3 Best Declutter Questions for "The Collection"



The "collection"?  Yes, that's my euphemism for the mountain of mostly useless possessions the majority of people in the USA live with, aka junk, or "clutter" .😏 And when it comes time to declutter, there are some key questions I use to help clients make decisions about "editing" (discarding) things from the collection. 

If you're working with me as your home organizing consultant, you'll hear me ask a the decluttering questions pretty often, especially when you hit a decision-making snag in the process.

Maybe you'd like to try the decluttering process yourself without professional assistance, but you're pretty overwhelmed; possibly you've tried in the past without much success. Maybe these questions will help you, if even on just a small project like a single drawer.

 

#1 question:

If this object were lost or destroyed in a flood or a fire, would you replace it?  NOTE: The "I can't!! It's an heirloom" reaction happens often, and I will acknowledge that fact, but the point is: If you could, say at Target, Kohl's (insert shopping experience of your choice), would you?? And nearly as often, the response is a slightly sheepish look and, "Well...no, probably not. I see what you mean..."

#2 question:

 What purpose is it serving in your life right now?  If the answer is "none" or "I don't know", probably good reason to discard it.

#3 question:

 What's the worst thing that could happen to you if you let it go?  Again, an answer of "nothing" or "not much" is good reason to let it go.

A helpful tactic with items that you are just too unable to make a decision about is to set them aside in a designated space/container, put a date on the container (3-9 months out), and set it in a "waiting area". When the date you've assigned arrives, if you've not missed the item(s) inside, now you can release them.

I have found that these few questions, asked over and over again during the process with my clients, bring them great clarity about their possessions, and they begin developing an ability to declutter with more ease.   We sometimes need to have further discussion, maybe about the original source or the purpose for the object, the reason it's being held onto, etc., but question #1 often resolves the indecision right away!

In another post I will discuss other questions that touch on some deeper emotional attachments to objects.

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