Should it Stay or Should it Go?

While cleaning clutter, consider how necessary each object is: when did you last use it? When will you use it again? Is it broken? Can you store it?

File Cabinet Overflowing with Paperwork

As you get into your productivity and organizing projects, you’ll have to decide over and over whether to get rid of certain things you no longer want, need, or use. Sometimes this can be a tough decision, so it’s helpful to consider this list of questions as you come across these items.

When was the last time you actually used this thing? If you can’t remember when you last used something—and you can’t think of when you might need it next, you can probably let it go.

Is the object in question in need of repair? Is it worth fixing? If you had to pay to get it fixed, would it cost more in terms of your time and money than it would to simply replace? Is it worth it? If it isn’t, consider donating or recycling it. Is the object outmoded or out of date? Is it relevant to you? If you can’t answer affirmatively to any of these questions, then it’s time to let go of that item.

Do I actually have space to keep this thing? If you’ve run out of storage space but you’re still waffling about whether to keep something, it’s time to take a cold hard look at your belongings. If you can’t think of a specific home for an item, you might want to consider letting it go.

What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if you were to get rid of this item? Would the world cave in? Probably not! Would you be inconvenienced? Maybe! Look at the level of inconvenience that it might cost you. Is it a document that’s simply irreplaceable? Hold onto it. Is it an easily attainable supply that you simply have no use for in the foreseeable future? Consider it donating or recycling it now, to save you from the clutter. If or when you eventually need it, you can bring it back into your life.

Did you ask for this thing in the first place? We’ve all received gifts that we don’t actually have any use for. And out of guilt, we hold onto unnecessary things far longer than we should. If you didn’t want or purchase an item yourself, don’t feel too bad about letting it go. Chances are the person who gave it to you will never know you got rid of it—and in letting it go, you might pass it on to someone who will make better use of it.

Does this item fit in with how you envision your space, your work, and your life? If it doesn’t fit, whether aesthetically or functionally within your space, consider letting it go.

This is a distillation of all the questions: Do I need this item? Do I use it? Do I love it or even like it? If you can’t stand it; if you hate it, you don’t need it and you don’t want it, why is it there in the first place? So ask yourself these questions as you’re going through your belongings, guaranteed they will help you make decisions on the things that are in front of you.

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