When it comes to sorting through decades’ worth of stuff, one of the hardest parts of the task is knowing how to decide what to keep and what to discard. For example, if you are sorting through blouses and end up with 30 that still fit and are in good shape (no rips, no tears), how do you cull that pile down further?
Some organizers and organizing books would have you ask yourself a litany of questions about the blouses in order to help you cull the pile. “Does it spark joy?” comes to mind. But in my work with organizing clients, I have found that the decision-making process comes down to just two questions:
- Do you use it?
- Do you love it?
If you use the object (as in, you have used it in the last year and intend to use it again at some point in the coming year), then it makes perfect sense to keep the object.
But some objects we keep because we love them dearly, not because they are useful. These are things like decorative objects, memorabilia, framed artwork and photos. If you can answer yes, you love these objects, then those should be kept too.
What if you have an object that you don’t use and/or don’t love? There’s an argument for keeping items that you might need in an emergency, such as your family’s earthquake supplies and the fire extinguisher. There’s also an argument for keeping things that the IRS highly recommends you keep, such as your tax returns. But beyond those exceptions, I truly believe that you will feel happiest in your home when you are only surrounded by things you use regularly or love fiercely.
Keep the decision-making process simple and don’t get distracted by a lot of what-if scenarios when it comes to sorting through your things. Ask yourself, do I use it? Or do I love it?
Then make peace with your decision and get on with the fun part of enjoying all that new-found space in your home!
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