Free Your Space: Keep or let go

Once you have decided that getting organized is in order, sorting through your belongings will be a key part of the process. Sometimes we can look at the same items over and over and not really know how to make a decision about what to do with them. This list of thirty-seven questions should help you in that decision-making process. Check down the list when you are stumped with an object and see what questions help move you forward.

Basics

Does it belong to someone else?
Is it too worn/broken/unidentifiable to use?

Legal

Are you legally required to keep it?
Is there a tax reason to keep it?
Would you need this check / document in a legal dispute?

Use it 

After

After

Will you actually use it/refer to it? (Have you in the past?)
Will you really read it?  When?
Is the information still current? (or can newer information be found online?)
Have you used it in the last year?
Do you think you will use it again (or for the first time) and what circumstances will have to be in place in order for you to use it?
Are you really going to finish this project?  When?

Need it

Can it easily be duplicated or created if needed again?
Is it a duplicate? Do you need more than one (or ten!) of this?
Can you borrow or purchase another one if needed?
Would you buy it again?
Do you need it?
Do you have room for it?
Does it take more time and effort to manage than it is worth?

Emotional

Do you love it?
Does it lift your spirits to look at it?
Does it lift your spirits to look at it?
Does it make you happy to see it?
Are you honoring and enjoying it?
Does it make others happy to see it?
Does it make you mad, sad or feel bad to see it?
Are you putting things before people and relationships?

Value keeping

Is this of high value or importance?
Will this help you make money?
Will this save you money?
Is this adding value to your life (or home or business) right now?

Value of not keeping

If you donate it, can you get a deduction?
If you sell it, could you benefit from the money?
If you were moving, would you want to pay to have it packed/moved?

Give to someone else

Are you keeping it because someone gave it to you and you will feel guilty if you get rid of it?
If you knew that someone else would really benefit from having this (a great place to donate it?), would that make it easier for you to let it go?

Sentimental

Do you have anything else that reminds you of this (event, person)?
If we took a picture of it, would that make it easier for you to let it go?

Other places

Is this the best place for it? (you may want or need to keep it but may make better use of it somewhere else – it’s ok to change things up!)

Get organized so that, whatever it is that you have, you can let it go or use it well.

* Annette Reyman is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO®) and President of its Greater Philadelphia Chapter. To contact for organizing work, professional unpacking, productivity support, gift certificates or speaking engagements call 610- 213-9559 or email her at annette@allrightorganizing.com. Visit her Web sites at www.allrightorganizing.com and www.allrightmoves.com. Follow All Right Organizing on Facebook and Pinterest.

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