Questions To Ask Yourself
Do you ever find yourself looking around your home and wondering how you’ve accumulated so many things? You are not the only one.
With all the talk of tidying up over the last year (Marie Kondo anyone?), you have to have glanced around your house. Not done a deep dive necessarily, but considered whether you might have stuff that you don’t need.
We all have clutter of some sort. It could be papers piling up on your kitchen counter, towels that you got for your wedding and never got rid of or even candles that are sitting around unused because you converted to electric wax warmers. Do you really need it all?
It is never too soon to start looking around your house and cleaning it out. It can be tough though. Where do you start? How do you know if you can get rid of it? Will you really never need it again? What if I can find another use for it? These are the questions we ask ourselves. I know, I do it too!
It is time to replace those questions with other questions. Questions that will help you be productive instead of sticking you to the spot where you’ve been standing for years. These are the questions to ask.
Have You Worn it Lately?
Clothing that you no longer wear is considered clutter, whether you want to believe it or not. I know most of us don’t, which is why we accumulate so much. But if you consider everything “extra” to be clutter, clothing that is taking up residence in your space definitely qualifies.
Maybe you have a pair of favorite jeans that you ripped a hole in, but don’t want to let them go. You grabbed another pair to replace them (one that you don’t like as much), but you keep the pair with the hole in it because it has memories attached. Maybe you’ll find a magical way of fixing them and then wear them again.
Most of us have lots of clothing that fit into the “favorites” scenario. And it is okay to save a few things that are sentimental, but if you look through your closet, you likely have dozens. Shirts that you purchased five years ago and never wore. Now they don’t fit right, but the idea of parting with them is difficult.
It is time to ask yourself the real question and answer it with action. Have you worn that piece of clothing lately? If the answer is no, it is time to part with it.
What is the definition of “lately?” I’d go with the last season it was appropriate. If you have fuzzy tights that you didn’t wear last winter, they can go. If you have a sundress that you didn’t wear last summer, it can go. Winter boots that you like, but haven’t worn in a few years? Say goodbye.
It is time to pass these items on to a new home, whether you sell them at a garage sale or donate them. They are just taking up space.
How Many Versions of the Same Item Do You Have?
One incredibly easy way of determining whether something is useful or clutter is by looking at how many of the same item you own. If you have 10 pairs of black pants in your closet and only wear two pairs, you’re dealing with clutter. If you have 4 backpacks (you never got around to cleaning them out), 40 pairs of socks (do you really need that many?) or 5 coffee makers of different sizes, it is time to go through the excess.
Do you have 12 sweaters, 3 of which you actually wear? Do you have coats hanging in the back of your closet that you never wear, but have kept just in case? It is time to pass these things along to someone who can actually use them. And by this, I don’t mean your friends and family. They likely deal with clutter as well and they don’t want yours.
Give the items to charity, your local school, religious organizations or a shelter. There are people who really need the items that are just taking up space in your closet.
Once your closet has less in it, consider some great ways to organize your closet so that it remains tidy.
Have You Used it Within the Last Six Months?
We all purchase things with best of intentions. Maybe you went out and bought a miniature stair stepper in hopes of burning some extra calories last January. It was shiny and on sale and you had to have it because you knew that if you used it, it would have you working towards your health goals. However, your best efforts were thwarted.
Once spring arrived, you decided to toss it in the basement because it was warm enough to exercise outside. You prefer running to anything indoors and when it is raining, you use Youtube videos to get a workout in. See the problem?
If you have not used household items in the last six months, it is clutter. It is time to wish it well and keep it moving.
I know what you’re thinking – it is cold outside and I want to have it just in case. I have reasons for keeping all of the old towels (they make great rags!), old shoes that I once loved (even though they are worn out and you can’t tell if they are blue or gray anymore) and VHS tapes (do you even have a VHS player?). Be reasonable. Rip two old towels into rags to keep with the cleaning supplies and get rid of all of the other stuff. You just don’t need it.
Is it Taking Up Space on Your Counter?
One of the most common places that clutter accumulates is on the counter. This is the clutter that you may (or may not) be more aware of day to day. This clutter actually gets in your way when you are making dinner or putting down the mail.
If your counter – or any other surface space – is full of clutter and you have nowhere to put the daily items, it is time to get rid of it. Sometimes you just have to scoop everything into a garbage bag and start over (it’s very satisfying!). Sometimes you can find places for a few things and realize the rest isn’t needed.
One of the challenges of dealing with counter clutter is actually seeing it. We get so used to these things being where they are that we look right past them. They become part of the furniture; part of the wallpaper of your home. But they are items that don’t need to be there, so do yourself a favor and face them head on. Seeing that surface space again is worth the sacrifice.
Do You Use it Daily?
Another great way to determine if your stuff is useful or complete clutter is if you use it daily. If you use something every single day of your life – even if it lives on the counter – it is not clutter. It’s useful.
The point here is to really consider how often you use each thing in your house so that you can get better at determining what you need vs. what you own. We often own a lot of items, but we don’t really need them. It is about changing your mindset.
There are a lot of questions that you can ask yourself when it comes to the items that you own, but making sure that those questions are productive is the key. Reminding yourself of what you could potentially do with your stuff in the future will keep you stuck in a rut. Once you decide which items are useful and which are clutter, you will find your space feeling much more free, not to mention neat and orderly.