Whether you are a closet hoarder or a loud and proud one, moving house is probably your biggest nightmare, because it calls for – that’s right – a fool-proof decluttering guide. Given your way, you would bring every single item, down to the last bit of string, because well, you just never know when you might need a piece of string.
But this time, your family members have put their foot down, and are pressuring you to take this as an exercise to toss what you no longer need. Now, before you get stressed out, take a deep breath and have a read through this handy list of questions we’ve created. These will start you off and guide you along as to what to keep and what to ditch.
#1: Do you even remember owning it?
When you go through your belongings, look out for the items that make you frown in a ‘I’ve-totally-forgotten-this-existed’ way. It could be your stacks of floppy disks from 1997 containing your school essays. Or those boxes of stickers and buttons and random gadgets that you bought impulsively, and immediately stored in the darkest corner of your store room.
If it’s obsolete, toss it. And if you don’t even remember owning it, definitely toss it.
#2: Could it go to a better home?
Could your stuff go to bigger and better use elsewhere? If your massive book collection is more of a dusty book museum, why not consider donating them to the library? After all, books are meant to be read, and will bring much more joy if they are out in the world.
Apart from donating stuff, you could also hold a garage sale for the items that you don’t use anymore. The mini skirts you were obsessed with as a teenager but wouldn’t be caught dead in today – sell them! They will bring joy to other teenagers, and you get to make a bit of spare cash.
#3: If you could only own 100 items, what would they be?
There is a minimalist exercise called the ‘100 Thing Challenge’, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. The philosophy behind it is to find a simpler, more content way of living. Sometimes we get caught up in amassing possessions because of advertising, peer pressure and so on. This exercise gets us to take a step back and consider what are the things that we really need, and what are the ones that we bought as an unthinking consumer.
Even as a hypothetical activity, it will still help you view all your belongings with greater clarity.
#4: Does it bring you joy?
Decluttering is not meant to be a cold-hearted exercise that leaves you with only practical items. We’re humans, after all, not robots. And that means we have objects that spark emotions in us, like the heirloom necklace that’s been passed down for 6 generations, or the Seiko watch that your first love gave you. It no longer works, but it reminds you of the pure, heady exhilaration of first love. For those things that spark joy in you, says decluttering guru Marie Kondo, hang on to them.
It’s important to remember that decluttering your life should be joyful, not painful. Being able to let go of what is no longer applicable and relevant to your life means you get to make space for the better things that lie ahead. So don’t be afraid to take the plunge!