With a new year upon us, many of us find ourselves struggling to come up with ways to do things a little differently this year, to beautify and simplify our homes, relationships and lives. Though we should not let the stress of a forced New Year’s resolution get us all flustered, we should take a minute to evaluate each aspect of our lives; what is wonderful as-is and what we can improve upon. The improvements don’t need to be anything huge. I’m not saying that you need to move mountains to prove your strength or ride a bull to prove your bravery – I’m simply saying that there are little ways that we all can make changes and benefit ourselves and our families in the year ahead.
One of the greatest, most effective, and easiest ways to breathe new life into any home is by decluttering. After all, it’s a new year with new memories and new items to fill that space up! So read on to find out what 4 questions you should ask yourself each time you consider whether to keep or toss an item:
1) Does it have sentimental value?
I’m a pack-rat at heart and I’ve always been this way. So, admittedly, I struggle with decluttering. It is a source of major stress for me because I somehow always seem to find a reason why I should hang on to something, or why something is simply too good to get rid of. Since moving in with my (now) husband 5 years ago, I have made a conscious effort to become better at the art (it really is!) of “in with the old, out with the new”.
I make a point to ask myself if an item has any sentimental value to me – a.k.a. will I freak out in a few days once I remember it’s gone. If you ask yourself this question and the answer is no, then toss it. Don’t wait, don’t question it, don’t second-guess yourself – just toss it. Trust me, you won’t miss it and you’ll have something to replace that item in no time at all, as is life.
2) Does it serve a purpose?
If an item provides absolutely no benefits to you or your family and you realize that you rarely ever use it, here’s your chance to give it a proper send-off. Say goodbye, give your hugs, do whatever you need to. As long as it serves you no purpose, then it is time for the item in question to hit the road.
3) Do I have the space needed to store it?
Now, if you’re like me, you battle on a daily business with trying to find storage space. My husband and I currently live in an apartment, so space is seriously limited. Even if an item has no sentimental value, but serves a purpose, I still take into consideration whether or not we have the room to store the item. If it is an item that we use, but only sparingly or seasonally, and it would take away much-needed space from more useful and important items, then it only makes sense to get rid of it.
Don’t worry – if all of this “tossing” of still-useful-to-someone household items is making you queasy, make sure to read the fourth, and last, question you should ask yourself!
4) Would someone else benefit more from it than I?
So, you’ve answered all of the questions up to this point and you’ve found that an item is worth keeping. Before you store it, consider this: is there someone out there that could benefit from this product more than you (within reason, of course)? Obviously it’s not realistic for you to give every perfectly good and useful item in your home to every homeless person in your area. However, if there is an item that you have found that you do indeed use and that you have the space for, but it’s realistic for you to donate it to a homeless shelter, the Salvation Army, or other programs like that, then I ask that you at least think about it. Maybe you’ve been hanging on “just in case” to that old baby crib, those baby clothes or those boxes of wedding decorations (like our attic – eeek!). The fact of the matter is that there’s probably someone out there that needs a crib or baby clothes or wedding décor right now, a lot more than you do. This is clearly not an option for every family, but, if you have the power to help others, I ask that you at least consider it.
Decluttering allows you to have better knowledge of what items are in your home, which prevents things like item duplication (we’ve all been there!), giving you a thrifty start to the year ahead. Bonus – you’ll have a kickass, organized living space to boot!