Once you’ve taken stock of what you have, it will be far easier to decide what you want to keep. Don’t decide to clear out the whole house in one day. You won’t have time to complete the task and besides, you may feel so overwhelmed that you never finish, and then you’ll be in a worse muddle than before.
Lives change slowly all the time. What you once found necessary may not have been used for ages now. Sometimes we don’t realize these things until we really think about them. Children arrive and then grow up. Our eating habits often change over the years. Old nappies and baby bottles need to be thrown out eventually. You don’t really need to keep old apple corers and that metal disk that prevents milk from boiling over. Shabby toys that the children once loved can be thrown out or washed up and given to the thrift shop.
Sometimes you need to think about the object for a while before tossing it in the trash. When deciding whether to keep something or throw it out, ask yourself these questions:
1. How long since I’ve used this? If it’s been more than a year, you probably don’t need it at all.
2. What will happen if I don’t have this? If your world won’t fall in, maybe it’s not as important as you thought.
3. Will its loss cause trial and hardship? Can you manage physically without it? Don’t throw out Great-Aunt Mabel’s walking stick if you have arthritis yourself. On the other hand, if you are young and fit, do you really need to keep it?
4. Is this necessary to my present life or do I just have an emotional attachment to it? Of course, you don’t have to throw out everything you feel an emotional attachment to. But if you love it, but don’t want to keep it, you may be able to part with it more easily if you knew it was going to a good home.
5. Can anyone else benefit from owning this? Maybe you own something that another family member would like. If you don’t use it yourself, why not give it to them?
Sometimes, we think we can’t part with something, so we’ll store it in the shed or the attic. If you’ve decided to store something, make sure and think twice. Stored items usually just take up room and catch dust. Their condition often deteriorates. They would be better off given to someone else to use. Once you decide what you don’t want, it’s best to get rid of it immediately; otherwise you might change your mind. You don’t want to have done all this work for nothing.