Answer the Following Questions Before Decluttering

Have you noticed that decluttering isn’t easy? Have you understood why?

The reason is not just because we have a lot of stuff in our houses, but because we have a lot of confusion in our minds. Decluttering is challenging not for physical reasons, but for psychological ones.

As I mentioned in a previous post, decluttering is a means to end. We let go of the material things we no longer need in order to make space and time for what is truly important to us. We let go of the unnecessary in order to be able to fill it with what’s truly important to us. And that’s where the challenge comes in: we must answer these questions if we want to declutter effectively:

What is important to my life?

What is unnecessary to my life?

Decluttering is difficult because we need to know ourselves, our priorities and our true desires really well.

We need to know what is truly important to us and what we can do without.

We need to know what we love and what we vaguely appreciate.

We need to know who we are in order to keep the things that are valuable for creating an authentic and happy life.

We need to know who we are not, in order to get rid of things that make no contribution to our life.

And to do this we need to do the hardest thing of all: to be completely and brutally honest with ourselves.



Who am I, really?

If I am truly, shamelessly, brutally honest with myself, is my true self sexy or modest? Outrageous or discreet? A party animal or a mediator? A social bee or a book worm? A lady or a tomboy? A technology geek or a nature lover?

If I am truly, shamelessly, brutally honest with myself, would I prefer to spend my evenings in bars or in bed? Playing computer games or doing sport? Trying the town’s new restaurant or trying a new recipe? Watching TV or watching the trees sway in the breeze?

This is not about what you think you SHOULD be like or what you SHOULD prefer. This is not about what would look better in front of your friends, or more respectful at work, or more impressive in society. The only way to truly declutter effectively and get the crap out of your life is by getting rid of what’s not truly YOU.



We cannot declutter our homes in one go, because it can take us a while to actually understand who we are, what we want and what we value in life. I started decluttering four years ago and I’m still in the process of discovering what is truly important to me.

If you’re having trouble sorting out a certain area of your house or a certain cupboard, stop for a few days to answer the above questions. Answer from your heart. Once we make sense of our inner world it is so much easier to make sense of our outer one.

dr seuss true you quote


11 thoughts on “Answer the Following Questions Before Decluttering

  1. Truer than true! But we also change over time. This year, I may not need to have my guitar around. But what about next year? Will “future ME” want to play?

    Same thing with my art supplies. At the moment, they are just gathering dust . . . but will I wake up tomorrow and want to pick up a paintbrush?

    Since I care more about progress than perfection, I do not force myself to let go of things that I want to keep around.

    • And you don’t have to – as long as they’re still in line with your passions and values. It’s when we have things that we don’t care about or that don’t add anything positive to our lives that we should let them go.

  2. I thought decluttering my possessions would be easy, but I grossly underestimated the time involved. It was as simple as throwing stuff out. I needed to look at what I had and evaluate it. It’s a lather-rinse-repeat process.

    • Exactly. I think the first stage is easy, when we’re getting rid of obviously cumbersome things. But once we’ve got rid of the stuff we obviously no longer need or want, we need to put our judgment to use. That’s when we need to know ourselves very well.

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