Quick tip for you as you pursue a life of owning less:
Begin by identifying what you need, rather than identifying what you can remove.
Often times, when we set out to declutter a space or a category of items in our home, we begin by looking for things that we can remove.
We identify the shirt that doesn’t fit, the kitchen utensil we don’t use, the toy that doesn’t get played with, or the old make-up we stopped using years ago. We scan our closets and drawers asking the question, “What can I get rid of?”
To declutter faster, change the question you are asking.
Rather than asking, “What can I get rid of?” Ask, “What do I need to keep?”
The new approach will change everything.
For example, let’s say you want to declutter the clothes you wear to work. You could go to your closet, try on every outfit and every accessory, looking for things you no longer love or no longer fit. When you finish, you’ll probably identify a small pile of clothes that you could donate at your local drop-off charity.
This is the approach of looking for things to remove.
Or you could try a strategy of identifying what you need.
If you go to work five times each week, theoretically, you only need five different work outfits (assuming you only want to do laundry once/week). Go to your closet and identify the five outfits you love the most and would choose to wear each week. This is all you need to keep and everything else could be removed immediately. After all, you’ve kept everything you need.
Now, this is your life and your closet. I may be comfortable wearing the same clothes every day, but you may want a little more variety than five outfits. It’s up to you (obviously). You may look back at your closet, after identifying five outfits, and notice a few other outfits that you want to keep. You know you don’t need them, but you may still want a few more. Take them out and set them next to the others.
You can keep what you want, but your mindset will have changed—knowing that you are now keeping things you don’t actually have to have.
In the end, all the remaining clothing in your closet can be decluttered. Your donation pile will almost certainly be larger than the previous approach.
And this principle can be applied in countless areas in our home.
How many sets of bed linens do you actually need?
How many place settings or coffee mugs do you need?
How many televisions do you use at a time?
How many coats, decorations, spatulas, scissors, pens, hobby supplies, tennis racquets, or toys are actually needed?
Identify the minimum. You can keep more if you want, but you’ll find the process of decluttering goes much faster when you start by asking, “What do I need to keep?” Rather than, “What are the things I can get rid of?”