Decisions and decluttering

decisions and decluttering



Decluttering is all about making decisions.  What to keep or release? What category is this item in?  Where do I store it to know I have it?  How many should I keep? These decisions can be hard!


Why is decision making so difficult? Maybe you need the affirmation that you are making the “right” decision.  Maybe you need ideas and could choose one to be the final decision. Maybe you need the energy and focus to think clearly about a decision? Maybe you have never had practice making decisions.  Maybe you are too overwhelmed to know what decisions need to be made.  Research shows that not only cognitive ability plays into decision making, but also emotions.  All of these aspects come into play when decisions and decluttering are linked.


Here are a few ideas to help you make decisions that make sense, make letting go easier, and make a difference for you.

  • Donate it if it is “good”.  It is considered “good” if it can be used and still in working condition.
  • Freecyle if it is broken.  List it on and it will be picked up from your doorstep.
  • Give it a moment, then give it away.  Look at it, touch it, and then put it to the side. In a moment you will be ready to give it away.
  • Set a number.   How many do you think you need of any one object? Think of your own number as a guide.
  • Compare two.   Establish a “tournament”, do you prefer this or that?
  • Set a boundary.  Where does a specific item belong?  That is the boundary, the space where the item will be confined.  Let that guide you for how many and where to keep items.
  • Gather items all together, see how many you have and need. Once you see items together, it is easier to decide what to keep.

What is holding you back from making a decision?



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5 replies
  1. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    What a great post, Ellen about clutter and decision-making! Especially for those that are struggling with parameters, this list of questions is so helpful. One other idea occurred to me. Sometimes when we touch an object, our sentimental attachment or bond strengthens, making it harder to let go. This is a phenomenon called, “Kinesthetic sympathy.” If you notice this happening, it can be helpful to introduce another person or “handler.” The handler can hold the object while asking the questions. It gives the decision-maker more objectivity and can lessen the emotional aspect.

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