“Have I Ever Used This Thing?”
If household clutter is keeping you from accomplishing simple tasks or making your feel overwhelmed, then it’s time for an overhaul. Get organized with these tips for clearing out the junk and asking “Why am I saving this?”
As I sifted through our clutter, I identified nine criteria for determining which stuff to throw away now. It’s time to eliminate clutter with no regrets.
1. Does this thing work? It was hard to admit that something was broken and couldn’t be fixed — say, our dud toaster or my daughter’s frog clock. Why was I hanging on to those things?
2. Would I replace it if it were broken or lost? If not, I must not really need the thing.
3. Is it potentially useful — although it never actually gets used? Do I need an over-sized water bottle, a corkscrew with an exotic mechanism, or a tiny vase? How many spare glass jars do I need?
4. Why was I “saving” it? Leaving bath gel in the tube, or hoarding my favorite stationery in a desk drawer, is wasteful.
5. Does it serve its purpose well? We have a lot of “cute” kitchen utensils that don’t work.
6. Has it been replaced by a better model? I’m in the habit of keeping broken or outdated versions of tech gadgets, even after they’ve been replaced. Pointless.
7. Is it nicely put away in an out-of-the-way place? Just because things are nicely organized doesn’t mean they’re not clutter. No matter how tidily a thing is stored, if I never use it, why keep it?
8. Does this memento prompt any memories? I tend to keep things that seem to be “mementos,” assuming that they have some emotional resonance, but many don’t. The attendance trophy from my daughter’s preschool sports class — out.
9. Have I ever used this thing? I was shocked to find, when I started looking, how many things I owned that we had never once used. Many were gifts, but I promised myself that we’d either put these things to use within a few weeks or give them away.
Updated on March 30, 2017