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Decluttering Your Home: How to Determine What Stays or Leaves

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Decluttering your home can be easy in some parts, but how do you determine what to do with your maybe items? How do you make that final decision?

Sitting on the fence is never comfortable! Trust me!

So let’s get you off the fence and determine what stays or leaves. After all, you do not want to be stuck in the decluttering part of your story.

You want to move through this part and onto the best part… after decluttering!

Decluttering your home can be easy in some parts, but how do you determine what to do with your maybe items? How do you make that final decision? Sitting on the fence is never comfortable! Trust me! So let's get you off the fence and determine what stays or leaves. After all, you do not want to be stuck in the decluttering part of your story. You want to move through this part and onto the best part... after decluttering!

How to Determine what Stays or Leaves

When I first began downsizing my possessions, it was easy to find things to get rid of. I had an abundance of things I didn’t need or use.

However, once these items are purged, there were still things I needed to make decisions about.

There are several ways to determine what stays or leaves. Here are a few ideas I have personally used.

#1 Boxing it up!

Put all of your possessions into boxes and only taking out what you need or use. Give yourself an allotted amount of time [usually 1-6 months depending on your situation]. Whatever is left inside the boxes at the end of that time is donated.

This is an extreme way to downsize. If you are seriously wanting to downsize in a quick fashion, I would suggest this method.

#2 Does it spark joy?

Use the Konmari Method. Marie Kondo suggests sorting through your belongings by category. This is a one time purging process that only leaves things in your home that bring you joy.

It is a lengthy process, but well worth a shot. I suggest reading her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up to fully explain the process and why it works.

# 3 Ask questions

Does this item serve a purpose in your life?

When the last time you used/wore that item? [If it’s been a year or more, odds are you can live without it.]

Are you keeping this item out of guilt? [If the answer is yes, accept it, and let the item move onto someone who would use it.]

Can this item be easily replaced?

Would you repurchase this item in the future if needed?

Usually these questions will help you decide if you really need the items or if it is time to part ways.

#4 Duplicates??

When it comes to deciding on duplicate items, things can be tricky. For instance, dinner plates are an essential item for at least the minimum number of people in the household.

However, what if you have company over for dinner one night? Do you have additional plates to serve them?

On the other hand, I wouldn’t think this way when it comes to coffee mugs. One set is enough. If you are like my household, I am the only coffee drinker, so I could get by with only having one coffee mug.

You have to decide what is right for you. No one can tell you how much or how little you need.

#5 Clothing Trick

For clothing, hang all of your clothes with the hanger hung backwards. Instead of hanging from the front side of the rod, hang from the back. Once an item is worn, hang it back in place with the hanger hanging from the front.

After a certain time period you have set for yourself, see which items still have hangers that are turned backwards. These items can be sold or donated.

They no longer serve purpose for your life and it’s okay. As far as a time period, it can be 1, 3, 6, or 12 months. It really depends on your needs.

We have four seasons where I live, so I could do it as often as every 3 months.

#6 Inspirational Quotes

One of my favorite quotes is by William Morris:

William Morris Quote | How to Determine What Stays or Leaves | Declutter

When I downsized my home decor, it was very painful. I kept asking myself if the piece was beautiful.

More times than not, I would actually say no. I had space to fill and if I didn’t find something to put there, nothing would ever go there.

I was consumed with the idea that I had to have something on every wall.

The truth is a blank wall can be beautiful. You don’t have to have items on every inch of your home. All it does is clutter your space and then your mind.

I decided I wanted to smile and feel joyful when looking that the pieces on my wall. I didn’t want to feel like I had settled simply to fill space.

Still, it was very hard to say a piece I treasured, when I purchased it, no longer felt beautiful to me. I was able to let go of several pieces.

Some pieces I have put in storage for when our house is built, because I love them. I just don’t have the space for all of them right now.

These pieces will be revisited yearly to see if the feeling is the same or has changed. I am sure I will be able to part with more as time moves on, but right now, I am happy with the pieces I kept.


I hope some of these ideas will help you in your journey. The hardest part is answering the questions that lead to the final answer of yes or no.

It is uplifting to let go of things you have been on the fence about for quite some time.

Just remember the quicker you move through it, the sooner you can get to the good part, which is enjoying your clutter free life!

If you have any questions or ideas you would like to share, please leave them below in the comments. I look forward to them!

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Candy
    February 17, 2016 at 8:03 am

    If I haven’t worn or used it for a year out the door it goes.

  • Reply
    Crystal // Dreams, etc.
    February 17, 2016 at 9:36 am

    I’ve found that if I don’t think about it too much when going through stuff, I can easily see what I use/don’t use and it makes it easier for me to get rid of stuff. And I haven’t missed anything yet! This is a great post with great tips. I think everyone needs to go through their belongings regularly (and decor, I hadn’t even thought of that) to decide what’s actually needed in their life.

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      February 17, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Thank you so much! I like your point on not overthinking it. Most of the time, people [I included] have become too attached to material objects and have a hard time thinking clearly as to whether or not it serves a purpose. I hadn’t thought of decor until I had downsized and could only hang what I truly loved! We are planning to build a house, so what I loved and didn’t have room for is being stored. But 90% left!

  • Reply
    Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life
    February 17, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    I have an issue with coffee cups now that you mention it. I have the set that came with our dishes that it seems like I should keep, but they’re not the mugs we usually grab for unless the rest are dirty. And it’s not like I regularly have 20 people over for coffee…

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      February 17, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Coffee mugs can be tricky. I have actually let my one different one go since originally posting this. I felt my coffee would be cold before I could finish it, and my others didn’t seem to let the heat escape as bad! I think it’s personal preference, but don’t feel like you have to keep something. My personal opinion only – if it doesn’t serve a purpose, it doesn’t deserve the real estate. But like I said that’s my personal opinion only! I have to tell myself that in order to keep me under control haha! I hope this helps… By the way, if I haven’t told you already, I really enjoy reading your blog! I’m new to it, but I enjoy it! Happy Blogging!

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