Questions to ask yourself when decluttering


When you start decluttering, deciding what to let go can be overwhelming! Here is a collection of questions to help you determine the fate of your items.

A common thought when decluttering is ‘I don’t want to waste money by throwing this out!’ Think of it this way: you wasted money when you bought an item you don’t use – so best to get it out of your life now. These questions will help you decide how to do just that.

When we say eliminate things from your life, we mean donate, recycle, sell it, give to friends/family etc. Some things, depending on the state of them will need to be thrown in the bin unfortunately. 

Have I used this item in the past 12 months?

Using 12 months as your time frame allows an assessment of your full year which covers seasonal items. If you haven’t used it in a year – you can discard!

Do i need more than one of these?

If you have duplicates of items, ask yourself why you need more than one? Chances are that you have just acquired extra as gifts or you bought another potato peeler as you couldn’t find your old one, and guess what you found it again!

Do I have an item already that serves the same purpose?

If yes – it can go!

Do i have a plan to use it?

Make sure you have a concrete plan to use the item, and if you don’t use it within the time frame you set for yourself to use it, then toss it.

Does it fit me? Do I have space for it?

You may love it, but do you have space for the item or does it even suit you now? 

Is it my style still?

Our styles change and our design tastes evolve – just because it was right for your life 5 years ago, doesn’t mean it is now!


Will i actually fix this?

If you won’t fix it now, when will you? Set yourself a time limit (1 week for e.g.) and if it is not fixed by then toss it.

Am i only holding on to this for sentimental reasons?

Be strict and keep only a few of the items in a memory box. Then take a photo of items you are throwing away so you can keep them digitally. I like to go through my memory box when it gets full and have a purge to make room for more – things that were important to me 10 years ago may not be now. This allows me to keep within the one box and not start creating more!

If i were shopping now would i buy it?

If you wouldn’t buy it now, why would you keep it?

Can someone else make more use of it than me?

Why not give someone else the pleasure of your item? The old saying goes ‘one mans rubbish is another mans treasure’!

What is the worst that could happen if i got rid of this?

Have you heard of the 20/20 rule? If in the future you suddenly realise that you needed the item you chose to discard, what would you do? Could you just replace it rather than hold on to it for that ‘just in case’ moment? The golden rule is if you can replace it for under £20 in under 20 minutes then you can take the chance!

Am i holding on to my 'Pinterest' self?

How many items do you have in your house that are part of your fantasy self? I used to have many items in my home that were in my home because I promised myself I would be the type of person who would do that type of activity. I had a candle making kit for years…. I loved the idea of making candles when in fact, I never had the time for it! Admit it and move on. 

What questions have helped you?

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Free 5 Step Guide to Decluttering Your Home!

Many people enjoy decluttering because it relieves stress by providing a sense of control and accomplishment. For others, getting rid of the junk frees up a little extra space in the house that wasn’t there before. Some people may just need to purge before they move to a new house. Whatever your reason for decluttering your home, our guide will help you through the process.

Simple Joy was founded by Hayley Forster, a Professional Organiser & Stress Management Coach. Hayley is an advocate of intentional living, with a passion in helping others simplify their lives in order to find their ideal lifestyle full of contentment, creativity and authenticity!

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