Letting go of useful stuff a necessity for some

When I’m coaching clients through the process of decluttering and letting go, I use these questions initially:

  • “Do you NEED it?”
  • “Do you USE it?”
  • “Do you LOVE it?”

These questions help people decide if they really are going to keep the item.

Sometimes, though, you can have such a high volume of “stuff” that an item can fit that category but still need to go. It might be used, it might be needed, it might even be loved, but it can still need to go in order for you to achieve your goals.

It’s a very hard concept for people to get their head around, but if you want your house to have less clutter, it’s just going to have to happen.

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Comments

  1. The:
    “Do I NEED it?”
    “Do I USE it?”
    “Do I LOVE it?”
    +
    “WILL I use it?”

    Are things I need to say to myself more often as I am such a hoarder and really don’t have the cabinet space to fit everything in for that maybe/one day – never.

    • Rebecca says:

      Because the “will I use it?” is just a guess really, try asking “Would life be a disaster if I find myself needing this one day?”. Usually the answer is “No, I’ll survive”. Because we can survive just about anything 🙂

      Also – if you have limited space, you can ask yourself “Does it fit? Does it deserve to take up my precious cupboard space?”

  2. I’ve been going through the process of downsizing due to illness. I have decluttered a lot of stuff but now come to a huge hump. How do you deal with things people have given and for a time you have enjoyed use of but see are no longer a need but the givers will be very hurt if you let it go? I did it once in the past and the response was devastating. I don’t want conflict but i don’t need these things around. I need the space for more important stuff but I don’t wish to hurt anybodies feelings either.

    • It’s difficult when you have loved ones that get upset when you try to declutter. I suggest having a chat to them before you pass the item on and tell them that you love them, and you appreciate their gift, but that you are needing to simplify your life for your health so you are passing on some things that have been well-loved, but that just can’t fit in your life anymore. Ask them if they have any suggestions as to what you can do with the item – would they like it, or shall you pass it on to someone who will love it as much as you did? It’s hard not to take responsibility for someone’s feelings, but your health is the most important thing and you can’t own their grief/anger/disappointment/hurt – you have no room for it.

  3. Nyrie Butterfield says:

    yes to at least one of those how for ALL my stuff. How do you declutter? How do you actually decide that it may be more useful to someone else?
    how do you convince yourself?

    • Nyrie that’s a really good question. You need to focus not on the stuff, on its usefulness or its value. You just need to focus on your goals. If you want to declutter, then you need to put your GOAL to have less stuff HIGHER than your need to keep something and disregard its usefulness.

      So if everything you own is useful, you can’t declutter based on usefulness – you’ll get nowhere. You need to change it so that you’re basing it on boundaries and your goals. If your goal is to have a clear kitchen counter, then you need to fit it all in the cupboards. That’s your goal. If it doesn’t fit, it goes – no matter its usefulness. You’ll find that you’ll make room for the most important, and what doesn’t fit can go because it doesn’t help you reach your goals.

      You need to be okay with getting rid of useful items. Once you accept that it’s okay, you’ll be able to move forward.

      Don’t give in to the fear – if you throw something out and then “need” it (read: could use) later, then you’ll cope – you’ll improvise or borrow. You’re smart, you’d cope just fine 🙂

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