Free Your Space: Ten questions to help de-clutter

It can be difficult to look at things in our own spaces and view them objectively.  We can get so used to seeing our everyday environments that we actually become blind to what is actually in it.  Is there a sweater hanging on the back of a chair, stacks of completed project folders behind your desk, a roll of gift-wrap on the dining room table, a pile of papers next to your favorite chair?  For how long:  Days?  Months?  Years?

Clutter can creep up slowly and take us by surprise.  And, once it’s there, we can find ourselves wondering when did it all happen and, if we’re ever to reclaim control, where do we start?

This month I am going to share ten simple questions that you can ask yourself to help with the decision-making process.  Use these questions as criteria for what to and what not to keep.  They are tools that you can pull out and use when you are ready to set aside time to tackle clutter at home or at work.  If you are challenged by getting - and staying – organized, keep this list of handy.

1-Does it belong to me? – If the answer to this question is “no” then

• Return it to the owner

• Give the owner a time limit of how long it can stay

• Get rid of it

2- Is there a tax reason to keep it?

• If so, file it with the correct year’s tax documents

3- Is the information still current?

• Do you have a new, updated version of it?

• Do you have multiple copies?

4- If you saw it in a store today, would you buy it?

5- Does it make you happy to see it?

6- Is it as valuable to you as it used to be?

• You may have paid a lot of money for it 5 years ago, but it may not be worth hanging on to today.

• Does it save you money or make you money?

7- If you were moving, would you want to pay to have it packed and moved?9-

8-If you knew that there was someone who could benefit from it right now, would it be easier to let it go?

• If it’s “still perfectly good,” why not donate to someone who will actually put it to use?

9- Could you save the memory just by taking a picture of it and letting it go?

10- Is this the best place for it?

• Maybe you still want to keep it but is the place that you’re keeping it the place it needs to be?

Take this list and get started.  Leave a comment or send me an email to let me know about your progress!

* To contact Annette Reyman for organizing work, professional unpacking, productivity support, gift certificates or speaking engagements in the Greater Philadelphia area call (610) 213-9559 or email her at Reyman is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO®) and President of its Greater Philadelphia Chapter.  Visit her website at and follow All Right Organizing on Facebook.



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