Identifying Clutter with Three Easy Questions

Digits 1, 2, 3What exactly is clutter? Clutter is anything unnecessary and extraneous. It can be more than the physical clutter most of us think of. Getting organized means clearing out the clutter in your mind, heart, and life. As for the physical clutter, ask yourself the following three questions about each item in your home. If you can’t answer yes to at least one, it’s probably clutter!

1. Is it beautiful? A stunning piece of artwork enriches your life because it brings joy each time you see it. A gorgeous vase full of fresh flowers reduces stress and energizes your spirit.

2. Is it useful? You use your 12-cup coffee maker every day. You couldn’t make it through the week without it. (Don’t confuse this question with, “Will it be useful someday?”)

3. Is it loved? The antique pocket watch from your grandfather is a precious reminder of him. Your favorite cashmere sweater makes you feel fabulous.

You’ll find that as you inventory your possessions, you may be able to answer “yes” to two or even three of the questions above. Those are the things that are most valuable to you. Remember, the goal of decluttering is not to get rid of everything. It’s simply to keep only things that you truly appreciate and use.

To stop clutter, prevent it from accumulating in the first place. Don’t give clutter a chance to form. As you’ve probably experienced, once clutter occupies a space, it has a way of multiplying. Always remember to place your emphasis on quality over quantity. In other words, it’s not important to have a lot of things, many of which you never use. It’s more beneficial to have fewer things, all of which you use and/or enjoy.

Think before you buy. Try to look beyond the initial “thrill of the purchase” and see what provides deeper moments of meaning. Before you buy, think about the time you’ll spend in cleaning, storing, and maintaining that item after you bring it home. If you must buy, establish a “new item in, old item out” system where some purging takes place before shopping.

Once you rid yourself of clutter and make space only for what’s special, you’ll find it’s easier to get — and stay — organized! You’ll soon reap the benefits of a clutter-free life: more energy, happier relationships, a well-organized home or office, new opportunities, and a better outlook on life.

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