It might not be logical, but sometimes we have incredibly strong emotional attachments to stuff we own. Our emotions can really get in the way of our progress when we are decluttering. We start out with the best of intentions, but once you are surrounded by a box of old mementos and memories, it’s harder to think objectively.
On Monday, I shared about The Container Rule (I can keep as much of X as will fit in Y space). Today I want to talk about another strategy that can be used in conjunction with The Container Rule: Decide Before You Start.
Decide before you start
Go ahead and identify your container for a certain category (for example, t-shirts get one drawer of my dresser). Then make a rule to help you when you are deciding what stays and what goes. A few examples:
- If I’m sorting through old paperwork: I will throw away any papers more than 5 years old.
- If I’m going through my kid’s papers from school: I will only keep original papers or art, no worksheets.
- If I’m sorting through my closet: I will not keep any clothes that need work for me to wear them (stubborn stains, broken zippers, missing buttons).
Deciding your rule ahead of time means you aren’t making an emotional decision in the moment. The choice has already been made—now you don’t have to spend mental energy thinking about what you should do.
Read more in my decluttering series:
I Spent Good Money On That · What if I Need it Someday? · Getting Rid of Stuff: Emotional Attachments · 32 Days of Decluttering Kickoff · Clutter is a Thief · Clutter Makes it Hard to Find What You Need · The Container Rule ·