The 11 Decluttering Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself

At the very core of it all, the reason we simplify our things is to increase the quality of our lives.  

As New Minimalists, we believe that less time spent organizing, cleaning, tending to and hunting down our things, the better.  Instead, we use those precious hours every week to practice our art, enjoy our hobbies, give and connect to our communities, savor relationships with those we love and those we've just met.

Then why is it so hard to get rid of the things that are clearly holding us back from living this life?

Most of our clients have attempted to declutter on their own before calling us in.  They're already clear on all the potential benefits to their lives by simplifying their homes and aware of the pain and distraction their clutter is currently causing.  They know they want kitchens with clean counters and have entire pinterest boards of minimalist closets.  But for some reason they can’t release the clutter that is holding them stagnant.

The missing piece of the puzzle is not a matter of willpower or desire -- it's actually far simpler than that.  

It's a matter of semantics.  

Specifically, they're are not asking the right questions to reflect the standards they aspire to.  

We hear clients still asking questions like: 

  • “Could I wear this?” 
  • “Might I need this at some point in the future?” 
  • “Did I spend money acquiring this?” 
  • “Did I get this as a gift or from a neat trip?”
  • “Does this item have value?”  

.... all of which lead to holding onto far more than you want, need, or could ever use.   What you really need to be asking the questions below:

11 questions to ask yourself when you are {really} ready for a New Minimalist life.

For items that are “useful”:

1.  Does this item provide a great benefit to my life on a frequent (daily/weekly) basis?  

2.  Is there anything I own that could do this job just as well but I like more/has more uses?

For personal momentos + sentimental items:

3.  Does this item symbolize or tell the story of my relationship with someone massively important to me OR a life-changing experience? 

4.  Does this item give me a profound feeling of love/joy/adventure when I see it?

For items of beauty or decoration:

5.  Is this item so beautiful that it speaks to me every time I lay my eyes on it? 

6.  Does it fill me with wonder and curiosity or settle and soothe my soul in ways beyond words?

For To-Dos and Projects:  

7.  Do I love this project and excitedly anticipate the time each day when I get to work on it? 

8.  Am I working on this project not because I feel I should or people expect me to or I’ve already put so much time into it, but because working on it makes my heart sing?

For Clothing and Accessories:

9.  Do I feel like a goddess/warrior/the most brilliant person in the room/the best version of me when I have it on? 

10.  Of all the clothing items in the world, would I repurchase this exact one today -- even if it cost 2x as much?

11.  Would I seek out a special tailor or seamstress to fix or tend to this item should something happen to it?


Just listen to the answers that come up for you.  

Some will be wholehearted yes's or simple no's.  There will be times when fear and guilt arise, trying to make you hold onto things that you "might need" or that you spent too much money on or that you should finish.  

And then with great love and desire for all the spaciousness and freedom that arises on the other side, choose to let it go.  Choose this new life.  Choose to have faith that life is not in the having but in the living.