Organizing: Deciding What to Keep

A client of mine sent me a “pearl of wisdom” which defined “junk” as something that you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it. Who makes this stuff up? Probably the Chief Marketing Officer of the Container Store!

How do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of? Do you keep things because a family member, friend, or advertisement tells you to? Outside views don’t always recognize the value, or lack of value, something may have to you.

How do you decide what is important to you? Some of these questions can help you make your own decision.

• Do I like it?
• Do I have another one?
• How will I really use it?
• When will I really use it?
• What does it cost me to keep it? Think about time, space, money and mental energy.
• Is it replaceable?
• What is the worst thing that would happen if I never saw it again?
• Who is telling me to keep it? Why do they think I really need it?
• Does keeping it make sense for me and my lifestyle?
• What value am I getting from it compared to what I am giving it? For instance: imagine a vase that you don’t like but your grandmother gave you. What do you think of when you look at it? Does it bring back good memories or do you resent it for taking up space? How do you want to think about Grandma? How would she like to be thought of?

Trust your instincts. There is nothing wrong with deciding you truly want something if it has value for you and you want to give it space in your life. There is also nothing wrong if you can’t imagine yourself using something that others find valuable. What do you gain by keeping something you don’t want or won’t use? What could you gain by letting it go?

You decide!