4.15.2008

Clutter on my mind

I've added a few new feeds to my Google Reader in the last week or so and one that I'm really liking is Unclutterer. I, myself, am a clutterer and a hoarder. I accept this and tell myself that it's endearing and sexy of me. I did a pretty good cull before moving to England, but that was almost three years ago. (Please excuse me while I lapse into a vegetative state for a moment at this most awful realization.)

Anyway. One Unclutterer post is called "Tough Questions for Your Things" and gives you questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to purchase (or keep) an item. I'm thinking this could be a very useful exercise for me. Another site, Zen Habits, has an article called 18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess. So. Let's take this journey together, shall we?

Unclutterer's Questions for Items Already in My Home:

Do I have something else like this that fulfills the same purpose?


If this is a duplicate item, which of these items is in the best condition, of the best quality, and will last me the longest?

Is this item in disrepair and need to be replaced or fixed?

Does this item make my life easier/save me time/save me money/fulfill an essential need?

Why does this object live in my house and is this the best place for this object?

Do I need to do more research to know if this is the best object to fulfill its essential need?

If this is a perishable item, has its expiration date passed?

Does this item help me to develop the remarkable life that I want to live?

I'm thinking of other questions I could add to help me cull through my junk, and these are the ones I have so far:

Am I hanging on to this because of associated memories? If so, are the memories dependent on the item?

Does this reflect someone else's taste more than it does mine? Is there someone else who would love or use this more than I would? (This will be the part where my sister Jenny steps forward to claim all my cookbooks.)

Do I actually notice this item anymore or does it just blend in? Would this change if it were in a different place or used in a different way?

Am I only keeping this because I would feel guilty if I got rid of it? (Note: Regifting? No longer a crime. Now it is considered chic and green, as long as you don't get caught.)

Does this represent a hobby or interest that isn't really part of my life anymore?

If I saw this in the store today, would I buy it? How much would I pay for it?

How often do I use this item? If I haven't yet used it, will I? When? How often? Will I still want this exact item then?

I'm thinking this is a good start, but does anyone else have any wise filtering questions to add or any good de-cluttering tips?

9 comments:

Yankee Girl said... [reply]

A few weeks ago I decluttered everything (mail in box, all my things, all my clothes, etc). It was wonderful and so liberating. When I was going through my clothes I did a first round and set aside any clothes that I hadn't worn in the last year. Then I went through all the clothes that I had kept and put aside any clothes that didn't excite me. I ended up donating a few bags of good usable clothes and love my closet so much more now that it is filled only with stuff I love.

Frey said... [reply]

Useful Spring post! And your questions are great additions. If I haven't yet used it, will I?

If I've never used it, and I never will, is it worth carrying around with me the rest of my life so I can be buried with it?

A couple of days ago my Mom forced me to clean out my stuff from under her stairs. The 104 week planners that I had carefully saved from my mission were in that category.

Melanie said... [reply]

Doing archival research has ruined me. Once all of this mundane stuff gets old, it will be so COOL!

BEFore said... [reply]

Hello, my name is BEFore and I'm a packrat. ("Hello BEFore!")

Technology is my savior. I can part with it if I have a photo/video/scan. And I can fit a LOT more of those in my apartment than I can actual items.

MadMadameMim said... [reply]

Somehow using all those question seems to add more clutter to my mind rather than less. We had a declutter queen come do a spot for Relief Society once and her big question was. If I don't use it regularly would I pay $5 a square foot to keep it. If not out it goes. I love this idea and apply it to pretty much everything. Unfortunately I couldn't convince my obsesive compulsive hording mother to use this question on any of her things :), love her though.

EmAndTrev said... [reply]

I need to do the same. I swear every spring that I'mg going to declutter my life, and while I do to some extent, I really need to do the major overhaul declutterathon this year. There. I said it out loud. Now I need to do it.

I LOVE your new haircut, btw. It looks SMASHING on you! :)

Nemesis said... [reply]

Just in case anyone is imagining me sitting on the floor holding a pair of socks while going down a printed list of questions, that's not exactly what I had in mind. Even though one perfect question which would end all indecision and rationalization would be great, I haven't found that perfect question. Lists like these help get me focused.

April said... [reply]

The perfect question? How about "What would Ioan Gruffudd do?"

Nemesis said... [reply]

Ooooh, good question. I'm pretty sure the answer would be, "Make out with Nem. And then buy her a big house so she doesn't have to throw anything away ever. And then make out some more."

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