11 Mindful Decluttering Questions to Ask Yourself

Today, I’ll share 11 decluttering questions to ask yourself when you’re decluttering.

In fact, these are the 11 questions my husband and I asked ourselves when we decluttered 99% of our things.

And we haven’t regretted getting rid of a single item.

Let’s take a look.

Ayla asking herself decluttering questions
Decluttering Question #1

Have I Used This in the Past Year?

This is the most straight-forward decluttering question to ask yourself. If you haven’t used something in an entire year, it is a pretty good sign that you don’t need it.

In fact, you probably don’t even need it if you haven’t used it in the past few months (unless it’s a seasonal item, which is common to find when you’re decluttering clothes).

Decluttering Question #2

Will I Realistically Use This in the Next Year?

Be honest with yourself. Do you see yourself using this within the next year, or perhaps the next month? It’s so easy to say to yourself, “Oh yeah, I’ll find use of this,” when you actually won’t. Be realistic.

Decluttering Question #3

Do I Have Anything Similar That I Use Instead?

If you’re finding it hard to let something go, ask yourself if you have anything that serves a similar purpose.

If you do, consider getting rid of the item that you use the least, whether that be bottle openers, scissors, or anything else.

If you don’t use any of them, consider letting them all go.

Decluttering Question #4

Does This Item Add Value to My Life?

Value can be measured in different ways. For our purposes, items with value are those which make our lives better overall. Things we use add value. As do things that bring us joy.
Dresser full of clutter

Another important aspect of this question is to consider the downside of the item. Some things are expensive to store and maintain even though they are useful. Other things, such as technology, can also be addictive in some regards while useful in others.

Make sure that the benefits exceed the costs.

Decluttering Question #5

How Does This Item Add Value to My Life?

Delve deeper into how exactly the item adds value to your life. What is it about this item that makes it worth keeping?

You don’t need to justify the value to other people, but be honest and realistic with yourself.

Ayla decluttering a room and thinking

I still use a blanket I made with my aunt when I was in elementary school. It’s old and worn, but it’s my favorite blanket. Other people might not understand this, but I still keep it because it brings me significant joy.

Decluttering Question #6

Could Someone Else Benefit More From This?

This is a good decluttering question to ask yourself if you’re feeling uncertain about letting something go.

Consider if you’re using the item to its fullest potential or if you believe there are others in the world who might derive greater value from it. If so, consider donating it to places like Goodwill. It feels good to give.

Decluttering Question #7

Why Am I Clinging to This?

If something does not add value or joy to your life, try to understand why you’re hanging on to it. Ask yourself these decluttering questions:

  • Do you have memories associated with the item?
  • Did you pay a lot of money for it?
  • Do you feel guilt for wanting to let it go?
  • Do you feel you have to keep it out of pressure from family, friends, or society?
  • Do you fear you might regret your decision?

Be mindful and intentional about what you’re getting rid of and what you’re keeping. Don’t hang on to items just because you feel you have to. One of the stages of decluttering is to overcome pressure from others.

Remember that, in the end, things are just things while the memories live within us.

Decluttering Question #8

If I Had to Buy This Again at Full Price, Would I?

Let’s shift our perspective and look at value from the basis of money. We spend money on things because we believe that their price is worth the value the thing will give us.

In hindsight, however, we might realize that we were acting on impulses and that the item wasn’t really worth the money after all.

Ayla looking at books in a window
Ask yourself, would you buy this again at full price? If you wouldn’t, likelihood is you don’t need it.
Decluttering Question #9

If This Broke, Would I Fix It Immediately?

Sometimes, the value we get from something is so small that, if it broke, we wouldn’t bother fixing it. If that’s the case, it might be time to let it go.
Ripped turtleneck sweater that needs mending

You can also ask this decluttering question about any to-be-fixed items that you have lying around. If you’re not willing to fix them right now, get rid of them. Similarly, you probably don’t need things that have been broken for a long time.

Decluttering Question #10

Would I Keep This if I Was Moving?

This is one of my favorite decluttering questions to ask myself. It helps us identify items we don’t need, but those which still managed to sneak their way into our Keep pile.

If you’re not willing to go through the effort of packing, transporting, and unpacking this thing, you don’t need it.

Decluttering Question #11

What’s the Worst Thing That Could Happen if I Didn’t Have This?

And finally (another personal favorite) is the what-if scenario.

This decluttering question helps you overcome the irrational fear of regret. Visualize the worst possible scenario that could happen if you didn’t have your item.

Often, the worst possible situation is minor inconvenience or discomfort that’s easily solved. More likely, however, is the best scenario which is that you’re removing another useless item from your life.

Decluttered and organized cabinet

I’m a chronic worrier and have always struggled with keeping things just in case. Visualizing the worst-case scenario helped me realize how many unnecessary things I had, and helped me get rid of them.

In fact, my husband and I decluttered 99% of our things, and we’ve never regretted letting go of a single item. Not even our TV.

Thank You For Reading

Thank you for sharing some of your valuable time with us today.

We’re wondering what your thoughts are. Which question do you always ask yourself?

Let us know in the comments below.

Ayla smiling on a beach in cloudy weather

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Talk soon.

Ayla

Ayla

Ayla is a co-founder, writer, and designer at Bloopy Things. She helps individuals embrace simple living through practical and actionable guides in all areas of life.

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We're a husband-and-wife team who help you simplify your life so you can focus on the things that truly matter and still have some time left for the bloopy things.

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