A New Method for Decluttering

stacks of packed boxes by Ari via Flickr

Forget the KonMari method – deciding to keep only the items that bring you joy. Don’t buy a bunch of baskets and sort your stuff. That only helps the basket-makers and doesn’t do enough to reduce the amount of stuff you keep. No, I’ve developed a new way of looking at your stuff that will make you want to get rid of anything you don’t really need. 

Ask yourself whether you would pack and pay to move it. Not put it in your car and drive it a few blocks. Pay. By weight. Would you do it? Do you love it that much? If not, maybe someone else could use it or it’s time for it to go.

bunch of baskets
Photo by Nuria via Flickr

I used this method recently when we were preparing for a major clear-out and spruce-up of the house that I referred to last week. Boxes and boxes of extra stuff went into a trailer to make room for the workers but I took it further. I considered every article of clothing, every book, and every decor item with this “move it” value judgment. The result was sending 18 boxes of books we’ll never read again to a church sale and six-carloads-and-counting of stuff to Goodwill and other charities. Not to mention a dumpster full of junk. (Much of that came from the garage.) We also sold a few pickup truckloads worth of extra furniture and vintage things we considered “some day” projects. It’s been liberating.

I call it the Not Worth Moving Method! It incorporates asking yourself questions suggested by all of the other methods you’ve ever heard of. Does it bring you joy? Have you worn it in the last year? Does it fit? Do you love it? But most important, would you pack it, pay to move it and unpack it again? If you do this and you’re honest with yourself, it might be surprising what you’re willing to part with.


8 thoughts on “A New Method for Decluttering”

  1. I’m going through a similar decluttering right now. The first step in our journey is, if we haven’t opened a box since we moved six years ago, we probably don’t need it.

    A few years back, a friend filled a dumpster in anticipation of packing and moving, filled a second dumpster on arrival at his new home when he realized he didn’t really want to find space for all the stuff and then, filled a third dumpster after discovering stuff that had never been opened two years after the move.

    As a society, we have entirely too much stuff. Our cities are jammed with storage facilities and payday loan establishments. Two symptoms of the same problem.

  2. I have such trouble with clothes: I think, “well, you never know”…and then there are the items I keep because I paid so/too much for them and think I HAVE to keep them and hopefully get my money’s worth (as if). I need someone my size to come in and take what they need/want for work. Or I’ll just go ahead, take your lead and get RID OF IT!!!! Thank you again, Lisa!

    1. You did that at your house! It involved an estate sale, a garage sale, several truckloads of giveaways… 🙂

  3. I keep things simple, I don’t buy things that are not really important. For my old stuff, I donate it or give it to my cousins or throw it away if not any more useful or functional.

  4. I’m trying several new methods at once. First, I’m not buying anything that isn’t food or gas for the car for a month; second, I try to always have something in hand to put away when I walk around the house, even a pen or a piece of paper, it really kick-starts the process!

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