Experts say that moving is one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life, and I believe it! I am moving my family out of state in just a few weeks, which means I am in the thick of purging and decluttering. Since movers charge based on weight, I don’t want to take anything that we don’t absolutely love or need.
I started off trying to , but I think that is a system better suited for calm and intentional decluttering. When you’re decluttering in stressful circumstances – like moving – “sparking joy” is a pretty high bar! Joy is in kind of short supply right now, so I figured out five more effective questions to ask myself when deciding what stays and what goes.
Five Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering
- Exactly how and when will I use this? There’s no room for “mights” or “maybes” when you’re deciding what to toss or put on that truck. This question is by far the most useful for me, because it quickly narrows down what is actually worth keeping. If you can’t say exactly – and I do mean exactly – how and when you will use an item, put it in the Goodwill pile. I had a collection of picture frames that I had picked up for free at various post-garage sale giveaways. I kept only one because I know precisely which picture I will put in it. The rest have gone on to some lucky new owner.
- Will anyone be unhappy if I get rid of it? This is kind of a variation on “sparking joy,” but approached from the opposite perspective. Instead of thinking about whether or not something makes you happy, consider this: will anyone (you or family members) actually miss it? Picture six months from now. Is this item playing any kind of role in your life? Is it bringing you any pleasure? If you can’t say yes with certainty, send it on its way.
- Is it/will it be a burden? Does it require maintenance? Do you need to buy more materials to use it? Does it take a lot of space? Now consider if it’s really worth all that. In nearly all cases, I decided it wasn’t.
- Does this make me feel bad about myself? Jeans that no longer fit? Incomplete projects? Those are just going to sit on a shelf and make you feel guilty. Who needs that? I certainly don’t. A move is a great time for a fresh start so leave that baggage behind.
- Does this belong to a different season of life? I used to bake a lot as a hobby. I loved giving a huge variety of homemade goodies to people during the holidays. Now that I’m older with kids and more responsibilities? Not so much. So the cookie press and baguette pans went to the thrift store. And you know what? That’s okay! Go ahead and accept that your life is different than it used to be. Vestiges of your old existence are just dead weight.