9 tips to get rid of clutter

These are from Gretchen Rubin (who has a blog about happiness and used to live in our apartment!!)

These Ideas Come from Zen Habits, where she wrote the article:
1. Does this thing work? I was surprised by how hard it was to admit that something was broken and couldn’t be fixed—say, our dud toaster or my daughter’s frog clock. Why was I hanging on to these things?
2. Would I replace it if it were broken or lost? If not, I must not really need it.
3. Does it seem potentially useful—but never actually gets used? Something like an oversized water-bottle, a corkscrew with an exotic mechanism, or a tiny vase. Or duplicates. How many spare glass jars did I need to keep on hand?
4. Was I “saving” it? Leaving bath gel in the tube, or hoarding my favorite stationery in a desk drawer, was as wasteful as never using these things. Spend out!
5. Does it serve its purpose well? For example, we have a lot of “cute” kitchen objects that don’t really work.
6. Has it been replaced by a better model? Inexplicably, I’m in the habit of keeping a broken or outmoded version of tech gadgets, even after they’ve been replaced. Pointless.
7. Is it nicely put away in an out-of-the-way place? One of my Secrets of Adulthood is: Just because things are nicely organized doesn’t mean they’re not clutter. No matter how tidily a thing is stored, if I never use it, why keep it?
8. Does this memento actually prompt any memories? Sometimes I automatically keep things that fall into the category of “mementos,” assuming that they’d set off some sort of response, but they don’t. The attendance trophy from my daughter’s pre-school sports class—out.
9. Have I ever used this thing? I was absolutely shocked to find, when I started looking, how many things we owned that we had never once used. Many were gifts, true, but I promised myself we’d either put these things into use within a few weeks or give them away.

How about you? Have you identified any questions that help you decide whether or not to keep a particular possession?

I used these tips to clean out the closet, under our bathroom sink, and to organize our kitchen pantry on Sunday. I would add a few tips to her list:
1. Is the product expired?
2. Was the thing a gift that I don't like?


SAHM said...

I love advice like this. I think I have seen something similar with just three questions (working? useful? #3?) Anyway, as well as I think I am doing sometimes keeping clutter away, six people in the house really make for a lot of stuff. My instinct is to keep, but my survival mode is to minimize and simplify. The hard part...is this (whatever I am debating) useful for someone else or landfill/recylcing worthy only?

Loni Gardner said...

Move to a foreign country for a year and condense an entire household into a small storage unit. Upon return, eliminate half of the crapola in the storage unit. Live in the smallest place you can stand- only the most useful objects will survive!