Decluttering – Keep or Toss?


Are you moving or doing some spring cleaning? As you start going through your piles of stuff, do you suddenly feel like it’s all way too much? Who really wants to pack and move all of this? Why does this stuff keep moving around the house from place to place without being used? Whether it’s for moving or cleaning, it’s time for some decluttering, and you need to know where to start and how. Let’s set up a game plan to help you through this tiring process.

Plan Ahead

If you know you are moving in a month or two or cleaning for the upcoming holidays, go ahead and go through some of your belongings early. Keep out what you know your home will need in the mean time, and store the rest of the belongings separately. Doing this will get your home ready one area at a time, so you can later go through the stuff that you are not sure what to do with.

If you know you will be storing things for an extended time, go ahead and look into storage units and pick one that will accommodate whatever you are storing. Check out Porta-Stor’s containers to help you see your options.

Storage Space

If you are cleaning house and storing things because you are moving, think about the size of the home you are relocating to. Will there be adequate space to store holiday décor, sports equipment, seasonal clothing, etc.? This is also the time to think about how many of those items you want to keep and will actually use once you have relocated. If you remove stuff that you don’t ever use, it will free up space in your home as well as in the storage unit you may rent to store your extra belongings. Maybe those hockey sticks got great use at your current location, but will they get much use at your new location?

Sort Your Belongings

To begin the sorting and decluttering process, create a good amount of space somewhere in your home. Make yourself 4 locations to sort your belongings into:

Keep It: These are the items you know without a doubt that you need to keep for whatever reason. If you use it daily or relatively frequently, it needs to stay. This could also include items that have a sentimental value to you and your family, but be careful with that concept, since it may make you hang on to too much stuff.

Toss It: Is it old and worn, broken, or just never used at all? Where did that even come from? Am I only keeping this because someone gave it to me, and I feel obligated to hang onto it? Ask yourself these questions, and if you answer any of them with yes, then the item probably needs to be tossed! Do not question yourself too much, just go with your gut. It’s hard for people to stop questioning themselves and just throw away things they honestly do not use or need. Try to be especially willing to toss items that you haven't used in over a year.

Donate It: Looking at your toss pile, not everything may need to go into the actual dumpster. If there is great wear left in those sweaters you are tossing, those stuffed animals can still get some love, or that coffee table still has some use left in it, consider donating the items to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other charity of choice.

Store It: If there are items that you know you will use, but you may not have the space in your new location or won’t need them for a long time, long-term storage is a great option. Just make sure you are honest with yourself and know why you are storing each item in the first place. Holiday décor and seasonal sporting gear are great examples of things you may need to get out of the way for a time. If you are looking at something and you really are torn about what to do with it, store it and place it out of sight. It may be a decision to come back to at a different time and a different state of mind.

Sell It: If you have the time, you could also make a sell pile and have a yard sale to make some extra cash. If you do not have the time for a yard sale, you could also post the items to social sale sites like Craigslist and sell them as you go.

The best thing to do once you decide on the fate of an item in your home is to follow through. Get that trash pile into the dumpster as soon as you can. Get that box of donations in your car and up to Goodwill this weekend. Out of sight, out of mind, and you will feel better with all that clutter out of your way.

The Future of Your Stuff

When you are doing all of the above things, think about where you will be in the future, and what your situation may look like. Are you simplifying, downsizing, or adding to your family? These questions will alter what you keep and what you toss. Sure you will have remorse that you are getting rid of something you bought and will no longer need or use, and that is okay. Just use this emotion as a reminder to not acquire something like that in the future. If your current self does not need that item, there is a good chance your future self will not need that item either. Also keep in mind how neat, tidy, and decluttered your home will be without all the extra stuff!

As you work on decluttering, most of your stuff will hold some kind of value to you. Make sure the value it holds is actually right for you and your current situation. Know that it is okay to store things until you are more certain of what you want to do with it, but try to be decisive when it comes to deciding between keeping and throwing away.

If you want more tips for moving, storage, and more, keep an eye on Porta-Stor’s blog here!