Guest post from Debra Worth
I have always been pretty good about clutter. Perhaps one of the only things I could say I am usually good about on the homemaking spectrum. But, lately it has been taking over. Since spring is coming, it is time to break out those boxes and bags and begin stuffing them with things to donate, trash, and giveaway.
If I have learned anything in my time of keeping a home it is this, I do not like having to chase stuff around, and the more things we own the more that happens. Right now I am really feeling the need to dramatically pare down because there are simply more things than I can take care of.
When it comes to de-cluttering, there are some magical questions that help things find homes elsewhere. Here are the eight I try to ask myself. Going through every drawer, closet, and shelf while asking these can REALLY help with the goal of owning less stuff, giving you more time to spend on the things you care about.
8 Questions to Ask When De-cluttering:
1. Do I have more stuff than I can deal with? My kids can deal with? My house can reasonably hold?
For example, are there more toys to scatter all over the house than your kids can pick up? Are mounts dirty dishes and dirty laundry frequent visitors. If the answer is yes, then a de-cluttering might truly help.
2. Do I use this?
Cuteness for kids clothes, cleverness for kitchen gadgets, and potential use five years down the road aside, is it used?
If not, it either needs to be packed away (the exception) or gotten rid of (the norm).
3. Does something else I own meet this need?
Kitchen gadgets are a good example of this. You can get specialized cutters for just about anything out there (even banana cutters). Knives and cutting boards do the trick though, and THEY can be used for other things as well.
4. Is there actual reason to have multiples?
We’ll go back to the kitchen again for this. For years, I had one cutting board. It was a nice cutting board and served my needs well. One side was for poultry, and one for vegetables. I was the only one who ever needed a cutting board in my kitchen, so there really was no need to have more than one. Now we have more than one because my kids and husband help in the kitchen more. We use them, so it is good.
Sometimes it can get annoying needing a cutting board and discovering it is dirty. But I would MUCH rather have to wash my cutting board after every single use than to have more than one dirty at a time.
5. Is it worth taking care of?
Back to the kitchen again. I have a few knives, they are all worth getting professionally sharpened and to hone frequently. Knives that are not worth taking care of are probably not worth having. So, unless you absolutely need something that is not worth caring for, I would say get rid of it (or replace it if possible).
6. Does it add value to our life?
The first thing I think of when I ask this question is toys. We have had so few (age appropriate) toys around that the kids were always getting into things they were not supposed to. Right now, though, we have so many toys it is ridiculous. They have a handful of toys they play with (if they can find them amongst all the other toys) and everything else is only amusing for its ability to be dumped and scattered. Then there are an overwhelming amount of toys out, and not for any good reason.
7. Is it needed?
For the sake of argument we will use the word need loosely. For example do I need more bowls in order to be able to reasonably make food for my family? I cook from scratch 2-5 times on any given day, so I have quite a few bowls. I use them for mixing meats, holding peelings, to hold different elements of a dish I am cooking (mise en place). But any more than I have right now would just make it easier to have more dirty dishes at once.
8. Will it bless someone else?
Not much to say here as it is so subjective. But, if you have something that might bless someone else, you might consider giving it away.
I encourage you to go through your house and ask these questions. See if they can help you pare down on stuff, and thus simplify your life.
Do you have any questions you ask yourself when de-cluttering?
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