Questions to Ask When You’re Working on Decluttering

I’ve always been somewhat of a hoarder.  Not the kind that you see on television shows where you can’t even walk into a room due to the amount of junk, but the kind that likes to keep a lot more stuff than what is necessary.  I had a justification for everything – a reason why it was so important that it couldn’t be disposed of.  And while my house was able to be navigated through, it was definitely cluttered and not very appealing to the eye.  While I’m still not perfect in this area, I’m making huge steps and strides forward in decluttering my home.



I read several books about cleaning, and different strategies to get the magazine style decorated home.  I want my house to look as though JoAnna Gaines herself came in and fixed it up for me and I need direction on how to get there!  While no one book held the perfect solution to my clutter problems, I have put together my own “should I keep it?” method.  It’s simple and it works.  Well, it works for me at least.


Have I Used It Lately?

The waffle iron that I found on clearance was a major deal.  I didn’t have one, and for that price, I needed it.  Or so I thought at the time.  But, once it made its home in my kitchen, it never really got used.  I think once, maybe twice it was dusted off and plugged in.  So when I ask myself, “Have I used it lately?” the answer is no.  Do I really need it?  Not really.  Waffles are cheap enough to buy at the store so it’s not an end of the world thing if I can’t make my own.  So, into the donate (or sell it) box it goes until I can get it to Habitat for Humanity Canada.  Of course their will be somethings that only get used on a rare occasion that are worth keeping around, if it does something that is truly worth while when it is used that can’t be easily purchased elsewhere; however, those should be the rare cases and not the norm.  Like, Christmas decorations for example.  We only use them for a small period of time, but we need to keep them stored somewhere when not in use.  Those are totally keepable.

Do I Wear It?

There was a day when I stood in my closet for what felt like an eternity, wondering what I was going to wear.  There were plenty of clothes hanging in the closet, but yet I couldn’t find a single thing to put on.  Everything I was looking for, wanting to wear, was in the laundry.  That should tell me something.  So I started going through the clothes that were left hanging.  Why do I not want to wear them?  If it is because they are out of season (ie a sweater in the middle of summer) that’s fine.  If it is because it doesn’t fit properly, then why do I still have it?  Donate or sell that thing!  Out of style?  Pitch it!  Unless there is a valid reason, such as it’s a church dress and I’m just bumming on the couch, there is no reason to stand in a closet full of clothes and not want to wear them.  I’ve gotten rid of about half of my original wardrobe, and I don’t regret it at all.  I’m now surrounded by the clothes that I love to wear and don’t have to skim past the ones that are just there to take up space.  Better to have fewer clothes and be able to see them, then to have a full closest that you just don’t wear.


Does It Match?

I understand that there are people out there who don’t care if things match, and I say more power to ya sister!  However, I am not one of them.  I love the feel of being in a room that is nicely put together.  One that looks like it could be featured on one of those home design shows.  I understand with kids that my days of achieving that look are far into the future, but I am slowly trying to pull the pieces of my house together.  So when I look through the throw pillows that live on our couch to find that four of them match the blue/green/brown color scheme of the living room, but two of them are red…  It’s time to purge the red ones.  Now there may be sentimental reasons for wanting to keep the pink blanket on the couch that your sister made for you – and that’s totally legit – but when it comes to the key pieces of the room, if it doesn’t fit with the color scheme, feel or style that you’re going for, why keep it?


Why Do I Have It?

Everything should have a purpose.  It could be a functional purpose like it makes my coffee in the morning, or I watch my shows on it.  It could have a helpful function, such as it organizes my painting supplies or it sorts the toys.  Perhaps its purpose is decorational, like it makes the wall look beautiful or the couch more inviting.  No matter how big or small, every item in your home should have a use.  If it’s not useful to you, then you don’t need it.  Toss it, donate it, sell it – just get rid of it.  It’s only clutter if you aren’t using it for something.

Is It Worth It?

The more stuff you have, the more stuff there is to clean.  Realizing that was the straw that broke the camels back for me.  The kids get into things and they make a mess, or dust settles on things that don’t get used often.  No matter the reason, the more items in your possession, the more you’ll have to deal with them.  So ask yourself, is it worth it?  The kids keep getting into the cabinet and making a huge mess out of the games you store there.  You have three options.  Just keep cleaning it up.  Go through and get rid of some of the games so that there isn’t as much to clean up.  Move where the games are stored so that the kids can’t get into them. I’m not telling you which is the right answer, because it will vary from person to person and item to item.  Only you can answer if it is worth it.


Could I Sell It?

I usually have some kind of a goal in my mind, some big picture that I’m saving up money for.  Right now I found an amazing cruise at that I am working on raising the funds for.  If there is something in my house that I want less than to go on this cruise, perhaps now would be a good time to look into selling it and letting the money earned go into the vacation jar.  It’s a win-win – the house gets decluttered and I will eventually get to go on a relaxing cruise!


These questions have been super helpful to me as I work on my decluttering mission.  While I’m not there yet, I’m making improvements daily as I work on getting my house clean and organized in the way that I want it to be.


What tips help you when it comes to decluttering?


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