15 Decluttering Questions to Ask Yourself & Make Choices Easier! [FREE PDF]
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Please tell me if this sounds familiar; you’re all pumped up and feeling motivated to declutter your home.
You get started, but then you pick up an item, and the part of your brain that helps you decide what to keep and what to let go of sputters and dies.
You’re stuck blankly staring at that-that THING, and in the meantime, that old song from The Clash starts up in the back of your mind:
Well, come on an’ let me know
Should I stay, or should I go?
Never fear, my friend! Been there, done that, decluttered my entire home and life and then some – so here are 15 helpful decluttering questions to ask yourself when you get stuck!
If it’s your personal goal to declutter your life this year, you’re in the right place – let’s do this!
Decluttering questions to ask yourself
These powerful decluttering questions can help help you decide what to declutter faster and easier so that you feel less overwhelmed and stressed out about your decisions.
That’s going to help you stay motivated and keep up the momentum you need to get your home clutter-free once and for all.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to go full-on minimalist to appreciate the benefits of decluttering!
Do as much or as little as you want and move forward as your comfort levels allow.
It’s more important to be intentional with the changes that you make so you can declutter without regret and create healthy habits to keep you clutter-free now and in the future.
✨ Make sure to stick around until the end of this post for your FREE printable declutter checklist, which includes 10-pages of things to declutter in your home, decluttering questions to ask yourself, a step-by-step decluttering guide, and much more!
1. Does the current me love this item?
When you’re decluttering your home, it’s essential to be honest with yourself and ask if the current you even likes the item.
If not, then why keep it around?
It might be hard to let go of some items at first, but if they don’t bring you joy, what is the point of having them take up space?
READ MORE: 120 Minimalist Quotes That Are Simple and Inspirational
2. Have I used this in the past six months?
If you haven’t used an item in the past six months, there’s a good chance you won’t use it in the future.
So why keep it taking up space in your home? Get rid of anything that you don’t use regularly.
If it’s a seasonal item, such as swimsuits or holiday decor, you might ask yourself if you used it during the correct season last year.
If not, say sayonara.
FIND OUT MORE: 50+ Mindful Ways to Get Rid of Clutter (without Stress or Guilt!)
3. How often do I need this?
If you only need an item once a year, or maybe even less often than that, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth storing and maintaining for the little use that you get out of it.
Of course, it’s okay to keep things you only use once in a while if they GENUINELY make you happy and you have a place for them in your life.
But if it’s something you don’t need all that often and you feel so-so about owing it, you could also borrow or rent the item on the rare occasion you do find a need for it.
4. Would I repurchase this item?
Now that you’ve owned the item for a while, if you could go back and buy it again, would you?
If you wouldn’t repurchase the same thing, then the chances are good that it doesn’t have much value to you and can be donated or sold.
Don’t get caught up in guilt thinking about money wasting, but work on developing better shopping habits so you’re less likely to have this happen in the future.
5. What value does this add to my life?
Is this item useful to you in your everyday life? Does it make you happy? When you look at it sitting on the shelf, do you enjoy seeing it there?
These are all things you should consider when determining an object’s value.
Also, there’s more to value than simply the money you paid for an item.
Our things can be valuable to us in various ways, such as bringing us comfort or helping us to remember a particular time or person.
Vacuum cleaners and brooms might not be glamourous, but they are a necessary part of our life and have value when it comes to keeping our floors clean, so that’s one example of a practical and high-value item.
SAVE MORE MONEY: 10 Minimalist Budget Tips to Change Your Life Right now
6. Why am I keeping this thing?
There are many reasons that people hang onto things and don’t want to declutter them.
Perhaps you have a sentimental attachment to an item or feel that it is too lovely to throw away.
You might even worry that you will need it in the future or feel guilty and regret the money you spent purchasing it – even if you have never used it a single time!
Asking yourself why you are holding on to something will help with your decision-making – and be honest with yourself!
Your home should be filled with things you love and contribute to your life meaningfully.
Therefore, it might be time to let the item go if you don’t have a good answer.
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7. Do I own duplicates or similar items?
How many times have you purchased something, only to realize you already own the exact same thing?
Do you really need 20 pairs of black leggings or seven swimsuits?
Ask yourself if you need all of them and whether or not there is a specific reason why you are holding on to each one. If not, it might be time for a purge!
8. Can I swap this item’s function?
An easy way to simplify your life is to prioritize multifunctional items over single-use ones.
Is there another item in your home that can do the same job as the one you’re considering of decluttering?
For example, if you have a lot of DVDs but don’t watch them often, consider swapping them for a Netflix subscription. Or, if you have a lot of books taking up space, but now you prefer reading on your Kindle or iPad, could you donate the books instead?
You might find that owning multiple single-purpose items isn’t as useful as owning one thing that can take over all the roles and more. Why own a microwave when you can reheat food in the pan?
9. How much is this costing me?
Your possessions might be costing you more to own them than you realize.
The things that we own cost us:
- the money spent to buy, house, and maintain them
- time spent cleaning and maintaining them
- space in our home (or extra storage space!)
- the energy put towards taking care of them
- and more…
You might need to ask yourself if it’s worth it.
READ MORE: 50 Wasteful Things I Stopped Buying as a Minimalist
10. Is this item stained, broken, or damaged?
Do you need to keep that broken TV? Or the chair with a rip in it? Are you going to mend the holes that your kids wore in their pants?
Listen, figuring out how to mend and do it yourself can definitely save you money, and as a frugal living fanatic, I’m all for it – but there’s always a limit to how much we can learn and do ourselves.
Ask yourself if you have the time and the ability to fix that thing or if it’s a choice that you’re just putting off until a later date.
11. Who am I keeping this for?
Do you tend to hold onto things because you think someone might want them in the future, such as holding onto sentimental items from your kid’s childhood or your wedding dress in the hope you’ll have a daughter that might wear it?
In the end, it’s usually us who can’t let go and not the people that we say we are keeping the items to give!
So be honest with yourself about who you are keeping things for; if you want to keep something for your kids, the great thing is they will grow up to the point where you can ask them what they think!
My two boys were super excited to create their DIY memory boxes last month – and they were clear on the things they wanted to keep!
BE INSPIRED: 10 Minimalism with Kids Tips That Can Save Your Motherhood
12. Am I honoring this item or just afraid to let go?
You might tell yourself you couldn’t possibly get rid of an item – after all, it belonged to your beloved mom/dad/grandmother/aunt/second-cousin-twice-removed Bernice!
But when you think about it, are you genuinely honoring the item and the memories that are attaching you to it when you stuff it in a box in your basement for decades?
That’s when the next two declutter questions become CRITICAL!
READ MORE: This “One In, One Out Rule” is the Secret to a Clutter-Free Home
13. Could this benefit someone else more than myself?
Your things aren’t doing you any good if you put them in boxes “for later” or “just in case.”
When I was decluttering the sentimental items left behind after the loss of my loved ones, I found that knowing I was sending their items onto a new home and a new life where someone would love and appreciate them was immensely healing for me.
While I didn’t want to wear my dad’s old Harley Davidson gear, the people who bought them were over the moon to receive them!
That means the things I had plenty of room for the mementos that I did want to use or display in my home, as you’ll see in the next question.
FIND OUT MORE: 10 Surprising Benefits of Minimalism Experts SWEAR Are True!
14. Can I use or display this item in my home?
As a sentimental person, I always prioritize using or displaying keepsakes and mementos in my home.
I would much rather have a meaningful item that reminds me of fond memories instead of the most modern or newest home decor trend.
I wear my mother’s wedding ring and use my dad’s knife set to prepare meals for my family every single day.
When you think about if you want to keep or let go of an item, take the time to consider if you can put that item into use in your home or display it with pride.
READ MORE: 90 Letting Go Quotes for Moving On with Your Life
15. Can I replace this item easily?
The final item on this list of decluttering questions is if you can easily replace the item should you regret letting it go.
Of course, the goal is to keep items you need, value, and love and let go of unwanted stuff, but mistakes can be made, and life circumstances can change.
An H&M striped T-shirt that you got for $20 can be easily replaced and isn’t a significant loss; on the other hand, grandma’s heirloom cast iron pan or the title to your car would be much harder to recover!
So consider how difficult or costly it would be to replace something as the final choice before you declutter it.
Print these decluttering questions OR grab the free 10-page decluttering checklist down below!
RELATED POST: 25+ Free Printables to Declutter, Organize, Clean, Budget, & Plan
Get more declutter help with a FREE printable!
Want more help decluttering your home?
Make sure to grab your copy of the free A to Zen Decluttering Checklist + Guide below, or you can read more about this printable declutter list here.
This 10-page decluttering printable PDF includes:
- 600+ ideas for things to declutter in your ENTIRE home
- meaningful quotes to keep you motivated to clear the clutter
- a 5-step guide on how to declutter
- 15 printable decluttering questions to ask yourself
- more ideas to continue + join a minimalist community to stay inspired!
How can we download that printable, pictured above? I don’t see anyway to print it.
Hey Christine, the email sign-up form should be working now! It “disappeared” in the blog switch, but you can now sign up to get the link for your printable download – all 10 pages of them! Cheers.
There’s no link, just a blank square. Can you post the link in your reply?
Hi Dee! I’m so glad you said something – it seems like my form was having a little hiccup. I added it into the post, or you can go to this page to sign up: https://atozenlife.com/free-declutter-checklist/ Cheers and happy decluttering. 🙂
I love the chairs at the table in the decluttering video. Can you tell me where I might be able to find them?
Hi Rob, did you see my comment on YouTube? These chairs are unfortunately sold out – it’s a German brand you can see here: https://www.wayfair.de/moebel/pdp/mack-milo-esszimmerstuhl-anton-brba8720.html?piid=29485875 . Maybe you can find something similar? We love them and I so wish they were easy to find because I get a lot of questions about them. Take care.
Some great questions to ask yourself here! I was often afraid to use sentimental items, just in case they got broken or lost, but you have made me question that idea as it is surely better to get some use out of them and appreciate them every day than keep them hidden away as clutter. It’s lovely that you get to wear your mother’s wedding ring : )
That’s great, Kate! I hope you get a lot of use and enjoyment out of them. 🙂 I love to use and look at all of my treasures on a daily basis.
How do you manage when family members give gifts? Do you accept gifts and then give it away later? I feel guilt to the max when it comes to this but it can be a problem holding onto everything!
Accept the gift with gratitude, but if it doesn’t fit into your life you are free to get rid of it. The act of gift-giving is in itself a gift, so you don’t need to feel responsible or guilty if you need to let it go.
I have tried several times to give my email address to get the pdf and nothing happens
Hi Valerie, it looks like you were sent your welcome email and password but no response – that usually means it went to your Junk folder. You can check there or give me an email so we can sort it out. 🙂