House Cleaning: De-cluttering – How to decide what goes?

Here’s an excerpt of a really great article about de-cluttering to help you maintain your newly cleaned space after you’ve had your first cleaning service.

“The Vision Steps 

This process is about getting your stuff to meet your home in harmony. So before we pull everything out and examine the clutter, let’s look at the rooms themselves. Here are five quick steps to set the intention for your purge: 

  • Scan the room with your new perspective. What do you see? 
  • Remember how it looked when you moved in. How did you imagine using this room then? Have you strayed from that? 
  • What are three activities you want to be able to do easily in this room? How are you taking care of yourself in this room? 
  • What would it take for you to enjoy this room? 

Once you have your answers, you’ll be able to clear the clutter more effectively, because the items will either support your goals for the room or they won’t. If that soccer ball doesn’t fit with your vision, support three activities, or contribute to your self-care, it definitely doesn’t belong in the master bath! 

The Five Questions 

The day has arrived! You have picked up your first item! And…you are stymied. I see this all the time, and it makes sense. You’ve lived with this carrot peeler, this pair of shoes, this receipt for so long. How do you know if you should keep it or let it go? Some of the stuff cluttering your life is going to stay, right? What if this bookend is one those? I have developed five questions through which you can evaluate each item in a way that isn’t leaning too heavily on the emotional connection, because when it comes to files, fishing gear, and toilet paper, we’re talking about making your life work for you, and “sparking joy” doesn’t really enter into it. If you want to keep it and you say yes to any of these questions, it can stay! 

1. Do you use it on a semi-regular basis? By semi-regular, I mean at least once year, such as the large platter I have that holds the turkey at Thanksgiving. I have used it every year for over two decades, and it stays. The old sleeping bags that haven’t been on a camping trip in ten years should go. 

2. Is it making you money? Do you use it for work, or does it help you generate income somehow? It stays. Whatever is piled up in the corner of the family room for that someday garage sale that you’re never going to have should go.

 3. Can you buy it again for a reasonable price or borrow it? Is it costing you more to store it or fix it than it would to buy it again? Or is it something everyone has and it would be easy (and free) to borrow from someone you know? It should go.

4. Do you have a place to put it away in your home? Is it in a comfortable place where it fits easily? Great! It stays. Is it shoved on a closet shelf so that every time you open the closet door, it falls on your head? It goes. 

5. Do you love, love, love it? I mean, do you love it? If yes, then it stays. If it’s okay, I sort of like it, “I hate it but so-and-so gave it to me” it goes.” McCubbin, Tracy. “Chapter 5.” Making Space, Clutter Free: The Last Book on Decluttering You’ll Ever Need. Naperville: Source, 2019. 108-109. Print.

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