Ask yourself, with every thing you own, Why do I own this?
When you do, you will be surprised at the answers.
In my own life, it was the question of “Why?” that forced me to uncover and evaluate many of the unhealthy motivations that were contributing to my over-accumulation in the first place. Once I knew them, I was better equipped to overcome them.
For example, one of the first areas of my home that I chose to minimize was my closet. When I did, I noticed all sorts of different styles and colors and fits of clothing, many of which I no longer wore.
Of course, I am not alone in this—many of our closets are filled with items we no longer wear. Our over-filled closets have nothing to do with functionality.
Why do we own closets full of clothing and so much more than we need? Is it because we love them all or because we need that many shirts or shoes? No, of course not.
We buy them because we are trying to keep up with changing fashions—the same changing styles that the fashion industry tells us we need to remain in style.
Similarly, when we look in our living rooms, we notice all kinds of decorations and knick-knacks cluttering our shelves. Why do we have them? Because we love them and they tell the story of our lives? Doubtful.
Instead, we bought them because they were on sale, they matched the couch, or those built-in shelves needed something on them.
In each case, we buy things and keep them, not because they benefit our lives, but for some other intention.
This question (Why do I have this?) makes the process of decluttering easier and holds benefit for almost every item we own: Why do I own these CDs, that piece of furniture, these toys, these old electronics, those books? Once we determine the Why? we are better equipped to answer the What now?
Asking Why? forces us to stand face to face with questions of motivation and impulse. It requires us to confront the reason behind the actions.
In fact, the question offers opportunity wherever it is asked:
- What is the first thing you do in the morning? Why?
- What are the unhealthy habits in your life? Why are they there?
- What worries do you carry? Why is that so?
- What fears do you have? Why do you have them?
- What struggle points do you have in your marriage? Why?
- Do you enjoy your work? Why or why not?
- Are you getting ahead financially? Why not?
- Are you content with your life? Why or why not?
- Are you happy? Why or why not?
With each question, you journey deeper and deeper into your heart.
That’s why the question “Why do I have this?” forms the basis for your best decluttering efforts going forward.
This question—along with Do I need it?—will open up new ideas about what items and habits to keep and what to remove.
And ultimately, isn’t that goal? To remove things entirely from your life that you no longer need… so you can begin living the life that you want.