Decluttering Your Home: How to Decide What to Get Rid of

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Decluttering your home can be easy in some parts, but in others, you have to make tough decisions. This is why I want to help you learn how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep.

Sitting on the fence is never comfortable! Trust me!

So let’s get you off the fence and making decisions about what to keep or toss. After all, you do not want to be stuck in the decluttering part of your story any longer than you have to be.

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

How to decide what to get rid of and what to keep

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.

This first tip is one I needed when I decluttered my home to make the process much quicker. Lucky for you, you won’t have the same troubles I did in the beginning.

Start with a vision

When you start with a vision, it is easier to determine what does and doesn’t belong in that vision.

This is the key when learning how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep because your vision answers the questions for you.

Before you declutter anything, imagine what your home and life will be like once it is decluttered.

Ask yourself the following questions if you’re having a difficult time seeing your space decluttered:

  • How do I want to feel in my home after it is decluttered?
  • How do I want each space to look once they are decluttered?
  • If I only had things in my home that I loved or used often, what would that look like?
  • What could I let go of in each space that would help me get to my vision quicker?

The more clear about how you envision your home, the easier it will be to declutter it. I want you to get crystal clear before starting so that any hang-ups are fewer and farther in between.

Have a quote to live by as you declutter

This is extremely helpful when you pick out the right quote! It helps to keep you focused on what you’re working to achieve.

My quote is by William Morris:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

This kept me on track as I decluttered my home and still helps me years later to continue to keep only the things I love or use often.

Ask the right questions as you declutter

You can ask 100s of questions as you declutter, but if you aren’t asking the right questions, you won’t get through things as well as you would like.

Here are the questions you should be asking as you declutter:

  • 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.]
  • If it is broken or needs mending/altered, will you fix it in the next two weeks? [If not, declutter it.]
  • 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.

Try one or more of these decluttering methods

1 // Packing Party

The Minimalists made this method popular because this is the method Ryan used when he started his minimalism journey.

It is pretty simple to try. You put all of your possessions into boxes and only taking out what you need or use.

Give yourself an allotted amount of time [usually 1-2 months]. Whatever is left inside the boxes at the end of that time is donated or sold.

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

2 // Play the Minimalism Game

This is another method The Minimalists use to declutter. It is very simple, too!

It is a 30-day long game. You coordinate what day you are on with the number of items you declutter. 

So on day 1, you declutter 1 item. On day 2, you declutter 2 items.

This continues through to day 30 when you declutter 30 items. By the end of it, you’ll have decluttered 465 items.

One thing to take note of: The items you’re decluttering should not be normal trash. You need to find things you need to declutter versus just cleaning your home and finding trash.

Here are The Minimalists to explain it to you:

3 // 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.

I do want to point out that the Konmari Method is not a way to become a minimalist. She believes in keeping things that spark joy versus really getting down to the nitty-gritty of identifying the excess in your life.

What about 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.

Creative Decluttering Tricks

Throughout the decluttering process, I found a few tricks to help me actually see how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep.

It was helpful for me to remove my feelings from the things I had and shift the perspective to one of practicality.

1 // Clothing Tricks

For hanging clothes, hang all of your clothes with the hanger hung backward. 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 month or one season, see which items still have hangers that are turned backward. These items weren’t worn in that time period, and because of this trick, you actually see what is cluttering your closet.

These items no longer serve a purpose for your life and it’s okay. Donate and sell what you haven’t worn and celebrate your success!

Related Posts:

2 // Home Decor

Home decor is one of those things that blend into the background after so long. This trick is very important to do because it breathes new life into your home.

Similar to a packing party, I want you to pack up ALL of your home decor into boxes and put these boxes out of sight.

Leave your home blank for at least 3 days [longer if you can], then allow yourself to decorate your home as if it were the first time.

You may find that you completely change how your home was decorated or that you truly loved pieces where they were.

Only put back the pieces you missed and want to see out again. For the things that you don’t want to display, declutter them.

Related Post: How to Simplify Your Home in Four Easy Steps

3 // Test your minimalist abilities

Curious about how minimal you can live? Give it a try!

Pack up everything you think you don’t need, and see how it feels. You may find that being very minimal is great! You may also find that you don’t want to be so minimal.

The fun thing is that by testing out your minimalist abilities, you get to shift your perspective about the things you have and have fun while doing so!

Take action

Ready to declutter your home? Be sure to get access to my FREE Resource Library that has all kinds of helpful resources, including checklists, printables, workbook, ebooks, and more!

Click here to gain access to the FREE Resource Library!

The Tannehill Homestead Resource Library

Final Thoughts

Learning how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep isn’t all that hard when you go through the process I’ve shared.

Remember, it is important to start with a vision and become crystal clear on how you want your home to look and feel once you’ve finished decluttering.

Have fun with all the ways you are learning how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep! This is an exciting time and experience that will only happen once, so MAKE IT FUN!

Be sure to ask the right questions as you declutter and be honest with yourself. This will make deciding what to keep or toss much easier.

Finally, use my tricks to help you identify all of the excess in your home and bring new life into your home! After all the time, effort, and money you’ve put into your home, you deserve to love, appreciate, and have a sense of peace when you’re in it!

To declutter your home, you must learn how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. It can be tough, but I'm here to help!

8 thoughts on “Decluttering Your Home: How to Decide What to Get Rid of”

  1. 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.

    1. 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!

  2. 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…

    1. 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!

  3. Just what I need, encouragement to unload the stuff I’ve moved around to several homes and the kids don’t want it. It will feel good to be free of STUFF! I’ve read many minimalist posts and yours hit a spark in me. You are honest about continually being in the process. It takes practise I see.

    Keep up the great posts!

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