As a professional organizer since 2005, I can tell you that organizing goes only so far when you have too much stuff. You can create a number of systems that better organize and make things more functional. The problem simply does not go away unless you get rid of things as you organize.
We have covered a number of strategies and approaches to getting rid of items. There’s the “one thing in, one thing out” rule where you cannot add to your (fill in the blank) without removing something. Another yardstick for deciding on whether or not to keep something is time–how much time an item consumes of your time to clean, store, move, fix, lose and find, wash, wipe and on and on.
While both strategies can work, there’s an important element to add to the decision-making process: asking why.
For example, you go to your closet with the intent of getting rid excess clothing. You come across a sweater that you have not worn in years. It should be an automatic candidate for removal. Yet you’re hesitating on making that permanent decision. That’s when you need to start asking “why?”.
Why do I have this item?
Maybe you were going through a sweater phase when you made the purchase. Perhaps it was during a very cold winter. Or you worked in an office that was actually colder during the summer when the AC was on than during the winter months.
Why do I need to keep it?
So, you haven’t worn or used this item in ages. On the surface, it would seem that there is no good reason to keep it going forward. Yet many of the purchases we make are based on emotion. And that emotion can be the reason you have kept an item you never wear or use.
Maybe you purchased the sweater on a shopping excursion or trip with a friend or loved one and have fond associations with that time?
Maybe it was a purchase you made while going through a difficult and it helped you shake off whatever doldrums you might have been going through at the time?
There could be any number of reasons why you purchased something. The question that remains: is that a strong enough reason to keep it. That’s something that only you can decide.
Of course, the flip side to this is having no answer for why you need to keep something. That’s when decluttering becomes quite easy. If you have no reason why, just get rid of it.
And that’s why, when it comes to decluttering, you should always ask why.
If you need some help in creating a decluttering plan for 2016, give us a call at 508-246-6120 and we’ll help you put a stop to all that clutter is costing you.
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