Clutter clearing can be a challenge. How do you decide what you should keep? There are the three simple questions to ask yourself when trying to decide whether or not to keep something. You must be able to answer a resounding yes to at least one of the questions if the object is going to get the green light to stay.
Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it?
How simple is that? If you need it, you keep it. If you use it, you keep it. If you love it, you keep it. Everything else can safely be let go. If you don't need, use or love an item, it is clutter.
Lets clarify what each of these verbs mean. Having a clear definition will take muddiness out of the decision making process.
What is need? Need is defined as necessary or required because it is essential. What kinds of things you might you need? Things that fall into this category should be fairly obvious.
Legal documents (e.g., birth certificates, divorces decrees, deeds)
Financial documents (e.g., tax returns, loan agreements, proof of insurance)
Historical items (e.g. medical records of a chronic illness)
Yes, there are other things you need, like silverware and dishes if you are going to eat, but those would also fall into the use category. Here I just want to illustrate that there are some things we need, but don't love or even really use. These are usually the things we would need in order to recreate our lives if disaster were to strike. We would want o be able to prove who we were, where our money was, what our insurance protection was and so on. Strictly speaking, things that fall only into the need category support who we are, but are not regularly, if ever, referenced.
What is use? Use is defined as anything you employ on a regular basis. These are items that get put into service on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. It's not rocket science, if you actually use it you will want to keep it. Use it is not the same as 'I might use it' or 'I could use it'. Merely useful items don't get to stay, to make the cut they actually have to be used.
What is love? Lets be really clear about love, it's not the same as like. We can like lots of things, but like alone is not enough of a reason to hold onto to things (unless of course you actually use the item). Love is special though. Love means you would be genuinely upset at its loss.
Things we love should be honored, that means they get housed in an appropriate manner, not just stashed away in a closet. And they should be used if possible. I understand that somethings we truly love may be just too delicate or inappropriate for everyday use, but if you can find a way to use the things you love you will enrich your life.
When you are faced with having to decide the fate of an item, simply ask the questions and the answer appear.
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