important things.
#10 Does it fit my living space?
Now, you have this new item, or an old one, ask self if it will fit your living space. If not, then maybe you should buy something smaller or replace it with something more handy and mobile.
Remember, the space you can have at home can contribute to your overall state of mind. Create more space and create more serenity in your thinking.
Decluttering, especially to those who will just be starting can be hard. There’s no trick that can hasten the letting go but then it will come in no time. Start with little things until yo can move on into bigger things. Decluttering physical things will have a huge psychological benefits too. It does not only help lessen clutter in your eyes but it can lend peacefulness. Less clutter would lead to easier finding of lost items.
Knowing what to buy and when to buy things is sure one best way to lessen clutter too. Never hoard items just because they’re on sale. You’ll find out later that you have no space for them. So again, for now, start with little things. Maybe, pick up your old bills and cards and throw them in the trash can before you go sentimental on them.
So ready for that decluttering challenge? If yes, start sorting through your items and start letting go. And better ask yourself the questions above.