Most of us know we we will be happier without crazy clutter and truly want to let stuff go.
But we feel we can’t escape from it.
We’ve all got so much clutter we end up in an overwhelmed tailspin of indecision when we try to decide what to say goodbye to.
And sadly, most declutter guides out there don’t help. They tell us to ask questions like:
- “Did I wear it in the last year?”
- “Would I buy it now?”
- “Do I have more than one?”
All very sensible questions but they don’t work because they are too sensible and too logical.
And we don’t grab lots of new stuff and cling on to old stuff for sensible reasons. But because of weird emotions we don’t truly understand.
So to clear clutter we need to work with our emotions and these three must ask decluttering questions do just that.
Must Ask Declutter Questions
I have used these questions to let go of thousands of things I am happier without.
I was a big hoarder of all sorts of stuff but the questions gave me the strength to break free from the prison my clutter had become.
They really are liberating.
Do have a read and give them a go. And let me know how it goes. I love to hear your stories.
And for daily help to free yourself from clutter join my Happier Without Facebook page
But now on with our three questions …
1. Am I Ready?
The first question to ask when we start decluttering is simply : am I ready to let this go?
It sounds too simple doesn’t it?
But believe me, it really makes a difference. You see, the big, crazily powerful emotion making us cling to clutter is anxiety. So when we start decluttering we must avoid getting anxious.
Trying to make big decisions on all our stuff – Marie Kondo style – makes us more anxious. And then of course, we cling on harder.
So here’s the trick …
Decluttering bonkers bits and bobs we’re ready to let go – expired food, gunged up nail varnish, an odd sock – actually relieves anxiety.
And our ability to let go is like a muscle long wasted from lack of exercise. Clearing little things we’re ready to let go trains the muscle.
Use this list of no regrets clutter to train yours.
Then when we get to the harder stuff, we’ll be less anxious and can use question 2 to free ourselves from even more crazy things.
2. Could Someone Enjoy It More?
We often think of humans as selfish but you know what? We all really love gifting.
So our second must ask question – which I took from the Swedish Death Cleaning book – taps into our deep desire to be generous.
We simply ask : could someone enjoy it more?
It sounds lame right? But it works. I promise you. Not for everything but for lots of stuff : clothes, toys, gadgets, kitchen ware, furniture.
And especially stuff we don’t use. We all tell ourselves “I might need it one day” but imagining someone else enjoying our things gives us that shove we need to pass it on.
It’s weird I know. But heh, it works. So do it!
Use these simple prompts to look for stuff you can easily donate to family, friends or a charity.
Giving stuff away makes us feel good which is super helpful because with our third decluttering question we’re going to tackle the tricky stuff we’ve been avoiding!!
3. Will I Be Happier Without?
OK we’ve cleared crazy no regrets stuff and gifted things we’ll never use but there’s lots left.
And – despite what Marie Kondo says – lots of it is really lovely stuff. And really does spark joy!!
Pretty stuff. Clever stuff. Funny stuff. Interesting stuff. Stuff given generously with great love. Stuff rich with our most precious memories.
There are wonderful reasons to cling onto these things. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
But – and it’s a big but – they come at a price.
And the price is way too high.
Chaotic homes full of clutter hurt our mental health. Clutter is actually a big cause of anxiety, depression, debt, anger and family breakdown.
Clutter made me scream at my family so much, they hid from me. It left me weeping inconsolably in my kitchen because my own home felt like a prison I could never escape.
Use this list to see the price of your clutter.
Very few things are pretty enough or clever enough or funny enough or interesting enough to be worth that despair. No one who loves us wants their gifts to cause that much pain.
So question 3 is all about balance. It’s about putting stuff on the scales and saying yep, it’s lovely but will I be happier without it?
The answer is almost, always yes because the freedom of living life clutter free is amazing.
The Freedom Of Clutter Free
My home is no spick and span minimalist haven. Ms Kondo would hate my messiness.
But I tell you what, it’s super easy to tidy.
And as a family, we are just happier. We have the space to enjoy sharing our home. We have less chaos and more calm.
And when life’s hard we find it easy to cut each other some slack. The daily sniping is gone.
So if you feel imprisoned by crazy clutter – just like I was – use these three simple questions to help you let stuff go and find your freedom.