When you decide to downsize or de-clutter your home, you are going to ask yourself a few questions. That's just part of the process.
Do these pants still fit me?
Am I ever going to start crocheting?
Was there a time when a cotton candy machine seemed like a good idea?
But, through my own experience downsizing into a 160 square foot tiny house on wheels and countless experiences helping others with their own downsizing journeys, I have learned that there is one question that you do NOT want to ask yourself when going through your clutter.
So, what is that magical question?
Is this item useful?
Now, I know right off the bat, that seems rather counter-intuitive. Wouldn't I want to ask myself if something is useful when I am determining if I should keep it or not?
Well, yes and no.
Yes, you should absolutely determine the legitimate usefulness of your possessions when you are de-cluttering. But that is not exactly the right question to be asking.
The correct question to ask when going through your clutter is... Is this item useful for me?
It is only different by two words, but I promise, those two words have a significant impact.
See, when you pick up an item during your de-cluttering process and ask yourself "is this useful," 9 times out of 10, it will be. Everything pretty much has some sort of use, whether it's for actual utility or just to enjoy/look at it.
So, if you pick up a nifty pair of crafting scissors and ask, "are these useful?" The answer will be yes, they are quite useful at cutting out shapes with little heart borders for all your crafts and scrapbooks! But, if you never make any crafts or do any scrapbooking, they are not useful to you.
Or say, you have lots of ingenious little tools for camping that help you to light a fire quicker, make your tent sturdier or keep the bears away from your campsite - those are all very handy and useful things to have on hand. But if the Bee Gee's were on the radio the last time you went camping, then they probably aren't very useful for you.
When I explain this concept to someone while helping them de-clutter, this is usually the point where I see a "lightbulb" go off over their head. It's like one of Oprah's "a-ha" moments, but it's also a pivotal moment in the process because it helps them to turn a corner.
A lot of the overwhelm that we feel when attempting to de-clutter comes from the confusion over what we need to keep and what we don't. But, no one can truthfully determine the answer to that question but you.
You know your lifestyle. You know your needs better than anyone else. So, don't try to follow someone else's guide or match your de-cluttering process to something you see on TV or a Pinterest board. Whereas, I may never touch a potato masher in my life, you may make the creamiest mashed potatoes in town and use it every single week.
So, be sure to keep the items that make the most sense for you in your life.
And don't get caught in the "is this useful" trap...
Even that purple cassette player in your garage is technically useful, but if you're not spending your days rewinding and fast-forwarding through Wham's Greatest Hits, then it's time to let it go.
Good luck! And remember... keep your worries tiny and your dream BIG!