When de-cluttering and organizing any space, your hardest challenge will come in the form of the game: To Keep or Not to Keep. Over the years you have collected an assortment of memorable messes and nostalgic clutter, but at some point, you have to make the decision to let things go to make room for the new. Follow these strategies to assist you in saying goodbye to those no longer necessary items.
1. Decide Overall How Much to Eliminate
Consider all of your items as one large group and make the decision ahead of time how much you must get rid of and what is the maximum you can keep. Starting with the big picture can help you visualize the percentage of objects that you must be willing to eliminate and sets the tone before you even start contemplating each item.
2. Start with the Triage Method
Begin dividing your stuff into piles of Need to Keep, Need to Get Rid Of, and Not Sure. You may get lucky and meet your elimination requirement right away through your Need to Get Rid Of pile, but if not, put back all the things you Need to Keep to determine what space is left for the Not Sure items.
3. Assign Value
Ask yourself two questions to determine the value of the object you are deciding whether to keep:
- Will the world’s currency system ever consist of this item?
- Is this item necessary for me to live my life’s true purpose?
If the answer to both of these is no, time to donate or toss.
4. Look for Ways to Downsize What You Must Keep
Eliminate clutter and create space by finding more efficient or technological ways to store things that you must keep. Documents and paper can be imaged onto a hard drive, pictures can be scanned onto computers, garage items can be organized through a wall storage system, pots and pans can be hung from a rack, etc.
5. Enlist a Clutter Buddy
De-cluttering can be an emotional process when dealing with sentimental items; enlist a clutter buddy to remove sentiment and enforce logic. Explaining to someone with no attachment why it is necessary to keep an object will make it clear to you both whether it is really that important to you.
6. Make a Date Box for Don’t Know Items
If you have things that you are still really on the fence about keeping, throw them in a box labeled with a date exactly 6 months – 1 year from today. If that date comes and goes with limited or no use of the items in that box, get rid of it. If you haven’t used it in all that time, you don’t need it.
Once you’ve got the narrowing process down, don’t stop with just rooms in your home. Your garage can be a collection pit for various pieces that have no home. Make an organization plan to extend your de-cluttering project to your garage and organize all of your tools and equipment in an efficient and effective manner.