A Litmus Test

July 22nd, 2008 · No Comments

Okay, you’ve decided that getting rid of clutter is the way to go.  Gone is your couch you inherited from your parents, the Bob Marley poster that really tied your dorm room together, and countless random clothes hangers you received from the dry cleaners.  Now, we get to the hard part.  How do you handle that treasured ceramic cat that your grandmother hand made for your 15th birthday?  (You know, the one everyone else thinks is hideous.)  What about that set of math textbooks that you’ll probably never read again but you’ve held onto because giving away $150 books makes you cringe?

Thankfully, the best part of removing clutter is the moment you’ve made a concrete decision, leaving your room full of the things you love and have thought about, free from the mess that existed prior.  In my experience, the more you think you value something, the more relieving it is to part ways with it.  To reach this nirvana, here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself about each piece of clutter.

  1. If I apartment/house/building burned down and I lost everything, would I replace it?
    (As a side note, preparing for fire is a Good Thing.  Yes, that means you.)
  2. Did I even remember I had this?  Do I remember buying or receiving it?
  3. Have I seen it in the last year?
  4. Have I used it in the last year?
  5. If I got rid of it, would I lose the memories surrounding it?

Invariably, you will run into something that you really value highly but really doesn’t fit into your new space.  Try moving it out of sight for a week or two, paying attention to what your home feels like without it.  If you just can’t bear to get rid of it, make sure that it finds a place of honor in your home where it fits naturally.  You should be proud of what you value, not hiding it because it doesn’t fit.

At the end of the day your goal is to clear your home of mess and in doing so clear your mind to think new thoughts and become a more complete person.  Remember, sometimes the value is in getting rid of the thing, not the thing itself.

Tags: Organization

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