Declutter in a Big Way by Asking Yourself One Simple Question (and No, It’s Not If Something Sparks Joy)

published Jul 26, 2023
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Credit: Adam Stewart

I recently moved to a new place, and most of my things came with me. The moving process gave me a much-needed opportunity to survey the things I own and decide if I wanted to keep them and bring them to the new place, or find a new home for them (which, yeah, includes the trash can in a few instances).

It was tough to decide what would stay and what would go, but one question helped me along the way:

If I was shopping right now, would I buy this?

Imagine you’re in a store, holding the object in your hand. Would you pay to bring it home? If so, then it’s an easy addition to the “keep” pile. If not, you have a little more fuel to help you decide it needs to find its way out of your home.

It applies to clothes and decor, to tech and to tools. And this one question causes you to weigh in on a few other considerations at the same time:

  • If it doesn’t fit (like an old pair of jeans), you wouldn’t buy it.
  • If it is outdated (like an old phone), you wouldn’t buy it.
  • If it doesn’t work (like a vacuum that needs repairs), you wouldn’t buy it.

By removing your ownership with this little mental exercise, it’s easier to see what value (if any) there actually is in the things you own. And with every instance of asking yourself “Would I buy this?,” you’re closer and closer to a decluttered home, mind and life.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Declutter (In a Big Way!) by Asking Yourself One Simple Question