Whether you’re a tightwad or loud and proud, selling and moving is probably your biggest nightmare. And that requires—that’s right—an infallible guide to reassurance. Because of your ways, you would bring every single item down to the last piece of string because, well, you just never know when you’ll need a piece of string.
But this time, your family members have put their foot down and are pressuring you to take it as an exercise to discard what you no longer need. Now, before you stress out, take a deep breath and read this handy guide with a handy list of questions we’ve created. This clear guide will guide you through what to keep and what to get rid of.
1. Do you even remember owning it?
As you go through your things, look for items that make you frown in a ‘Totally-forgot-I-existed’ way.
It could be your stacks of floppy disks from 1997 containing your school essays. Or those boxes of stickers, buttons, and random gadgets that you bought on impulse and immediately put away in the darkest corner of your storage room.
If it’s out of date, throw it away. And if you don’t even remember owning it, by all means throw it away.
2. Could it go to a better home?
Could your stuff go to a bigger and better use elsewhere? If your massive book collection is more of a dusty book museum, why not consider donating them to a library? Books are for reading and will bring much more joy if they are in the world.
In addition to donating items, you can also hold a garage sale or sell them on Carousell for items you no longer use. The mini skirts you obsessed over as a teenager but wouldn’t be caught dead in today – sell them! They will make other teenagers happy and you will earn some money.
3. If you could only own 100 items, what would they be?
There’s a minimalist exercise called the ‘100 Thing Challenge’ and it’s exactly what it sounds like. The philosophy behind it is to find a simpler and more satisfying way of life. Sometimes we find ourselves hoarding possessions because of advertising, peer pressure, and the like. This exercise forces us to take a step back and consider what things we really need and what we have bought as a mindless consumer.
Even as a hypothetical activity, it will still help you visualize all your stuff with more clarity.
4. Does it bring you joy?
Decluttering is not meant to be a cold-blooded exercise that leaves you with only the practical. We are humans, not robots. And that means we have items that evoke emotion, like an heirloom necklace passed down six generations or a Seiko watch given to you by your first love.
It doesn’t work anymore, but it reminds you of the pure, heady excitement of first love. For the things that make you happy, says calming guru Marie Kondo, hold on to them.
It’s important to remember that calming down your life should be joyful, not painful. Being able to let go of what is no longer applicable and relevant to your life means you make room for the better things ahead. So don’t be afraid to go for it!
This article was first published in 99.co.