Clutter-Free Thinking

Here is a list of things that were woefully not obvious to me when I began the process of purging my unwanted belongings, but that I've worked out along the way.  I'll keep updating it as I go!

1) Do not anthropomorphize your stuff! Your stuff doesn't have feelings. You don't have to feel bad about rejecting it.

2) It's okay to get rid of gifts.

3) It's okay to get rid of something you've never used. Sometimes obtaining something in the first place was a mistake.

4) Guilt is never a good reason to own something. Not a bad gift, not your friend's wedding program, not a half-used pencil, not the t-shirt you loved when you were ten.

5) If you keep extras "just in case," think about what would happen if something went wrong and you didn't have the extras. Is it bad or inconvenient enough to justify keeping the extras?

6) If you know in your gut that you should purge something, but you're having trouble, ask yourself:

  • When is the last time I used this?
  • When is the next time I will use this?
  • Will I miss it when it's gone?
  • Would someone else get more use out of this?
7) Someone could probably use your unwanted or maybe-wanted items more than you could. Try to imagine that person. If you could hand over your items face-to-face, would you still be so reluctant?

8) Make multiple passes. If you have stuff-attachment, it's hard (if not impossible) to get it right the first time. Purge, wait a few days, then purge the same thing again. I had to make four passes at my closet before I was happy with it.

9) It's better to have three things you love than 300 you don't.

10) If this item was irreparably damaged, would you replace it? If not, maybe it's time to let go.

Let me know if you have anything to add!